For a time, the BBC used an approach borrowed from Stanford Research Institute for looking for ideas for new programmes
At one stage, a staff survey in the BBC revealed that many people felt that the Corporation did not value their creativity. As a result of a visit to Stanford Research Institute, the BBC took one aspect of SRI’s approach and used it for the purpose of developing ideas for new programmes into fully-fledged proposals.
The BBC’s Watering Holes brought together, alongside the idea’s originator, producers/directors, audience experts, commissioning agents, marketing people etc, with the aim of turning the idea into a mature proposal in which its market was more clearly identified, the potential programme more robust, and its issues more clearly addressed, so that it was ready to be pitched to those in the BBC who commissioned programmes.
At one stage, the manager of this exercise was touring parts of the UK running Creativity Labs in which people selected for their promising ideas were invited to participate in a week’s Watering Hole. In practice, while some of these ideas have indeed evolved into broadcast programmes, it seems that more of to-day’s programmes have evolved from or translate out of previous significant successes, to the exclusion of radical innovations; and the BBC discontinued this exercise.