Developing the New Media Open Innovation Exchange

Who is interested in an innovation exchange where we can both talk about using new media for social benefit, and also collaborate to develop some applications and services?

My previous item about an open innovation exchange for new media sparked some conversations online and off ... particularly with Simon Berry, who so ably project managed the development of our original proposal. I find it fairly easy to come up with ideas (well, remix other people's mostly) but making them happen takes a different sort of capability. Simon is a great reality tester. Do we have the time and resources? Will anyone else be interested? Can we deliver some useful products, services or other real outcomes? Will it be sustainable through earnings or other energy?

Anyway, to do some wider testing I drafted a set of questions and answers, talked them through with Simon who made some changes, and you can see them here and below.

This is by way of a very soft launch of the New Media Open Innovation Exchange. Or the Open New Media Innovation Exchange. Or Open Innovation Exchange for New Media. Or something better, please.

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These are some first thoughts developed by David Wilcox and Simon Berry,
following discussions with some others involved in the Innovation
Exchange. Please add comments below, and help develop the idea further.
If you register on this site, you'll get your own blog to contribute more fully. Earlier item here.


Where did this start?

A group of people collaborated to create the open innovation exchange
(OIE), initially to bid for a Cabinet Office contract for a Third
Sector innovation exchange. We wrote the bid openly, and were
shortlisted but didn't get the contract. We were also shortlisted for a
New Statesman New Media Award - result to be announced July 24 2007.
The OIE process created a lot of interest at a time when people are
thinking about the benefits of open, user-led, innovative,
collaborative development of products and services. We believe new
media is both and enabler and catalyst for this type of development


What's the idea now?

We introduce the idea of an open new
media innovation exchange to coincide with the New Statesman Awards. We
do this on the site http://www.innovationexchange.net, and in Facebook
to start with. The aim is "to promote and support innovative use of new
media for social benefit". Everyone involved in the NS awards is
invited to be founder members, joining the original OIE contributors.


Why do we need an innovation exchange for new media?

The NS
awards again highlight the range of innovative new media projects to
"benefit society, government or democracy". There are scores of similar
projects, dozens of groups and networks - but few linkages across
sectors and disciplines. The new Government-supported Third Sector
Innovation Exchange will help - but it will be very broad, and linked
to government policies. Our innovation exchange will have a sharper
focus on new media, a light touch, and no boundaries.


How will it work?

It will be modeled on our first round of
work, when we developed the innovation exchange proposals using open
source principles. We expect our operation to be a mix of open,
bottom-up, ideas-generation, together with tight project management.
This management will be essential as possibilities become opportunities
that could be funded or marketed. Anyone will be free to join our
current core group to help evolve our approach.


Who will run the exchange?

Open source research has shown
that successful open source projects have a dedicated core group, and
this will be based on existing and new participants who want to make
things happen. We'll sort out who's who openly, early in our relaunch.
We'll develop - in collaboration with participations - some flexible
guidelines on how the exchange will operate.


How will you recruit people?

Through the networks we have
already developed, and the use of other social networks. A lot of
people in the field are now using Facebook, and we see that as a way of
making more contacts and experimenting with new media applications.
We'll adopt other tools as necessary.


How will the exchange be funded?

In the short term it will
be a collective voluntary effort - fueled, we hope, by people's
interest in making new contacts and exploring opportunities. We'll look
at the possibilities for funding, and also a social entrepreneurial
approach to development. We are confident participants will have plenty
of ideas.


Will the innovation exchange just be ideas - or will it lead to action?

Both.
It will be a place for conversations and contacts, but we will also
broker and foster project development. We will aim for outcomes that
"benefit society, government or democracy" - and those involved. One
way to do that will be to identify some initial project ideas that
people can work on together.


New media is a big field. Will you focus?

Yes, and in two areas: applications and services.

Applications: Current thinking is that in the first year we'll
concentrate on developing and delivering projects that use the wide
range of free and low-cost web applications offered by Google and
others. Our aim will be to add value, for example, through co-design
with users to evolve customised packages, mixing online, face-to-face
and other media, and linking these packages to the use of social
networking platforms like Facebook. However, what we do will ultimately
depend on those involved.

Services: We will look at how specialist online services can be integrated into and delivered through these applications.


Is participation limited to those in public and nonprofit sectors?

No - anyone is welcome who wants to promote the use of new media for social benefit.


Will the exchange just be online?

No. We believe a mix of
online, face to face - and any other form of communication - is
essential. We'll organise an open event in the autumn, and through
Facebook and the site facilitate other meetups. We will endeavour not
to be London-centric.


How is this different from other nonprofit technology networks?

We
see the open new media innovation exchange as a complement to groups
and networks that support nonprofit use of new media. In the networked
society and economy there is no "one place". We aim to complement and
add value by focusing on innovation; promoting an open approach;
encouraging bottom-up collaboration across sectors; mixing online and
face-to-face; turning ideas into feasible projects ... oh, and having
fun too!


How do I join in?

Go to http://www.innovationexchange.net
where you can read, comment, link, or register and contribute. Or do
get in touch directly. Email support@innovationexchange.net ,...or.find
us in Facebook at New Media Open Innovation Exchange (shortly).

David Wilcox david@partnerships.org.uk
Simon Berry s.berry@ruralnet.org.uk

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