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Digital Design / Product Development Team of the Year 2016

Congratulations to Time Inc’s Innovation Lab, winners of this year’s Digital Design / Product Development Team of the Year

Digital Design / Product Development Team of the Year 2016

The Elevator Pitch


We are an NPD team using lean methodology embedded at the heart of a traditional media business. Our objective is to grow the Time Inc. UK business by expanding our audience, our product portfolio and our range of business models. We rapidly test and grow new areas of opportunity based on insight, data and consumer needs. We are free from the constraints and processes of a traditional media business but have the support of a major organisation. We can move quickly to solve issues, by calling on a major player for leveraging existing resources to create content, or sell concepts.


Set The Scene


Before the existence of the Lab, investments could run up to £500,000 -£1,000,000 to prove/disprove instinctive ideas. Today we can test the same for £500 to £1000. This means we can test and develop far more ideas, giving TIUK the potential to be more agile, more diverse and more innovative. In the last twelve months we distilled 47 ideas into 22 tests. This initial filter is audience insight. By interviewing real people about what they want, we gain an in depth understanding of who they really are. This gives us a laser focus for product development.



Tell Us The Story

1. Look Fashion Drop Hypothesis: Light touch curation of product from leading fashion retailers will drive high consumer engagement and propensity to purchase. We conducted two MVP tests to refine the proposition; functionality was streamlined from Test 1 to Test 2, creating a tighter focus on visual presentation of affiliate opportunities. This improved CTR to affiliates significantly. This was enhanced by incubating the product into the Look editorial team to curate the imagery. Overall we’re benchmarking a CTR double that of industry standard.


Value Back:

  • Beta product immediately attracted £25,000 sponsorship investment from Starbucks (proving it was on brand for Look) and off-setting the >£2,000 investment in set-up
  • Double industry standard CTR (2% vs. 1%) to affiliates, with £47 average basket size
  • Retailer preferences contributing to the wider TIUK data and re-engagement strategy for content and advertising (also strengthening our key client relationships)


2. List for Life Insight: Millennials care about their careers/work as much as entertainment. This interest isn’t currently catered for in the media marketplace. We launched an interactive content proposition that plays to the importance of peer insight and self-validation when navigating their career options, working lives and in striving to achieve the life they aspire to. Value Back: launched in January 2016 following a few months testing. Traffic is already exceeding expectations, opening up conversations in new advertising sectors for TIUK (financial, recruitment and travel). The native-only advertising proposition is providing new relationships that are being leveraged into display across TIUK portfolio.

The Results


The NPD Lab has pioneered new content ideas, new technologies and new commercial models. Our approach of ‘test and learn and repeat’ means the Lab fuels the TIUK data and engagement strategy. We have introduced start up culture to the business and lead the way forward for innovation within the company.


These can be seen in real-world products such as the NME Daily app, the website, the Look Fashion Drop which has already delivered £50k of additional revenue to the business via sponsorship and affiliate revenue.


See screen caps of traffic growth since launch and the creative solution that brought in Starbucks as a partner on The Fashion Drop (enclosed)


Matt Rowe, Time Inc UK
Nashitha Suren, Time Inc UK
Andrew Sanders, Time Inc UK
Zoe Roll, Time Inc UK
Paul Cheal, Time Inc UK


In Partnership with


In Partnership with

AOP - Association of Publishers