On October 28, 2022, five teams from three Western Balkans countries competed in the BMAP Forward Media Innovation Lab (MIL), funded by USAID and implemented by Internews as part of the PROGRESS Human Rights Support Mechanism.
The Western Balkans team is no stranger to Innovation Labs. Three Labs organized under the Balkans Media Assistance Program, and this is the first one within the new Balkan Media Assistance Program to Foster Organizational Readiness While Advancing Resilient Development (BMAP Forward). A three-day event provided a creative, collaborative space where media professionals, designers, technologists, and others came together to develop project ideas that could help tackle challenges facing digital media across the Balkan region. This year’s Innovation Lab theme was Digital Security.
Danica Ilić, an expert in ethical journalistic standards and the Moderator of the event notes: “We are witnessing a great amount of calls for project applications in the media sector in the region. But I think that the BMAP Forward team has a good approach in insisting not only to mentor, but to develop the applicants’ ideas for media projects together with those who pitch them. During three days of the Innovation Lab, we can observe clearly how an idea is progressing, shaping, and becoming a good starting point for the projects that aim at making an impact and moving things around. The participants are not the only ones who progress at the Innovation Lab, but the mentors and other experts also learn a lot throughout this process. That is what is truly remarkable about the BMAP Forward’s work.”
“The BMAP Forward team has a good approach in insisting not only to mentor, but to develop the applicants’ ideas for media projects together with those who pitch them.”Danica Ilić
The Lab strives to spark cross-sectoral thinking and provide an opportunity for participants to form connections with professionals they wouldn’t normally have an opportunity to meet.
One of the mentors, graphic designer Eldin Herenda noted: ”People have a tendency to overexplain and that’s why very often we hear a lot of enthusiastic and energetic ideas, but no clarity of vision. We work with competing teams on good articulation of their problem, solution and competence in three presentation slides and help them realize how within a time limit, you can get more creative and come up with a better but easier solution.”
Participants of the Media Innovation Lab agreed that Digital Security and Safety are extremely important and that this approach to the project is needed to bring a more wholesome answer to the challenges newsrooms and individuals in the digital era face.
Visit www.balkansmedia.org for more information on the Media Innovation Lab.