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, 13 JANUARY 2014 - Small businesses are being offered the chance to work with some of the country's biggest brands through a new digital innovation competition run by IC tomorrow, part of the UK's innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board (TSB).


The 'Digital Innovation Contest: Cross-Sector Exploration' is offering digitally-minded start-ups and SMEs the chance to win a share of £225,000.

Made up of nine challenges across three themes, the competition invites entrants to provide creative solutions for a range of real-life digital strategies. The challenges have been set by some of the biggest names in retail, arts, entertainment, culture, publishing, film and music.

As well as benefiting from up to £25,000 in funding, the nine winning SMEs will retain all of their IP and be invited to work alongside the business giants to implement their solutions.

Companies taking part include Argos, SYCO Entertainment, LIFT/Saatchi & Saatchi, Procter & Gamble (P&G), Holition, Live Nation, Penguin Random House, The Barbican and BFI (British Film Institute).

Matt Sansam, programme manager at IC tomorrow, said:

"This competition is an exciting opportunity for start-ups looking to see their ideas come to life. Our main objective is to pair today's burgeoning tech-talent with established businesses and organisations so they can share insights on adapting to, and making the most of, a continuously developing digital economy."

The contest categories, their sub-challenges, and their partners include:


  • Connected retail - Argos
  • Smart tools for brand loyalty - Procter & Gamble
  • The future store - Holition.




  • Engaging festival audiences: Urban - LIFT (supported by Saatchi & Saatchi)
  • Engaging festival audiences: Music - Live Nation
  • Engaging audience interaction with cultural programmes - The Barbican.



  • Digital analytics for talent scouting - SYCO Entertainment
  • Reading analytics - Penguin Random House
  • Data and the cinema audience - BFI.


The deadline for applications is on Wednesday 26 February 2013. For more information, please visit


Notes to Editors
The 'Digital Innovation Contest: Cross Sector Exploration' opens on Monday 13 January 2014. The deadline for applications is 12:00pm on Wednesday 26 February 2014. A briefing event is being held on Wednesday 29 January 2014 in London and the contest final is scheduled for April 2014.

More information about the contest including how to apply is available at:

The briefing event will give potential applicants the opportunity to find out more about the contest. Representatives from IC tomorrow will give an overview of the contest challenges, the application and assessment processes, and answer any questions from attendees.


The contest categories, their sub-challenges, and their partners include:




1) Connected retail

Partner: Argos


This challenge is to develop a solution that captures and leverages smart-phone technologies and mobile data for merchants to better understand and serve customers in a customised, scalable and meaningful way. The successful solution will provide compelling features and functions to encourage customers to engage on their own mobile devices when passing by, entering or browsing within a store.

Neil Tinegate, head of digital innovation at Argos, said:


"This is a great initiative from IC tomorrow and we are delighted to be involved.  Argos has always innovated in multi-channel retail and is in a unique position with 735 online collection points and a growing mobile business, which now accounts for 16 per cent of our total sales.  

"We are really excited to get some new perspectives from start-up companies and entrepreneurs on how we can really push forward with joined-up customer experiences across our physical and mobile channels.  What's more, we can offer talented companies a real opportunity to influence and be part of our journey towards being a digital retail leader."

2) Smart tools for brand loyalty

Partner: Procter & Gamble


This challenge is to find alternative ways for brands to reach, engage and build closer and more meaningful relationships with their consumers. Applicants should propose ways of utilising digital technology to drive interaction with a brand and around specific products or ranges.

Ian Saker, section head at P&G, said:

"Smart digital technology has changed the way we live.  It has allowed us to become more connected with each other and our environment and has driven more interactivity in our day-to-day lives.

"We are looking for a new innovation to communicate performance to the consumer (or between consumers) and a way to provide a more personalised and holistic experience for people using our products. There are exciting opportunities and possibilities that this challenge could inspire.

"We want to see how smart digital technology can help to build closer, more meaningful and more interactive relationships between people and our Shaving and Oral Care brands by improving both their performance and the user-experience."

