Thursday, October 26, 2006

Dnevnik Introduces "Innovation" as Key Word for News

The second largest Slovenian daily, Dnevnik, has introduced "innovation" as a key word in their news archive search engine. They were given the idea by the Slovenian innovation journalism program. So as from now Slovenian news on innovation will be labeled with the key word "innovation". It might not seem very special, but it really is. Johan Boström, InJo Fellow 2005, looked into the issue - it is central and not easy looked Boström:"Innovation as a key word for news"). When the news agencies start using "innovation" as a key word, then it will be possible to subscribe to a newsfeed on innovation, and then it will be easier to make news sections on innovation.

PR and the Innovation Communication System

Here is an essay I wrote for PR people attending the 10th SKOJ conference in Slovenia.

The (non-academic) essay introduces the concept of the Innovation Communication System. The innovation system approach stresses that the innovation process is driven by the flow of technology and information between the actors in the innovation (eco)system. The innovation communication system approach suggests that the flow of attention is key to what gets done or gets dropped in the innovation system. There is a class of attention workers who are the key actors of the innovation communication system: journalists, PR & communication people, marketers, lobbyists, and others who have as they main job to create or broker attention. Intuitively, it is a quite well defined subsystem, as the attention workers very often interact between each other.

The main part of the essay pushes the point that public relations in innovation companies can strengthen brand value by communicating innovation processes and add value to innovation by developing narratives for new products and services in parallel with technological and business development. The development of innovation communication and PR will benefit from the emergence of independent innovation journalism. Such issues are being studied by the Innovation Communication group in Germany (see Ansgar Zerfass and Simone Huck, for example)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Roundtable: The Future of Innovation Journalism

It’s innovation time for journalism! Traditional news media are being challenged by innovative sources of news on the Internet, such as blogospheres, or citizen journalism. Traditional journalism struggles when covering innovation as a topic.

A roundtable discussion about the future of journalism with the
“Father of the Internet” Vint Cerf (Google /ICANN), Whitfield Diffie (SunMicrosystems), Amy Bernstein (Business 2.0), Lee Bruno (Red Herring), Dan Gillmor (Bayosphere), Anders Lotsson (Computer Sweden), Frances Mann-Craik (Tornado Insider, Addison Marketing), Harry McCracken (PC World), Tony Perkins (AlwayOn Network), Jan Sandred (Biotech Sweden), Richard Allan Horning (Tomlinson Zisko LLP), Charles Wessner (National Academies) and Stig Hagstrom (Stanford Center for Innovations in Learning). Producer and moderator: David Nordfors (Stanford / VINNOVA). Editor: Robert Emery Smith (Stanford), Recording Team Director: Mauricio Quijano (Stanford Video), Engineer: Gordon Gurley (Stanford Video), Cameras: Steve Schecter, Tamsin Orion, Mark Whelan (Stanford Video), PA: Austin Brizgys (Stanford Video), Text Editor: John Joss

Hardcopies of the DVD can be ordered from or VINNOVA
DVD, 120 minutes, All regions, UPC 837101387

Slovenian TV Runs Story on Innovation Journalism

News story from the Slovenian E+ TV show covering the First European Innovation Journalism Workshop at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, EU. The reportage is made by Maja Nemec and includes interviews with Marko Milosavljevic, Violeta Bulc and David Nordfors. It was broadcast by Kanal A on 20 Oct 2006.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Kick-Off for Innovation Journalism Initiative in the Balkan

Things are catching on pretty quickly in Europe now. The First European Workshop on Innovation Journalism was held at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, on Oct 18. The entrepreneur behind the initiative is Violeta Bulc and her company Vibacom, spearheading the introduction of Injo in Slovenia, which now is beginning to reverbarate also in other parts of the Balkans.

I was very happy to note that InJo attracts positive interest from journalists, companies, government and academia alike in Slovenia. They all seem open to the idea that this is a new playing field with something in it for each one of them as independent players.

