Global Health Ideas

Finding global health solutions through innovation and technology

Future-Forward: Innovation Journalism

One conduit for increasing innovation and the diffusion of innovations could be Innovation Journalism (InJo). Innovation is a key driver for economic growth, but is under-reported in current news organizations, because innovation topics often cover multiple news beats (tech, business, politics, culture, news). Currently innovation is most covered in technology, and a recent study on innovation journalism in Finland points out a current ‘hyperdominance’ of ICT themes.

David Nordfors heads the program for Innovation Journalism at Stanford, where fellows write and publish their articles on innovation, and coined the word “Innovation Journalism” in 2003.

Here is an excerpt from the wikipedia entry on InJo:

Innovation Journalism may be able to increase the efficiency and competitiveness of innovation systems. By increasing information flow, market players are able to be more efficient by not repeating mistakes and avoiding duplication of effort.

Increased innovation information is useful to:
* competitor organizations, so they can adjust their own product and marketing strategies
* potential investors, to direct capital with better information
* distribution channels, to anticipate changes in technology and to influence the way those changes come to market
* researchers, who often work in secret

By covering an innovation journalism beat (InJo), reporters and editors change the innovation system. This happens on three levels.

1. InJo covers innovations. So InJo is a vector for diffusion of innovations through an innovation system.
2. InJo covers the innovation system. By reporting on the people, processes, and practices of innovators, they improve systems of innovation.
3. InJo covers the interaction of innovation systems. InJp draws attention to risks and opportunities as money and innovations cross language, national, and industry boundaries.

I’ve created a quick summary of what I found most interesting from the last year of the InJo blog below:

David Nordfors notes that a ‘innovation system approach stresses that the innovation process is driven by the flow of technology and information between the actors in the innovation (eco)system. The innovation communication system approach suggests that the flow of attention is key to what gets done or gets dropped in the innovation system.’

The flow of attention is important to move efforts forward, but what I found most interesting on the blog was the concept put forward by SRI President Curtis Carlson, who says that innovation journalism will establish a common language for discussing innovation processes, and therefore, make it possible for society to discuss innovation. This was corroborated by Chuck House, Stanford Media-X executive director, who said that “A reason to why HP could spearhead innovation was that many of the engineers came from Stanford, sharing a unique set of vocabulary for describing electronics, which made it possible for them to efficiently communicate ideas with each other.”

At this point, I’ll let David and Turo Uskali speak for themselves:

“Language is at the core of innovation!

We suggest journalism is even more important in innovation societies than in traditional societies!

Here goes:

1. Innovation is the introduction of something new
2. In order to introduce something, it needs to be communicated
3. Communication requires shared language
4. New things need new words or word combinations to be a part of the language
5. The News makes/spreads the new words to us so that the new things can be included in our language, discussed and introduced.
6. Therefore: Journalism enables society to discuss new things and introduce innovations.

This applies for all journalism covering innovations.

Injo – journalism about innovation processes and ecosystems – is a special case, but a very important one. It disseminates language for discussing how innovation happens in society. So innovation journalism enables society to improve innovation processes, which can affect the rate of innovation even more than the journalism about the innovations themselves.”

To find out more, read the Innovation Journalism blog

check out contributions from current fellows at the InJo Doer

see the InJo wikipedia entry


See them for yourself at the Fourth Conference on Innovation Journalism, Stanford University, May 21-23, 2007.


Written by farzaneh

May 2, 2007 at 5:36 am

Posted in Innovation, Media

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