November 21, 2016
Boulder had the privilege of hosting its third NewCo festival last Friday, and we were thrilled to be able to participate. With a mission to “identify, celebrate, and connect the engines of positive change in our society,” NewCo provides an opportunity for purpose-driven businesses to share their stories with entrepreneurs, job applicants, and potential customers that want to learn from them. Thanks to the efforts of Engage Colorado, around fifty innovative Boulder companies opened their doors and invited participants to come see for themselves how passion and purpose change “work” from simply a job to an endeavor that can change the world.
This year’s companies spanned many industries, from brewing/distilling to start-up accelerators to marketing/advertising firms. We loved hearing companies like T/aco and Namasté Solar speak about their employee-centric approach to business management, and how that positively overflows into the broader community. While they are in completely different industries, both have a desire for people to bring their whole selves to work, and be contributors to positive social change through what they do. Exactly the heart of NewCo!
We were also inspired by MergeLane, a talented team who considers it their business to help accelerate other women-led businesses to success. They provided seminar attendees with an overview of Conscious Leadership and how they infuse those principles into the DNA of the companies they support. The Conscious Leadership paradigm is based on 15 commitments that range from taking full responsibility for the circumstances of your life to regarding every interaction as an opportunity to learn. While attendees didn’t have the time to fully explore the commitments, we were exposed to the concept of “Above & Below the Line” world views. We spent time processing together what beliefs and behaviors enabled presence, curiosity, and growth, and which led us into a mindset of scarcity and defensiveness. We left with a commitment to ourselves to learn more.
Another session near to our heart was the one hosted by EchoUser. EchoUser is a research and design company with expertise in helping their clients create the best user experience possible. As app developers, we know how critical it is to understand the intended users before jumping into building a new product. They spoke to the value of using prototypes in the process, and reminded attendees that you just don’t know what you don’t know without testing. Prototyping sits at the intersection of research and design, and enables companies to explore desirability, develop features, and refine usability. Companies often want to skip prototyping because it feels daunting, so we really appreciated their emphasis on showing people that much can be learned even from low fidelity options like sketches.
We could go on and on… Viget shared their insights into connected devices and the Internet of Things (IoT)… madelife walked attendees through a Design Thinking workshop… sovrn hosted a panel that reflected on community interaction at various stages of company life… there were too many great sessions to recount them all!
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