Derry 2.0 - Digital Derry festive invite

The Digital Derry Christmas Gathering will take place next Thursday, December 15th, from 6.30pm at Cafe Soul in Guildhall Square. It’s completely free and everyone’s welcome. Expect food, music and games but make sure to BYOB. You can RSVP via {http://www.digitalderry.org|DigitalDerry|Click here for Digital Derry}

What to Do During Your Holiday Break

Apart from stuffing your face full of turkey, sloshing back alcoholic beverages of unknown provenance and slumping in front of the TV, Christmas can actually be a very useful period to reflect and plan for the future. From January onwards there are some brilliant opportunities to get a new idea off the ground. On January 12th Digital Derry will launch the new Culture Tech fund with up to £5,000 funding for new projects which combine digital technologies with cultural and artistic output. The next round of DCAL’s Creative Industries Innovation Fund will also open again soon. And in March, SeedComp is back, with a top prize of £15,000 for the city’s best new digital business idea. So what can you do to prepare? The first step would be to shake out some good ideas and get them down on paper. Try starting with a blank page for each idea. Write the idea down as succinctly as you can and then make some very rough notes about what you would need to make it happen - a broad budget, key partners, technical skills and so on. Do that for each idea and then set them to the side but don’t be constrained by practicality at this stage - just get your ideas out and evaluate them later. After a day or two (or at least a few hours) come back to those scribbly sheets and start narrowing them down to one idea. If one that you wrote down previously has been itching away in your head, that’s a good sign. Everyone has different criteria for what ideas to take forward but I personally like things that are deliberately different and interest me personally.

Some people consider return on investment or the potential to take over the world. Whatever floats your own particular boat is fine - just so long as the idea of making your idea a reality excites you.

Once you have narrowed things down to one idea, the next step is some immersion. Hopefully you should have some idea about your chosen field of endeavour. You’ll know the key players, the direction of the market and the latest trends. You should have some contacts and hopefully a little profile in the sector. But whether you do or don’t you need to do some research.

Google companies in your field and find out what they’re up to. Take a look at others who’ve tried the same kind of ideas that you’re considering - have they been successful, what have they done well, where have they tripped up? Look at related fields and see if there are ideas to take from them and connect with your own. Use this information to help you tweak your original idea. The next step is to start pulling all that together into some kind of plan. Not the detailed 60 page business plan that nobody is ever going to ready but rather a short overview of what you want to do and how you’re going to do it. Ideally you should be able to fit it on to one page, two at the most. Now set it aside again. That one or two pages - provided you’ve done your homework - is more than enough to get you started in the new year. Now it’s time to get back to the turkey, TV and booze!

Mark Nagurski is Derry’s Digital Champion, based at the Chamber of Commerce. You can contact him by email to digitalderry@gmail.com or by visiting www.digitalderry.org