My first Digital Dinger

By Tom Barrett
16 Aug 2023

Having only been in the agency world for the past 11 months, but wanting to engross myself in as much of the real world semantics as possible, I found myself being told the same thing by multiple people within the industry – Attend a BIMA Digital Dinger.

Personally, I’ve felt quite grateful with how I’ve managed to fall into my role within the agency life, however, I am aware of the barriers that modern youth face when it comes to understanding where to start, as tech is such a vague and broad market, so knowing how and where to try and start is daunting.

Having recently joined the BIMA Young Talent Council, I knew that the Dinger would provide me with great insight, however I was incredibly impressed by the setup.

The night started with an opening networking session. Networking for young people can be intimidating, however with the average age being low 20s, it made for a more natural feel. Free drinks were supplied by BIMA, which only helped with easing everyone into the already comfy atmosphere. This session lasted roughly 30 minutes, whilst the speaker set up.

Esther Duran, Chief Design Officer at Zone, was the speaker for the night. Esther was able to captivate the audience with her insight. Having been in the industry for over 20 years, Esther faced many challenges, being a native Spanish, gay woman. The industry was dominated by white males, with her facing many challenges due to her sexuality and ethnicity.

Esther continued to engage the crowd by using Menti boards to understand what the general consensus was for the current youth to try and gain from their next role. The overwhelming reaction was surrounding pay, progression, purpose and inclusivity. We also went through what we were looking to avoid in our next role, including stress, toxicity, burnout and politics. Esther went on to explain that the majority of the newcomers to the industry are looking mainly for purpose, as well as growth.

Esther then showcased some of her work, working with the FA. This was an app for optical tracking, working with grassroots football, this helps a coach enhance their analysis of the game being played/their team. Esther went on to explain about optical tracking, how the camera tracks/identifies objects then converts it into data, using a Veo Cam 2, the first portable AI camera, how it livestreams the matches and displays it onto the software. She explains the context of the tech, the challenge of the tech, as well as the brief from the client. Esther explains the value of case studies and why you should use them when working.

The next tech Esther talks about is the tools she used to allow people with MND to be able to use a computer again. Using a software called BCI (Brain Computer Interface) – Using brainwaves to communicate, it’s not an intrusive tool and is an external tool. Esther introduced us to a gentleman called Peter. Peter was originally a robotic professor for Oxford Uni, however due to issues with MND, he unfortunately lost his mobile, and eventually his voice. Peter worked with Esther and her team to write a book using the device that Esther’s team created. They recorded hours of Peter’s voice, used his emails and conversation to allow him to create dialogue, as well as 4 different voices for personalisation – work, personal, shopping/outdoors.

Esther then went into some background about why even failure is a learning opportunity, the long term goals of gaining the knowledge is the best part. She explained that failure is incredibly important for you to be successful within the industry, as the largest learning experiences are from your failures, not your successes.

Following this talk, we had a Q&A session:

How are you approaching strategy, what initial pointers would you have for someone that’s still new to strategy?

Esther explains that making friends with people that are already involved in that industry really helped give her a jumpstart, as well as being able to make sure the conversations you’re having are relevant. Networking is the main thing to help kickstart any career.

How did you break the norms, being a woman in a male environment, what advice do you have?

Have patience, people don’t change overnight, be patient, but courageous. Patience is key. With diversity & inclusivity gaining more and more traction, it was fantastic to hear Esther’s opinions on this.

How do you protect your learning/growth, when we are in a time/cost driven environment?

Her team has a budget to specifically learn, however, if you don’t invest in growth/learning, you will struggle. A lot of her learning however was in her spare time, that will be an ROI when you’re able to bring it into work. Prioritising time is important.

With the jumps in the career, what motivated you at each point to make those moves? What prepared you to make that jump?

Fake it until you make it, if you WANT to be ready, you won’t ever be ready. Industry change, tech changes and trends change.

In conclusion, I couldn’t recommend a BIMA Digital Dinger more, even if you aren’t a member of BIMA, the event will provide you with nothing but great insight, as well as the opportunity to grow/expand your network!

Useful BIMA Links:

Inclusion & DiversityTalent

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