How Videos Spread Innovation at Thomson Reuters

November 14, 2014

People get various emails and communications at Thomson Reuters, and they may read blog posts. But we felt video would be a good medium to share the passion and intrigue of innovation, so we created this channel on our internal Hub site, The Innovation Network, to turn the camera on innovators who are working day in and day out to achieve results on their innovation. They may be developing new processes, new ways to increase customer satisfaction, or creating new products that solve customer needs.

Thomson Reuters SVP of Internal and Online Communications Michael Moore, left, with Chief Innovation Officer Cary Burch in an episode of The Innovation Network.

When we first launched The Innovation Network series in January, we picked a handful of people who were doing innovative things within the company. We have recorded about 45 videos to date, releasing a new video every Tuesday morning.

Our main focus is to highlight and celebrate the innovators within Thomson Reuters. Our internal audience wants to know how they’ve been successful, what risks they took, how they dealt with failure, and how they engaged the customer. The video format is about five to six minutes long, with an extended version also available that lasts eight or nine minutes. The two formats allow for the innovators to tell their stories and share lessons learned.

The audience can share, like, and make comments in blog format, which has fostered additional interaction between our global employees and the innovators. The “host format” has enabled us to create a dynamic in-person interaction about the innovator’s idea, which allows for rich discussion. I wanted it to be something similar to a talk show that allowed the innovator to be on camera and to enjoy the spotlight. (On a few occasions, to keep costs down, we have leveraged Skype as a tool to record the interview from both ends of the globe.)

Six months after we launched the Innovation Network series, we launched the TRibe. We asked the communications team in each of our business units to work with our employees to create more content. Think of it like an internal YouTube channel. Many of these videos are made with a smartphone, iPad, or an employee’s desktop or laptop computer. We like these to be candid videos created by the employees; they’re not necessarily as high-quality or prepared as the others. The only guideline we have is that people talk about content that is relevant to innovation.

Our Innovation Network site became the #1 most viewed site within the company’s entire network. One month we had close to 30,000 views, and Thomson Reuters has about 50,000 employees globally. Throughout the series, we have recorded numerous bloopers and it is my hope that towards the end of this year we create a “blooper special” that will showcase the fun that we have had developing the program.

Cary Burch is the Chief Innovation Officer at Thomson Reuters Corp., a $12.5 billion media and information company based in New York.