WNET's Innovation Day

Pat O'Connell, Senior Major Gifts Officer at WNET

WNET’s first Innovation Day was a resounding success thanks to the participation of nearly 200 of our colleagues this past Monday!  In response to the Employee Engagement Survey, the 14-member Innovation Committee started planning a company-wide event to build upon and promote innovation at WNET in the fall of 2012.  The committee sought to bring leaders from the non-profit, academic, consulting, and media worlds together to discuss best practices for innovation with WNET staff.  The purpose of the day was to take lessons learned from presenters and apply them to our everyday work.

Sree Sreenivasan, Columbia Journalism School professor and University Chief Digital Officer served as our Innovation Day moderator. He began with a presentation entitled, “13 Things Everyone Should Know About Social Media”.  Along with many laughs, Sree provided outstanding insight on the impact of social media and information technology on today’s journalistic landscape.  His PowerPoint presentation and all of its great links can be found here:

Here are some of the main things we learned:

  1. The ABCs — Always Be Collecting; share as appropriate
  2. The pace of change is picking up speed. It took 3 years for the iPod to gather 50 million users; it took the Angry Birds Space game app 35 days to reach the same number
  3. Visuals, Visuals, Visuals!
  4. Dirty Secret of Social Media: Almost everyone will miss almost everything you do on social media
  5. Doing good & generosity are keys to social media
  6. Communications is about connecting the physical & the digital

The afternoon’s panel topic,  “Changing the Channel: Innovation at Work” brought NYU Professor Jamyn Edis, Big Spaceship CEO Michael Lebowitz, Carnegie Corporation’s Chief Communications Officer, Deanna Lee and WNET CEO Neal Shapiro together for a discussion on fostering creative ideas and processes in the work place, on the air and in cyberspace (Speaker Bios and twitter information below).

Questions came via twitter (#wnetinno) as well as the audience. The subjects discussed ranged from enhancing pledge drives with social media, leveraging volunteers, unorthodox seating charts (“People from different departments can help tell the same story,” said Lee) and team building exercises. Participants, both employees and volunteers, came from every department in the company.  Kate Legg of Individual Giving said, “That was really cool, I got some great ideas I can take back to the office!” Lebowitz emphasized that “everyone is creative; it’s just about connecting the dots,” and that there are “no dead ends in media experience.”

Special thanks to Innovation Committee members: Jeremy Chernikoff, Ellen Dorerty, Rebecca Fasanello, Irene Francis, Nicki Granata Bosch, Joe Harrell (Co-Chair), Willa Kramer, Daena McBride, Patrick O’Connell (Co-Chair), Valentin Radulescu, Suzanne Rose, Lori Rothbucher, Lauren Schwartz, Andrew Yamato

Interested in learning about the Innovation Committee? Email us here.

About Sree Sreenivasan (Moderator) @sree

Sree Sreenivasan is Columbia University’s first Chief Digital Officer and is a faculty member of Columbia Journalism School. Aside from his work at Columbia University, Sree writes the SreeTips blog for CNET and appears regularly on CBS and elsewhere to talk tech. For more than eight years, he served as technology reporter for WABC-TV and WNBC-TV in NYC. In 2010, a Manhattan news site he helped create,, was named one of the six hottest news startups by BusinessInsider. He was named one of AdAge’s 25 media people to follow on Twitter and one of Poynter’s 35 most influential people in social media.

About Jamyn Edis @jamyn

Jamyn Edis is Co-Founder of Dash Labs and is Adjunct Professor of New Media Marketing at NYU Stern School of Business. He was previously Vice President, Emerging Technology R&D, for Home Box Office, responsible for creating technology and business strategies around emerging digital and consumer trends.  This includes assessing the impact of new content creation tools and distribution methods and consumption devices such as those in the areas of online video, social media, 3D, interactive TV, augmented reality, sports technology, mobile applications, next-generation content, gaming, digital advertising and search.  In addition, Jamyn was responsible for prototype product development, including the launch of HBO Sports’ PunchZone and PunchForce technologies on the HBO network and web.  Prior to HBO, Edis worked as a strategy consultant for Accenture's Media & Entertainment Practice in London and New York.

About Michael Lebowitz @bigspaceship

Michael Lebowitz, is founder and CEO of Big Spaceship, a digital marketing and communications agency with clients including HBO, LucasFilm, MoMA, Nike, and the New York Times.

Michael is a member of Procter & Gamble’s Design Advisory Board and the Chairman of the IAB Agency Advisory Board. He is also a founder and was an inaugural board member of SoDA, the Society of Digital Agencies, and membership in the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences and AIGA’s Visionary Design Council. Speaking on creativity, innovation and the evolution of business, Michael participates in and leads seminars across the globe and has engaged audiences at AIGA, SXSW, Click:NY, Click:London, ad:tech and CaT: Creativity and Technology, to name a few. He frequently chairs and sits on juries for creative awards, including the ANDY Awards, Cannes Lions, Hive Awards, One Show Interactive Awards, Effie Awards, ADC Interactive Awards, Communication Arts Awards and more.

About Deanna Lee @DeannaJLee
Deanna Lee is the new Chief Communications and Digital Strategies Officer for Carnegie Corporation of New York, responsible for the creation and dissemination of multimedia content highlighting grantee innovations in education, democratic engagement, and advancing international peace. She was previously Vice President for Communications, Marketing and Public Engagement for The New York Public Library, where she created the award-winning collections app Biblion: The Boundless Library. During a 20-year career in broadcast news that began at the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, Deanna was senior producer for ABC's World News Tonight, longform producer for Turning Point, and overseas producer for Nightline. Deanna received her BA in English and American Literature from Harvard.