Innovation Project 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

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