When the Daily News’s Vice President of Marketing (and Lab team member) Sammy Simpson told me he wanted to facilitate a brainstorming session to develop a mission statement for the Daily News Innovation Lab, I was skeptical. It all sounded a little hokey to me. But I allowed that this was his area of expertise, and figured that, at minimum, it would be a learning experience. So I tabled my skepticism. And I’m so glad I did. Looking back now, the experience of coming up with a mission statement for the Lab was one of the best things we did in the whole process. Here’s why:
1. We established unified goals.
By sharing our thoughts and hopes for the program, we cemented common goals. Everyone on the team understands what we’re trying to accomplish, so our combined efforts are focused on a singular purpose. We created a mission that we could all strive towards. And with the limited resources we have, our mission statement keeps us on track and focused on what we want to accomplish with the program.
2. We created a common vocabulary.
By throwing out words and ideas around what we all hoped to achieve through the Lab, we created a common language that we all continue to use when we talk about the Lab. The process created a unified message that underscores our unified goals.
3. We have a constant reminder.
The whole team left the brainstorming session that day feeling incredibly positive about the project. We were taking action. We were going to make a difference. And the mission statement, beyond defining the program’s goal, serves as a constant, shorthand reminder of that time and that feeling.
The experience of creating the Lab’s mission statement was so impactful to me that I still have the whiteboard papers from that day on the wall in my office. That time was a turning point for the whole team and established our direction. And I’m so grateful to Sammy for leading us through it.