The State’s New Digital Storytelling Ecosystem
By Susan Haley Associate Editor
In December 2013, Nicholas de Wolff was recruited to serve as inaugural executive director of a new digital innovation lab, Oregon Story Board (OSB), a non-profit organization that “develops opportunities for job creation, talent attraction, and the establishment of a collaborative community of digital storytelling innovators.”
de Wolff has been deeply involved in new media business ventures, including Internet, social media, M&E technologies, IP, and mobile communications. He served for several years as a chief marketing officer at Technicolor, one of the world’s largest media and entertainment technology providers. de Wolff is a co-founder of the Producers Guild of America’s New Media Council, and is a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, where he has served several times on the jury for the Primetime Emmy Awards.
Oregon Story Board actively promotes the growth of digital media production in Oregon through investments in Incubation, Research & Education, and Ecosystem Development. Plans for OSB include Incubation: Investing in startups that support a statewide digital media ecosystem; Research & Education: Helping Oregonians become leaders in the new wave of digital production; and Ecosystem Development: Catalyzing growth by creating and enriching the connections between new business opportunities and talented digital media professionals.
Beginning in Portland with plans to expand statewide, OSB is designed to further the burgeoning digital storytelling cluster—a broad spectrum encompassing everything from filmmakers to video game development to news and advertising organizations to the technology that enables those industries—in Oregon by focusing on education, research, community building, incubation, and promotion of both startups and established organizations that are making the state a compelling location for creative and technological exploration.
Oregon Story Board has already teamed with TrackTown USA for their first official project, the “Hack at Hayward.” In July 2014, Oregon will host more than 2,500 international athletes, team officials and journalists for the 15th IAAF World Junior Track and Field Championships. In anticipation of this exciting event, OSB and TrackTown USA invited a select group of Oregon’s best technologists, creatives, and athletes to re-invent the way that the sport of track and field is presented to a global audience.
“Innovation has been the cornerstone of the TrackTown community since Bill Bowerman arrived at the University of Oregon in 1948, and we were thrilled to partner with Oregon Story Board in shaping the sport for the 21st century,” said TrackTown USA president Vin Lananna. The Hack was focused on conceptualizing a genuinely innovative platform that shines a light on the robust stories of competition and triumph that begin well before the athletes step on the track, and continue well after the event is over.
More recently, Oregon Story Board produced and hosted an event at OMSI called “Play/Interact,” aggregating 12 of the state’s leading video game and digital media companies in one large demonstration event, attended by nearly 1,000 people.
Less public, but possibly of most importance to their mission, the organization has already begun supporting and incubating startup companies, providing collaborative office space and business development resources to eight Oregon startups since May 1. Oregon Story Board will be opening up the application process in June for their fall accelerator program.
For more information, go to www.oregonstoryboard.org and sign up for updates or follow @orstoryboard on Twitter.