FML Blog

In touch with innovation: talking to Kontextlab

Wednesday, July 05, 2017      Future Media Lab. team       0


The Future Media Lab. team is continuing our “In touch with innovation” series on our blog with a series of Q&A’s that were conducted with media start-ups from across Europe. In this edition, we spoke with Bernhard Scholz, the co-founder of Kontextlab in Germany. Kontextlab focuses on digital storytelling.


Future Media Lab.: What is the main idea behind your startup?
Bernhard Scholz: Everyone wants to understand the world. The linear way to tell stories works great to explain specific aspects – but the big topics always consist of many aspects, influencing each other and popping up from different angles. To show this complexity we built a software for non-linear storytelling. In an interactive way readers can delve into 3D „knowledge maps“, which look like mind maps with a lot of content in them. It is a very playful way to go for a playful journey and exploration. The software can be used in many different fields. In the first step we started the magazine „Der Kontext,” thanks to which we reached clients for the software as well. These include the United Nations, a specialist publisher, or an education institute.


FMLab.: What observation kicked off your project?

BS: There are two major points which triggered our start. Firstly, during her studies my co-founder Julia observed the decreasing quality of content and the lack of good background information for current topics of the day. So she did her master with the hypothesis on how to communicate high quality content in a better, more playful way and came up with our concept. Secondly, the concept then waited a little to become alive and when „De Correspondent” started successfully and showed that readers are willing to pay for good journalism we decided to give it a try.

FMLab.: What is your added value to media companies in content curation/dissemination/monetization?

BS: The tool we built enables media companies to build up their own topic maps or embed the knowledge maps we already have. There is a very easy way to use content management system behind the knowledge maps, which also offers the possibility to build up unlabeled maps. The users spend a lot of time and interacts a lot with our knowledge maps.


FMLab.: How (if at all) could established media companies and innovative startups/projects best collaborate over content creation?

BS: From our experience collaborations works great if there is a true willingness to try new things and if there is someone who is cheerleading (with a certain amount of money and power) for those projects as well. There is a lot of great content in all media companies. With our tool this content can be brought into a context the user can access easily in a very playful way. We see from our statistics that users interact a lot with the knowledge maps and spend a lot of time there. They are interested and enjoy the playful way to explore topics. We collaborated with the German magazine „Wirtschaftswoche” for one topic and worked collaboratively on it. This experience was great for both parties – they put in their (partly already existing) content and we ours. The result received raving feedback on social media.


FMLab.: What is your next big challenge/goal?

BS: Three points. First – getting in touch with companies and starting to cooperate with them takes a lot of time. This is something startups usually don’t have. Our goal now is to expand into the European market with our software tool because we see that our way to communicate topics gets a lot of interest. Second – for the magazine itself we are looking for more new subscribers and are starting marketing activities. We are very positive about the future and really love the challenge to grow. Finally – for the further development of the software and for our growth path we are looking for an investment.



Editor’s note: The Future Media Lab. recently teamed up with next media accelerator to publish a compendium of start-ups from across Europe who are working on solving some of the challenges facing the media sector today, particularly around content creation, monetization, dissemination and curation. Many of the start-ups were present to ‘pitch’ their solutions at the Future Media Lab. annual conference , which took place in Brussels on 2 May 2017. A digital version of the compendium is available for download (pdf) here.

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