Aiming to Innovate? Look Beyond the Usual Suspects

When you look for inspiration from the same sources all the time, the ideas you generate can feel stale. Perhaps the solution involves uncovering fresh ideas in new places.
Aiming to Innovate? Look Beyond the Usual Suspects

Guest Author: Ernie Smith, Associations Now

When you look for inspiration from the same sources all the time, the ideas you generate can feel stale. Perhaps the solution involves uncovering fresh ideas in new places.

Sometimes the best solutions can surface in unexpected places. One of my favorite recent examples of this involves a company that publishes The Onion-style parody news stories. The Hard Times riffs on punk music culture and video games in particular, hiring a lot of freelancers to help dish out those hilarious headlines.

Managing a freelance-heavy operation is challenging—both the creative work and the business aspects, including handling payments. There have been regulatory efforts to stop nonpayment, complete with successful advocacy efforts led by groups such as the Freelancers Union. This may sound surprising, but people working in the gig economy take not getting paid on time really seriously.

So where does The Hard Times come into play? It built a way to put the article online, pay the writer, and create tax records in one fell swoop—all by hitting the publish button. It’s a simple, ingenious solution, and the company is currently working on launching the automation tool for other online publications under the name OutVoice.

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