Innovation is essential to ensure the sustainability of journalism, but not all new ideas are successfully implemented. There are various organisational, industrial and social factors that determine the ability of new initiatives to consolidate and provide value to the audience and to their own promoters. The identification of these aspects was the central theme of the Spanish team’s presentation, led by researcher José María Valero Pastor, at the congress of the European Media Management Association, held in October at the University of Jönköping (Sweden).

This research is based on data collected for the Spanish media market in the project “Journalism Innovations in Democratic Societies”, through interviews with 20 experts in the country. The interviewees were asked about innovative initiatives implemented during the last decade that did not meet their strategic objectives and were finally revoked by their promoters. From these, the most frequently mentioned cases were selected (the first paywalls and conversational bots) and the reasons for their lack of success were studied.

The study concludes that innovations cannot fail, as one of their defining criteria is the provision of value to users. In addition, it is identified that the two selected failed initiatives have had a subsequent path in which they have been successfully implemented, thus confirming that experimentation is a necessary prior step for innovation. Innovation is based on an iterative process of searching for valuable solutions, in which organisations must be prepared to incorporate knowledge.