25.07.2022. / 17:15
Innovation Lab 2022
Creative Collective: Digital Security
Innovation Lab 2022

“Balkan Media Assistance Program to Foster Organizational Readiness 
While Advancing Resilient Development” (BMAP Forward)

Creative Collective: Digital Security

Publication Date: July 25, 2022 
Deadline for Applications: September 30, 2022 

Are you passionate about finding ways to enhance media with technological innovation?

Do you have an idea for a research paper on challenges and emerging trends in digital security?

Are you working on developing innovative tools, models and solutions to boost resilience from cyber-attacks?

“The Balkan Media Assistance Program to Foster Organizational Readiness While Advancing Resilient Development” (BMAP Forward), funded by USAID and implemented by Internews as part of the PROGRESS Human Rights Support Mechanism is opening the call for the 1st Media Innovation Lab, slated for October, 2022. The Media Innovation Lab is an annual event that provides a creative, collaborative space where media professionals, designers, technologists, and others can come together to develop localized tools and projects that will help tackle challenges facing digital media across the Balkan region. This year’s Innovation Lab theme will be: Digital Security. This year, our Media Innovation Lab will be organized in a virtually hosted environment.

The Lab will strive to spark cross-sectoral thinking and provide an opportunity for participants to form connections with professionals they wouldn’t normally have an opportunity to meet. Lab participants will work together to solve real problems!

During the four days of the Lab, six selected projects will have the opportunity to work intensively on developing their ideas for innovative projects related to the Lab theme with the guidance of top-notch regional mentors. The Media Innovation Lab will gather lead experts in the field and provide different perspectives, teach new skills, and inspire participants to tackle new challenges! On the last day, participants will present their projects to a jury for a chance to receive seed funding of up to $5,000 USD to further develop their prototypes and ideas after the event into full-fledged tools and projects that can be rolled out for use by media across the region. Three projects will receive seed funding. All documents, materials and sessions will be in English, which will be the working language of the Media Innovation Lab. 

Who can apply?

We encourage teams of individuals, freelancers, and professionals who are passionate about media, such as journalists, editors, NGO representatives, IT developers, and designers to come up with innovative ideas. We strongly encourage partnerships with media outlets or media organizations for joint applications, and to include young and creative professionals in each team. 

  • You can apply as an individual for a fellowship or as a part of a team of no more than five people. It doesn’t matter if you have worked together before or you have just met, but we encourage groups to reflect a diverse set of skills and interests (ex. media professionals, designers, technologists).
  • If you are an individual with an idea, we encourage you to apply! You don’t have to have everything sorted out – we can provide assistance and guidance in finding experts as potential team members.
  • We are looking for individuals and teams that bridge nationalities, specialties, and sectors: BMAP Forward actively encourages partnerships across borders of all kinds.
  • Also think about potential partnership with non-media and non-traditional actors (e.g., private business entities, NGOs, social influencers, digital rights activists). Is there someone who would bring added value to your team? Who would that be? Let us know or let us help you think of someone! 
  • Applicants’ teams need to be gender balanced.

The formal applicant should be a resident or a media outlet or an NGO registered in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia or Serbia, but individual team members don’t have to be employees of these organizations and outlets or residents of the country of registration. Be as diverse as you would like!

What should a project proposal look like?

Project ideas should use innovative digital technologies and applications to find exciting ways to tackle challenges dealing with the Lab theme: Digital Security. Your ideas can take different shapes and forms:

1.    Innovation and Development:

  • Mobile applications
  • Tools
    • Analytics
    • Threat detection
    • Incident management

2.    Knowledge and Learning:

  • Webinars or short, interactive and educational formats 
  • Small scale creative e-learning trainings and/or workshops
  • Research paper and/or study
  • Podcast series

3.    Advocacy:

  • Social media campaigns
  • Direct advocacy

Projects can take on issues such as, but not limited to:

  • Digital security literacy
  • Digital security awareness
  • Cyber attacks
  • Digital security and gender
  • Digital media vulnerabilities
  • Data encryption
  • Data theft and breach
  • Social media fraud
  • Creating science-based data sets for reporting
  • Reaching new audiences (Youth, diaspora, new Internet users, etc.)

However, these are only some examples – be creative! When you are thinking about your project idea, keep your potential audience in mind, and also remember that it will need to be done quickly (ideally within 3-6 months) and within the $5,000 USD limit. Applicants are encouraged to think long-term with their proposals, look for other sources of funding and also partnering with other organizations.

All proposed pilot concepts, ideas and final products should be designed for free and open use. BMAP Forward will publish all developed materials, tools, applications, and methodologies to its’ platform for free and open use. 

The selection process:

The applicant should submit the completed Application Form (Attachment 1) by the deadline listed above. A selection committee will evaluate all applications received and select the top five applicants to participate in the Media Innovation Lab. Project ideas will be evaluated on: 

  • Clarity of vision; 
  • Applicability to the theme of the event; 
  • Feasibility of implementation within the available budget and a reasonable time frame; 
  • Diversity of partners involved; 
  • Cross-sectoral approach; 
  • Potential for impact; and 
  • Usefulness for a broad range of media outlets across the region. 

The selection committee will also take into account applicants’ professional history, quality of past work, and motivation to actively strengthen cross-border connections following the event.

Would you like to schedule an info session before you apply?

Please send an e-mail to, and we will make sure you have all your questions answered! 

The Balkan Media Assistance Program to Foster Organizational Readiness While Advancing Resilient Development (BMAP Forward) aims to strengthen the competitiveness of independent media in the Western Balkans in the local and regional marketplaces and improve the sustainability of the sector across the region through creative partnerships and collaboration.


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