Last week, I participated in STARTUP. A collaborative, week-long workshop unlike any other that was launched by WORKUP and the MinnWest Technology Campus this past spring. Up until last Monday, my role has been to help organize and facilitate the workshop, but like any other startup out there, we (WORKUP) needed clarity and fresh perspective just as bad as the next guy. Since it ended, my head has been spinning with ideas, in the best way possible. Rather than talk about all of the cool things we’re hoping to add to WORKUP in 2017 – I wanted to get my thoughts on paper about my overall experience going through STARTUP. Here are just a few key takeaways I felt compelled to share:
This is for everyone. The workshop might be called STARTUP, but it’s not just for startups. In fact, now that I’ve been a participant and experienced first-hand how it so positively impacted a 55-year-old corporation, I can genuinely recommend it to every company regardless of their age or size. It’s called STARTUP not because of who it’s for, but because of what it provides – a fresh start.
Ask & Listen. Too often we think we know exactly what our customers, clients, employees, or in our case, members want, but how many times do we actually come straight out and ask them? It’s not always easy to swallow your pride and ask for help or feedback. But if you do, I’d be willing to bet that you’ll develop a product, service, or experience that’s much more aligned with your end user’s expectations.
Aha moments actually happen. We run a coworking space, but we’re not selling space? It even sounds confusing when I type it. If there’s one thing I learned about WORKUP throughout this process, it’s that we’re providing community. People don’t need a place to work. Let’s be real, they have access to a desk, wifi and coffee without ever leaving their home or corporate office. What they need are conversations. They want a place to freely exchange ideas, find inspiration, and gain new perspective through conversations with people of all of trades. That’s why our members come to WORKUP and that’s what we need to start focusing on “selling.”
Be willing. The best thing you can do for your business or self is to be willing; this means having a willingness to change, willingness to be agile, willingness to take initiative. The comments, feedback and ideas I received from the three other companies in STARTUP are invaluable. At the end of the day, I have to be willing to not only hear their ideas, but also be the champion for them. Coming into this workshop with an open mind was what truly made it a game changer for me.
For many reasons, I couldn’t be happier that Betsy and I had the crazy idea to take our own workshop. I think I’m starting to realize that often times the best ideas are the “crazy” ones.