Seven companies were rewarded tonight for excellence in innovation by the International News Media Association (INMA), with social media curation company Storyful taking home worldwide first place in the Global Innovation Awards, presented by Newscycle Solutions.
The Global Innovation Awards were presented at the closing dinner of the 85th Annual INMA World Congress at the Edison Ballroom in New York’s Times Square before nearly 300 media executives.
The second annual INMA Global Innovation Award competition rewards media company programmes that encourage ideation and incubation, change the corporate culture, attract young talent, and incentivises innovation mindsets.
The seven regional winners are:
- Best in Africa: Independent News & Media, South Africa, for “Inspired by Change.”
- Best in Asia/Pacific: Fairfax Media, Australia, for “Brand Discover.”
- Best in Europe: Sanoma, Finland, for “Get Started.”
- Best in Latin America: El Colombiano, Colombia, for “ECOlab.”
- Best in North America: The New York Times, United States, for “Digital Innovation 2.0.”
- Best in South Asia: Times of India for “Rewarding Excellence in Media Company Innovation.”
- Global/At-Large: Storyful, Ireland/international, for “Innovation Is a Culture.”
From the seven regional winners, the three-judge panel of innovation experts selected Storyful as the worldwide winner.
“This year’s winners exemplify the breathtaking pace at which media companies are investing in innovation as a process that leads to more new products, more revenue, more efficiencies, a modern workforce, and better business outcomes,” said Earl J. Wilkinson, executive director and CEO of INMA. “That Storyful took home the global prize as a non-print, non-legacy media company shows that the ‘news media tent’ is expanding.”
“Global innovation is one of the highest strategic priorities for Newscycle Solutions,” said Dan Paulus, chief revenue officer of Newscycle Solutions. “We are proud to sponsor INMA’s Global Innovation Awards because the awards acknowledge agility, teamwork and a transformational approach to the news media business, attributes which we embrace in our own breakthrough technology innovations.”
Newscycle Solutions is a leading software solutions for the global news media industry, including news content management, advertising, circulation, audience, and analytics. Newscycle serves more than 750 media companies with 8,000 properties across more than 30 countries on six continents. Newscycle Solutions is an INMA Partner in Business.
Worldwide Winner: Storyful
Storyful is a social media news agency that curates relevant Tweets, posts, and video from people in the center of news events worldwide. Storyful also provides social media dashboards, real-time discovery tools, feeds and analytics to customers. The company’s headquarters are in Dublin, with offices in New York and Hong Kong.
With innovation already a part of its young culture, Storyful faced the challenge of scaling its efforts when acquired by News Corp. in late 2013. Integrating scale with culture, Storyful created a manifesto:
- Full-stack teams, no silos.
- Clear focus with teams focused on News, Video, and Discovery.
- Fail-fast mentality with two-week sprints and an adherence to the Agile methodology.
- Create time to collaborate: planning, research, UX design, and user engagement.
- Diversification of workforce to provide a more rounded approach to problem-solving and speed innovation.
- Be data-driven across all tools – from user loyalty to feature development, and more.
- Breed culture: maintain it and help new employees to assimilate through team activities and onboarding.
With those principles, Storyful set out to build three new teams, re-build its core product, overhaul internal tools, and launch a new product into the market.
Ultimately, judges focused on the processes behind Storyful’s objectives. They described Storyful as a company with a “super interesting innovation culture” integrated throughout the organisation, led by data-driven insights and full-stack teams. They lauded Storyful as a “strong start-up on its own” that has “leveraged new corporate ownership’s resources without bogging down.”
El Colombiano, Colombia: With creativity as its strategic weapon, El Colombiano created ECOlab, an internal media lab to launch and maintain business units, research and implement new business models, develop new activities to grow the business, diversify its portfolio, transform creativity into corporate culture, and be systematic agents of change. ECOlab has led to a Web site redesign, a redesign of neighbourhood newspapers, and created new magazines and projects while providing employees borrowed from departments new skill sets.
Fairfax Media, Australia: Brand Discover is Fairfax’s response to bring incremental revenue and to create new product streams that leverage its content. Since launch, the programme has achieved more than A$2 million in revenue. The Digital Innovation Services team is tasked with developing new advertising products around rich media and content marketing.
Independent News & Media, South Africa: Embracing change on many fronts, the company shifted from a regional to a national structure, created an editors’ forum, rewarded staff ideas through pitch sessions, digitally trained teams, sought new talent to bring Digital Natives into the storytelling process, making editorial and sales departments compatible, and pushed 360—degree custom content solutions.
The New York Times, United States: Reaching 910,000 paid digital subscribers was spurred by the development of new editorial and advertiser solutions. A wide array of new products with refined features aims to elevate the reader experience and provide a deeper emotional connection to the Times, which aims to consistently drive its most engaging content to grow audiences and deepen advertiser relationships through exclusive paid posts. Products to emerge include NYT Now, a cooking app, Paid Posts, and Times Premier.
Sanoma, Finland: SanomaLab is an accelerator designed to develop new internal ventures, create open innovation programmes, accelerate cultural change to reach business goals, and identify “superstar” talent. More than 1,700 employees have been trained to use the lean methodology. The slogan for all its product activities is: “Can we find a repeatable and scalable business model?”
The Times of India: Its systematic innovation approach has implemented 85+ breakthrough performances in the past three years. The Times’ innovation-focused strategy aims at execution speed, interactive innovations with young readers in mind, culture and revenue as key drivers in the process. It involves teams across all levels, leading to an ongoing process of ideation and incubation. Its reviewing system tests reader ideas before being scaled.