The Sale of BusinessWeek--What Went Wrong?

Everyone is asking me what went wrong at BusinessWeek to the point where, after 80 years, McGraw-Hill is trying to sell it. My answer, expressed in my latest installment of Ask The Innovation Guru, is culture. Watch the video above or listen to the podcast, and let me know what you think.

This is a difficult one for me. BusinessWeek is a remarkable brand and I’ve lived in both the print and online “societies” of that brand for many years. I’ve innovated in both print and online successfully. But nearly always the innovation has been vertical—offering up engagement and conversation with an amazing audience on design and then, as design evolved into design thinking, on to innovation.

Deep knowledge, insight and engagement of an active and specific audience has been my kind of business journalism. For the new owners of BusinessWeek, I’d advise them that this is the way to go—build off the brand but know that the brand stands for a wonderful collection of audiences and interests—in technology, innovation, management, global, leadership, and science.

Leveraging those audiences and their interests into a new series of businesses that includes both social medial digital engagements in webinars, customized curating of business information and insight, etc., as well as real-life engagement in salons, conferences, consortiums and “collaboratories” is the way to go. At least that would be my way to go.

Whatever the model the new owner chooses, one thing is certain. There is an extraordinary amount of talent on BW’s print and online platforms. I mean globally world-class in their spaces. Redesigning the networks, platforms and business models around their talent is the way to build future value.

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