Show & Tell Series: Managing Multi-Partner Projects – Lost Origin Case Study

Apr 20, 2022

As part of the series hosted by Digital Catapult, this Show & Tell focused on collaboration in multi-partner projects through the Audience of the Future Demonstrator project, Lost Origin.

A lot of patience is required to lead such projects. It can be frustrating, however when it works it can yield amazing results.

Lost Origin was a collaboration between six different organisations of varying sizes and cultures so a lot was to be learned about how the inner workings of the project unfolded.

Watch the recording below and read on for more details on the speakers and the key takeaways from the discussion.

The session was moderated by Maddalena Crosti at Digital Catapult and included presentations from:

John Cassy, CEO, Factory42

John spoke about the opportunities and challenges around getting six different partners to work collaboratively from a project leadership perspective.

Dani Parr, Director of Participation, Almeida Theatre

Dani shared her experience with creative collaborations across different disciplines.

Key Takeaways

The presentations were followed by a Q&A moderated by Maddalena Crosti where topics such as solving conflicts, allocation of budgets and audience willingness to pay were explored. The key takeaways and lessons learned below could be very useful to future project teams.

  1. From a project leadership perspective resilience is fundamental, especially throughout covid and constant change. Therefore shared values and flexibility amongst partners is more fundamental than contracts and plans. The Lost Origins team called these “experiential principles” that the team could revert back to when solving conflicts.
  1. Accept the fact that what you have written in your grant application will not come to fruition exactly as you imagined and you will be out of your comfort zone. As a project leader, it’s important that you create a space where this can be talked about with your partners.
  1. Language can be a barrier because the team is made up of such different disciplines. Roles and job titles become insignificant as there are different cultures and expectations of what these mean. When managing such projects, you should constantly be checking that your communications are clearly understood – always go back and clarify.
  1. Theatre and digital have very different processes around locking scripts. With software, the script needs to be locked months in advance; when working with experiential immersive theatre, the script is never locked. With this production there had to be a flexible approach, where some elements involving the Magic Leap headset needed to be locked, whereas others involving immersive actors could be constantly evolved.
  1. Audience testing and feedback is fundamental throughout the process. However, sometimes creative directors need to hold their nerve when responding to audience testing, especially with new formats such as these.
  1. Managing your cashflow can be challenging, especially when grant funded projects pay for expenses several months after they are incurred. Bear this in mind when applying!

About the Digital Catapult ‘Show & Tell’ Series

For the past few years, Digital Catapult has been running a programme to support the Audience of the Future demonstrators in collaboration with UKRI. The programme includes support such as brokering discounts on software licenses, acquiring free computing power, running collaborative workshops, and conducting research. One of the goals of this programme is to facilitate co-working and shared learning amongst the demonstrator consortia.

Aligned with this, during the second lockdown in March, the Digital Catapult team decided to experiment and run webinars using the Show & Tell format. A wider audience of award winners from Audience of the Future as well as the Creative Clusters was included. In fact, we wanted to encourage broader networking which was especially important during that time of isolation.

The Show & Tell events feature speakers from the immersive industry followed by a facilitated discussion. They are formatted around specific topics, which are for the most part community curated. A section in the registration form is dedicated to proposing a future topic and indicating interest in being a speaker.

By the time the sixth Show & Tell event in January 2022 came around, the Digital Catapult team felt it was appropriate to record and publish these events as the content is informative and thought provoking and useful to current and future industry stakeholders.

Show & Tell events

Below is a list of speakers and topics explored in previous Show & Tell series:

Show & Tell #1 (5 March 2021)

Topic(s): Inclusive Design: Practices and Lessons Learned, Inclusive Design: Building from Individuality, Drawing on drawing: An exploration of the study of drawing without the visual channel.

Speaker(s): Will Humphrey (Sugar Creative), Lisa Bowers (Open University)

Show & Tell #2 (27 March 2021)

Topic(s): The UK at Home Audience for Virtual and Augmented Reality

Speaker(s): Aki Jarvinen, Digital Catapult

Show & Tell #3 (30 April 2021)

Topic(s): Digital Humans: Embodiment and Creation, Introduction to Metahuman Creator, Using Virtual Humans to Develop Real Human Skills

Speaker(s): Jamie Mossahebi (Epic Games), Ruth Hill and Chris Mallet (BodySwaps)

Show & Tell #4 (18 June 2021)

Topic(s): Immersive Audio: Interactivity and Tools, Non-verbal Interaction in Virtual Reality, VASAR

Speaker(s): Non-verbal Interaction in Virtual Reality

Show & Tell #5 (16 July 2021)

Topic(s): Commercialisation: Entering New Markets, Bringing Dislectek to Market, Straddling multi B2B Markets

Speaker(s): Ally Low (Lowtek Games), Ben Sainsbury (Marion Surgical / AoTF PIIC)

Show & Tell #5 (16 July 2021)

Topic(s): Commercialisation: Entering New Markets, Bringing Dislectek to Market, Straddling multi B2B Markets

Speaker(s): Ally Low (Lowtek Games), Ben Sainsbury (Marion Surgical / AoTF PIIC)

Show & Tell #6 (21 January 2022)

Topic(s): Licensing Immersive Content, Licensing Someone Else’s IP, Building an Immersive Distribution Pipeline: Monetisation through Publishing and Exhibitions

Speaker(s): Alex Winterbotham (experienced freelance producer), Danielle Giroux (Astrea Immersive)

Summary and recording:

Show & Tell #7 (28 January 2022)

Topic(s): Archiving Immersive Creative Content

Speaker(s): Joanna Norman and Kate Bailey (V&A Museum), Aki Jarvinen (Digital Catapult)

Summary and recording:

Show & Tell #8 (24 March 2022)

Topic(s): Content Licensing in China

Summary and recording:

Speaker(s): Philipp Morris (Tencent Cloud), Jingshu Chen (VeerVR) & Danielle Giroux (Astrea Immersive)

Show & Tell #9 (1 April 2022)

Topic(s): Managing Multi-Partner Projects – Lost Origin Case Study

Summary and recording:  See above

Speaker(s): John Cassy (Factory42), Dani Parr (Almeida Theatre)