"Knight Prototype Fund: building and testing new ideas to push media innovation forward" by Michael Maness on Knight Blog
Getting a grant is historically a very static process. You spend hours writing an application for a project you’re working on, and, if you’re lucky, you might get a grant several months later. Knight Foundation is turning that process on its head by asking for a different type of applications for media innovation—prototypes.
Are you a Changemaker with an idea to test?
Knight Foundation announced today that it is launching a Prototype Fund to support smaller start-ups in building a prototype or pilot program to test their ideas for news and information projects. The Prototype Fund puts a whole new take on grant giving as something agile and risk-averse. The new fund came out a desire to have a more iterative approach to innovation. “Let’s fail quickly and learn! And hopefully fail forward,” said Michael Maness, VP of Journalism and Media Innovation at Knight Foundation when he presented the new fund at the Civic Media Conference.
According to Maness, the Knight Foundation is hoping to turn the grant process into a working relationship. “We need to build in testing, scaling, and documentation while the grant is on, instead of giving it and looking for an outcome when it runs out. We want to add more dimensions to the process than just giving funds, like providing marketing and branding support and social media expertise.”
Capturing the difference between then and now, Maness said that the Knight Foundation team members internally refer to the Prototype Fund as “The Super Friends Fund.” They think of applicants as allies and are happy to be involved in working through some of the start-ups’ challenges.
The new Prototype Fund application is up and in beta: http://knightnews.wufoo.com/forms/z7x3x5/
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.