Innovation is a word that, sometimes, can be so frequently used that it gets ignored. In one ear out the other, if you will. “If you use the word ‘innovative’ then you’re anything but,” some might say.
Not quite true, really. There are varying degrees of innovation, of course, but being innovative is a mindset – a way of thinking. So, while it may seem as though the descriptor is overused, the truth is that sometimes it is actually the best way to define a person or business.
Take technology startups, for instance, who may very well use the word more than anyone. By definition startups are innovative. Are they actually changing the way an industry (or the world) works? Most of the time, absolutely not. But when a new company is formed out of nowhere because an entrepreneur decides he or she is going to start something, that by definition, is innovation. They are trying something new, taking a risk and going for it.
Personally, I’ve spent my career in small businesses and startups. Be it joining my brother’s boutique sports marketing agency, Sports Identity Inc. in 2006, spinning out a software-based startup, BrandMatch Score, with that same three-person sports marketing team or joining the founder of VentureFizz nearly two years ago as his lone employee at the time, I’ve been in young, 2-4 person companies for roughly a decade.
Over the years I’ve realized the reason I truly love small business and entrepreneurship is the people. Their passion. Their mindset. Their creativity. Their way of doing things. Flying in the face of naysayers and breaking through barriers by trying and doing whatever it takes to get where they want.
People with that entrepreneurial mindset are not confined to tech startups, though. Established businesses and major corporations need these people within their companies in order to evolve and remain competitive. To succeed, they need to move fast and try new things. They need to be creative and open minded. They need to be passionate and innovative.
If established companies want to attract and retain entrepreneurial people, they need to operate with that same mindset… Which brings me to my joining of The Ad Club, the 100-year old startup.
When Kathy Kiely, President of The Ad Club, which was established in 1913, told me she wanted me to join her team, I was intrigued. Here is a leader of her chosen industry for whom I have the upmost respect, asking me to be a part of her company’s next chapter.
Of course I thought to myself, “This is a far cry from a high-growth startup. Will it serve my burning desire to create and build?”
Then we talked.
Anyone who knows Kathy Kiely knows her passion is infectious and that drew me in quickly.
Specifically, I looked back on my experience working with Kathy and The Ad Club as a committee member for their two-year old event called, Brandathon. I looked at this initiative, created in 2014 by Kathy and prominent Boston startup guru, David Chang, which brought together two of Boston’s thriving ecosystems – ad agencies and startups.
This long-standing, highly reputable organization with a foothold in the marketing and advertising industry and plenty of legacy events in place to keep the business operating saw an opportunity at growth and took a shot. The second annual Brandathon saw 400 plus people turn up to a first-class event and watch New England’s top creatives re-brand some of Boston’s most innovative startups.
This is the mindset of Kathy and The Ad Club. The team operates with the mentality and fluidity of a startup. So, even though I’ve joined a company that’s a century old, I’m still surrounded by amazingly creative, talented, entrepreneurial-minded, people.
So, Why The Ad Club? Why Now?
Because, with this team the opportunity to innovate is greater than ever before.
You will, without a doubt, be hearing more from us at The Ad Club as we continue to provide incredible offline content at events like Women’s Leadership Forum and CMO Breakfast Series, recognize our region’s visionaries at Hatch Awards, and honor leaders in marketing, branding and advertising at Media Maven Awards.
Furthermore, in time, we plan to bring to you, all of this top-tier leadership content in a new digital format.
In the meantime, hopefully you’ll make it to a cocktail party Under the Dome… i.e. our office!
– Josh Boyle, Director of Partnerships and Digital Engagement