The Annenberg Innovation Lab’s mission embraces media, culture and society as the basis for innovation. We define innovation as a social, collaborative process involving artists, scientists and humanists wrestling with new problems raised by technology. Through our mission, we foster transformational changes in participatory cultures; which is a culture with abundant support for creating and sharing and a strong sense of social connection.

To achieve our mission, the Lab engages in three kinds of activities:

  • Research that combines theory and practice within the media landscape and its impact on society.
  • Think & Do Workshops that bring together students, executives, artists, entrepreneurs, scholars and policy makers to generate innovation on a specific problem that yields tangible processes or products.  
  • Design challenges that provide technical support, mentorship and prizes to USC students developing prototypes, applications and business ideas.

Current Areas of Focus

    • The Lab’s team of Participatory Culture Problem Solvers is currently focused on these areas of research and practice:


Here are some of the “Cool Problems” the Innovation Lab is currently tackling:

  • How can you organize multimedia creative ideation across a large enterprise in order to identify new teams with cross-complementary skill sets?
  • In an age of Big Data social sentiment analytics, how do you account for the vast amount of sarcasm flowing across platforms like Twitter (65% in some domains)?
  •  How can you re-envision the format of the news program so that it can be customized and curated for a generation of younger consumers who seek anytime/anywhere access to relevant information?
  •  In an age where video over mobile devices is growing exponentially, how do you reduce the cost of servicing such bandwidth intensive applications so the average citizen can watch movies streaming to their I Pad at reasonable prices?
  •  How can you use the power of crowdsourcing to aid in organizing disaster recovery and relief?
  • How can a master violinist in Los Angeles teach a young prodigy in Chattanooga, in a virtual real-time master class?
  • How can you use mobile technology to enhance the museum experience and expand the timeline beyond the unique visit?
  •  How can you limit the influence of large pirate enterprises on the music, film and television business, without hurting the basic architecture of the Internet?