Postmedia Plans to Open a Digital Lab at Communitech Hub

Communitech works with more than 1,000 tech companies and start ups.
Communitech works with more than 1,000 tech companies and start ups.

It’s no secret that innovative thinking remains important as ever as the newspaper industry continues to struggle with declines in advertising revenue but Postmedia, Canada’s largest newspaper group, believes it has found the ideal arena to experiment. This fall, the company will open a digital lab at Communitech Hub, a 50,000-square-foot collaborative workspace in downtown Kitchener, Ontario.

Andrew MacLeod, Postmedia’s executive vice president and chief commercial officer, said the lab is intended to grow the company’s “innovation capabilities” as well as its business-to-business product strategy.

“Print will always be a very important part of our business at Postmedia but as the industry as a whole continues to see the loss of print advertising revenue, it’s imperative for us to accelerate a new growth model,” MacLeod said. “Our ability to constantly innovate and develop new digital solutions is going to help shape our future success.”

Communitech Hub, which was founded in 1997, currently works with more than 1,000 tech companies and start-ups in the Waterloo-Toronto Region Corridor. The 62 mile stretch hosts the second largest technology cluster in North America.

By opening the digital lab at Communitech, MacLeod said, Postmedia will have access to up and coming technologies such as Ract.js, an open-source Javascript library being developed by Facebook, and Node.js, an open-source runtime environment used by IBM, Microsoft and Netflix.

“With these emerging technologies, our digital lab team will focus on media sales solutions and offerings beyond our traditional media,” MacLeod said. “They will also be immersed in a culture of exciting innovators to jumpstart new ideas and set higher benchmarks for success.”

According to MacLeod, the company plans on recruiting an innovation manager and development lead to work at the lab, and expects to hire approximately a dozen staff members during its first year with Communitech.

Craig Haney
Craig Haney

Craig Haney, director of corporate innovation at Communitech, said he wasn’t surprised to see a newspaper group find interest in opening a digital lab at the popular tech hub.

“It would be difficult to find a better example of an industry going through massive disruption and companies have been trying to manage it in many ways,” Haney said. “In the Communitech hub, there are hundreds of companies that Postmedia can interact with, learn from and connect with. These include startups, our scale-up companies and other large organizations that are constantly sharing insights and ideas that have the potential to change the world.”

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