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Disruptive Innovation

Last week Nick Harkaway drew attention to the paucity of innovation within publishing, suggesting that really disruptive innovation might not appear within a conventional publishing industry.

I agree. I could make this into a lecture about Marshall McLuhan and cars vs buggies, but you haven’t the time, and neither have I.

However, I am interested in making opportunities happen. Even if we have to give them a nudge every now and again.

I work for the University of the West of England. It’s in Bristol, we work with the very talented people at the Pervasive Media Studio (and the BBC and Aardman, and loads of others) and try to make opportunities happen. For example – this one. The REACT Hub has six pots of £50k to allocate to disruptive innovations in publishing. Go back to that link, the one that says ‘this one’ and download the call. Then come back here.

REACT isn’t the only game in town, nor is it the biggest source of disruptively innovative funding. But it is happening soon, and it’s interesting. With Baldur Bjarnason, I’m running (coincidentally, I hear you cry) a two-day sandpit in Bristol, on the 11th and 12th of July, to hammer out some interesting ideas. Some will be for REACT, some will be for other funding sources, some will just be interesting ideas. We’ve got some places left. Steven Hall (The Raw Shark Texts) is going to come along on the second day and help us play with ideas. We’re going to figure out what disruptive innovation might look like and we’re going to bid for some money. It’ll only cost you fifty quid, and that’s so we can pay the caterers.

Here’s the link to book – it would be great to have you along. Especially if you work in conventional publishing.


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