There are two types of innovation. The first is the kind where someone identifies a need that has yet to be fulfilled and develops a product or service to fill that market gap. In this case, you have nothing to base your path forward on because you’re a first mover. The rule book for the new industry you just created doesn’t exist yet, leaving you with very little if anyone to look to reassure you that anything you are doing will actually work.
If you think that’s difficult, try challenging an established industry, one with a stone tablet of a rule book on how to be successful. This brings into light the second brand of innovators, the ones pushing to disrupt the status quo. These movers and shakers face all the same obstacles as first movers, but to go one step further, they now have opposition, armed with results and case studies, to back up their reasoning to keep things the way they’ve always been done.
This brings up my main question, and the conversation I had with TG Livak. How the heck do you break path dependence and push for initiatives that redefine the way you do everything?
Know the Business
When your proposals aim to disrupt the status quo, your dots need to seamlessly connect. For that to happen, you first need to know the territory. Alignment is key to introducing new ideas. If you want to bring change, you need to know your business inside and out. If you can’t articulate what it is you do, why it matters, and a general idea of how to get from point-A to point-B beforehand, your idea will fall flat.
Know Your Audience
Next comes the challenge of identifying those within your organization that can make your idea a reality. Assuming the key decision makers, or the people who have the power to say yes to your ideas, are easy enough to identify, your next objective should be to isolate the social influencers. These individuals are not always management level, but can best be described as the ones that employees turn to for a final opinion to influence their own actions. Once you have these two groups identified, look to understand their motivations to buy in, as well as what might prevent them from investing in your idea.
Know How to Pitch
In today’s digitally connected world, the average person has about an 8-12 second attention span. This means that extra time you put in to thinking about how you will craft your message, where and when you will deliver it, and the tone and voice you will use to resonate with your audience is no longer an option, but rather essential for success.
Still want to challenge the status quo?
It turns out none of that even comes close to phasing TG. You see, TG’s the type of person who’s obsessed with finding better and faster ways of doing just about everything. Whether it’s finding a way to cut the time it takes to get ready in the morning in half, or how to re-engineer internal processes to maximize efficiency and effectiveness for the organizations she works for, she has an intuitive knack for elevating just about anything to its full potential. Add to that her 7+ years of marketing experience, TG understands how to engage and guide audiences to a desired action, thus bringing a unique set of skills to the table that help make ideas happen, inspire change, and drive organizations forward.
If you’d like to connect with TG, you can find her on LinkedIn here (click here) and Twitter here (click here).
To learn more about overcoming path dependence and bringing new and innovative ideas to the table for your organization, I highly recommend the following two books.
- Illuminate, by Nancy Duarte
- A Beautiful Constraint, by Adam Morgan & Mark Barden
Any venue can put on an event, but if you want to create a sense of community and inspire growth in your city, it starts and ends with your organization and the people you employ.
Meet Ballpark Village, a relatively new dining and entertainment district, located right next to Busch Stadium, home of the St. Louis Cardinals. With a wide variety of spaces including restaurants, bars, lounges, and entertainment venues, it was created to host everything from game-day parties, to private events ranging between 20-10,000 guests. However, these are just the surface features. Standing as a 50/50 partnership between the St. Louis Cardinals and The Cordish Companies, both organizations bring a unique set of underlying values to the table that demand their leadership invest in the community as much as they invest in their own success.
Having interviewed the Director of Cardinals Care a few years ago, I was aware that the idea of “If you have the ability to give back, you should” is a core value that governs everything from general management, to hospitality training, to hiring new team members. It was no surprise then to see why The Cordish Companies brought Tony Caradonna, aka the Beer Man, on board to help make Ballpark Village an epicenter for the St. Louis community.
Saying Tony has a knack for hospitality is probably an understatement at best. He understands that every impression is an opportunity to create a memorable experience for guests and goes out of his way to make sure they come back wanting more. Take where we had our meeting for example. Instead of sitting in some remote conference room, he walked me out to their main deck overlooking 3rd base, practically with the whole stadium as a backdrop to our conversation, where we talked beer, baseball, and Ballpark Village.
Believing that successful organizations are built on quality experiences, hospitality, integrity, and a constant effort to build and nurture long-term relationships, Tony also brings experience in leadership, business development, and strategic design to the table. His nickname as the “Beer Man” comes from his unofficial title as one of the founding fathers of the Missouri craft beer movement. As a tour guide at Anheuser-Busch back in the 80’s, he recognized a unique opportunity and started the first Missouri craft-beer distributorship in 1990. With a decade of incredible success, he sold the company to Major Brands, and then launched his next venture; the O’Fallon Brewing Company. After another decade of award winning achievement, he sold yet another profitable and successful business.
Having created a name for himself both in the St. Louis area and what is now a booming craft-beer industry, The Cordish Companies made the call and asked him to come on board as a key team member to fulfill Ballpark Village’s vision. He said yes, became the 6th team member to join on with Ballpark Village, and is now a key player in helping make Downtown St. Louis the destination it deserves to be.
Ballpark Village just announced plans for a $220M+ project, made up of a 550,000 square foot build-out of Clark Street, with a 29-story luxury high-res residential tower, additional retail, restaurant and entertainment space, structured parking, and the first new Class-A office building built in downtown St. Louis in nearly thirty years. This phase 2 of Ballpark Village will create 2,500 additional new jobs for the community.
Having achieved so much in the mere two and a half years since they opened their doors, Tony reiterated the importance of their views on social responsibility and that this expansion is only the beginning. There’s no checklist per say to what’s next, just a drive for progress and mindset centered on the idea that when you have the ability to give back, you should.
For more information about upcoming community events, you can click here to learn more.
After learning that I had yet to take a tour, Mike Hill, the General Manager of the St. Louis TechShop location, convinced me talking about the space over coffee just wouldn’t do it justice, and told me that I should see it for myself. He was absolutely right. From the outside looking in, you can see a few of the maker spaces and common area, but without a proper tour you’ll miss out on the state of the art waterjet cutting system, the full wood and metal shops, the textiles and clothing production area, and much more. With 18,000 sqft of everything you could possibly imagine to manufacture just about anything, TechShop is definitely worth checking out.
So if you don’t label yourself as a designer, engineer, or maker type, you might be asking yourself why you would be excited about a space like this in St. Louis. The beauty is your title, occupation, education, none of it matters. All you need is a desire to learn and an ounce of creativity. Don’t feel you need to limit yourself to only using TechShop if you have an idea of what you want to make. Most makers have no idea what they want to create until they are introduced to the tools and resources at their disposal. For example, during my tour I met a young woman, who after learning how to use TechShop’s laser cutters, had the idea to reach out to the makers of Pokemon-Go for a license to make themed keychains. After securing a license and paying for materials, she started making an average of over $2,000 in profit each weekend from selling at various fairs and conventions.
Looking beyond the physical assets provided by TechShop, you’ll also gain the benefits that come with being part of a community of entrepreneurs, creatives, and makers. As Mike told me, being able to network with other patrons, all with their own expertise and knowledge waiting for you to tap into, adds another level to the value you gain when joining TechShop.
So what happens when you give the tools of the industrial revolution to the most creative people in your city? This is the idea behind TechShop. Granting access and training at an affordable rate to tools that would otherwise be cost-prohibitive for entrepreneurs, small businesses, and anyone with a creative itch to bring their creation to life.
You can be anyone from anywhere and create anything.
How To Get In Touch
If you’re interested in individual classes, memberships, event nights or corporate events, you can email email@example.com for more information. You can also follow TechShop St. Louis on Twitter and Facebook to stay up to day with their latest updates.