Innovation is easy.

Here’s a PDF of the short presentation I made at SND in Las Vegas a couple weeks ago.

Innovation is easy

It’s remarkably simple.  I think I waved my arms a lot to fill up my five minutes.

This presentation goes well with the list of mostly free online news tools I posted a couple weeks ago, as well.  That seems to be generating a lot of traffic, which tells me there are still a ton of people out there who need a toolbox like this to work and play with.

My obstacles to innovation question, abandoned and rediscovered

From my living room at the crack of dawn on Sunday, getting ready to catch my flight to SNDVegas, it seemed like a good idea to give myself a reporting assignment.

I said that I would ask lots of people a question, on video, and post their replies.

Well, fail.  Epic fail.  Why?  Because, frankly, I was having too much fun learning from everyone, going to sessions, and spent my time talking to people about ideas and workflow and comparing notes, and usually, these moments were in loud places.

So, there’s no finished assignment to post here, and frankly, the amount of work and non-work I have on my plate between now and a few days from now is pretty much insane, so I wouldn’t have had the time to finish it anyway.  This way, instead of feeling guilty about having interviews in the can, unposted, I can feel guilty about not having done the interviews in the first place.


Someone else asked the first question, on Seesmic, to a different audience and is getting some great replies.

The surprise connection: It’s the Knight News Challenge asking the question.  Here it is:

What are the obstacles for innovation?What have been your obstacles to turning a great idea into a great startup? http://www.newschallenge.org

Check out my online news toolbox

I finally finished a basic Tools page to start a list of some of the basic, mostly-free, mostly-embeddable applications that I recommend for quick and simple Web production.

It’s not intended to be all-encompassing; it’s just a short list of things I find useful.  You might find them useful, too.

But if you have any suggestions for additions, feel free to shout ’em out.

I’ll be giving a *short* presentation about the magic of the “Embed This” button during the panel I’m on this afternoon at SND.  Planning to post the simple slides later.  No bullet points, I promise.  Zero.

[UPDATE: Check out this list of 60 sites presented by Ron Sylvester and Virtual Farmgirl at SPJ in Atlanta this week.]

The question I’m going to ask everyone at SND and APME

I’m off in a few minutes to the airport to SND and APME in Las Vegas for a few nights.

Here’s the plan I’m cooking up for a little video interview project:

  • Carry my point & shoot camera.
  • Ask lots of people I meet to answer one question on video.
  • Post all the answers.
  • Edit together the best into a short promo.

So what’s the question?

That’s where you come in. Help me refine this angle, or come up with your own:

“In the media blogosphere (and media in general for that matter), we tend to talk about the problems of ‘newspapers’ as if every single publication were exactly the same.  But we all know there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.  What’s the biggest obstacle you face, at your job, to innovation?”

What do you think? Am I on the right track? The goal here is to get real boots-on-ground answers from working journalists — in this case, I’m expecting most of them will be print and online designers or editors of some stripe at major metros.

I’m most interested in obstacles to innovation, but there might be a better way to word that — or even a more positive way to frame my question?

[UPDATE:] Commenters and tweeters want something more positive, something along the lines of this:

What are you doing in your organization, right now, to drive innovation?

Help me work on the question here.  Post a Seesmic video comment for super extra bonus points, and you might show up as a talking head in the video stream later this week.

See you in Vegas?

I can’t believe it’s Friday already, which means I’m just a couple days away from hopping a flight to Las Vegas for the massive SND/APME conference.

Check out the schedule of speakers at SND for starters and drool: DeVigal. Curley. Veen.

The “Young Voices” panel I’m on (yes, yes, they know I have a gray hair or four) has moved from Sunday afternoon to Monday at 4:30.  Stop by, check it out, and let’s talk about how you can drive innovation from the bottom-up at your newspaper.

And then I’ll latch onto every editor I can find in the APME crowd and pitch ReportingOn as a way to help their reporters network with the cloud of knowledge about their beat out there in the professional and citizen journalism worlds.

If you’ll be there next week, track me down early and often.  You should be able to find me here or on Twitter easily enough.

Many, many thanks to the SND crew for inviting me and to the Knight Foundation for sending me.  See you in Vegas on Sunday night.

Chicago tomorrow

Later tonight, I’ll be on my way to Chicago for a Knight Foundation meeting ahead of the UNITY 2008 conference.

I’m psyched to see the News Challenge posse, but of course if you’re in town for UNITY and want to cross paths on Tuesday, drop me a line or better yet, DM me on Twitter.

So far, I’ve really enjoyed these short conferences as a way to recharge my mental batteries and throw some ideas up against various walls with some incredibly sharp thinkers.

Hoping for more of the same tomorrow.

Cambridge, MA is full of really, really smart people, yes?

Stata Center at MIT

The Stata Center at MIT.

Highlights so far from the first evening and night at the Center for Future Civic Media:

  • As usual when I show up for these things, putting dozens of online “friends” into the friend-met category.  People like Amy Gahran, JD Lasica, Ethan Zuckerman, Brian and Ryan from Rich Gordon’s teach-programmers-journalism project at Northwestern, and……. yeah, so trying to make this list means I’m leaving a bunch of people out, obviously, but you’re all frickin’ amazing.
  • Henry Jenkins talking about the parallels between Spock and Obama.
  • Checking out the MIT research projects.  Gotta love the guy who gave a dorm full of undergrads hacked iPhones so he could study how their music sharing habits match up with their calling habits and physical proximity to friends.

Plenty more live-tweeting on Twitter, today, I’m sure.  Look for the #futurecivic hashtag somewhere like to follow the conversation.

Hello, Boston!

I’m at the MIT Center of Future Civic Media today and tomorrow meeting with fellow Knight News Challenge winners, Knight Foundation staff, and rock stars from the MIT media lab who are building all kinds of crazy stuff.

Seriously, there are lots of cool kids here, few of whom I’ve met in person before.

Say hello if you see me.

I’ll post cameraphone pictures to Flickr when I’m not physically underground…