Howard Owens is a digital media pioneer. He started publishing local news online in 1995 when very few local news outlets had web sites. The header image on the site depicts the film camera he used early in his career and the press pass from his year on the staff of the Carlsbad Journal. For more on Howard's professional background, read his LinkedIn profile.
HowardOwens.com is the personal web site of Howard Owens and covers his range of interests -- political localism and libertarianism, music and personal interests, as well as his professional interests.
Howard is currently publisher of The Batavian and lives in Batavia, N.Y.
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Tag Archives: guy kawasaki
A common complaint in the journalism world is that newspapers aren’t innovative enough. The complaint usually goes something like, “Why didn’t a newspaper invent Google or Yahoo! or MySpace?” And then there is some finger pointing at executives for not funding R&D or being bold enough in their visions.
This “why didn’t we come up with the big idea” is one of the myths of innovation.
The problem with innovation in incumbent industries isn’t the lack of big ideas. It’s the failure to see the importance of little ideas, because they don’t point the way to immediate profits commensurate with current company values.
All innovation starts with taking a look at what tools and materials are available now and how they can be used differently. It involves finding a job to done and figuring out how to modify what’s already on the table. Or it involves, “oh, I can use that thing differently and I bet this will help other people, too.”
That was true of the light bulb, the telegraph and YouTube.
Innovation is small. It only looks big in hindsight.
Google began with a small, simple idea — what if we ordered our search results based on how many sites link to a particular URL (not even an original idea, since the notion of authority ranking pre-dates the web). Simple idea. Big results.
Any person working in any department of a newspaper can be an innovator. The trick is to look at what you do every day, what you touch every day, and ask, “are there other uses for this?”
For example: Find a rubber band and ask yourself, “what could I do with this to derive as much value as possible?”
Does that sound like an impossible task?
Watch this video:
[youtube b_o5j2wgLsg nolink]
A very basic lesson in innovation (via Guy Kawasaki).
- Gaining insights from the little things
- You don’t need big budgets or big ideas to be an innovator
- Dealing with the myths of innovation in the newspaper industry