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Hacking Higher Education Part 1

Posted on Dec 5, 2018
Hacking Higher Education Part 1

Inspiration. Insight. Creative hacks. Popcorn. Our Digital Hack in Manchester had it all. We showcased the latest marketing trends from voice and AI to instant, experiential and VR/AR. We hit everyone with 45 creative bites from the likes of depop, Monash University, Lockheed Martin and La Trobe University.

Then we sat back for a moment, drew breath and talked about the next big things on the horizon and what people wanted to explore. Some key themes really hit home. 6-second videos. Remixes of existing content. Voice searches. AI chatbots. Delivering experiences. Authentic user-generated content. Doing things differently to stir the emotions. And the importance of taking the time to select great music rather than ruining your brilliant video with a plinky-plonky soundtrack. Will QR codes make a UK comeback too? Watch this space.

Then it was the turn of youth marketing expert Sarah Owen to step into the spotlight. She gave us a great insight into how universities can connect with 16-21 year olds with digital examples from the world of broadcast ranging from Love Island to Netflix. And we all learned to say ‘proper peng’. Properly.

With inspiration buzzing in the air, it was time to challenge 25 of the brightest minds in higher education marketing from 15 different institutions. Split into teams, they hacked creative ideas to solve a fictional problem. And what they came up with in a short space of time was brilliant – a 24/7 chatbot concierge, remote-controlled virtual tours, mysterious shipping containers, subversive audio broadcasts and a whole load of Instagram. We’ll summarise some of the best ideas soon in Part 2 but first on to London to see what we get from a new wave of inspiration.

The competition in Manchester was tough. And the voting intense. But there could only be one winner. Congratulations go to ‘Team Popcorn’ for being named our top hackers. Well done (from left to right) Liz Holt from UCLan, Craig Rennie from the University of Stirling, Sara Lennon from the University of Salford, Mark Loaring from the University of Bradford and Paul Govey from the University of Manchester.

Our Future Index #DigitalHack18 will be coming to London for the very first time on Friday 14thDecember. There are still a few spaces available. So, if you’re looking to fill your mind full of creative inspiration and new marketing ideas for 2019, find the details at

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