The Case for Blank Canvas Thinking

Dateline: June 6, 2014

Welcome to our Friday WRAP – one thought-provoking idea to think about over the weekend.

What would you do with a blank canvas, a budget and an opportunity to use whatever technology you wanted for your organization?  Recently, Disney-owned ESPN unveiled their new SportsCenter Studio in Connecticut–Digital Center 2 or DC2.  Fast Company recorded a test run of the studio and described it  An Exclusive Look Inside ESPN’s Cutting Edge New Sportscenter Studio.

The “big verts” are the studio’s two 15-foot-tall screens, which make already larger-than-life athletes like Kevin Durant assume Goliath-like stature. This is critical during midday broadcasts, says King when most people experience SportsCenter “walking by a screen with the sound off, in an airport, in a restaurant. The challenge is getting someone 30 feet away to stop and see this is a big deal.”

Why did they do this now? Simply put, they outgrew their current studio as their program grew from a 3x/day sports show to an ‘always on’, 16 hour-day program and they wanted to  to reinvent their business by continuing to explore how to blend online with on air products.    Their vision for DC2 was “the studio as a grand, visually arresting, and ever-changing sports gallery.”

Because SportsCenter airs daily and covers breaking news, it has to be a well-oiled machine. Mastering DC-2’s new equipment and all the moving parts is one of the biggest challenges ESPN has faced in years. SportsCenter has 600 staffers in Bristol. They’re figuring out and adjusting to changes in their day-to-day work. For months, teams have been learning new technology, doing visualization exercises, brainstorming, and more recently conducting run-throughs. Like teams preparing for a big game, the staff of each show has a DC-2 playbook.

“There are some guidelines right out of the gate, the ten to twelve things we want to get right in week one,” says Bengtson. “I hope in three months we can throw that out because we will have thought of new things. This set gives us opportunities to be creative in ways we’ve never been.”

What would you envision if you had a blank canvas and a budget to redo your technology?  What would it look like? What creative things could your organization do?

That’s a WRAP!  Have a nice weekend!

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