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Finding the Right Problem to Solve

There’s a lot written about design-thinking and people new to the concept often think it’s only about design. Really, it’s about a way of thinking and finding the hidden, or not so obvious, motivations or problems needing to be solved.

Ok, that’s a mouthful.

Think iceberg.

Continue reading “How Design Thinking Helps Find the Hidden Opportunity”

The Consensus-Driven Decision Making Machine

The Defense Department is a great example of consensus-driven decision-making. It’s big, has many layers of decision-makers and alignment around an idea is key.  Dan Ostrower, CEO of AltitudeInc, a design-thinking consultancy, recently discussed the three major types of companies and how they make their decisions. He says the more innovators can understand and adapt to company values and their decision making process, the more innovation will be able to thrive.

Continue reading “How to Innovate in Companies Where Agreement is Paramount”

…What Does That Have to Do with Innovation?

Innovation often gets derailed because companies and innovation consultants underestimate the organizational change needed to bring a great idea to life. AltitudeInc, an innovation firm known for its design-thinking chops, says understanding how an organization makes decisions and adapting strategy and communication to fit that decision-making style leads to success.  It’s a little lot like the Women are from Venus and Men are from Mars thing.  Communicate in a way that a company values and you’re a lot closer to success.

Continue reading “Women are from Venus and Men are from Mars and….”

What I Wish We Had Known Before We Launched Our Startup

In a recent post-mortem of failed startups by data marketing firm, Fractl, the founders cited a poor business model as the top reason they failed. CB Insights listed “No Market Need” as the top reason 90% of startups fail. These pitfalls also apply to large companies wanting to rejuvenate themselves by attracting new audiences for their products and services. Continue reading “90% of Startups that Fail: Here’s How to Avoid That Fate”

Applying a Growth Mindset to Innovation

I had heard about design thinking from accelerator, Matter.vc, which teaches media entrepreneurs this type of thinking.  The idea is to not get too attached to “your baby” or startup. The idea is to iterate, make small bets, fail, learn and above all empathize with the people who will be using or buying what you’re creating.

Darden Professor Jeanne Liedtka who teaches a course called, “Design Thinking and Innovation” said:

.. we always want to keep plenty of options and experiment and be open to disconfirming data that tells us we’re headed down the wrong path.

Continue reading “Design Thinking For Solving Media Scaling Problems”

How Media Companies are Investing

This year’s New York Media Festival, where innovation and influence meet, was a four day fest of learning the latest in thought leadership on gaming, video and music.  I focused on video and monetization since that is changing so rapidly and has far reaching effects on what gets created and seen. innovation in media

Continue reading “Monetization Opportunities in Advertising, OTT and Curation”

Mobile v. Desktop on Engagement

Attention and engagement with news websites is highest with mobile apps, according to a new study by Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center on media, politics and public policy. That could be a canary in a coal mine, a data point to marshal your resources around. Add that global tablet sales have surpassed computer sales while fewer people are paying for broadband subscriptions and shifting to wireless.

Still – we all need context, not just a trend.

Continue reading “Mobile versus Desktop – What’s the Future of News?”

When the Big Companies Buy Innovation

Yahoo!’s already for sale.  But, there’s speculation other online media players may be on the block – Buzzfeed, Twitter,  especially after Microsoft’s purchase of LinkedIn.

Why?  According to MediaPost, the big companies with cash flow can’t innovate internally so they’re looking to buy innovation:

Why all the consolidation? It’s obvious that big companies generally lose their innovation DNA. When was the last time IBM did anything interesting? But, as long as the cash flow is in the billions, big companies can buy innovation, and they’re doing it.

Continue reading “Buy or Build?”

Alternative Business Models in Media

It seems the stand alone website is for the really big content players, the ones that can scale. The rest  of us should go to the big social media platforms and build an audience first: Twitter, FB, etc.  That was some of the advice from a Daily News Innovation Lab panel of media types representing  U.S. News & World Report, VC firm Lerer Hippeau, OpenX ad exchange and digital media trade group, Digital Content Next.  These folks are in the trenches and shared their wisdom for how new and established content companies can survive and thrive.

Scaling was a big topic, because that’s what you have to do to attract advertisers.  It’s a tough game, where everyone gloms onto the newest idea to attract an audience and make money. Video is that now but we know with more competition, eventually advertising rates will fall. Simple supply and demand economics.

Meanwhile, media companies pedal fast to create ‘the new.” Continue reading “The Problem with Scaling”

Innovating at a Media Company

Odds are you are underfunded or understaffed and you’re asked to produce more and more media. That media, often video, has to be encoded, inserted with ads and distributed to TV, online and mobile in seamless record time.

Take, for instance, the technology NBC chose to broadcast Superbowl XLIX to a record 114 million viewers.  They needed to scale to provide a flawless streaming live event where seconds mattered (remember the last 30 seconds that defined the game?) and the need for ad insertion capability required knitting together technology from different companies.


Continue reading “Build or Partner for Success”