Media companies have to give enough protected space to innovators where they can work on new concepts without being slowed down by other departments. Innovation cells require free movement; they have to be able to think, to create, to test and to make corrections, before they can scale up their ideas and establish them as additional columns of the existing business model.
Carte Blanche or Everything will Remain as Is
So entrepreneurs and the innovation cells they instigate need time to think, space to act and – limited, but freely disposable – funding. They need Carte Blanche. If a media company is not prepared to let them have that, it is not going to attract those talented Innovators and Movers and Shakers they need. They are going to attract the ones, who think that innovation is what will never hurt their careers.
Innovators – but What Kind?
Established media companies, who want to broaden their business model through innovation or who want to find sustainable business models in the digital world, will have to get the right people on board.
Consultants who previously worked in highly-ranked positions in similar companies do not bring innovation. They will only reproduce or make marginal changes to what once was a consensus, and they will continue the well-established and convenient company-speak. Management will believe them because they are “outsiders”. They will hope the consultants will wipe away this black cloud called the Internet that came and changed everything. This cloud is not about to go away, and it requires a new thinking: User-centric thinking rather than brand-centric.
Successful Startups as Role Models
No publisher should take the New York Times as their role model. At least as long as they do not use English as their default language, have won the Pulitzer Prize 114 times and are recognized the world over as a beacon of quality journalism. German publications, whose readership is restricted by the German language, have to find a different approach. Any company and any startup that developed a successful business model on the Internet can be a role model. Companies need entrepreneurs.
These entrepreneurs within the enterprise will solve problems in their own way: They will question everything, come up with new approaches, put every assumption to the test and so will find the right way forward. A company that creates such a space for innovation will learn a lot. It will be rejuvenated and it will benefit in ways it never fathomed.
Any company will have to push forward and create such a space, where innovation can be promoted in unconventional ways – if it wants to successfully make the transition into the digital world. Moreover it will increase the odds for their digital transition to be both sustainable and in keeping with the internet paradigm.