Articles & Case Studies by Industry

Entertainment & Media

Pro tips from the NFL on mobile app development

Working on a tight schedule to develop apps for NFL Media, Jazz Singh, director of product, mobile and connected, says he uses an agile development approach to get everything ready in time for the big game. Here are some of his tips on simplicity, scrums, and setting priorities.

At the Philadelphia 76ers new innovation lab, offering hands-on help to startups

The new lab is open to hosting all kinds early-stage consumer product companies and some B2B concepts — not just sports or fitness-related startups. “The sports category, although it’s really big, is pretty limiting,” says Managing Director Seth Berger. “The Sixers’ network is so broad across so many different industries — to limit ourselves to sports didn’t make sense.”

How ESPN is using data to call the plays

George Leimer, VP of Fantasy Sports and Premium Products at ESPN, discusses how the sports network is working to build a data and metrics-oriented culture, enabling analysis to replace hunches when it comes to developing and refining new products and services.

How Viacom is using lean startup and agile development to keep viewers engaged

Kimberly Hicks, Viacom’s vice president for user platform product management, says that in an arena where people’s media consumption behaviors and the devices they use are changing so quickly, the lean startup approach is extremely helpful. “We can’t just get a requirement, walk away and come back in six months, because the world’s changed,” she says.

How the Catalyst Fund for new ideas works at Thomson Reuters

Thomson Reuters has come to the realization that building proof-of-concepts and prototypes can require significant funding. The $13 billion media and information company created an internal seed fund called the Catalyst Fund in January 2014, overseen by CEO Jim Smith and Katherine Manuel, the Senior Vice President for Innovation. It provides up to $350,000 in funding to build and test prototypes. Here’s how it works…

New York Times disbands R&D Lab, pulls innovation closer to newsroom and advertisers

The lab was founded a decade ago with a mandate to look “beyond the next product cycle, identifying trends and technologies that will emerge in the next three to five years.” Michael Zimbalist, who had overseen the lab, had already departed the Times in March to join Simulmedia, an advertising tech startup.

Former Pixar SVP on creative conflict and why well-designed offices win

“Creative abrasion is the ability to have difficult conversations,” says former Pixar SVP of Technology Greg Brandeau. “It’s like taking sandpaper and polishing something.” He shares his thoughts on how to make it work, along with an assessment test.

Hearst Health’s chief innovation officer on lab funding, staffing, and focus

Our latest Innovation Leader Live call featured Justin Graham of Hearst Health, talking about the innovation lab he oversees in San Francisco. We discussed staffing, funding, and the focus of the lab — and took several questions from listeners. Read the highlights of our conversation, or listen to the audio.

Five ways to spread innovation throughout the organization

As part of our New York Field Study last month, Michael Dewar of the New York Times Research & Development Group discussed the various ways that his group can build awareness of what it is working on throughout the organization — and ideally increase other departments’ willingness to support the R&D team’s projects as they move from initial demo to production. Here’s an annotated slide from his talk…

Disney SVP on how accelerator program led to new partnerships

Senior Vice President of Innovation Michael Abrams discusses the upside of launching an accelerator program for media and entertainment startups, including some of the partnerships that it has sparked so far.

NBCUniversal shares its hit hackathon formula

On the heels of recent hackathons in New York, Orlando, and London, NBCUniversal’s chief technology officer and chief information officer share their advice on topics like how to link hackathons with business unit objectives.

Inside the creation of D&B’s Cloud Innovation Center

An acquisition in 2014 gave Dun & Bradstreet a 49-person, cloud-focused software development team in Vancouver. Here’s how that group has evolved into D&B’s Cloud Innovation Center — and some of the challenges they’ve faced.

Co-creation: Vodafone, Thomson Reuters share lessons learned

How can two companies productively innovate together to address an opportunity that matters to them both? Shannon Lucas of Vodafone Global Enterprise and Saidah Nash Carter of Thomson Reuters share a document that addresses that question.

Budget cuts close Turner tech office, startup accelerator

Late December brought another unfortunate example of corporate budget cuts bringing the curtain down on an innovation team — this one at Turner Broadcasting, part of $30 billion media giant Time Warner. The team had launched an accelerator program called Media Camp, which made small investments in 27 startups.

Thomson Reuters innovation VP on limits of idea management

The head of the Data Innovation Lab at media giant Thomson Reuters argues that if you want to generate significant revenues from innovation, just installing idea management software won’t get you there. Here’s what she’s doing instead…

How a video series is spreading innovation at Thomson Reuters

Chief Innovation Officer Cary Burch explains the objectives and impact of a weekly video series that puts innovative employees in the spotlight.

Is this the fate of every employee idea-sourcing initiative?

You launch an innovation initiative and cast a wide net for employee ideas. What happens next? This slide from Thomson Reuters VP Mona Vernon predicts it with startling accuracy.

Why News Corp. is trying ‘under the radar’ innovation

After launching a high-profile iPad newspaper that didn’t succeed, the Manhattan-based publishing company is taking a quieter approach to incubating new products. News Corp. senior vice president of product Nick Bell explains.

Exclusive: A first look inside Disney’s iD8 innovation studios

Christopher Chapman, Disney’s global creativity and innovation director, talks to Innovation Leader about how his team creates online and offline spaces to foster innovation; training employees in design thinking; and happiness as a metric. Includes an exclusive look at Disney’s newest collaboration spaces: the iD8 Studios in Orlando and Anaheim.

Time Warner & Blue Cross on why they started accelerators

Execs from Time Warner, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, and TechStars talk about the potential upside in starting or supporting accelerator programs for entrepreneurs. “If the customer is your greatest concern, some of the best ideas can always come from outside,” says Sandy Khaund of Time Warner’s Turner Broadcasting division. “We may not find the next Facebook, but we’re looking for companies with that same kind of game-changing potential.” Should you follow suit?

Four lessons from Mullen’s first Chief Innovation Officer

Back in June 2009, Edward Boches became the first Chief Innovation Officer at Mullen a Boston-based ad agency that works with household names like JetBlue, Adidas, Google, and Zappos. “My initial objective was to get the company to pull its head out of its ass with regard to digital and social media,” he says. Here’s more of his take on being the agency’s inaugural CINO.

Blockbuster idea: Expanding markets by being multi-lingual

Hollywood studios aren’t always enthusiastic when it comes to embracing a new technology. But a smartphone app from a stealthy startup called myLINGO could help them get more non-native English speakers into theaters, with almost no additional effort. Company co-founder Olenka Polak, who grew up in a household that spoke mostly Polish, has already been pitching the idea to studio executives.