Engage Works is a full-service experiential agency based in London and Dubai. We spoke to Founder and CEO Steve Blyth about Engage Works’ most rewarding projects, what inspires him, and why Engage Works made the move to Design District.
Design District (DD): Hi Steve! Let’s start from the top. Can you tell us about Engage Works and how it came to be?
Steve Blyth (SB): We’re a full-service experiential agency that combines creativity and cutting-edge technology to create amazing spaces that tell amazing stories. Our service is end-to-end, from inception to design, build, operations, and support. Essentially, we manage the whole process of making experiential magic.
Before Engage Works, I worked in special effects and then moved into creating high-quality exhibition pop-ups. Digital technology was creeping into experiences more and more, and in 2007, I formed what we now know as Engage Works, where technology is integral to everything we do. We now have offices in London and Dubai and a team of 25.
DD: What’s your biggest achievement with Engage Works so far?
SB: We've worked on many ground-breaking projects over the last 20 years - you can see some of them in our case studies - and I’m especially proud of our projects that impact society in positive ways.
Our 10-year partnership with Sky for their #SkyUp Academy Studios is particularly special for us. Over the decade, the SkyUp Academy has hosted more than 200,000 students, offering them hands-on experiences in Sky's news broadcasting studios. This allows students to gain practical experience in news broadcasting, building their storytelling skills and confidence at the same time.
Our Sky collaboration began in 2013 when we developed immersive educational experiences using broadcast technology, which we’ve since rolled out in various iterations across multiple locations. Today, we're thrilled to continue this journey and are now working on a brand new project at Sky's new location at an iconic British broadcasting studio.
We’re also working on three ‘top-secret’ projects in the Middle East which are set to change the landscape of immersive experiences in the region… watch this space!
DD: What about any hurdles? How have you overcome these?
SB: COVID has been the biggest challenge by far. At Engage Works, we’re in the business of creating things which people visit and which help people connect. The nature of lockdowns meant people had to stop visiting places and doing things. It put us right on the edge but with hard graft, we’ve been lucky to bounce back stronger than ever.
We were fortunate enough to pivot into developing and delivering virtual and hybrid events at our innovation lounge, Flux. This helped our business tick over and offered clients something new and practical to do during those tough times. Flux continues to thrive and is now a hybrid and event collaboration space showcasing the latest industry technology, as well as an XR studio and professional-quality broadcast studio for hybrid and event streaming.
DD: What advice would you give to other creatives starting out in this industry?
SB: Be interested in and inquisitive about absolutely everything! As creatives, we’re tasked with making magic with every story we’re given, and you never know who or what that story might be about. So, ask questions and be curious.
DD: Why did Engage Works decide to move to Design District?
SB: We’re a rapidly expanding team, so we needed more office and workshop space. On top of that, our Flux Innovation Lounge has gone from strength to strength and takes up a lot of space! Moving to Design District gave us a blank canvas to house everything and design the space exactly as we needed it.
DD: What do you like most about being at Design District?
SB: Design District is great - it has a fantastic atmosphere and feels like a real community. We eat and drink here and go to various events, and the team are getting to know some of the other agencies and creatives based here with a view to collaborating in the future.
DD: What keeps you - and Engage Works - inspired and motivated?
SB: The ever-changing subject matter we engage with and the places where we work. We never know what the next project is about or even where it will take us. To date, we have worked in dozens of countries on projects ranging from the latest technological advances to natural history, with clients like Twitter, Sky, Virgin, and Emirates.
DD: What’s next for Engage Works?
SB: We have many more proud moments still to come! Next year we have three world-class projects opening, all of which are very high-profile and right at the top of the tree in our industry. The team have done incredible things with each of them, and once open, they will set us up as a real global player in the experiential world.
Engage Works is one of the many creative powerhouses that call Design District home. If you want to be part of the community, learn more about the different workspace options here.