News Corp aims to think more like a startup

Rupert Murdoch

Last week News Corp held its News Foundry 54 innovation program, aimed at fostering a culture of “intrapreneurship” with more than 200 staff involved in the “concept-to-code” program.

The hackathon-style event saw teams from throughout News Corp, Fox Sports and News Life Media, and some outside players including Twitter engineers, working intensively on the projects over 54 hours.

News Corp’s head of innovation, Mark Drasutis, says the idea behind the bootcamp was as much about changing the culture of the company as it was about output.

There were 30 teams working on range of ideas with the winner’s idea, an app that integrates calorie counts from the Taste publications with a Fitbit, going into production.

The app will work by introducing a button on all Taste products which sends the calorie details of the recipe you’ve just made to your Fitbit.

The idea is that users can then very precisely check their calorie intake against their fitness program. Although the demo for the hackathon was built for Fitbit it can easily adapted it for any fitness device.

Other ideas on the day included utilising Instagram comments in sports videos, designing a newspaper experience for google glass, creating a mobile-specific weekend paper and creating an automated service for short Vine videos based on that day’s headlines.

All products were tested on a group of three readers on the day, so that they were developed in conjunction with user feedback.

“We want everyone in the company to start thinking like a start-up business,” Drasutis said.

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