True innovators rarely follow a straight and narrow path, and will stop at nothing short of breakthrough. This led to the theme for this year’s DIG ICON, a 3-day conference that took place on April 25-27, in beautiful Charleston, South Carolina. Startups, digital innovators, entrepreneurs, investors, global thought-leaders and marketers came together to share platforms, strategies, and tactics to help attendees “breakthrough” to the next level of growth.
Here is a glimpse of some of the brilliant minds at work at DIG ICON and a few favorite quotes that you can take away on your journey to “breakthrough.”
Renowned neuroscientist and New York Times bestseller Robert Cooper kicked off the conference with his fascinating keynote on how to keep our brains focused throughout the day for maximum efficiency. “How you start the day upgrades or downgrades your whole day. Only eleven minutes of your day are actually at peak focus in primetime, and the brain is designed for 6-12 minute bursts.” Cooper also says we have three brains to innovate: Head, Heart and Gut.
Liza Landsman, President of Jet.com, shared how Jet grew its brand for the digital age, and their mission to change behavior of consumers to do smarter shopping in bulk online. The company built its brand with millennials in mind, and is focused on creating personalized, brand experiences about them. Liza inspired the crowd to create “100 Tiny Touches—moments in the customer journey that we can surprise and delight our customers and humanize our brand”.
Attendees also experienced a fireside chat with Casper CEO, Philip Krim, on disrupting the mattress industry, and growing his sleep startup to $200M. Casper’s strategy to breakthrough on social media was to capitalize on the “sleep trend” (lots of sleep jokes–all day, everyday). Casper also uses social listening to gather insights and feedback from their audience. The company noticed how many people were posting pictures of their dogs on their new Casper mattress, which led to the development of their recently-launched dog bed.
Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff gave us a behind the scenes look at how the company was built to breakthrough in their industry. Vox wasn’t built on access journalism because it wasn’t necessary for their model. He calls what they do “explanatory journalism—breaking down issues into a way that smart people can understand them”. The takeaway: “build a brand architecture that allows you to grow, not dilute your brand”.
One of my favorite panels was the Sport of Innovation, where Peter Sorckoff—Chief Creative Officer of the Atlanta Hawks—shared how they used Tinder to become relevant to a younger audience. To do this, they held a themed “Swipe Right Night”, for fans to create face-to-face connections that go beyond the arena walls. Read more here.
Another exciting moment at DIG ICON was the Wild Pitch Competition, where innovative startups presented their companies to an audience of investors, presenters and attendees. CuruCredit took home the win, after pitching how they automate the credit building process for millennials through their new mobile app. They are the “Credit coach in your pocket”, helping you take care of your credit score.
The conference concluded with an inspiring keynote finale by Adam Gorlitsky who shared his story of how a robotic exoskeleton helped him become the first paralyzed man to walk the Cooper River Bridge Run and re-enabled his life.
Conference attendees also got to experience 3 big launches during DIG ICON:
- A new $20 million venture capital fund—Good Growth Capital—launched at the Harbor Accelerator Cohort 7 Pitch. To celebrate, GGC awarded a $25K prize to the winner of the pitch event, PT on Demand, a platform to connect patients and healthcare professionals.
- A new restaurant app CurEat, “the Spotify for Restaurants”, launched at the Charleston County Economic Development Upload Shindig. Attendees at the party were the first to experience the app and had a chance to meet its founder.
- An exclusive “Recommenders” Platform for business execs was unveiled by Robert Cooper, PhD.
What were your favorite DIG ICON moments? Let us know! We’ll see you next year at DIG ICON 2018!