The conference was opened by John Hagard, Swedish ambassador to Slovenia. Some of the key people in the conference (from left to right on the picture):
* Jan Sandred, VINNOVA (Sweden), fmr founding Editor of Biotech Sweden, the first documented case of targeting an innovation system as a readership, implementing InJo as a business model.
* Mateja Dermastia, economic strategist, managing director of Anteja ECG and fmr State Undersecretary in the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Slovenia.
* David Nordfors (i.e. me), Stanford and VINNOVA, introduced the concept of innovation journalism, continously working on developing the concept and community around it.
* Violeta Bulc, president Vibacom, opinionmaker spearheading InJo in the Balkans, writer, fmr journalist and telecom intrapreneur.
* Dusan Snoj, CEO of Vigeo Consulting, fmr editor-in-chief of Gospodarski Vestnik Publishing Group and of GV Group; fmr Plenipotentiary and Extraordinary Ambassador of the Republic of Slovenia to Russian Federation, Belarus, Kazahstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgystan and Turkmenistan.
* Marko Milosavljevič (not on the picture), Assistant professor in Journalism at the University of Ljubljana, regularly contributing and writing comments and analysis on media and journalism issues for leading Slovenian daily Delo, Razgledi, Novinar, Balkanis, Emzin, and Media Watch. Chairman of Expert commission for radio and television programmes at Slovenian Ministry of Culture.

Some of the key comments and observations from the workshop are listed here.

The workshop was organised by Vibacom in collaboration with VINNOVA, TIA - the Slovenian Technology Agency - DG Marta Svetina participated in the workshop discussion panel, the University of Ljubljana, Stanford. Media partner was Finance, the largest Slovenian business daily. The event was sponsored by thirteen Slovenian companies.

(News Release from VIBACOM)

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Independent Journalism Recognized as Key for Innovation Economy

Innovation Journalism is becoming a recognized concept in innovation policy circles.

It was in focus at Clusters2006 - The Ninth Annual Global Conference of The Competitiveness Institute. The three day conference in Lyon, France, dedicated an afternoon to a plenary session and a breakout session on the interplay of journalism in innovation ecosystems. The conference was attended by 425 delegates from 62 countries, mainly cluster and innovation professionals from government, academia and expert organisations.

The concept of Innovation Journalism was presented to the conference: the thoughts on its interaction in innovation ecosystems as an intermediating actor connecting innovation to public interest, suggesting some guidelines for innovation policy addressing independent journalism.

The bottom line:
1. For Democratic Society to focus on the Innovation Economy, Independent Journalism needs to cover it.
2. therefore, journalism is an independent actor in innovation systems.
3. therefore, it's a good idea to support development of independent innovation journalism when working on developing innovative business clusters.

The talk was followed by a panel:

Jan Sandred, fmr InJo Fellow and founding editor of Biotech Sweden - now with VINNOVA, explained the facts of life of journalism, and how the case of Biotech Sweden showed that innovation journalism is not only a way of covering clusters and innovation systems, but mainly a good business model for news publishing, which is key, as journalism is a business and must be loyal to the readership - not the sources. Journalism must always be independent and never neutral, he stressed.

Per Eriksson, founding DG of VINNOVA - the Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems, and first in the world to support the launch of an innovation journalism program, pointed out the importance of not compromising journalistic integrity. When VINNOVA supports researchers, there should be no involvement in or bias of the research done. The situation is no different for journalists, Eriksson said, there must be no VINNOVA involvement in or bias of stories produced by journalists involved in the innovation journalism programs. The PR department is therefore not permitted to participate in the program activities.

Marta Svetina, founding DG of TIA, the National Slovenian Technology Agency, and Arthur Bayhan, founding Director of The Competitiveness Support Fund in Pakistan, described their national initiatives for supporting the development of independent innovation journalism.

Seppo Sisätto, democracy and media pioneer who founded the first commercial news radio station in Finland after the fall of communism, presented the Finnish national innovation journalism initiative.

Willi Rütten, Director of the European Journalism Center EJC, announced that EJC has selected innovation journalism as a focus area, regardless if there is funding available or not at the present time.

The session was chaired by Antoni Subira, Professor of Financial Management at the IESE Business School in Barcelona, Spain, former Minister of Industry in Catalonia, among the first to implement cluster theory for building competitiveness.

After the plenary session I had the pleasure of chairing a breakout session, where project leaders from countries implementing innovation journalism initiatives presented plans and results: Jan Sandred and I from Sweden, Seppo Sisättö from Finland, Amir Jahangir from Pakistan, Patricia Valdenebro from the Basque country in Spain, and Willi Rütten from the EJC.

More on the conference blog of Clusters 2006.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

YLE Broadcast Corporation Research Ex-Director Wiio: Finland Needs More InJo Courses

The Report on "Media in renewable society. The changing rules of the media" issued by the Finnish National Fund for Research and Development (Sitra) includes recommendations for better understanding of innovation ecosystems and promotes the role of media. It highlights the Finnish innovation journalism initiative. The report is made by ex research director of Finnish Broadcasting Corporation (YLE) Juhani Wiio.

