Backstory: How We Designed The New INside Innovation Magazine.

Bruce Nussbaum

INside Innovation is coming out soon. It will be a quarterly at first, stitched inside Business Week with issue #1 hitting the stands on June 9, with two more issues for '06. I'm hoping it grows fat (right now it is officially a "supplement") and we spin it out as a stand-alone.

We broke lots of rules designing IN--and started changing culture at BW along the way. We opened the process by holding a contest and asking four players to pitch their concepts. You're not supposed to do this in mag design land. You're supposed to choose one brilliant design shop first and work with that firm all the way through to the end. Our Art Director was kind of stunned when I first proposed the idea.

But I wanted to open the process and choose among many new ideas so I opened it up. And we asked three out of four to do it on spec (OK, we didn't have much money either to launch something new). The spec thing is a no-no in AIGA but it turned out it wasn't an issue--the three players who did it on spec said they were willing to do so because the process created new IP that they could use with their other clients.

We invited one young, great magazine designer, David Albertson, out of San Francisco. He did ReadyMade and Make magazine. Then we blew it out by invited IDEO and StoneYamashita Partners to participate. My thinking was that both were in our intellectual space--innovation and design thinking--and their clients were our readers.

And both IDEO and SYP created amazing prototypes. Brilliant and beautiful. IDEO's Tim Brown and SYP's Susan Shuman came in to show their thinking and design. We could easily have gone with either and been successful. It was just so great listening to them. So smart. IDEO's emphasized the permanent nature of what we are trying to do--bascially teach managers how innovation really gets done. SYP's was one of the most thoughtful and exciting layouts I've seen anywhere. It has deep roots in graphic design.

The big surprise to me was the winner--Modernista, the Boston-based ad agency that has done incredible work for Hummer and other clients. It too has deep roots in graphic design--co-founder Gary Koeptke did Vibe magazine years ago, a smash hit. I picked Modernista as an outside shot--to bring in a totally outside-the-box player to mix things up. To my surprise, Modernista got our DNA and designed this incredible prototype. Modern, clean, elegant, perfect. It integrates our work on the Innovation & Design portal into print to make a single organic product--liquid content flowing over platforms (SYP's was great at this too). I believe that mag design simply must go that way for the future.

So now we are trying to learn how to partner with an outsider in putting out a magazine. Never done this before, so all the art and production people have to link up with the Boston people. I'm doing the same with the writing side. We are learning tons of stuff as we race to the finish.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.