Barez-Brown, who established the consultancy Upping Your Elvis in 2010, encouraged brainstorming to find new ways to lead your business. His organization collaborates with Nike, Unilever, Britvic, Diageo, The Guardian, Mediacom and ITV. In asking, “Who’s the Elvis in your business?” Barez-Brown said that those in leadership positions should seek simple endavors that resonate with employees.
“Our job as leaders is to tap into our passions every day and encourage them in our people,” he said. “My job is to help people step back from the business and reassess, to help rejuvenate our people.”
Barez-Brown, in analyzing the inner workings of the brain, advocated for action based on feeling versus thinking. “Some clients are a black belt in thinking,” Barez-Brown noted. “When thinking about the best decisions in your life, what percentage were made with thinking versus feeling? On average, 80/20 have been made according to feeling, but it’s the reverse in business. The best creative leaders are happy to go with their gut and listen to their intuition.”
Many times, ideas will be shot down in meetings–instead opting to “play it safe,” said Barez-Brown. “Research says we spend 80% of our time on auto-pilot, and the answer is what I did last time. Too often in business, we’re too quick to judge ideas. People in the room are killing these ideas because they’ve seen them before and think they won’t work.
“As you experiment, you learn. And the learning you can reapply forever,” he added.
Meanwhile, Kristen Hadeed, CEO of Student Maid, allowed attendees “permission to screw up.” According to Hadeed, 85% of the world is disengaged at work. “We’re all about creating a culture where people feel like they belong and they’re encouraged to try new things and take risks,” she said. “We identify what ingredients go into a successful environment.”
Hadeed also agreed with Barez-Brown. “We tie into feeling more than thinking,” said Hadeed. “I’ve made choices perhaps that are not the best business choices, but because people will like them. … We have to be willing to get personal at work and talk about who we are, and the past experiences that made us who we are.”
Hadeed emphasized relationship building and connecting on a human level, despite the distractions of modern-day technology. Employees must be encouraged to have their own voice and input in the business, where bosses can use feedback to improve the company’s operations. “Challenges in a career can’t be Googled,” she said. “Take the bubble wrap off, and encourage people to figure it out–failing is okay.”
Johnny Cupcakes closed Dscoop with a presentation that tied innovation in with labels and packaging, especially as it relates to brand building. “Good packaging does not get thrown away, it acts as a miniature billboard,” he explained. “When you’re starting a business, remember the little details on the packaging could inspire someone to buy a product.”
Johnny Cupcakes established his clothing company with no investors. The brand releases new products weekly and relies on reactive marketing to capitalize with new products within a 24-hour timeframe to respond to popular trends and events. “We don’t sell merchandise, we sell memories. The shirts are a byproduct,” he said.
He advised to promote products in unordinary ways, causing people to talk and market the product. If the public talks, they do the advertising for you at a fraction of the price. In addition, people thrive off new experiences. “My concept is strange, but strange is good,” said Johnny Cupcakes. “Strange is important.”
When handling labels and packaging, he also said that good design and humor are inviting to consumers.