To the Spoils Goes the Victor (now, the hard work begins)

In my last post, I only half-jokingly asked, “What do you do when you’ve won the

BBC Scotland

BBC Scotland (Photo credit: gbhu)

revolution?” The answer to that is, “get working.”

A revolution overturns the old order. Most revolutions fail because they’ve only focussed on the negative, with the only goal being the elimination of that negative. Once that’s accomplished, for most people, it’s “thank you, goodnight.” A successful revolution requires a positive aim – plans to create something, build something.

That’s where the real hard work comes in. And that’s where we are at BBC Scotland.

Five years down the road, we are almost completely file-based and getting ready to launch an HD channel. We’re also drowning in media files, overwhelmed by the number and flavour of video codecs, trying to figure out the best way to transmit surround sound, and getting a bit cranky.

These are all good things. It means that the systems we’ve built have actually changed the way we work. If things had gone smoothly, that would indicate that we had created system that perfectly duplicated the processes we already had in place, meaning that we had spent a great deal of money to go absolutely nowhere. “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”

The team that designed the systems and workflows for BBC Scotland to a big risk – they began with a blank slate and instead of asking, “how to we make our workflows file-based,” they asked, “what does a file-based workflow look like,” and then proceeded to build that. It’s had some modifications along the way, but the basic principles have proven to be sound. There are still some rough edges, but that is to be expected with something so new.

Coming up with an idea is easy, putting it into practice is another matter. Creation, construction, birth, whatever analogy you wish – it’s never easy. More than that, it’s messy, painful, scary, often dangerous, and the only way to progress.