Written by Renee Kakareka(Industrial Design- Philadelphia University 16”)
Founder of oLive
The Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership’s Next Level Conference genuinely brought me to a next level. I got an opportunity to build new relationships and learn more specific information for start-ups. The conference was smaller and more intimate than others I have been to. It was much easier to network and I was really able to meet and get to know the speakers that held the workshops.
The opening Keynote speaker, Larry Bailin, a marketing and advertisement professional from Single Throw, talked about Innovation and the steps entrepreneurs need to take to make their business stand out among competition and really embrace the meaning of innovation. This presentation made me realize the importance of my Industrial Design education and the inherent qualities that are similar to entrepreneurship. The process of changing people’s behavior and solving problems from another perspective is very important to our development as designers. One of the quotes that stuck out to me though was that “you can’t do all the things everyone does…[if you do] that is not innovation.” As a very ambitious person I tend to try to do too much and incorporate every aspect that ‘works’ into my ideas. To innovate I need to take a step back and see where the most important, feasible, and socially acceptable aspects of innovation for my product and business model and then use a new perspective to innovate on those aspects.
“Sometimes the answer you need is a different perspective on the problem.”
– Larry Bailin (Single Throw marketing and advertising)
Some of the other great advice I got throughout the conference was about improving your website and communication to reach customers (Bert Rolling – UX Designer from Single Throw) and how to create a brand for your company and stick with its purpose (Brad Benson – Brad Benson Hyundai). Ebong Eka a business advisor from EKAnomics simplified the process of creating a business plan. I learned a lot from Ebong but most importantly, I learned about Blab and Periscope, two online interview websites that he advised to use and start building a following of people (I start my first Blab this Friday sharing my ideas and processes). Lastly, Cheyenne Bostock (from ask Chey B.) and Barry Cohen from AdLab Media stressed the importance of innovation and different areas to find innovation. They created a discussion with us to discover if our start-up’s were being innovative in the right areas and were in line with our 5 P’s – Passion, Purpose, Product (of our brand), People (the network we have built to promote us), and defining each of these pieces to get someone interested in Partnering.
Over all the conference was a great experience and I took a lot away from it to apply to the work I am doing now and will do later and I’ve met new people that I will keep building relationships with.