Innovating the newsroom by incorporating collaborative projects can influence the future of the media industry, according to David Kelley, founder and chairman of IDEO

Kelley — whose IDEO was behind the technology that created Apple’s first mouse — spoke at 2014 INMA World Congress on the value behind creativity and innovation, the foundation to his company.

“The thirst for innovation and creativity has taken off,” Kelley said. 

Reports and journalists work individually, often in their offices alone. Introducing team projects into the newsroom environment can create positive effects, according to Kelley: “Think how much better they would be if they worked in teams. As humans, if you can find a good partner, you will do better.”

According to Kelley, the industry’s primary goal should not be to focus on the problem solving, but to recognise a need in society that today’s media can contribute to.

“The really interesting thing is to find a non-obvious need from around the world,” he said. “Focus on the need rather than the solution.”

Established in 1991, the concepts developed in IDEO can be applied to innovations within the media industryry. Kelley realised he was stuck in between the engineering industry and the design industry, instigating his drive to start the company centered on “design thinking.” 

“If you were an engineer, you thought that chemists were macho,” Kelley said. “If you were a designer, you thought painters were macho.” 

Kelley was interested in how to unify the business with people and innovation in an efficient way: “I saw that nobody was taking the point of view, ‘Let’s really try to understand people’ and take the business risk,” Kelley said. 

In its early days, Kelley’s team would ask people to tell them what was wrong with their products and they would work to improve them. 

“This is absolutely a team sport,” Kelley said, explaining how IDEO works. “You have to get use to it.” 

Centred on the ability to teach students how utilise talents to encourage creativity and guide new innovations, was established at Stanford University with the ideas of IDEO in mind. 

“The most important thing has to do with allowing people to opt in to as much as possible,” Kelley said, discussing the students at the Stanford “They are there because they want to be there, not because they were assigned.”

Everyone is creative, Kelley said, they simply do not believe in themselves. At the school, Kelley and other professors focus on the concept of “guided mastery.”

 “Self advocacy is a goal,” Kelley said. Students at the school accomplish projects they are sent out to do in order to improve their creativity and overcome fears: “Methodology becomes mindful. Confidence comes from being mindful of the process. I just saw this power of being confident.”

 With education in mind, Kelley just finished a yearlong project known as Stanford 2025. The focus is to create “an extraordinary on campus experience,” he said. “Why don’t we have a kind of a goal-oriented process where you find yourself?” 

If you want to change the output of universities, you have to change the input, Kelley said. Under the project, the idea is to go out into society and search for students to bring to the college and the design school.

Kelley, who has to create a balance between his role as a boss and as a teacher, said, “You have to be good at critiquing rather than authoritarian statements. Allow people to build on their ideas.”