This November saw our Ashfield Digital & Creative team members go back to school for the BIMA Digital Day. This is the third year we’ve done this and each time we’ve had the pleasure of partnering with Urmston Grammar School, their teachers Phill McKenzie and Sanjeev Verma’s and, of course, their wonderfully talented Year 10 ICT and Computer Science students.

Although we do a number of initiatives like this, I can genuinely say that each year we really look forward to BIMA Digital Day. In 2015, we made our debut, and I will be the first to admit, we were a bit nervous about what to expect. A bit like any student on their first day of school, arriving at the gates of Urmston Grammar with apprehension and with preconceived notions about what would take place. However, we knew we could call upon our extensive experience of hackathon-type collaboration and our considerable industry knowledge to help us out. And you know what? We had lots of fun and developed some fantastic ideas working in partnership with the pupils.

And so, two years later we arrived at the school gates again, determined to collaborate and produce something really exceptional. This year’s challenges were extremely exciting and allowed everyone to get stuck in. The challenges were “Powered up pets” (creating an innovative digital product or service for LV= pet insurance customers that could help pet owners to: keep their pets healthy; make pet ownership more social; or take some of the hassle out of owning a pet), “Fashion of the future” (a BIMA set challenge of creating a piece of wearable technology that would solve a problem that you, your family or friends face in everyday life) and the Diana Award challenge of “Smart schools” (improving school life through the use of either virtual reality or artificial intelligence, either in reducing bullying or enhancing the school or learning experience for the students).

Seeing the students rapidly grasp each of these challenges and begin to formulate plans, partnered with the determination and sheer desire to win from all the group, has definitely meant our team had to raise its game. The pupils were determined to make the most of our team of experts. Likewise our Ashfield Digital & Creative team members started to form bonds and partnerships with others. Reflecting on this Reiss Cashmore, Senior UX Architect at Ashfield Digital & Creative, and participant in two BIMA Digital Day events, shared:

It’s a really rewarding event to be a part of and at the end of the day seeing the students present some really compelling ideas is a really great experience. The challenge of distilling everything we do and why we do it and communicating that to young innovators while keeping them engaged is no small feat, but you come out of it feeling really grounded and proud about what you do.”

We were so inspired by this year’s winning entry from Urmston Grammar that we invited the six-pupil team to join our agency for the day at our offices – a chance to let them see what a real-life 100-strong agency looks like (and a chance to drive a few laps to see if they could top the leaderboard on the PlayStation game)

So two years on after our first experience and we’re still learning, I think we all agree the future of digital is definitely in good hands – and so we’re as excited as anyone to see what comes next. We will definitely be back for BIMA Digital Day in 2018 and look forward to partnering with another group of aspiring and inspiring student digital minds.