Ed Cotton of Influx Insights recently highlighted an interesting experiment by global innovation firm Frog Design to spearhead new thinking about the future at NPR. Frog recruited 60 of the smartest thinkers in the world, gave them a brief about the current strategic issues facing NPR, and then set them free to to think about the future:

"The Digital Think In is an incredible initiative pulled together for NPR by Frog Design. For one day only, Frog brought together over 60 thought leaders who worked on an envisioning new futures for NPR. It was an impressive list of writers, technologists and general thinkers. The event was streamed live over the web and various elements were put up on the blog."

The intro deck, shared above via Slideshare, outlines some of the major issues that Frog Design was helping NPR to solve (skip to slide 13 in the deck):

(1) What value can the NPR community create through dialogue?

(2) How can NPR and member stations tie financial support to content in a new way?

(3) How, in the age of digital distribution, can local stations rebalance the mix of local and national content production?

(4) How can NPR evolve its platforms and the media they distribute?

(5) How can NPR manage the process of becoming more open?

Moreover, ideas and insights from the Frog/NPR event were captured on a Digital Think In website created using Ning. As Ed Cotton pointed out, maybe all brands should have a "Digital Think In" -- "a full blown out session where expert outsiders and consumers are invited to think about the future of the brand. It could be inspiring, provocative and lead to some interesting developments."

[Presentation: NPR Digital Think-In via Slideshare]