In order to transform a local media company, bold changes are necessary. We must change our culture or suffer the consequences. The Innovation Mission is a one week trip that will embolden you to make these changes. This year’s participants can expect  to visit with many of the most disruptive media and technology companies in North America.  We promise a game changing week that will give you an instant ROI.

Sunday, May 21

Fly to D.C. (DCA) and check into Hyatt Regency Crystal City, Arlington, VA (very short ride from Reagan International Airport – free shuttle)

3 PM: Introductions and Goals at Hotel

3:30 PM – 5:00 PM: Kickoff meeting – Michael Page, Vice President, Digital Sales, Tribune Media 

Our opening kickoff will feature a digital media rock star. Michael Page is leading Tribune’s digital sales efforts and that means a huge focus on video. He will share their strategies around content creation, social media and strategic investments. He’ll also share case studies from Madison2Sunset Brand Studio, an in-house team of producers, writers, designers and storytellers, that are driving serious digital revenue growth for the company.

6:30 PM: Dinner in Arlington, VA

Monday, May 22

8:00 AM – 9:00 AM: Breakfast roundtable at hotel – topic to be determined (as voted on by the IM participants)

9:00 AM – 11:00 AM: Spirited Media/Jim Brady

Billy Penn, The Incline and now Denverite… Jim Brady is building a digital local news chain with an interesting business model that is showing great potential in the early days.

In this highly interactive session, he will talk about their overall strategy, events as a business model, plans for future growth and why he thinks traditional media companies aren’t transforming fast enough. He’s one of the brightest minds in our industry. This will be a great visit!

Check out this recent blog from Ken Doctor.

Bus ride to Gannett (lunch on the bus)

12:00 PM – 3:00 PM: Gannett

Meetings with:

  • Michael Krinzman, VP Video Strategy & Revenue
  • Randy Lovely, Vice President of Community News (oversees content for all of Gannett’s local properties)
  • Kevin Poortinga, Vice President Innovation Lab (oversees all of Gannett’s innovation projects for the entire company)

4:00 PM – 6:00 PM: National Association of Broadcasters – Hottest Opportunities with VR & 360

Time to geek out! Check out the latest VR devices during this interactive and immersive visit to the National Association of Broadcasters. We’ll also learn how local media companies are using and monetizing VR and 360.

6:30 PM: Dinner in DC – downtown

Tuesday, May 23

Breakfast at hotel

9 AM – 10:30 AM: SocialCode

SocialCode is a technology and insights company that manages digital advertising for the world’s leading consumer brands (Visa, Heineken, Capital One, Nestle to name a few). SocialCode decodes human needs to deliver actionable insights from consumer data on advertising platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

11:00 AM – 1:30 PM: The Video Lab/McClatchy

The Video Lab consists of a central team, based in the Washington, D.C. bureau, that works with more than 1,500 journalists in McClatchy newsrooms around the country.

In 2016, The Video Lab launched a branded content studio to tell compelling narrative stories associated with trusted brands. Later this year, they are launching Video Lab West in Sacramento in collaboration with Google and YouTube.

The close-knit and hard-working team functions like a roll-up-your-sleeves start-up, embracing design thinking principles and an iterative approach to their work.

4:05 PM: Fly to San Francisco; arrive at 6:58 PM. Check into airport hotel.

Wednesday, May 24

8:00 AM: Breakfast at hotel

9:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Walmart/Sam’s Club e-commerce team, San Bruno, CA

The Fortune 1 company is on the move! They are rapidly transforming their legacy retail business to compete head on with the disruptors. E-commerce is the driving force behind this plan. We’ll spend a ½ day with executives from Sam’s Club and Walmart to learn about these exciting new strategies including their acquisition of Jet.com. We’ll also learn about consumer insights from their team of data scientists. Several top executives will be flying in from Bentonville to join us. This will be a red carpet visit.

