Why I Started the Digital Lab Series at the New York Times

What is the Digital Lab Series?

The “Digital Lab Series” is a casual monthly learning session within the New York Times’ London or Paris office. We invite an external company to present on any and all things digital. The goal of this series is for our international teams to understand what is happening in the world of digital outside of the NYT walls.

It can be a general conversation, a different perspective on digital, new challenges in digital innovation, digital trends or what you’ve learned.

Can you give me more information?

For the past two years, once a month, I’ve invited a tech or digital company to the New York Times in London or Paris to speak about what they are doing in the digital space. It’s an informal, hour-long session on Fridays.

Our teams from all international sales offices — Dubai, Hong Kong, Paris, Tokyo, Singapore, and London — congregate for a dosage of digital from the outside world. From interns to creative strategists to members of our creative studio, research and back to sales and ad ops, we have all levels and disciplines join in for the discussions. We’ve found that an outside perspective lends itself to more self-awareness about where our company fits into the ecosystem, a greater ability to think outside the box and a better understanding of the digital space. It opens up ideas, expands the mind and gets people talking about subjects perhaps they wouldn’t in the interim. It’s essential to understanding the market and how to tackle it.

We can often be so laser-focused at our jobs, that we end up missing the big picture. It’s between the gaps or with fresh perspectives that the best ideas can often come from.

What is the point of it?

The goal of this series is to learn about the world of digital outside of the NYT walls. With digital changing so quickly, we needed more information. It’s about having a deeper understanding of the industry at large to ensure we are continuing to stay ahead of the game.

They aren’t pitches; they aren’t sales calls – they are simply learning sessions, discussions, and debates. We have had conversations about competitors, different perspectives in digital, new challenges in digital innovation, digital trends or learnings in the space.

What Digital Lab Series have you hosted so far?

We have had companies from Sizmek, King Games, to AI helping put research behind branded content pitches to a doctor from Cambridge who recreated a human brain.

Simple but effective.

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