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The economist creates an open skunkworks

March 11, 2007

Most traditional media players are struggling to come up with ideas for their futures behind closed doors.

The Economist has taken a different route, forming its own skunkworks ( Project Redstripe ) with 6 employees (from different Economist offices who had never met before) and has given them 6 months and $200,000 to come up with new ideas for the brand.

The group has re-located to an office inside their ad agency- AMV-BBDO- you can see the team’s office webcam here.

The goal is to come up with one great idea and for the team to help bring it to market.

The project is also inviting contributions from the outside.

Economist's Project Red Stripe

Contributors get a credit online and a free six-month gift subscription to Economist.com. For those who go out of their way with their thinking, they are offering the opportunity to get further involved in the project, while this last point is a little vague, it shows there are potentially larger rewards available.

Lots of good thinking here:

1. Creating a team of strangers
2. Giving them a clear role and objective
3. Giving them ownership
4. Setting their offices up outside corporate HQ
5. Inviting outsiders to contribute
6. Rewarding contributors

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