12:00 PM: Take cabs to hotel – check in Kimpton Sir Francis Drake and light lunch

1:30 PM – 3:00 PM: Meeting TBA (we have several options to fill this spot)

3:30 PM – 5:00 PM: Matter

Matter is a community of more than 100 entrepreneurs, 49 portfolio companies, 12 partner organizations, and 150+ mentors. They focus on design thinking as applied to early-stage entrepreneurship as applied to the future of media that matters.

Matter looks for early-stage media ventures that are changing media for good. Ventures that have the potential to make society more informed, connected, and empowered. They believe the future of media that matters is being created right now by entrepreneurs and it will be created through lots and lots of experiments.

6:00 PM: Dinner in San Francisco

Thursday, May 25

7:30 AM: Bus ride to Google; breakfast on bus

9 AM – 3 PM: Google

Full day at Google:

  • Kick off/intros/breakfast
  • Meeting with Jason Washing, Director of Global Partnerships, to talk about local news within Google
  • People opps presentation – discussing culture/innovation
  • Machine-learning within Google and why this is a priority
  • Lunch at the Google cafeteria
  • Google assistant – what available now and what’s coming next for local news publishers
  • Some of the various things going on in the news space at Google (news lab team might present for example)
  • End with tour and visit to bookstore

3:00 PM: Bus transport to Roku

3:45 PM – 5:00 PM: Roku

Visit to include:

  • Overview of Roku’s tools and products
  • Information on audience data
  • How media companies can use and monetize right now
  • An immersive experience with time for hands-on learning
  • Meeting with top-level executives

5 PM: Bus transport back to hotel

6:15 PM – 8:30 PM: Wrap Up/Debriefing/Dinner – always voted as the group favorite!

Participants fly back home (not included in the cost)

Don’t delay, only three spots remain!

The cost of the Innovation Mission is $4,995.

A deposit of $2,750 is due now (by invoice or credit card).

Deposit $2,750

The IM includes five hotel nights (staying Washington, D.C. and San Francisco), all meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner each day), all transportation during the trip (cabs, buses, airfare from DC to SFO), AV & meeting room costs, printing costs, etc. The only exclusion is your airfare to D.C. (Reagan/DCA) and your airfare back from SFO.

This payment of $2,750 is non-refundable since we will book your flight and hotel now. Substitutions will be allowed, but once the flights are booked, there will be an additional charge for a new flight for the replacement participant.

The balance of $2,245 is due by April 28 (we will send another invoice).


Order the Innovation Mission 2016 “Top Takeaways” Report!

This year twenty-eight of our industry’s most progressive executives visited with 15 of the most disruptive media and technology companies in North America (see list of companies above).  It was a game changing week. 

Our annual 48 page report comes out June 3rd and outlines the top takeaways and shares feedback from the IM participants and is $299.

And, as always, ROI guaranteed or your money back.

Order Now


See what the participants are saying…

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Big Fish CEO Mark Poss:: “Changing culture is really hard and not for the faint of heart and it’s not about the fricking Ping- Pong tables!





rich hooverGateHouse Media’s Senior Director of Business Strategy & Operations Rich Hoover:: “The disruptors have a risk-taking culture and they fail fast. We don’t do that enough and we need to try harder.”




greg treeceSwift Communications’ Director of Information Services Greg Treece“A company as big as Facebook has ‘Ruthless Priorization’ on their posters. They can’t get everything done even with their enormous resources. As media companies, we need to learn from this.“




Edwin RuisSwift Communications’ Director of Integrated Revenue Edwin Ruis:“I’m struck by the leadership at the disruptive companies. I find it hard to have regular meetings with my team and the big guys are having ‘All Hands’ meetings every week. If they can do it, we can too.”




Eric Bright


Deseret Digital’s VP Marketplace Eric Bright“Culture is not what you see – it’s what you feel… you could feel it on the Facebook campus. You could also feel it at Thumbtack. If your culture dies… that is it. You lose everything that you have.”