BBC World Service selects Lagos innovations for pilots

By Tom Jackson

BBC Connected Studio and the BBC World Service have selected two teams from Lagos to pilot digital innovations aimed at helping the BBC reach young African audiences.

It is the latest stage of the BBC World Service’s activities in Africa, which has already seen pilots launched in Nairobi, Kenya and Cape Town, South Africa as the BBC looks to increase its global reach to 500 million by 2020.

A briefing session for 100 people was held in partnership with the Co-Creation Hub in Lagos in January, with teams briefed with reaching the growing mobile audience in Nigeria with innovative digital ideas.

Workshops with digital experts were held to further help potential entrants, with submitted ideas scored and shortlisted by a judging panel. Two ideas have now been selected to be taken forward and built into pilots throughout the year.

The teams are Codulab, a small company based in Lagos, and a collaborative team of Nigerian innovators, Team Timerail. Further details on the pilots will be announced later this year, but the selected ideas include innovation surrounding chat bots and connecting to audiences through instant messaging, as well as structured journalism and connected storytelling.

“It has been great to collaborate with technical innovators in Nigeria – one of World Service’s most important markets. Having done hackathons in Kenya and South Africa in 2015 it was only natural for us to come to Nigeria, too,” said BBC World Service Group digital development editor and judging panellist Dmitry Shishkin.

“This time we made extra effort to help with feedback and briefing for the event and were delighted by the great number of interesting submissions we received. Given the revolutionary changes mobile technology is bringing to Africa, the BBC is keen to be an integral part of this exciting journey.”

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