DISRUPTION: INNOVATORS IN BUSINESS, MEDIA, AND CULTURE
Innovation Destination Hartford was pleased to attend the latest Connecticut Forum event, “Disruption: Innovators in Business, Media, and Culture,” which took place Friday, March 10 at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts.
The well-moderated panel discussed technology and automation, risk, and entrepreneurship.
Moderator Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post Opinion Writer & Editorial Board Member and MSNBC Contributor, was on hand to foster a discussion about topics including the meaning of disruption, screening employees’ ideas, the importance of mentorship, and how innovation encourages positive changes.
ENTREPRENEURSHIP DOESN’T HAVE TO BE COMPLICATED
Journalist and Political Analyst Ezra Klein is Founder & Editor of Vox.com. Ezra discussed his reasoning for leaving The Washington Post and his motivation for creating Vox.com, underscoring that, “We make entrepreneurship sound a lot harder than it is.”
With regard to launching and building a culture at Vox.com, he noted, “You have to be comfortable with a lot more discomfort. You have to be okay not just with people failing, but with people maybe not doing the thing you need them doing right that second.”
In terms of disruption, Ezra referred to it as a form of “recklessness” adding, “You create new things because something for you is failing.”
THE IMPORTANCE OF MENTORSHIP
Anjali described disruption as, “A willingness to be uncomfortable and live in those questions.” She also noted that discomfort isn’t necessarily a bad thing. “I personally like operating at the edge of my comfort zone—and having the confidence that I’ll figure it out.”
As a successful woman entrepreneur, Anjali emphasized the importance for young women to build strong mentors throughout their career.
Jonathan asked Anjali about her experience at Google, specifically, “How did Google ‘disrupt things?’”
Her response was: “I feel like they’ve been nothing but disruptive,” highlighting that Google continues to innovate in the ways it continues to make the world’s information accessible to everyone.
DISRUPTION IS A TYPE OF ENTREPRENEURIALISM OR INNOVATION
He also emphasized the importance of using your voice. After explaining the business concept behind Shake Shack, he quipped: “We disrupted the hot dog industry!”
When contemplating the best way to think about your business, Danny said he’s learned to “act like that company that will put us out of business.” Meaning, look at the ways other companies are innovating and improving.
Danny, who places a lot of importance on hospitality, also discussed the ways in which technology enhances the hospitality experience.
When responding to questions about how to vet employees and their ideas, Danny said it is integral to hire people who are motivated by how their work makes other people feel.
With regard to accepting employees’ suggestions and input, he said, “You have to have the confidence to trust people to use their judgement.”
For marketing consultant and health coach Amy LaBossiere, who is also Administrating Director at The Art of Tao LaBossiere and Managing Partner at Still Waters Pond, the Forum event offered a lot of inspiration.
“One of the key takeaways for me was the idea that failure could be a motivator for being disruptive. How inspiring!” she says. “That takes the edge off risk in small business, which is something I know there is a lot of.”
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