I'm a big believer that creativity can and often does come from anywhere. So it came as no surprise to me that at last night's Phizzpop design challenge, the firm that ended winning the challenge was not a creative agency, but a technical integration shop. Clarity, who's winning design solution (above) bested well known creative shops such as Tribal DDB and included solid ideas, with a great user experience and even a prototyped iPhone concept—all done in two days.
Let me take a step back. Phizzpop is a Microsoft sponsored event. The basic premise is that teams are given a business oriented design challenge complete with personas and they get two days to come up with a solution. And oh yeah, they have to use Microsoft design tools such as the Expression suite to bring the concepts to life. How's that for a twist?
All of the contestants did a great job, but it was the tech shop that took home the prize and gets to go to SXSW for the finals. I found this to be quite ironic as my presentation included examples of agencies playing "outside of their sandbox". I chatted with one of the Clarity guys after they presented and he told me how ill equipped he felt given that the firm isn't "creative". I guess the judges didn't see it the same way.
Cool event. Below is the presentation I gave to kick off the evening: