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Nominet Trust funds start up incubation programme, Sidekick School

Sidekick Studios is creating a new innovation lab for Comic Relief to help them develop new, agile ways of creating digital products and services that can make or raise money all year round.

The new lab – the Exploralaboratorium -  is a research and development hub for the organisation that will quickly make and break new products, and test whether they work before bringing them to the market. Over six weeks, the team aims to create at least six new prototypes and test them with Comic Relief supporters.  By creating ‘minimum viable products’ in this way, the lab is able to rapidly validate whether something will work, discard it if it doesn’t, and improve it if it does.

Sidekick helps organisations like Comic Relief innovate in the way that a start up would, giving them the freedom to take risks and develop creative ways to develop revenue. This venture is part of the Nominet Trust funded Sidekick School, a unique incubation service designed to help the voluntary sector build digital products or services that can generate revenues and help organisations become more sustainable. Carers UK and Inaura are also developing products through Sidekick School.

Amanda Horton-Mastin, Director of Innovation at Comic Relief, said: “It’s fair to say that we are really excited at Comic Relief about the idea of testing new digital products in a really accelerated lab process with Sidekick school. We are hoping that Sidekick will help us to try out a variety of ideas from across the organisation that we have never had the resources to attempt. We are hugely grateful to the Nominet Trust for giving us the chance to give this innovation process a trial and very much hope that it will pave the way for some great new products and an ongoing innovation pipeline at Comic Relief.”

Annika Small, CEO of Nominet Trust said: “Nominet Trust is committed to supporting organisations in developing innovative ways of applying digital technology to increase social good.

We are excited to see Comic Relief join Sidekick School to create the Exploralaboratorium which combines start-up agility with the reach and impact of a large, established organisation. 

It is more important than ever for all organisations, big and small, to take advantage of the benefits which digital technology can bring - in this case, making and distributing funds.  We hope that Comic Relief’s participation in Sidekick School will encourage other established charities to get involved in exactly this type of quick, nimble research and development.”

Nick Marsh, Sidekick Design Director said: “Comic Relief campaigns focus on the really powerful idea of combining entertainment with positive change. Sidekick is looking forward to seeing how we can harness this potent mix to create products that help deliver their message. It’s great to see a big charity like Comic Relief embracing modern ideas around digital development."