The Google Squared course is a joint initiative by Google, the IPA and Impact International, for recent graduates working in media and advertising.
I expected the six week course to give me an intensive Google-branded education that would clue me up on all things digital. I was wholly prepared for an onslaught of digi-acronyms and technical know-how that would leave me gasping for API. What I found instead was a group of forward-thinking people, passionate about the industry and brought together to help us navigate an unpredictable digital media landscape.
The course kicked off with two days of media-unrelated apprentice-style tasks that ranged from mediation between developers at London Bridge to teaching Shakespeare to a group of 10 year olds. Though nauseatingly uncomfortable, they successfully shattered the ice between 38 fresh faced advertising grads. Bonded by embarrassment, this varied ambitious peer-group would become one of the most valuable resources I take from the course.
We were challenged with three very different media briefs, from creating an online business to optimising the website of a national charity. In small teams made up of creative, search and media backgrounds, we immersed ourselves in these tasks, ‘doing by learning’, valuing the opportunity to take risks and as the Google mantra reads, ‘Failing Fast’.
These tasks were interspersed with inspiring talks from the likes of Andrew McGuiness and Sam Coniff, alongside fierce debates about how agencies need to evolve. It was refreshing that many of the changes discussed are already recognisable in the practices back at Vizeum HQ, where collaboration between disciplines, forms the core of our process.
The ultimate aim of squared is not a crash course in all things digital, but to nurture skills of independent learning and instigating change, agility and collaborative working. While we were indeed trained in technical digital skills, I have certainly taken a great deal more from this experience, not least a confidence in my own thinking and a renewed excitement about our industry.