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On 22 November 2018 around 60 innovation-enthusiasts from broadcasters and media companies were presented a showcase from the European Sandboxes and startups / intrapreneurs that collaborate in MediaRoad’s Sandbox Hub. In an interactive presentation, Peter De Paepe (Head of Startup collaborations and Intrapreneurship at VRT Sandbox) gave an overview of the Sandbox concept. To make things more tangible, he presented practical insights and learnings from the Sandbox activities so far, specifically the DO’s and DON’Ts to successfully kick-off such innovation accelerators. In this session, the experience from +/- 100 cases done by VRT Sandbox in 4 years’ time were shared with the audience.

Peter explained, that depending on the focus, innovation projects from the Sandbox can help to boost the broadcaster’s brand or to improve internal processes and workflows potentially at lower costs. The Sandbox concept can lower the threshold to actually embrace innovations and works with a “closed wallet” principle. Participating startups / intrapreneurs are provided a safe environment to test and develop their product and receive broadcaster’s expertise and coaching, as well as access to internal and external networks (leading to an increased visibility of the product / development).

Lead by Sarah Geeroms (Project leader VRT Sandbox International), under the MediaRoad umbrella, a European network of Media Innovation Accelerators is being created. Since the start of the MediaRoad project, 10 additional Sandboxes have already joined the Sandbox Hub and discussions with more interested broadcasters are ongoing. Sarah explained that setting up a local Sandbox is not that difficult: “Sandbox members get access to the VRT Sandbox Toolkit and expertise to help them in successfully organizing such an initiative. Broadcasters throughout Europe so far have shown a large interest and the ongoing requests exceed our expectations.”.

Key success factors for setting up a Sandbox, amongst other things, are good communication, full support from the top management, availability of personnel resources at the broadcaster and a minimal budget.

In the following pitching session, 6 Sandbox Hub Members and 8 Startups took turns to present their aims and (intermediate) results. Sandbox representatives from existing Sandbox Hub concepts were present (e.g. BBC Taster and Next Media Accelerator) as well as coordinators from newly initiated Sandboxes who are currently developing their projects (e.g. ERT in Greece and RTP in Portugal).

The hungry stomachs were filled during a ‘Bavarian’ lunch which the participants also gladly embraced for networking and a visit to startup demonstrations and further bilateral discussions.

All in all, the pitching event was very successful. Ronald Mies, IRT, event organiser and Network Hub leader for MediaRoad: „With this event we specifically targeted broadcasters and media companies from the German-speaking countries. We are very happy that many of them attended so we could present them the very successful approach the Sandbox Hub has been taking.”

We’re looking forward to further pitching and networking and will continue to expand the MediaRoad network for innovation in the media and creative industry.

Event material is available for download from our website.

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