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Imagine Publishing gives an iPad to every employee

That’s one way to get the team engaged in new technology, right?

Kudos to the management team at Imagine Publishing, one of the brightest sparks in the publishing marketplace. They’ve decided to make sure their team are right there in the fast lane when it comes to digital interactivity. That’s right! Every employee has been given an iPad.

Now in case you need a quick primer on the company, here’s the overview:

Imagine Publishing is one of the UK’s fastest-growing consumer specialist publishers. Formed in May 2005, Imagine now publishes 20 regular print magazines, 29 digital apps on the iPad/iPhone, and 27 websites in the videogames, computing, entertainment, motoring and photography markets. An Imagine magazine is purchased every ten seconds.

iPads for everyone is a bold move, not to mention an expensive one.

But I think it’s a good move.

Whether it’s an iPad or a Samsung Tab, a Motorola Xoom or RIM’s new BlackBerry PlayBook, by putting one of these devices in the hands of every team member, you all of a sudden equalise the digital divide.

If Imagine Publishing are like any other company, the chances are a percentage of the team had already bought an iPad.

But ‘a percentage of’ isn’t good enough any more. I think more and more senior executives are beginning to realise this.

It’s the reason everyone has a computer on their desk. Or a laptop. It’s rare to find a white collar employee who is not assigned their own computer — or at the very least, limited access to a shared machine — even just to check their corporate email.

Why give them all an iPad? Because you don’t know where it’ll lead.

Chances are, if you put this kind of new technology in the hands of everyone, you’ll get better results. The cynics reading will assume that half the iPads at Imagine Publishing will go straight into the hands of the employees’ children — or sit unused in the office drawer. It’s about the majority though.

Indeed, it’s a very useful barometer. If an employee receives an iPad and files it straight into their bottom drawer after playing with it once, that tells you something.

First, they’re not likely to come up with any useful, credible or delightfully innovative ideas for your business based around tablets (beyond a rather drab ‘er, yeah, didn’t use it myself’). It also tells you they’ve got limited time to invest in innovation. Fine if it’s the tea lady (or man) we’re talking about who’s 2-months away from retiring. Not fine if you’re expecting your employees to contribute.

I don’t think issuing iPads to everyone will add an extra 50% to the Imagine Publishing profits next week. But it will make sure everyone on the team has a play with the technology. You just don’t know where it’ll lead.

And, given that Imagine Publishing actually produce 29 iPad apps, it’ll ensure that every employee has at least had the opportunity to look at one.

Seeing the iPad in use by the family will have its benefits too. The ability to actually understand and experience the technology out of the work environment can do wonders for innovative thinking.

I know a lot of people who’ve literally crossed their arms and said, “I don’t need one, I don’t want one, I won’t ever use it,” who… when *given* an iPad, have a complete change of heart.

For those people who take one look and give it back, that’s fine too — because those people know what they want. For everyone else who’s slightly curious, well, I think the results for Imagine Publishing will certainly be interesting.

Let’s hear from the Imagine team:

Creative Director and co-founder, Mark Kendrick, said of the iPad gift: “We felt strongly that each employee at Imagine should have the gift of a free iPad from us, not only in order to enjoy our expansive digital magazine and bookazine portfolio, but because we hope this initiative will spark a multitude of new creative ideas for magazine and apps in the future.”

I reckon that may well happen Mark!

“Our digital future is exceptionally bright,” said Managing Director Damian Butt. “Imagine’s print and digital magazines are bought by passionate, well-informed, technology literate individuals who happily enjoy our content in many different formats, including iPad – this gift is the perfect way for everyone at Imagine to join in the digital publishing revolution.”

My only concern? Don’t just limit it to Apple. I know the company is doing incredibly well — 15 million iPads sold in the first year if memory serves — do keep an eye out for the rest of the marketplace. All those PlayBook users (and there are bound to be a lot) are going to want to experience Imagine’s content too.

And for all the new iPad owners at Imagine Publishing, please do remember that Mobile Industry Review is iPad-web-enabled! You’ll get a nice fancy experience when you point Safari to www.mobileindustryreview.com.

PS: I liked this from the bottom of the press release: An Imagine magazine is purchased every 10 seconds. Nice.

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

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