"Short innovation journalism courses for media professionals have been organized by the University of Tampere. The course aims to educate journalists in order that the participants will have better than average knowledge on developments in innovation society. Moreover, it is supposed that during the course the journalist are able to comprehend the meanings of different social openings and initiatives. The results of the courses, so far, have been promising. However, one short innovation journalism course is not enough. The need for this kind of experience is far greater in media. Therefore, it is proposed that the central actors of innovation systems should support the continuation of the innovation journalism
". (p. 82)

Here is the reference and a link for downloading the report:
Wiio, Juhani. 2006. Media uudistuvassa yhteiskunnassa. Median muuttuvat pelisäännöt. (Media in renewable society. The changing rules of the media) Sitra Report 65. Sitra, Helsinki. (p. 79-83)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Innovation Journalism Gets Academic Research Funding

VINNOVA is funding a literature study on published research that is relevant for understanding innovation journalism and its role in innovation ecosystems. This is the first study of its kind, providing a base of academic research that research on innovation journalism can build upon. So now there are three fields of activities supporting the development of the concept and community of Innovation Journalism: The development of a professional community, the development of an academic community, and the development of a public policy community.

Here is the full news flash ( available in PDF in the innovation journalism archive):

How does journalism link innovation with the public interest? How do innovation ecosystems engage journalists? These questions are at the heart of a research initiative recently funded by VINNOVA, the Swedish Government Agency for Innovation Systems. The project will set the agenda for an international research workshop scheduled for February 2007 at Stanford University.

The academic research study is led by Professor Marc Ventresca of Oxford University (PI, coordinator) and Dr. David Nordfors at Stanford University and VINNOVA (Program Director), with Dr. Turo Uskali from the University of Jyväskylä, visiting scholar in innovation journalism at Stanford, and Dr. Antti Ainamo at the Helsinki School of Business.

The group of researchers standing behind the mission, which includes faculty and expert practitioners from leading U.S. and European universities, convened in April 2006 for a workshop hosted by the Innovation Journalism program run by Stanford and VINNOVA. They recently co-published an essay identifying ‘Innovation Journalism’ as a useful theme through which to explore the interplay of journalism in innovation ecosystems.

Nordfors noted, ‘While academic work on innovation involving journalism has been done, journalism’s role in innovation ecosystems remains to be established as a research theme within the academic community.’

Uskali added: ”Few studies have focused on how journalists contribute to the innovation process and how public interests engage innovation.’ No distinct ‘beat’ includes innovation, for example.”

According to Ainamo: ”We want to understand how journalists cover innovation processes and innovation ecosystems, the incentives that drive innovation journalism and how news organizations may be organized to cover the innovation process more effectively.”

Ventresca, a strategy professor and cultural sociologist, noted: ”Recent studies of innovation and entrepreneurship reveal complex social and institutional ecosystems that shape the way in which inventions become innovations, transforming industry landscapes—indeed entire societies. We know too little about social and political intermediaries of all sorts in processes of technological and social innovation.”

VINNOVA will fund a focused literature review of existing studies in strategy and organization studies, entrepreneurship and innovation, in journalism as a profession and the social organization of news media. This project will provide a necessary base for designing relevant research to develop the research agenda around Innovation Journalism and the Role of Journalism in Innovation Ecosystems.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The European Journalism Centre InJo Workshop

Willi Rütten, Director of EJC - European Journalism Center, on the concept of Innnovation Journalism: It will change the way journalism education is organized in the long run.

The European Journalism Centre (EJC) arranged an Innovation Journalism workshop in Amsterdam 29 September 2006 at the Picnic 06 crossmediaweek conference. I was a speaker at this event together with Daniel Sokolov, IT Journalist, Heise Online; Prof. Dr. Gundolf S. Freyermuth, International Film School, Cologne, and Raymond Frenken, Editor-in-Chief & Managing Director of EUX.TV. It was an excellent discussion and I am looking forward to working more with the EJC!

The European Journalism Centre (EJC) is an independent, international, non-profit institute for further training of journalists and media professionals, operating across the EU, based in Maastricht.

Willi was appointed Director of the EJC in March 2006. He is a seasoned journalist, with long experience as a reporter and producer in German public and private broadcasting (ARD, RTL-Group), as well as in journalism education. Before joining the European Journalism Centre he was the head of school for "digital television" at the University of Applied Sciences in Salzburg/ Austria. Willi has a background in research, where he was working on a Ph.D. in metaphors before he chose to dedicate himself to practicing journalism.

It strikes me that research on metaphors offers a very interesting angle on innovation journalism. Metaphors are an important starting point for forming new concepts, and journalism is a power player in creating the metaphors that will shape the public perception of an innovation, and the language around innovations in general.