04. Think about the call to action
The most common piece of feedback and advice I've seen during the crit sessions is: think about your audience more; think about the call to action. That's the hardest part for students.
They're great at prototyping and ideas. But they don't think about how the project is going to communicate in the world – how it will grab an audience and gain the critical mass to actually happen.
What they're learning from Collabology, I think, is the harsh commercial realities of what it takes to get a project off the ground and reach and engage an audience.
05. Start small and scale your idea
Last year we were in Mother, and the students wanted to engage the whole world. They all did massive, viral campaigns. These guys are much more focussed on specific target markets.
I think they've learned the lesson that it's good to start on a small, focussed market and then scale your idea from there, in the way that Facebook did and Good Gym did.
We're trying to scale this project. This is the prototype, thanks to UAL and Creative Skillset's generosity. We're talking to various funders about doing it across Europe, and maybe in different sectors like the music industry and fashion.
06. Be ambitious with new thinking
I'm really excited about the digital component of Collabology. There seems to be something very special when you bring the virtual and real-world students together.
It's interesting: we did the pilot last year, and this year I've added the digital elements. It's slightly insane because I really should have sat on my laurels and repeated it a few times with minor tweaks but… There might well be some huge mutation for the next iteration, we'll see!
07. Learn from the Collabology website
We're going to put a lot of resources on our website. We've got some good live blog stuff up there at the moment, but we've filmed a lot of the processes so we're going to make an actual MOOK – some kind of framework you can work through on your own, based on what we've done here.
08. Don't wait for someone to help you
My advice to those who couldn't come to Collabology? Talk to your fellow students. Initiate your own projects. Work together – realise how strong you are when you come together with your peers and look around for stuff that needs doing that you care about.
Don't wait. You've got a fantastic opportunity here – and time goes very quickly when you've got a mortgage and full-time job. There's no longer room for these amazing bold dreams and you learn so much working with your peers, so just do it.
Fred Deakin is a professor at University of the Arts London. He runs Fred & Company, specialising in interactive art projects, and co-founded the award-winning design company Airside, which achieved BAFTAs, D&AD Pencils and a Webby before shutting its doors in 2012 after 14 years of success.
Words: Julia Sagar
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