3) The future store

Partner: Holition


This challenge seeks creative applications of technology for solutions that make the physical store a more engaging space for consumers, and a space where brands can deliver more compelling product offerings. Applicants should propose a solution that is simple to operate, understand, and engage with in a meaningful way.



Jonathan Chippindale, CEO of Holition, said

"What really excites me is the in-store experience and how we can merge the touch and feel of a retail store with innovative technology. It's not just about using mobile screens to look at products and pressing a button, it's more about creating retail theatre and how we can integrate the whole shopping experience seamlessly from browsing a store, trying on outfits and exploring the latest ranges, through to making the final purchase.  

"The future of digital is constantly evolving, which makes this industry incredibly exciting and we are keen to explore how far innovation can go in order to turn these creative ideas into reality"



1) Engaging festival audiences: Urban

Partner: LIFT and Saatchi & Saatchi


This challenge aims to discover new innovative ways of using mobile technology to engage with a younger, culturally curious audience across a city-wide nomadic festival in multiple venues. Solutions should help to gather greater audience data through a more interactive, responsive online experience.

Mark Ball, artistic director at LIFT, said:


"IC tomorrow has a diverse and exciting track record of encouraging engagement with the UK tech community and we are very proud to be working with them alongside Saatchi & Saatchi on this digital innovation project.

"Festivals of all types are proliferating and growing in popularity. As a festival that embraces hybridity and multi-disciplinary art forms and encourages the cross-pollination of ideas, we are looking forward to opening LIFT to creative tech minds to better enhance the festival experience and enable the exceptional artists we work with to reach a much wider audience."

2) Engaging festival audiences: Music

Partner: Live Nation


This challenge seeks novel approaches to use digital technologies to enable music festival producers to understand their audiences better and provide music fans with a more engaging experience.

Rees Hitchcock, planner at Live Nation, said:


"I'm excited about our involvement with the Digital Innovation Contest. Whilst it will significantly help us to further understand our festival audience, it's also an indicator of Live Nation's ambition to utilise and innovate using digital platforms. The more we are able to know about our fans and their behavioural patterns, the more personal we can make our communications. For us, it's all about providing the most engaging live experience possible"

3) Enhancing audience interaction with cultural programmes

Partner: The Barbican


This challenge seeks innovative digital solutions to animate the breadth of the arts centre's programme; and facilitate serendipitous or unexpected discovery to enable personalised visitor experiences.

Siddharth Khajuria, digital content producer at The Barbican, said:

"New technologies have created opportunities for the cultural sector to engage more deeply with its audiences than ever before, and in recent years, the Barbican has been working closely with the hugely creative tech community around us.

"What this contest provides is a simple way organisations like ours can be exposed to and experiment with new ideas. We can't wait to hear how companies respond to the challenge. Indeed, what excites us most about the Digital Innovation Contest is that we don't know what we'll get out of it."



1) Digital analytics for talent scouting

SYCO Entertainment


This challenge seeks tools, applications and services which can help to automate the process of spotting new talent and buzz online. While there will always be a need for human judgement to be the ultimate arbiter, digital can play a role in helping those wanting to find new talent to narrow the field of choice.

Jim Leedham, digital operations director, SYCO Entertainment, said:

"Talent and digital platforms are core to SYCO's business, and through IC tomorrow we have found a great channel to partner with start-ups in a fantastically exciting sector.

"We believe that there is a real opportunity to build a product which can pick out and monitor potential talent in the plethora of digital content that is created every day - we can't wait to see the results of this challenge!"

2) Reading analytics

Partner: Penguin Random House

This challenge seeks ways in which publishers can gain more direct information and analytics about how their eBook content is being consumed digitally.

Dan Franklin, Digital Publisher, Random House (a Penguin Random House company), said:

"We're very happy to be involved in this year's contest alongside a great set of challenge partners. With the growth of the eBook market there is now the opportunity to understand how readers are consuming titles in a way that was largely invisible to us before.

"We're building on the knowledge we've developed about this, and we're keen to get even smarter data on the way ebooks are being read. So we look forward to seeing the responses to our reading analytics challenge."

