I originally published this post on the Jiva blog last week but wanted to make a few changes that I realised were better served by posting the revisied version here.
4IP is a really interesting new initiative from Channel 4 that is setting out to look at how Channel 4 can fulfill its public service broadcasting requirements in a digital age where television is not necessarily the be all and end all.
It is of particular interest to a start-up like us here at Jiva as it is particularly looking to work with people with interesting digital projects and particularly those that are looking to provide some public benefit – which with our focus on education and our development of a new very cool top-secret service sums us up nicely (IMHO!).
All told the initiative has a budget of £50million (not all of it Channel 4 money – much of it is from partnerships with Regional Development Agencies etc) and will launch officially in October and I think it will immediately become a hugely important player in the digital social entrepreneur space currently best represented by Social Innovation Camp.
Channel 4 are also the major investor in School of Everything and while that predates 4IP I think it shows 4s commitment to this space and the sort of thing they are likely to be interested in; new solutions for old problems.
Tom Loosemore, most recently based at Ofcom but probably still best known for his work at the BBC leading much of the innovative work on the BBC website and who was a very popular keynote speaker at the 2007 JISC Conference, is leading the project and Ewan McIntosh, a prominent edublogger and conference speaker on social web and education (including doing the closing keynote at this years IWMW), is the first digital commissioner to be announced. Ewan gives an interesting interview on this weeks Guardian Tech Weekly podcast about 4IP and the sort of thing they will be looking for.
My only slight early gripe is that the South West, West and Wales seem a little poorly served by the geographical locations of the commissioners but hopefully that is something that can easily be overcome. Perhaps this is due to a lack of matched funding from the local RDAs etc? I don’t know but it would be interesting to find out as this region is a pretty major hotspot for media and technology independents and start-ups and it would be a real pity if it became an after thought tagged to the end of the Midlands commissioners role or something.