I received two pieces of advice early on that were big factors in how I thought about introducing the Daily News Innovation Lab to the staff.

The first was from Dennis Mortensen, CEO and Founder of Visual Revenue.

While Dennis extols the benefits of embedding with your customer, and expresses a lot of gratitude for the time he and his company shared working with the Daily News, he did have some constructive criticism.  Specifically, not enough people in the Daily News organization knew about Visual Revenue.  Although Visual Revenue worked in the Daily News offices, Visual Revenue was never formally introduced to the Daily News staff.  And while some individuals were very involved in working with the Visual Revenue team, there were many who had no idea who the entrepreneurs were, or what they were doing in the office.

This would not be the case for Datavisual.

We made announcements to the whole company, and invited all staff to meet Datavisual.  We put up signs.  We wanted the whole of the Daily News organization to have the opportunity to be involved, and we wanted the Datavisual team to feel welcome.

The second piece of advice was from Geoffrey Isenman, VP of Corporate and Business Development of the New York Times, and Founder of the timeSpace program.

When I met Geoffrey, he was just graduating his first class from timespace.  He told me that one of the more powerful elements of the program, from an internal perspective, was sharing the growth and development of the startup during the time spent working at the New York Times.  A “before and after” view that allowed others in the company to see that the interaction between with startup and the New York Times was valuable and made a difference.

So, on the very first day that Datavisual was in the newsroom, we had them demo their product to the staff, and invited anyone who was interested to attend.  In this way, even people who would never get to use the technology as a part of their job could interact with the startup and participate in the development and growth of the product.  Following that event, we allowed everyone to request access to the product, and conducted subsequent open trainings.

The internal feedback we’ve received about the program so far has been incredibly positive.  As we move forward with Datavisual, we’ll continue to be on the lookout for ways to keep the broader organization involved in the process.

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