Category Archives: Innovation

Multifaceted Spaces: Bar K Dog Bar Unites Diverse Interests

There’s something special happening in Kansas City’s Berkley Riverfront Park. Bar K Dog Bar, which opened last August, is revitalizing the area by serving a unique intersection of consumer interests. The primary attraction is a “state of the art” dog park overseen by dog-care professionals, which draws dog owners from across the metropolitan area. But what separates Bar K from other dog parks is the inclusion of a restaurant, bar, and coffee shop where customers can relax and connect while their pups play nearby.
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Multifaceted Spaces: Family Tree Nursery Eliminates the “Off” Season

On any given weekend in the spring and summer, the aisles at Family Tree Nursery in Shawnee, Kansas are packed with customers seeking beautiful plants, pots, and other home and garden products. This family-owned nursery, with three locations in the Kansas City area, has been providing top-tier customer service and vibrant, healthy plants since 1964.

As with any nursery, the spring, summer, and fall are busy and full of life. But what about the winter? How does a seasonal business attract customers during the “off” season?
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Lessons from Startup Culture: Innovative Marketing Strategies

Our series Lessons from Startup Culture focuses on the ways in which startups have changed the business landscape through the necessity of innovation and outside-the-box thinking. While many larger companies face different challenges, there is still a lot to be learned by examining how small businesses navigate product design, branding, and marketing on a limited (often nearly non-existent) budget.

In this installment, we’ll explore the marketing strategies that pioneering startups have developed in response to emerging social media landscapes and out of a need to build name recognition and introduce new products to their target markets.
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Lessons from Startup Culture: Redefining Failure

In our recent blog, Lessons from Startup Culture: Learning from a Minimum Viable Product, we examined how “the creation of an MVP itself isn’t the revelation – it’s the ability to learn and adjust based on the customer response that results.” One of startup culture’s strengths has always been the ability to take a big idea and pursue it, iterate it, or change it completely in the search for an end product that resonates with consumers.

In this way, successful startups have redefined failure as a pivot point instead of an end point. For larger, more “traditional” businesses seeking agility, there’s a valuable lesson to be learned.
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Lessons from Startup Culture: Learning from a Minimum Viable Product

In our first installment of Lessons from Startup Culture, we examined the importance of building a solution, not a product. What’s the difference? Many smart people have exciting ideas for new products but fail to consider whether there is a market need for that idea. In fact, 42% of startups fail because of a lack of market need for their flagship product, CB Insights reports.

A solution, on the other hand, is created based on need: entrepreneurs identify a problem that real people have and build a solution that those people will pay to implement. Here is where one of the most brilliant facets of startup culture comes into play. With limited funding and a short runway to validate their ideas, many companies begin their journey by creating a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
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Lessons from Startup Culture: Create a Solution, Not a Product

Startup culture is here to stay. Entrepreneurs and innovators have remade the business world in their own image over the past few decades as technological change rapidly advanced and “traditional” businesses struggled to keep up. Even once they’ve made it big, the companies these visionary CEOs started continue to live by the scrappy startup ethos that is baked into their DNA.

What separates startup culture from the traditional business practices it is challenging? What lessons can those of us in more traditional working environments learn from the success of startup culture? I’ll be looking at those questions and more as we explore lessons from startup culture.
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Desire Paths: Learning from Consumer Behavior

I recently came across a fascinating TED Talk given by designer Tom Hulme which asks “What can we learn from shortcuts?”. At first glance, many of us would probably be skeptical of the shortcut – after all, we’re conditioned to do due diligence, examine a problem from several angles, and then create a strategy for building a solution. Innovators should create the shortcut but not necessarily take it, right?

But Hulme is interested in learning from the shortcuts that we take in our daily lives. As a designer, his eye is attuned to patterns and deviations from those patterns. Examining the shortcuts that appeal to us as human beings, he proposes, is a powerful way to learn what drives us, what we want, and how we move through our world.
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