Q&A with Innovations editor John Wilpers


John Wilpers is Senior Director/US for Innovation Media Consulting Group and co-editor of FIPP’s Innovation in Magazine Media World Report. The first Innovations edition was published in 2010.

As in previous years, the 2014 edition will be launched at the Digital Innovators’ Summit, taking place from 24 to 25 March in Berlin, Germany.

1.    What is Innovation Media Consulting Group?

INNOVATION Media Consulting Group is a global consultancy firm with a difference. We focus exclusively on the content business – both editorial and management. We help clients innovate and embrace new digital platforms, develop new storytelling and presentation genres, and find bold new strategies as well as new revenue streams. All of that starts and ends with the premise that “good journalism is good business” and with the conviction that you cannot fix the business model without fixing the editorial model. We have consulted with some of the largest global brands, including Hearst, the WSJ, Le Monde, India Today, Axel Springer, and other newspaper and magazine groups large and small.

2.    Tell us more about the Innovations in Magazine Media World Report

The World Report we create annually for FIPP is a natural outgrowth of the global work we do with media companies helping them innovate their way to profitability and market dominance. The report includes examples with case studies of the foremost innovations in magazine media in a give year, as submitted by the industry.

3.    We know innovation is important to the industry. But tell us again, why?

Without exaggeration, innovation is the only way media companies will survive and thrive in the extraordinarily competitive, fast-changing publishing environment of the 21st century. With the barriers to entry almost non-existent, competitors are popping up everywhere to steal our readers and our markets. We must be innovating even faster than they are so we don’t leave any market gaps for them to exploit. Our successful innovations must force potential competitors to look elsewhere for opportunities.

4.    What are your top tips for innovation?

The best innovations come from a combination of internal and external influences. We find staff who not only deeply understand the company but also, and more importantly, are up to date on the latest innovations in their publishing niche. By combining our decades of global experience with successful publishing innovations with a staff’s expertise and market knowledge, we deliver an unbeatable combination of powerful, competition-thwarting innovations.
5.    How innovative is the content industry?

The content industry is extremely innovative, but some members, especially the legacy companies, have the handicap of history. A media company’s very own leaders and staffers can be the company’s worst enemies, thwarting change because “we’ve never done things that way.” The newcomers to the content industry don’t have those “sea anchors” and, being typically small and fast-moving, they can make innovative changes almost overnight. Legacy content creators must begin to think and behave more like start-ups if they are to survive.

6.    Which markets have impressed you as hubs of innovation, and why?

The hubs of innovation have nothing to do with markets but with individuals. Companies with forward-looking leaders are setting the agenda for the content industry. And those companies can be found in the U.S., Europe, Asia, South America, and Africa. Wherever innovation has thrived and produced stunning financial and readership results, there is always a dynamic, forceful leader setting the agenda and giving his or her staff the freedom to innovate constantly, without fear of failure.

7.    How do you help companies, and how can they get in touch with you?

We help companies unlock the potential within their walls while overlaying our global experience to create successful, franchise-expanding innovation. We come into media companies, find the innovators, introduce proven innovation strategies, and re-imagine structures and processes to ensure a healthy and profitable future. Companies can reach us through our website at innovation-mediaconsulting.com or me directly via e-mail to [email protected].

Meet John in Berlin:

Meet the team at the Digital Innovators’ Summit in Berlin, 24 to 25 March 2014. Visit www.innovators-summit.com for more information.

To register as a delegate:

Discounted pre-agenda registration is available until 30 November 2013. Visit www.innovators-summit.com for more information and/or to register.

To sponsors and/or exhibit:

There are several custom sponsorship and exhibition packages available. Visit www.innovators-summit.com for more.