There is so much hope that new technologies and business models will solve major problems in journalism, and people from the publishing industry ask me all the time which ones I see as to be the most promising.
And I always repeat like a mantra that there is so much already out there, it only needs to be put to work properly. But I think that most publishing executives just wanted to know which alterations of the metered model or of the subscriptions model I see out there. They only truly care about subscriptions, and their idea of innovation is limited to that concept. It is understandable, as subscriptions were the core of the analogue business model. But bringing analogue business models to the internet is killing innovation in the name of predictability. This ignores one of the constituent parts of the Internet: Cherry picking the content you like without being forced into a subscription. You may end up with one, but you certainly won’t buy a subscription for every site where you ever found quality content.
Innovation happens while we are talking about it. It may not feel right, because it collides with what we want to be right. But … the market knows what it wants and will find its way to get it.
When markets cry out for innovation, they want bridges between the past and what people want now. If you give that to them by yourself, it is called business development.
If you don’t, it is called disruption. Disruption is the failure to perform the right business development and transition from what worked in the past to what people want today.
Every time we think too much about the future and ask for the miraculous catch-all solution that solves all our problems, we postpone the action we need to take today. Everything we need is out there. We need to put it to work, experiment, learn and improve daily.