The first public event the Daily News Innovation Lab team participated in was SwitchPitch last fall.  It was held at the Skirball Center, with hundreds expected to be in attendance.

Merissa Silk came up with the idea of team t-shirts that would make us stand out in the crowd, and help startups find us after our presentation.

As was the case with Sammy Simpson’s mission statement brainstorming session, this suggestion turned out to be another invaluable contribution that had an impact far beyond anything I could have anticipated.

 

1. Team Building

As crazy as it sounds, in wearing the shirts, we took a significant step in solidifying our team.  Maybe not as powerful as when we brainstormed the mission statement.  But close.  There’s something to be said about walking through the streets of Manhattan with a group of people all dressed in the same t-shirt.  It was unifying.

 

2. Out of the Frying Pan

While I certainly spent time in team meetings leading up to SwitchPitch sharing my experiences around the excitement and enthusiasm of the startup community, by showing up to SwitchPitch in the red shirts, there was nowhere for anyone to hide.  Even the most shy among us was now, literally, a red bullseye target for those founders and developers at the event who were interested in working with the Daily News.  None of us were wallflowers that day.  We were all thrown in, and all became part of the conversation.  For those team members who had never been to a startup event before, it was an incredible way to get started.

It seemed like such a small thing at the time, but the red shirts really made a big impact.  Many thanks to Merissa for the idea.


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