Next week I’m leading a discussion at a conference run by the Knight Digital Media center about innovation within newspapers. The topic of the conference is “Transforming News Organizations for the Digital Now.”

They’ve asked me to talk about two things:

  1. The “ecology of innovation.” What type of environment fosters innovation best?

  2. Provide examples of innovation that helps journalists to transform.

I have my own thoughts about this, informed by my work in Bakersfield as well as at previous companies. I will share those ideas here soon, in addition to anything that comes out of the panel discussion. But to make sure I convey the best ideas at the conference I want to open this up to the readers of this blog.

How would you answer these questions? I’ll do my best to bring them up during the discussion — especially if the audience is quiet. And if nothing else, I expect the discussion here on MediaShift Idea Lab could be illuminating in its own right.

I have just one request, though. The purpose is to identify proven ways to create a culture of innovation within news organizations. I realize that some think this is not possible and that the only solution is to leave the newsroom. I respect your opinion, but please keep comments focused on the questions above and asssume that leaving a news organization is not a solution (because in this case, it isn’t).

You can think of this as a Desert Island exercise. If the newspaper is the Desert Island, and you’re on the island with the rest of the newspaper staff, how do you help and encourage that group to think outside of the box, take risks and dream big dreams?