2018 News Digital Media Viability Lab

Design thinking workshop organized by Maharat and DW Akademie: facing challenges to reach innovation in media startups

A design thinking workshop entitled “Media and Innovation: Tools for the 21st century” was held on Tuesday December 12th 2017 at Antwork Beirut, where students participated in addition to local and international experts in the field of media startups. During the workshop a prototype was designed aimed at finding innovative solutions to build on in the development of media and innovation. The event took place on the sideline of the workshop entitled “Media and Innovation: Opportunities for Sustainability of Independent Media Startups”, organized by Maharat Foundation and Deutsche Welle Akademie during which a training program was launched about Media Management.

The sessions were facilitated by the consultant and strategic designer Nelly Baz who tackled the design thinking approach and how to benefit from it in the design and planning processes. Baz ensured that this approach is very beneficial in media and innovation since journalists and media experts are also considered as designers. She emphasized on the importance of knowing the target.

Participants had the chance to discuss their experiences and challenges in four main fields: media content, distribution, media management, and financial aspects.



  • Boring content
  • TV programs that doesn’t provide good content
  • Decrease in number of readers
  • Lack of innovative ideas
  • Lack of deep analysis
  • Liability of news
  • Lack of knowledge of target audience
  • Bias news bulletins introductions
  • Style: title different from content
  • Exaggeration in news
  • Access to information
  • Open data
  • Invalid news from social media
  • Hate speech


Independent media platforms, union, encouraging audience to contribute financially, conducting media workshop attended and financed by the audience.

Websites that include tutorials and educational programs, coordination with universities to subscribe in website, measuring the reach, promotion of website with senior journalists and experts



  • Audience other than the regulars
  • Promoting a quality content
  • Poor content to attract ads


Counting on social media platforms, Creating a platform for archives, addressed by researchers and students, it gathers content from the archive of local newspapers in cooperation with these outlets by giving them a percentage of profit, the platform is financed by subscriptions and paid content.



  • Classic media management
  • Lacking managerial skills and promotion strategies
  • Relation between editorial and design teams
  • Lacking awareness on the importance of technology
  • Finding the right partners
  • Ego
  • Time management
  • Legal organization of startups


  • Providing priority for the editorial process
  • Encouraging audience interaction
  • Learning from the mistakes of others
  • Addressing the young audience, serving a content that is up to their expectations, dealing with experts and specialists, refer to NGO that provide open data

Financial aspect


  • Sole funding resources
  • Cost of quality content
  • Rights: lack of unions, wasted financial rights, which lead to corruption
  • Counting on the main source of funding
  • Liability of news
  • Lack of training workshop
  • Political pressure
  • Lack of logistic tools
  • Lack of management knowledge in providing sources of funding
  • Lack of financial transparency
  • Lack of strategies
  • Lack of laws to ensure rights


Developing an independent website, addressing those interested in political and economic news, interaction with audience through social media, attracting them through quality content, the highest cost will be on human resources

The Business Model

  1. Whom to address
  2. What does the consumer needs
  3. Tangible/ virtual (channels)
  4. Acquiring/keeping/ development (relation with consumer)
  5. Funding sources
  6. Performance
  7. Materialistic, intellectual, humanitarian, financial (Essential sources)
  8. Essential partners
  9. What are the highest costs


  • Need for more time to understand what was discussed
  • Elaboration of some points to reach more accurate solutions
  • New concepts acquired
  • Beneficial team work
  • Brainstorming to find solutions
  • Importance of design thinking
  • Felt the capacity of being entrepreneurs able to launch their own platforms