3) Using data to understand and connect with cinema audiences

Partner: BFI


The challenge seeks to explore how cinemas can digitally connect with physical audiences to help enhance the cinema experience and also better understand their audience. Applications can include technologies such as radio-frequency identification (RFID), near field communications (NFC), Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

Alex Stolz, head of distribution at BFI, said:

"We are always on the lookout for innovative ideas to help support UK cinemas and to enhance the film offer to audiences. This unique partnership with the TSB offers an exciting opportunity for cinemas to further develop the relationship with their audience"

More information about each of these challenges can be found at:


About IC tomorrow:


IC tomorrow is a Technology Strategy Board programme that stimulates innovation and economic growth in the digital sector by breaking down barriers and opening doors for a new generation of entrepreneurs.

The programme serves as a hub for digital innovation, connecting start-ups and SMEs with leading commercial partners and investors, through funded contests, events, and strategic matchmaking opportunities.

The IC tomorrow network supports innovation across a variety of industry sectors, including music, film, fashion, publishing, TV, education, games, culture, sport, advertising, healthcare and finance.

For more information, please visit

About the Technology Strategy Board:


The Technology Strategy Board is the UK's innovation agency. Its goal is to accelerate economic growth by stimulating and supporting business-led innovation. Sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Technology Strategy Board brings together business, research and the public sector, supporting and accelerating the development of innovative products and services to meet market needs, tackle major societal challenges and help build the future economy.

For more information, please visit

About Argos:

Argos is a leading UK digital retailer, offering around 29,000 products through, its growing mobile channels, stores and over the telephone.

Argos continues to be the UK's largest high street retailer online with 635 million website and app visits in the 12 months to February 2013.  Argos serves around 124 million customers a year through its network of around 735 stores. 

In the financial year to February 2013, Argos sales were £3.9 billion and it employed some 30,000 people across the business. Argos is part of Home Retail Group, the UK's leading home and general merchandise retailer. 

For more information, please visit:


About Procter & Gamble:

The Procter & Gamble Company (P&G) is focused on providing consumer packaged goods. The Company's products are sold in more than 180 countries primarily through mass merchandisers, grocery stores, membership club stores, drug stores and high-frequency stores. As of June 30 2012 P&G was organized into two Global Business Units (GBUs): Beauty and Grooming and Household Care. The GBUs contain a total of five segments: Beauty; Grooming; Health Care; Fabric Care and Home Care and Baby Care and Family Care.

As the world's largest multinational consumer goods company, Procter & Gamble Co. is the 4th largest corporation in the world by market capitalization and is Fortune's 6th Most Admired Company. P&G serves approximately 4.8 billion people around the world with its brands. The Company has one of the strongest portfolios of trusted, quality, leadership brands, including Pampers®, Tide®, Ariel®, Always®, Whisper®, Pantene®, Mach3®, Bounty®, Dawn®, Fairy®, Gain®, Charmin®, Downy®, Lenor®, Iams®, Crest®, Oral-B®, Duracell®, Olay®, Head & Shoulders®, Wella®, Gillette®, Braun®, Fusion®, Ace®, Febreze®, Ambi Pur®, SK-II®, and Vicks®. The P&G community includes operations in approximately 70 countries worldwide.

For more information, please visit

About Holition:

Holition is a synthesis of luxury marketers, retail specialists and cutting edge leaders in innovative and emerging digital technology. They craft premium digital experiences for a growing network of pioneering luxury organisations including Richemont, LVMH, Swatch Group and Gucci Group across the emerging digital fashion and accessory sectors.

Their creative augmented reality, holographic and 'touch' solutions bring audiences closer to brands, connecting digital to retail by delivering memorable retail experiences online, in-store and through mobile. Their international deployments have been installed at premium retail stores including Selfridges, Harrods, and Dover Street Market in London, Isetan in Tokyo, and Bloomingdales in New York.

Their team are experts in the areas of digital retail and are widely invited to be thought leaders at global conferences and events; sharing their knowledge and experience to encourage thinking beyond the expected.


