Massive FAIL? Local Newspaper Innovation

Feedback we’re getting from some of the smart folks involved with the  ‘Innovation’ efforts of Inland Press, SNA / LMA, Borrell & Associates and others.

Innovation is the current buzzword of the day. Too bad it’s being diluted and abused.

To be sure, innovation is a good thing. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work if it’s being touted by those primarily trying to protect the past.

A few years back, Clayton Christensen wrote The Innovators Dilemma.  (Click below to watch video of Clayton explaining this concept) In this must read book, the Harvard Business School professor explains how the once mighty usually fall during periods of disruptive innovation. ( ex: WordPress vs. TownNews or WorldNOW )

Outstanding companies (newspapers) can do everything right and still lose their market leadership — or worse, disappear completely.

Our take-away: When legacy media managers, conference leaders and old school consultants put on “innovation events”….. it won’t work. It can’t. Why? Because the people who sign their checks are hand-cuffed to their current business models.

These smart industry leaders were excellent at their craft for the past 20 years. Today, they’re really not qualified to lead the industry into the future. Their financial connection to legacy revenue streams, and keeping current clients happy…. will prevent them from succeeding.

Don’t believe me? Just ask Clayton Christensen. His ‘Innovator’s Dilemma’ clearly explains how legacy newspaper & local media execs won’t be able to get the job done.

If you’re a newspaper or broadcast employee…it’s time to get wise. Is your boss looking out for your future…. or just their own? Is all this money they’re spending on ‘innovation’ really helping YOU at all? Ask your boss to see their ‘innovation’ notes. If they took any.

And now……the main man: Clayton Christensen and his Innovator’s Dilemma:

2 thoughts on “Massive FAIL? Local Newspaper Innovation”

  1. Hi Mel. I don’t mind you taking shots at Local Media Association but to post a photo at a ball game with a misleading headline is just unethical. That photo took place after 7 PM on a Friday night after 6 intense days during our 2011 Innovation Mission. The tour started on a Sunday afternoon and every minute was spent visiting with some of North America’s most innovative media companies (including Clark Gilbert and team at Deseret who are absolutely practicing the teachings of Clay Christenson). Even the dinner meetings had speakers. There was no down time, no fluff time and no sightseeing. Just hard work and exhausting, long days. Everyone flew back from Toronto on a Saturday so we were all on the road for 7 straight days. We were not innovating at a ball game. Just relaxing after a very long and productive week on the road away from our families and jobs.

  2. MelTaylorMedia

    The Deseret model is perfect for that market, and that collection of assets. God bless em’. Matter of fact, every market has unique opportunities & challenges that need to be identified & dealt with. Hmmmm…. Un-ethical? Well….we all hate seeing colleagues being downsized, papers being traded like cattle, and the same ole’ research & conference BS being touted as a critical component to success….Newspaper employees are sweating bullets while execs blow money on non-critical things. Case in point: Did you know that an upcoming newspaper conference will be held at the Four Seasons in Naples, Florida? Thanks for your feedback. We appreciate it.

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