In land of biz mags, 'innovation is the new black'

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The current crop of business magazines is hardly content to let Conde Nast do all the innovating in the category. Business Week, in fact, is about to introduce a magazine within the magazine called IN: Inside Innovation, a print extension of a popular section on its Web site. Executives hope that the new title, which is scheduled to appear quarterly, will eventually find enough advertiser and reader support to grow into a freestanding magazine of its own.

"The topic I just think is really important to our readers," said Stephen J. Adler, Business Week's editor in chief since April 2005. "More and more companies are focusing very intelligently on how they can design their companies to be better at innovation."

Bruce Nussbaum, a Business Week assistant managing editor and the editor of IN, was more pithy. "Innovation is the new black," he said. "Now companies are trying to build innovation cultures and organizations so it becomes routine, so they can increase their innovation efficiency and innovation hit rate."

And whether or not companies have successfully built innovation into their cultures, they certainly like to be seen as innovators. So IN's 38 pages, counting the front and back covers, include 12 ad pages from marketers including Nokia, Motorola, Hewlett-Packard, Symantec, Audi and Cargill.

For its part, Business Week saw ad pages slip 2% in the first four months of the year, compared with the equivalent period a year prior, according to the Publishers Information Bureau. Ad pages fell 12.8% in 2005. The title reported average paid circulation of 988,068 during the second half of last year, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

The look and layout of IN was designed by Modernista, the independent Boston ad agency, after it won a shootout against a traditional magazine designer and two innovation consultants.

In the larger picture, however, IN also helps Business Week differentiate itself from business competitors like Forbes, Time Inc.'s Fortune and Mansueto Ventures' Fast Company-and the coming Conde title. "It reinvents the form of the business magazine," Mr. Nussbaum argued. "It will be very different from what I understand the Conde Nast business magazine will be."

IN makes its debut in the June 19 issue of Business Week, which reaches newsstands June 9.
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