The Economist is outsourcing and collaborating with its audience in an effort to reinvent itself. Project Red Stripe is a small group of employees charged with coming up with some revolutionary ideas and implementing them in a 6 month time-table, the mission:
We’re a small team set up by The Economist Group, the parent company of the eponymous newspaper. Our mission is to develop truly innovative services online. We already have some ideas, of course. But as champions of free markets, we abhor the concept of a closed system. This is why we would like you to submit your idea (or ideas). Just think big – and we’ll do the rest.
They are about half way through their timetable, check up on their progress here (webcam).
The Economist has been getting steadily bigger and better for the last generation. It is a tough proposition to maintain that kind of track-record. We subscribe and read it regularly but it is much better in print than on the web…. So Red Stripe has to succeed! Few magazines (those who work for it, call the publication a ‘newspaper’ but I persist in thinking of it as a magazines) would have the chutzpah to do this in public (but it is comparable to The Guardian‘s blogmosis). Surely it is a noble goal and good luck to the team. It could be time to suggest that there was a proper digital edition of the magazine, umm I mean newspaper…. Here is their suggestions box.