Innovation winner honours Amaze founder

Innovation winner honours Amaze founder

When Alastair Eilbeck was seeking inspiration for the entry that won him the inaugural Roy Stringer Award, his guiding principle was a simple one: which idea would honour Amaze’s founder the most?

The Magic Festival Hangover Wristband was an inspired piece of wearable tech that turns every festival-goer’s experience into their own, personalised “Hollywood blockbuster”. Alastair’s innovation was a worthy winner in a hugely competitive field. Here, he talks about the inspiration for his creation.

“I have been at Amaze about 13 years, a long time in digital industry terms but not long enough to have crossed paths with Roy Stringer in person. Over the years, however, his spirit has crossed mine, through videos and photographs and the fond memories of colleagues.

Ditching Eno for Hawking

“Most recently, one of the original Amaze team told me about the time Roy was working with Brian Eno on a generative musical project in 1998, but seemed to lose interest when Stephen Hawking asked him to work on an interactive version of A Brief History of Time. That one gratuitously name-dropping sentence gets across the influence of Roy and the status both he and Amaze held in those early days.

“Another insight of those times was given to me by John Kingsbury, who worked with Roy on a project for the Channel 4 website, at a time when the site was built and run by a team of four(!) people.

Big data and Special Brew

“Which brings me to the reason behind these words. I was honoured and fortunate to win the inaugural Roy Stringer Innovation Award against some strong competition, and I think there are two things I discovered about the process.

“Firstly, the thing I found great about this competition was how it motivated me to take a scribble on the back of a fag packet-type idea, and turn it into a much more considered and worked up proposal that could be used as an asset to approach partners.

“Secondly, I started out with a couple of ideas. This one made it because I felt it honoured Roy the most. It reflected Roy’s fascination with simplifying large data. I
am sure he would have loved to get his teeth into all the personal data we constantly breathe out these days.

“During my research, I also discovered a photo of Roy in the archive. In it he wore a blonde wig and held a can of Special Brew in his hand. If that wasn’t a hint to go with my festival wristband idea as opposed to something ‘safer’, I don’t know what was.”