USC's Annenberg Innovation Lab (AIL) is a Think & Do Tank that creates prototypes, publications, and participatory learning experiences to explore emerging challenges and opportunities in media and culture.
The University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism fosters dynamic synergies and multidisciplinary approaches to the study of communication through unparalleled access to the nation's and the world's entertainment, media and technology industries. The Annenberg Innovation Lab (AIL) extends that mission by focusing on emerging challenges and opportunities in media and culture. Through crossdisciplinary collaboration with other USC schools and external partners, AIL applies a "think and do" model to create prototypes, publications, and participatory learning experiences that embody, showcase, and accelerate those innovations.
Our main focus during my time at the AIL was The Edison Project, a multi-year collaborative applied research and executive education initiative that focuses the Annenberg Innovation Lab on the future of the Media and Entertainment (M&E) industry. Through the Edison Project, the AIL posits a transition from an Information Economy to an Imagination Economy, creating a vision for a new M&E ecosystem and working with a range of strategic partners to accelerate its arrival.
In addition to my role as a Research Fellow, I initially served as the AIL's Technical Director and later its Creative Director. Under the banner of the Edison Project I researched The New Screens, a collection of emerging platforms such as 3D printing, augmented reality, and virtual reality; the New Metrics and Measurement, using natural language processing to gain a better understanding of how to leverage audience engagement by measuring interest and intent motivations rather than demographics; the New Funding and Business Models, looking at emerging funding platforms like Kickstarter and Patreon; and the New Creators and Makers, looking at emerging best practices among artists and other creative industry professionals making a living on platforms such as YouTube, Amazon, and so on. I also co-organized and hosted mutliple events, including a Think & Do event in Chattanooga, Tennessee that brought together local entrepreneurs, executives, funders, and thought leaders from across America to imagine what the future for a small city like Chattanooga might be with the addition of widespread high-speed Internet access.
The summary book we authored for the Edison Project is linked to in the Publications section. Writeups on several of the AIL's research projects on tangible storytelling and augmented storytelling, as well as our experiments with smart toys, are available elsewhere in this section.