Innovation Speed Dating Ratings

April 27, 2015

Here the rankings from our innovation project speed dating session. They are based on two things: Average rating (on a 1-10 scale) and total funding awarded. I then multiplied your average rating by 100,000 to make it comparable with the funding award and added the two, and the rankings are based on these. Look up your number/letter to see how you fared, and adjust your project accordingly.

Presenter Avg Rating Funding Overall
G 8.43 $2,110,000 2952857
8 8.50 $1,625,000 2475000
1 8.40 $1,450,000 2290000
6 7.50 $1,375,000 2125000
E 8.42 $1,250,000 2091667
B 8.00 $1,200,000 2000000
A 8.00 $1,100,000 1900000
10 6.75 $1,100,000 1775000
5 8.20 $925,000 1745000
9 6.38 $1,100,000 1737500
4 6.92 $1,000,000 1691667
I 6.71 $990,000 1661429
C 8.57 $750,000 1607143
F 8.00 $750,000 1550000
D 7.75 $750,000 1525000
J 7.75 $550,000 1325000
3 6.17 $545,000 1161667
H 6.86 $450,000 1135714
7 6.83 $425,000 1108333
2 6.67 $355,000 1021667

Read & Respond week 15 – Innovation examples

April 19, 2015

This week’s readings are simple and designed to prepare you for your own innovation projects. You’ll go to the NYT Labs page and check out some examples of past projects – let’s say 3-4 of them (more is, of course, fine). In your response, you’ll discuss the following:

  • The strongest idea you saw, and what worked about it.
  • The weakest idea you saw, and how it might be improved.
  • How these ideas inform your own project – be specific with regard to what you’re doing and what you can take away from what you’ve read.

Due to my not posting this on time, your due date to respond in a comment to this post is 10a Wednesday, April 22.

Innovation Project 2015

April 13, 2015

We have spent this semester applying new tools to the news and exploring a number of innovations in communication. Now it’s your turn. Your inspiration for this project is NYTlabs, the New York Times research & development group. Their mission is:

Identifying trends and technologies that will emerge in the next three to five years. We develop applications and prototypes that imagine the impacts these changes will create, and we share those prototypes to facilitate innovation and thoughtful consideration of the future of media.

We’ve never taken this approach for the course’s innovation project before, so you are the first monkeys to be fired into this sector of space. For next week’s read & respond, you will pore over past and current NYTlabs projects to prime your mind. Think also of our micro-hackathon earlier in the semester, of the different innovations we’ve tinkered with, and of anything else that primes your mental pump.

The end result must meet several criteria:

  • It must involve the New York Times. This may not seem hugely open-ended, but review the examples on the site – there are many possibilities. It may be a thing,
  • It needs to have a name and we should have an idea how it will look (sketch, mock it up, make a video, etc.)
  • It should ideally read like one of the project links on
  • Present the project as though you’re seeking funding for the idea.
  • **Special note: Please do not propose an app that helps people keep track of their various social media. These just don’t ever go well.

You do NOT need to be a technical maestro. You just need an idea that meets the above criteria and a pitch that shows why it’s worth developing. This could be a program or a physical thing. The Times has a wealth of information – what can you make out of it?

Requirements and Due Dates

  • A name and 200-word (FIRM) description of your proposal. See examples on the site for ideas.
    • Due: Wednesday, April 22
  • A presentation of your proposal. These, likewise, are not long – 5 minutes max – and should be something you could deliver in a (long-ish) elevator ride. We’ll discuss these prior to the due date to help firm up your ideas.
    • Due: Monday-Wednesday April 27 & 29 (we’ll sign up in class)
  • Final project proposal. A revised 200-word pitch (staple this to the original pitch so I can see changes) and a mockup design of what your project might look like.
    • Ideally, this can be one page similar to the examples on
    • Due: Noon, Friday, May 1

Read & Respond week 14 – Video and Vine

April 9, 2015

This week’s readings are mostly viewings. In addition to Briggs’ chapter 8 on video, get to know a bit about Vine. You’ve already tinkered with the app in our Twitter Scavenger Hunt and Storify assignments, but you may not have given it a thought since then. In a nutshell, you can create a six-second clip of anything … just how useful can that be?

As with Twitter’s 140 characters, Vine’s time limits force you to be creative. Vine regularly poses challenges to its users, and the results are always interesting. Possibly my favorite idea is Six-Second Science Fair. Originated in a challenge by General Electric, the idea persists in various forms today. Is this sufficiently informative? Can you see potential here?

Getting away from Vine, let’s look at the short, exciting history of Meerkat. For a very brief moment, Meerkat, a live video sharing app, was the new hotness. But before you rush to download it, stop, because it’s pretty much dead, slain by Twitter’s Periscope app. This is our current social media world: Ideas are announced, get investors, are copied by bigger players, die, and are quietly buried in a matter of days (which is great preparation for our upcoming innovation challenge!).

Post your responses in a comment to this post by 10a, Monday, April 13.

Read & Respond week 13 – Audio

April 2, 2015

When we think blogging, we think writing. Recent weeks have emphasized images and other tools, but things still seem to come back to the written word. Briggs, in this week’s chapter, proposes some ways to focus on sound over sight. We’ll focus on one: Podcasting.

A podcast is essentially an audio blog. Instead of reading, you can download and listen, which is helpful if you like to do your “reading” while exercising, cooking, or doing something else. The process can be simple or complex, but it boils down to four basic steps:

  1. Plan
  2. Record
  3. Convert/Upload
  4. Promote

This guide from DigitalTrends gets into more detail, but at minimum you need a theme (and usually some guests), a topic, a mic, and a (free) copy of Audacity; anything more can give a cleaner, more polished product but isn’t absolutely necessary.

Audiences listen to podcasts via apps such as Stitcher (free), iTunes, or just listening to them streaming online. Consider these examples of the form:

Your response this week should be enjoyable: Listen to some podcasts, especially if you never have. Pick some from the links above, or find some of your own (Vox suggests 26 you should be listening to). How do these (and Briggs’ other audio subject) inform your work? Have you now decided blogging is dead, and you’re going to become a podcaster instead? Post your responses by 10a Monday, April 6.

How To: Make a Google Map

April 1, 2015
  1. Sign in to Google and go to
  2. Click on the map search bar and select “My Maps” from the drop-down menu
  3. Select “Create” and click “Untitled map” to give it a name
  4. Add places
    1. Search a place address, click the pin, and select “Add to map”
    2. Click the map pin icon (under the search bar) and click on the map to place it
    3. Once a pin has been placed, click it and select the edit (pencil) tool in its window to update its information.
    4. You can change these pointers by selecting them in the top left window and clicking the little paint bucket icon
  5. Add lines and shapes
    1. Click the line/shape button and click points – double-click to finish
    2. Can name/describe your lines and polygons
    3. Right-click to edit color and transparency
  6. Trash and element by selecting it and clicking the trashcan in its window
  7. Invite collaborators
    1. Click “share” in top left menu
    2. Under “Invite collaborators,” add email addresses
    3. Choose what they can do: “Can view” or “Can edit”
  8. Embed the map in your blog
    1. Click “share” and change settings from Private to “Public on the Web” (this allows any reader of your blog to see it)
    2. Three steps:
      1. Position the map how you want it to appear on your blog
      2. Click the three dots next to “Share” in the top left menu > Select “Set default view”
      3. Click them again and select “Embed on my site”