Innovation E-Learning Course is Now Available

Learn how to initiate new ideas and make them succeed in the latest in a series of free e-learning courses sponsored by the Suburban Newspapers of America (SNA) Foundation. Innovation at Work: Making New Ideas Succeed is now available. The course is professionally produced by Poynter Institute’s News University division.


If innovation were sold at a store, out of a catalog or on the Web, businesses would snap it up because innovation is so difficult to define, design and, yes, divine.

The next best thing to buying this elusive process of inventing or introducing something new is the latest in a series of e-learning modules from the SNA Foundation: Innovation at Work: Making New Ideas Succeed. And, no purchase necessary — this 4th e-learning course sponsored by the SNA Foundation and produced by The Poynter Institute’s NewsU division is now ready for the taking at no charge, thanks to a generous grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Access the course at

“Innovation is not something that always comes easily or naturally but it definitely can be learned,” says Susan Karol, Executive Director of the SNA Foundation. “This extremely well written course is chock full of information about how both organizations and individuals within organizations can start to look at their business differently and become innovative, a key in helping business forge new paths and make needed changes for a successful future.”

What Kind of Innovator Are You?

One of the early interactive tools in this course — and there are many — is a quiz to help you identify your inherent nature when it comes to innate innovation tendencies. You’ll rate yourself on things like project planning, getting started, making changes and retrospective thinking. Then you’ll see your score and learn how you compare to others in the same job as you. Your result will lead you to better appreciate the lessons that follow and to understand what natural qualities you need to develop in order to more fully tilt the scales into innovation territory.

Moving forward you’ll learn the ingredients of innovation and how to overcome a typical organizational hurdle — how to foster the proper climate for developing elements of change. From the course: “While the concept of culture seems to most readily apply to organizations, individuals can take that organizational lens and look at their own habits to see if they give themselves the freedom to innovate. If you or your organizations understand that it takes creativity, risk, hard work and optimism to be innovative, how do you make it happen?”

Course Guest Authors

Innovation at Work addresses these and many other useful lessons, and benefits from the insightful contributions of two top-notch guest authors, Mark Briggs and David Cole. Mark Briggs is well known to many in newsrooms as the author of Journalism 2.0, a digital literacy guide for the information age. He’s also the CEO and co-founder of Serra Media, a Seattle-based technology company. David Cole is the editor and publisher of NewsInc., the weekly newsletter on the business of the newspaper business, and proprietor of The Cole Group.

The Details

After completing this course, you’ll be able to:

  • Define innovation
  • Recognize roadblocks to innovation, generally and within your organization
  • Identify how well your organization innovates
  • Identify innovative projects that have improved journalism
  • Brainstorm potential innovations for your newsroom
  • Start a conversation with colleagues about opportunities to innovate in your organization

Although somewhat more geared to journalists, the course is applicable to staff in all departments of a media company. There are many examples and lessons that come from both inside and outside of the newspaper industry that transcend all divisions, and that will help anyone and any department interested in generating new ideas and making them happen.

“This is the best online course from Poynter that I have ever taken! Hands down, this is invaluable in today’s newsrooms”

Heather Elizabeth Provencher

Content Coordinator

This free course takes one to two hours to complete. You can access the course on your schedule, starting and stopping as needed. And you can return anytime once you’ve enrolled. You can use this course as a primer, refresher or continual reference. And, it would make great material for managers to use in staff training. Access it at

ABOUT THE E-COURSE: The course, developed by the NewsU division of the Poynter Institute, is sponsored by the Suburban Newspapers of America (SNA) Foundation, thanks to a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Previous e-courses in this series include Build and Engage Local Audiences Online and Leading An Online Newsroom: What You Need to Know. Another e-based SNA Foundation offering is Seminar Snapshot: Layout Driven Editing featuring Scandinavian publisher Margaretha Engström describing her innovative newsroom concept and its’ fruitful results.

ABOUT THE SNA FOUNDATION: The SNA Foundation is affiliated with Suburban Newspapers of America (, the largest suburban and community newspaper trade association in North America, representing more than 2,000 newspapers in the US and Canada. The SNA Foundation is the only organization of its kind that focuses exclusively on suburban and community newspapers and supports their role as the leading local information providers, now and in the future. The SNA Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable trust and all donations are tax deductible. More information on foundation initiatives can be found at

ABOUT THE POYNTER INSTITUTE: Founded in 1975 in St. Petersburg, Fla., The Poynter Institute ( is one of the nation’s top schools for professional journalists, future journalists and journalism teachers. Poynter’s News University ( offers newsroom training to journalists and journalism students through interactive e-learning modules and links to other journalism education and training opportunities.