Monday, June 25, 2007

Injo Conference in Slovenia

The documentation from the regional European Injo conference in Slovenia is now available online.

The conference was very well arranged and successful. It was attended by top people from all parts of the Slovenian innovation system, including influential journalists, business people, academics and politicians, not least the EU commissioner for Science and Research, Janez Potocnik, who's speech at this event is available in the conference documentation and here.

The first Slovenian innovation journalism awards were presented at the event. Apart from those earlier presented on this blog, the big news was "The Golden Pen", which supports participation of a Slovenian journalist in the international Innovation Journalism Fellowship Program 2008. The prize is funded by the foundation Ad Futura.

The conference included presentations of the Slovenian innovation journalism projects funded by the Slovenian technology agency TIA, including some very stimulating work by Slovenian school children, who reported on innovation processes in their local community.

I was fortunate to be able to participate in the conference together with my colleague Jan Sandred, Injo Fellow 2004, now with the Injo program at VINNOVA in Sweden.

The conference was organized by Vibacom, headed by Violeta Bulc (picture).

Sunday, June 17, 2007

EU Commissioner Potocnik: EU Needs Innovation Journalism

Here is a video of the EU Commissioner for Science and Research, Janez Potocnik, delivering a speech in favor of the concept of innovation journalism. The transcript is here as a web page, and here as a pdf: Potocnik-injo-speech-14June2007.pdf

The speech was made on thursday June 14 at the regional innovation journalism conference in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The conference, a part of the Slovenian innovation journalism initiative, was arranged by Vibacom, the company founded by Violeta Bulc, who is spearheading the introduction of the injo concept in Slovenia.

As Potocnik refers to in his speech, in February I had the pleasure of a one-on-one with him in Brussels. Violeta and John Hagard, Swedish ambassador to Slovenia, had raised his interest in injo, leading up to an invitation to me to go to Brussels and tell him more about it.

Why should he be interested? As society becomes more innovative, it makes sense that it becomes more important to communicate how knowledge becomes valuable for people.

Another reason for interest is concern: Europe is losing competitiveness in the global innovation economy. Here is a BBC story on it from a few days ago, including quotes by Potocnik. The Lisbon Agenda from March 2000 aims at making the European Union (EU) the most competitive economy in the world and achieving full employment by 2010, i.e. within less than four years from now. Innovation is the key component of it. But in January 2006, former Finnish PM Esko Aho presented the EU "Aho Group Report", sounding the alarm bell, saying that Europe is not on track.

In unusually straight language, the Aho report pointed at a large gap between political rhetoric about the knowledge society and the reality of budgetary and other priorities. It urged Europe’s leaders to take radical action on research and innovation "before it is too late".

Here is where Injo comes in: (check out the earlier post on this blog: Injo Elevator Pitch - Why Democracies Should Care). For a democratic society to focus on the innovation economy, independent journalism needs to cover it. But news rooms are usually organized as traditional production line organizations, where each news beat is a separate line. Innovation crosses the traditional news beats (tech, business, politics, culture news), and is therefore a difficult for traditional news organisations to cover. So even though innovation is the leading driver of economic growth, it will be under-represented in the news. This is a strong reason to why the stumbling progress of the Lisbon Agenda has not reached the broader public discussion in the EU. Everything looks fine on the surface in European society, while it is slowly loosing its edge.

Good independent innovation journalism could make it possible for EU citizens to discuss their competitiveness in the world economy, and enable the democratic processes in the EU to address the issue.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Interview in Att:ention

The Swedish magazine "Att:ention" published an interview with me on Innovation Journalism July 2006. The piece is written by Johan Jörgensen and Olle Corneer. Although a bit dated, I am posting it to the blog in order to make it available for reference. Att:ention is a monthly magazine made by Veckans Affärer, published by Bonniers Publishing house. Veckans Affärer is the largest Swedish business weekly.

Here is a PDF copy of the interview in the paper magazine: Attention%20interview.pdf

Translation in English:

The Visionary Modernizes Journalism
David Nordfors / The Researcher / Lives in: Palo Alto / Occupation: Runs a program in innovation journalism at the elite university Stanford in California / Background: Has done research in molecular quantum physics at Uppsala University [in Sweden]. Played keyboards in the rock band N-Liners and shared debut LP with Lustans Lakejer, Kaj Martin & Stick and others.

“It is innovation that is driving the economic growth today. The main reason for increased societal wealth is no longer that more people work more, or that machines are purchased in order to do more of the same work in shorter time. The improvements come instead from new ways for people to be productive, or that they produce new and more valuable things.
Innovation is not the same thing as invention. An invention can be a contraption in a cellar, known by nobody else than the inventor. Inventions can be made by individuals. An innovation always happens in a community. Something that happens in a community, something that is important for the community – that makes news.
My director general [at VINNOVA] Per Eriksson bought the idea and I started to work on a program to develop journalism as a key actor in innovation systems. Today we have collaboration with editors of many news rooms, spanning from Wall Street Journal and Fortune to Technology Review and Science.
I was myself a journalist for some years at the beginning of the 90s and had probably continued, if not I had been offered in February 1995 to take part in setting up the Knowledge Foundation [in Swedish: KK-stiftelsen / transl.] that, among other things, took care of the so called “IT Billion” [the Knowledge Foundation was in charge of spending more than one billion crowns - approx 135 million USD – on spreading the use of IT in Sweden / transl.]
After more than ten years pause as quantum physicist it is fun to be researcher again, although in a different topic.” (ATT)

Friday, June 08, 2007

The First Slovenian Innovation Journalism Award

The first award for Slovenian Innovation Journalism will be handed out at the regional conference on Innovation Journalism in Slovenia on June 14. Nataša Koražija from Manager Magazine is the winner in the main category, "the best journalistic contribution on innovations in Slovenian media in 2006". She will receive support to participate in the 5th Conference on innovation Journalism at Stanford University, California, USA in 2008 . The prize is sponsored by TIA, the National Slovenian Technology Agency.

Vesna Petkovšek from Gorenje gets the recognition for the "best contribution on innovations within Slovenian company magazines".

The following journalists will also receive recognitions for good work: Marjana Dremelj, Podjetnik; Primož Kaučič, Podjetnik; Sara Sonja Lunder, IRT3000; Matej Peternelj, Profit;
Samo Kranjec, Finance.

The awards are organized by Vibacom, headed by Slovenian entrepreneur Violeta Bulc, who has spearheaded the Slovenian Innovation Journalism initiative.

More information about the Slovenian awards here.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

NDTV Profit (India) Interview

When visiting the CII/NAS First Global Summit on Innovation in India in the end of March NDTV Profit ran an interview with me.

NDTV is India's first and largest private producer of current affairs, sports and entertainment television. NDTV Profit, a 24-hour business plus channel, is India’s number one business news channel. For more information:

IRT3000 Story on Injo

The Slovenian magazine IRT3000 recently published an interview with me on innovation journalism. Here is a translation in English (does not include the introduction part).

A pdf with the IRT3000 story is available for download: