Pacific Magazines hosts Innovation Day for staff in conjunction with Amazon Web Services

Teams were given a full day to build prototypes and refine their ideas with support from an AWS solutions architect.

Pacific Magazines, the home of Better Homes & Gardens and marie claire, recently held Innovation Day in conjunction with Amazon Web Services (AWS) with the aim to foster creative thinking and ideation across the business.

The Innovation Day saw staff workshopping creative ways to use artificial intelligence (AI) to generate game-changing products and services for Pacific customers.

Following a pre-event briefing from AWS, staff from across the business put forward ideas to be considered for the Innovation Day.

AWS then helped the innovation teams understand how to turn their ideas into working, viable products by recommending architecture, products and processes. Participants from Pacific included developers, engineers, brand managers and product managers.

Teams were given a full day to build prototypes and refine their ideas with support from an AWS solutions architect. Ideas were then presented to a panel including Pacific Magazines CFO Guy Torre, Seven West media CDO Clive Dickens and New Idea and Who editorial director Emma Nolan.

An auto video captioning solution took top honours for enabling the automatic inclusion of captions on Pacific’s video assets. The solution used Amazon Comprehend for natural language processing, Amazon Transcribe for speech recognition, Amazon Translate to understand multiple languages, and Amazon SageMaker to create a machine learning model.

Additional submissions included:

• RoboChef – an approach for automating recipe ingestion including measurement conversion between imperial and metric systems
• AI content recommendation feed – using AWS services to create an automated tagging process to improve and personalise the website recommended content feed
• Viral score – a machine learning model built on AWS that helps digital content managers determine a viral percentage score against content ideas and the likelihood of the content going viral

The Innovation Day was the second hosted by the publisher, following a similar project in 2017 themed around Pacific’s market-leading BEAUTYcrew digital platform. The first Innovation Day resulted in plans to relaunch the Practical Parenting platform, which went live in July and saw the site introduce an e-commerce element along with peer-to-peer reviews.

Pacific Magazines head of digital product and technology Will Everitt said, “In the past 12 months, we’ve been focused on delivering innovation to better reflect Pacific’s digital and tech capabilities. By empowering our staff to go beyond their usual duties, to be inspired to create new solutions, and to collaborate with the tech hub of the business, we’re developing a true competitive edge.”

Amazon Web Services’ ANZ senior manager solutions architecture Rodney Haywood said: “Participation from Pacific employees wasn’t limited to developers but also those working in marketing and products. AI in the past has been a complex technology but businesses are often surprised at how accessible it has now become through AWS Cloud.”

Pacific Magazines CEO Gereurd Roberts said: “Our innovation initiatives are building an environment where creativity is encouraged in everyone and our knowledgeable, passionate and talented people can not only share but actually develop bold ideas. The Innovation Day has been an incredibly beneficial exercise that not only helps raise ideas but exposes the teams to other areas of the business to foster a culture of collaboration and innovation that is driving new product development.


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