Ithaca, N.Y.—The Knight Foundation’s News Challenge has granted Ithaca College’s Dean of the Roy H. Park School of Communications Dianne Lynch $230,000 to fund an incubator consortium at seven educational institutions.
The incubators foster innovative thinking to solve digital news problems. This new consortium of administrators at seven academic institutions plan to work together to test various creative processes in different environments and among different populations.
“The incubator approach provides students an opportunity to create hubs of creative thinking to find solutions to digital news challenges. The ideas will be sold and replicable across multiple newsrooms. The student participants will enter the workplace with a very different perspective on change, the impact of innovation, and the value of staying ahead of, instead of chasing the technology curve,” said Lynch.
The goals of this project grew out of a similar project conducted by Ithaca College at AOL, where students were given 40 days to create original approaches to online shopping. AOL liked the result so much that they are developing the new product.
The institutions in the consortium are: Ithaca College, Michigan State, University of Kansas, Kansas State, Western Kentucky University, University of Nevada, Las Vegas and Saint Michael’s College.
Forty-two students, seven faculty and seven administrators at the seven academic institutions will produce at least three new and compelling models of community participatory journalism; each institution’s team will have six students, a faculty member and an administrator. Those models will be discussed in an open forum at the 2007 Online News Association conference.
Each group will follow the process described by John Hagel III and John Seely Brown, called Creation Nets, as described in their publication: “Creation Nets: Harnessing the Potential of Open Innovation” (April 2006). The teams at the seven institutions will begin to use this process by July 2007 to produce ideas for new community participatory journalism projects. The seven projects will be refined to three by Oct. 15, 2007. Those three will be presented at the October 2007 Online News Association meeting for discussion and critique. At the conference, professional news organizations will be asked to volunteer to test the projects.