Industry wide, American newspapers today derive an average of 17 percent of their revenue from digital. The Deseret News and Deseret Digital Media averages 45 percent, a little more than three years after former Harvard Business School professor Clark Gilbert took over the company.
How has he done it?
Gilbert laid out the principles behind his strategic model for innovating media businesses in two recent workshops that are part of the American Press Institute’s Transformation Tour. The tour is a series of 14 in-depth training sessions being held around the country that are also being developed into digital training modules with The Poynter Institute.
Gilbert developed his theories as part of his work with Harvard’s Clayton M. Christensen, the author of “The Innovator’s Dilemma” and employed the research to recalibrate the way Deseret is organized and does business.
Some wonder whether Gilbert’s ideas are translatable to other companies. Gilbert argues all of these concepts are relatable to media companies elsewhere.
We identify six core principles in Gilbert’s strategy, some of them difficult but he argues essential to successful transformation.
1. You must make digital a separate company
Across industries, only 9 percent of disrupted organizations ever recover, Gilbert’s work with Christensen found. Of those, 100 percent created a separate digital unit to take on the disruption. Not one company Gilbert studied succeeded trying to develop digital inside the existing company.