Saint Mary's University
Chapter 1 / Foundations of Information Systems in Business
The New York Times and
Boston Scientific: Two Different
Ways of Innovating with
and the resources to turn their ideas into reality. Typical projects
are measured against criteria like revenue potential or journalistic value. R&D projects aren’t. “Since we build software, there’s
no huge capital investment up front,” Frons says, “which allows
us to experiment. The emphasis is on rapid development.”
Times Widgets, a widget-making platform, was a contest winner, as was the recently launched Times Wire, a near
real-time customizable interface for online content. “We’re ...view middle of the document...
Milk, the story of San Franciscan activist Harvey
Milk, was popular in San Francisco and other city centers,
but not so much in the suburbs of southern cities (such as
Dallas and Atlanta). Mad Men, the 1960s-set drama about
advertising execs, was hot in parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn, but not in any other major cities. It barely got mention
in Denver and Dallas, and not at all in Miami.
The map does show some interesting trends: Big blockbusters were not as popular in city centers (Wanted and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, barely made a splash in the city
centers of Manhattan and San Francisco), although this could
be due to the fact that a lot of people see blockbusters in
movie theaters. Last Chance Harvey, a romantic comedy starring Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson, was enjoyed in
wealthier suburbs (such as Scarsdale), but not in city centers
(such as Manhattan). Tyler Perry’s movies (Tyler Perry’s
Madea Goes to Jail and Tyler Perry’s The Family That Preys)
were popular in predominantly black neighborhoods.
Much of what has been innovative thus far at The New
York Times can be classified as process or product innovation.
Typically, a healthy and growing company should be content with focusing 90 to 95 percent of its innovation dollars
on such core business innovation and 5 percent or 10 percent on new business models, says Mark Johnson, chairman
lmost everybody has a theory about how to save the
U.S. newspaper industry. The only consensus, it
seems, is that it needs to change fundamentally or it
could all but disappear. At The New York Times, tough times
have elevated IT-enabled innovation to the top of the agenda.
A research and development group, created in 2006, operates as a shared service across nearly two dozen newspapers, a radio station, and more than 50 Web sites.
“Our role is to accelerate our entry onto new platforms
by identifying opportunities, conceptualizing, and prototyping ideas,” explains Michael Zimbalist, the company’s vice
president of R&D.
Zimbalist’s staff of 12 includes experts in rapid prototyping, specialists in areas like mobile or cloud computing and
data miners who probe Web site data for insight into what
visitors do. They work within a common framework based
on idea generation, development, and diffusion throughout
the business. Recent projects included prototypes for new
display ad concepts, as well as BlackBerry applications for
Boston.com and the expert site About.com. The team’s work
is intended to supplement and support innovation taking
place within the business units. For example, the team is
prototyping E-Ink, an emerging display technology; some
business units can’t spare the resources to investigate it.
At NYTimes.com, the design and product development
group of Marc Frons, CTO of Digital Operations, worked with
Zimbalist’s team and Adobe developers on the Times Reader
2.0 application, the next generation, on-screen reading system it
developed on the Adobe AIR platform. Frons...