Sam Zell

Zell puts up a suggestion box

Sam Zell wants his "partners" in the Tribune empire to send their ideas to a new online Idea Bank -- and to make withdrawals too. The latest from Uncle Sam:

From: Talk to Sam
Sent: Wed Mar 26 09:16:41 2008
Subject: IdeaBank


Im thrilled with the hundreds of ideas employees have sent me. Its been great to see your creativity, and in many cases, the thoughtful approach youve taken to analyzing your suggestions.

As Ive said repeatedly, the best ideas for this company will come from you, and weve seen a number of these innovations come to life in the past 60 days, including: a new morning show in Hartford, a free newspaper targeting young adults in Baltimore, a new national news section in Newport News, and spadia ads in Orlando and South Florida. We need to test a lot of ideas; we recognize that some wont work. But, well never find the ones that do work, unless we try them.

To open up this idea exchange across the company, we are launching an online IdeaBank, accessible via TribLink.

Going forward, Id like you to direct your ideas to our IdeaBank, rather than sending them to This will enable others across the county to see them. I will still read and respond to all of the ideas that are submitted, and I still encourage you to e-mail me directly with comments and questions.

The IdeaBank has a crowd-sourcing element, so you can tag ideas you think are particularly good. You can also sort ideas by categories, and well feature the top Revenue-Generating ideas, as determined by their popularity, on the front page of the site. Were placing special emphasis on revenue-generating ideas because, as you know, that is our current focus. (One reminder: Ideas should cost significantly less than the revenue they produce.)

Most importantly, I want to convey that this is not some lighthearted initiative. I expect you to participate. Make deposits. Make withdrawals. Review the ideas to determine how you might adapt them to your business unit. And, managers, by reviewing and analyzing these ideas, you dramatically increase the probability of their viability.

So, be prolific. The future of our company is literally in your hands.


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