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Winner’s view: back to the drawing board

November 4, 2014

Sam Clark   


Winner of our second challenge of the F1 Innovation Connectivity Prize talks us through the team’s creative process and why going back to the drawing board can be the key to success….

There’s so much to love about Formula 1: the incredible cars, the fascinating global locations, the diverse range of teams and of course the wheel-to-wheel racing. Combine this passion for the sport with the fact that the team and I work day in day out on developing applications and online digital platforms, and the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS digital scrapbook challenge was the perfect fit for us.

We wanted to maximise our skills in user experience to offer a new mode of digital engagement for fans, preventing people from feeling like they are uploading content into a black hole of meaningless links. Instead, our vision was that the most valued content would be recognised for adding depth to the story of the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team and sit alongside their heroes as part of F1 history for all to see.

So, what’s the concept?

Our research showed that the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team’s fan base spans both young and old, long term fans and those new to the sport. Trying to appeal to all with the same concept was going to be impossible. Rather than categorising them ourselves, we proposed that the fans submitting the content could select the kind of fan they are: tech-head, curator, top fan and so on. The result: fans viewing the scrapbook can rapidly filter the submissions based on their preferences, creating a scrapbook which is unique to them and their tastes.

To do this, we needed to create a digital framework to provide a platform for self-expression. We achieved this by conceiving an interactive web of submissions, where selecting a single item would instantly highlight further related content, be it track, driver, car or era.

We also recognised that successful communities reward members for sharing quality content. So to incentivise contributors, we proposed spotlighting key users by having only the most respected submissions showcased on the tablet app. Fans are also able to add content directly from an F1 race through the smartphone app, making uploads possible anywhere, anytime


What did we learn?

Good idea development takes time, so don’t skimp on the thinking!

Our first brainstorming session left us with a raft ideas based on emerging technologies from Google Glass to Oculus Rift. We got very excited and generated some exciting ideas that we were over eager to pursue. However, we soon realised that we had drifted from the core brief and it took discipline to go back to the drawing board and start again.  Only by exploring a number of concepts that sounded good at first but lacked depth did we come to the realisation of our final idea.

For anyone looking to enter the next challenge, our pearls of wisdom would be: make sure the fan experience is at the heart; understand what’s already out there but be original; and don’t be afraid to go back to the drawing board – going back to basics and returning to the brief was crucial to our success.

Want to find out more about the winning submissions? Read our other winner’s post here. And remember, the third and final challenge is open for entries, so register now.

Follow Sam and the Conjure team on Twitter: @Conjure or visit them online.


Tata Communications was the Official Connectivity Provider of Formula 1® between 2012 and 2019. Tata Communications was also the Official Managed Connectivity Supplier to Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, and Official Digital Transformation Partner to ROKiT Williams Racing until the end of the 2019 season.