Adam Westbrook // ideas on digital storytelling and publishing

A quick note on innovation in media

Posted in Entrepreneurial Journalism by Adam Westbrook on September 17, 2012

The first thing to realise is that the secret is not to come up with a new idea.

There is rarely such a thing. Instead, the secret is to look at a space with people, or businesses already established, and see what they’re doing wrong. Then invent something that improves on what they do.

Whether this is blogging, publishing, film-making, business, photography or whatever, you can do this. The “gap in the market” isn’t some big group of people that no-one has thought of targeting before. It’s found in the shortcomings of players already in the market.

Here are some disruptive approaches into any of these fields.

Be the inspirer: use your work to inspire and excite others with new ideas: this is how I have blogged for six years. People love being inspired.

Be the connector: bring people together, either in person, or online, like a good party host. Create a digital space for people to interact (a forum, a social site) or a physical one (start a monthly meetup).

Be the combiner (of new ideas): I’ve written about this before. Combine two disparate ideas to make a new one.

Be the leader: have a vision for how things can be better and actively set out to make it happen. Others will follow.

Be the experimenter: be about lots of ideas, rapid prototyping, quick feedback. Very few people do this openly in any niche (afraid of looking stupid)

Be the doer/maker: get busy building (films, books, events, software) – let your actions speak for you. Probably the best way to go (after all, anyone can talk the talk..)

Be the problem solver: actively look for the problems in a particular area, and create solutions.

Be the UX fixer: any bad (reading, watching, buying, discovery, sharing) experience is an opportunity to own the market, simply by creating a better experience. Instagram wasn’t the first photo-sharing app, but it’s the one that’s the most satisfying to use.

Be the most fun: constantly surprise and delight your users/audience/readers.

Be the most caring: how many magazines or news websites give a damn about their audience? If they really did, would their products be full of adverts? All big organisations and corporations have this human disconnection problem (when was the last time your bank wasn’t an arsehole?)..and they’re all opportunities for smaller, leaner people-driven competition.

Notice the two items that are missing: be the fastest and be the cheapest. They’re races to the bottom and should be avoided at all costs. 


6 Responses

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  1. . said, on September 17, 2012 at 10:55 am

    Reblogged this on writing for life.

  2. stephenedwards425 said, on September 18, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Reblogged this on LifeRevelation and commented:
    For years I have consulted with a variety of people who want to start a small business, but are troubled with what/how to start. This post by Adam mirrors my advice, so I reblog it here in hopes you may also know someone for whom it can be helpful.

    Be encouraged!

  3. Cynthia Triplett said, on October 2, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    Reblogged this on Cynthia Triplett and commented:
    This article was meaningful to me because it helped me recognize what I do best. Though not all of the points fit me, I am a combiner, experimenter, doer/maker, and problem solver. I just need to get these points into writing. Thanks, Adam, for this post.

  4. Kriston said, on October 21, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    Thank you for linking me to this piece on the Asymmetrical forum. I feel a lot clearer about everything now, especially after reading this.

  5. jordanlshepherd said, on December 3, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    I love the idea behind this blog. Too often we focus on being just like someone else but better. Maybe instead, we should be thinking about how we can be different…

  6. newspaperson said, on March 24, 2013 at 8:13 am

    Reblogged this on Новости отовсюду.

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