Upgrade to Digital: A Report from BDW

I’ve just returned from chilly, yet beautiful Boulder, CO where I was auditing a workshop called “Upgrade to Digital” at Boulder Digital Works.

As you may know, BDW is a unique program at the University of Colorado focused on digital business and creative, founded principally with the support of Crispin Porter + Bogusky. SoDA is also a sponsor and, Odopod’s President, Jay Wolff, has joined their board of advisors.

A few weeks prior to my trip, Allison Kent-Smith, Senior Director at BDW, approached Odopod about the idea of leading a remote workshop for the program in San Francisco. We enthusiastically agreed, and arranged to attend one of the current workshops in preparation.

The 2-day session, headed by notable CP+B employees, Scott Prindle and Joe Corr was an appreciable mix of presentations, group exercises and lively discussions on the state of digital marketing. The 40 or so attendees were far ranging – from senior level agency professionals and marketing managers to university professors, entrepreneurs and traditional media publishers.

After a round of introductions and a broad survey to kick off the day, an impressive line up of guest speakers took the group on deeper dives into a variety of topics including; Social Media, Mobile and Search. On day-2 OneRiot co-founder, Robert Reich, hosted a session on the Real-Time web zeitgeist.

The subject surfaced an interesting mix of anxiety and childlike zeal. During the presentation one attendee told the group that he had actually time-stamped his twitter posts to go live while he was at the workshop. And in fact, he was tweeting "now" as he spoke to the room, “without touching a thing”. Another attendee quickly countered that since it was prescheduled, it wasn’t really part of the Real-Time Web. A good point.

At the conclusion of the workshop it was clear that there’s a real appetite for the topics across a spectrum of professional vocations. All in attendance were very interested in reviewing the latest trends and fully understanding the ever-shifting digital landscape.

For it’s final exercise, breakout groups tried their hand at developing strategies and concepts for integrated cross-platform digital executions for a fictitious client. The results varied, but it was certainly a noble pursuit – particularly after just a day and a half of sessions.

Fig. 1 / Boulder Digital Works’ HQ is conveniently located in the heart of downtown Boulder. Nestled just above the Ten Ten Brasserie.

Fig. 2 / Like Odopod, the citizens of Boulder like their bikes. However, it’s clear that they have a greater tolerance for the cold, as the daytime temperatures during my visit where about 9°.

Fig. 3 / Inside, visitors are greeted by this mural by Josh Wills and Mike Scarano of Factory Design Labs.

Fig. 4 / Matt Howell from Modernista! and Joe Corr from CB+P moderate a discussion on the digital production process.


  • ed flynn says:
    Posted: 12.15.09

    Guthrie, Was great to meet you at BDW. I think the idea of Odopod leading a remote workshop is a fantastic idea and hopefully will spur other agencies and locations to do the same. Beyond the upgrade to digital workshop it would be great to have a deeper dive workshop where some of the harder questions get answered. We focused a lot on strategy and the next step would be on how to execute against those strategies. As we heard from others, one of the big hurdles in digital is the amount of people power and collaboration needed to bring great ideas to life. That challenge for most seams like the next piece of the puzzle. @E_2_tha_D

  • Allison says:
    Posted: 12.16.09

    Thanks Guthrie - for visiting BDW and reporting on the experience. Look forward to working on a SF workshop in 2010. We welcome you back anytime.

  • Warren Ng says:
    Posted: 12.16.09

    "entrepeneurs" in attendance? Guessing that was me! Yes! It was great to meet you there! Great summary!

  • Guthrie says:
    Posted: 12.17.09

    Ed, Allison, Warren – It was great to be there with you all. I'm looking forward to more in 2010!

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