For more information, please visit


About LIFT:


LIFT travels the world to bring global stories to London, transforming the city into a stage and presenting unique artistic experiences for the culturally curious. LIFT curates a year-round programme of work - building to a pan-London festival of shows, special events and talks every two years.

The next festival, LIFT 2014, takes place 2 - 29 June and will see the world's boldest and brightest artists present inspiring work to Londoners right across the capital.

For more information, please visit

About Saatchi & Saatchi:


Saatchi & Saatchi launched in 1970, with the philosophy that "Nothing is Impossible" - a statement that is carved into the steps of our building. Since that time, we are proud to have created some of the world's most famous, loved - and in more recent times, most shared - ideas: from the "Face" ad for British Airways, to the "Life's for sharing" campaign for T-Mobile. We provide a fully integrated service to our clients who include EE, Diageo, HSBC, Kerry Foods, Toyota and Visa, incorporating TV, radio, print, outdoor and since the acquisition of Outside Line in 2012, digital and social advertising.

For more information, please visit

About Live Nation:

Live Nation Entertainment is the world's leading live entertainment and eCommerce company, comprised of four market leaders:, Live Nation Concerts, Front Line Management Group and Live Nation Network. is the global event ticketing leader and one of the world's top five eCommerce sites, with over 26 million monthly unique visitors. Live Nation Concerts produces over 20,000 shows annually for more than 2,000 artists globally. Front Line is the world's top artist management company, representing over 250 artists.

These businesses power Live Nation Network, the leading provider of entertainment marketing solutions, enabling over 800 advertisers to tap into the 200 million consumers Live Nation delivers annually through its live event and digital platforms.

For more information, please visit:

About SYCO Entertainment:

SYCO Entertainment is one of the world's leading global music, film and television production and international talent companies with SYCO Music being the record label home for such diverse international recording artists as Labrinth, One Direction, Leona Lewis, Susan Boyle and Il Divo. SYCO's television assets include the global franchises The X Factor and Got Talent.

SYCO is also the record label home for such diverse international recording stars as One Direction, Leona Lewis and Il Divo. Simon has worked with artists selling more than 200 million albums and delivering more than 180 No. 1 records.

In March 2013, SYCO in partnership with YouTube, launched The You Generation channel which is listed as the 'world's first global audition'. The online channel is currently available in 26 countries.

For more information, please visit:

About Penguin Random House:

Penguin Random House ( is the world's first truly global trade book publisher. It was formed on July 1, 2013, upon the completion of an agreement between Bertelsmann and Pearson to merge their respective trade publishing companies, Random House and Penguin, with the parent companies owning 53% and 47%, respectively. 

Penguin Random House comprises the adult and children's fiction and nonfiction print and digital trade book publishing businesses of Penguin and Random House in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and India, Penguin's trade publishing activity in Asia and South Africa; Dorling Kindersley worldwide; and Random House's companies in Spain, Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia, and Chile.

Penguin Random House employs more than 10,000 people globally across almost 250 editorially and creatively independent imprints and publishing houses that collectively publish more than 15,000 new titles annually. Its publishing lists include more than 70 Nobel Prize laureates and hundreds of the world's most widely read authors.

For more information, please visit:

About BFI:

The BFI is the lead body for film in the UK with the ambition to create a flourishing film environment in which innovation, opportunity and creativity can thrive by:

  • Connecting audiences to the widest choice of British and World cinema
  • Preserving and restoring the most significant film collection in the world for today and future generations
  • Championing emerging and world class film makers in the UK
  • Investing in creative, distinctive and entertaining work
  • Promoting British film and talent to the world
  • Growing the next generation of film makers and audiences.

The BFI is a Government arm's-length body and distributor of Lottery funds for film. The BFI serves a public role which covers the cultural, creative and economic aspects of film in the UK. It delivers this role:

  • As the UK-wide organisation for film, a charity core funded by Government
  • By providing Lottery and Government funds for film across the UK
  • By working with partners to advance the position of film in the UK.

Founded in 1933, the BFI is a registered charity governed by Royal Charter. The BFI Board of Governors is chaired by Greg Dyke.

For more information, please visit: