Denver Startup Week is a celebration of everything entrepreneurial in Denver, which is the largest free event of its kind. This event is for any entrepreneurs to come together and unite. It is the place to appraise the great companies or innovative ideas happening in the city. It is also where the leaders share their expertise in different fields of business. Coming to Denver Startup Week, any entrepreneurs will have a chance to enhance their knowledge as well as connect with other talented leaders. To make it easier for the participants to follow, they divide the events into 11 tracks which include numerous workshops. Among those workshops, the ones with the highest votes will be selected for the event. Thus, in this article, we will give a detailed look at the top five sessions in three hot tracks in 2020 which are designer, founder, and people.
This track is for any entrepreneurs who would like to explore more about the design process including improving the user experience as well as getting valuable lessons from the formers in the designing field.
#1. Be a braver creative: lessons from the Broncos sidelines
Milan Klusacek is a Digital Content Creator of the Denver Broncos Football Club, and he has been creating digital content for that social channels for 7 years. His job is to capture videos from the sidelines to help the fans to take a look at the game, including the Superbowl 50. This job has forced him to be braver and be able to face his fears, put himself out of limit to complete the tasks that he thought he could never do. And the results can be astonishing.
In the session, he will share what he has learned about how to overcome fear and face up with the pressure to create something spectacular. He will also include the honest stories and field-tested lessons, to help you thrive better and be a braver creative.
#2. Designing for altered states: Lessons from accessible design
The one who will speak in this workshop is Fen Slattery, an Accessibility Lead at Clique Studios, where they build amazing things and work towards a more inclusive digital world. Fen understands the needs of users who hope to get better digital access; thus her job is to minimize the barriers. Coming to this workshop, the entrepreneurs will be able to learn more about how to design for the web and safely support the users’ needs. With Fen’s experience in the field of digital accessibility, the designers will not only improve the user experience but also help the medical or disabled users to gain better access.
#3. Creative challenges for anyone: build camaraderie & inspire
As the name suggests, the workshop’s purpose is to help the entrepreneurs to become more creative, produce better work, and have fun in 60 minutes. The speaker for this session will be Jessa Lux, a community manager at Clique Studios. Coming to this event, the participants will be walked through how to prepare for and conduct creative challenges. This will be suitable for both designers and non-designers. With these challenges, the participants can tap into the creativity zone without any constraints of client work.
#4. Doing good as an empathetic design leader
Empathy is a characteristic that is necessary everywhere in any position, especially the leaders. In the designing world, it is not an exception. But being truly an empathetic design leader is not an easy task. In this session, Natalie Jark, who is responsible for UX coaching and consulting for businesses, will be talking about her experience. She will help the participants to answer the questions like “How can you show up in the world, do good, and make impactful changes through your innovative design decisions?”. What is more? You will also learn more about how crucial empathy is in design, and how to become an empathetic leader in the competitive world.
#5. Engineers! The new best friend for UX designers and product managers
There is no question about the important role of the engineers in user research, without them, it is hard for any UX designers and product managers to finish the work. It is crucial to know that UX practitioners and Product Managers should work together rather than standing alone with the view of creating a better user experience. In this workshop, Charlie Czechowski, a UX designer at TrainingPeaks will help the entrepreneurs to understand the key role of the engineers and how they help to shape a company’s roadmap.
In the session, 3 points will be covered:
- How UX and Product Managers can build support and trust from Engineers?
- What tools for teams to increase the effectiveness of communication?
- Which strategies can the team implement to create a better user experience and team empathy?
This Denver community is where the young starters in business can meet and learn multiple lessons from the experienced leaders. With the track, Founder, the participants will have the chance to listen to these talented founders who built their businesses successfully.
#6. Sales for startups: going from product-market fit to growth
John Drinane, a sales enablement manager at Revenue River Marketing agency, will speak at this session. As a former founder, he prioritizes the role of the sales organization to the success of the business. He thought their business would disrupt the market and the salespeople would be like order takers. Yet he learned in a hard way. Attending the session will be a great opportunity to learn more about his business successes and failures, which can be beneficial for your current or future business.
The session will include three topics. The first one is about how to achieve the product-market fit and how to know you have done so. The second topic is to learn how to transform from a product-market fit sales style to a growth mindset. Finally, the session will help give directions to get the sales organization ready to scale.
During the session, you will be able to know more about John Drinane, and his experience including 10 years of startup, 20 years of sales and marketing. The stories about his career along with others will also be mentioned. With these concepts, you will be able to learn some solid strategies for growth and the common pitfalls to avoid in the future.
#7. How does big data protect public health?
The world has been facing several problems, the hottest one should be mentioned here is COVID 19. This pandemic has affected every single sector including the water sector. This session will use this pandemic as a case study to analyze its impacts on utilities as well as how to effectively avoid health risks.
Moreover, the webinar will cover the influence of poisoned wastewater on the community health, and how the smart cities can use wastewater management tools (big data) to protect public health.
This session will be conducted by Ari Goldfarb, the CEO at Kando. He will introduce wastewater management solutions using tools, concepts, and technologies like big data, data sharing, and automation. Applying these concepts and technologies will not only help leaders as well as the stakeholders to work more efficiently but also it can help find creative solutions to protect and promote community health. Coming to the webinar, you will be able to visualize the different data methods, which can increase knowledge and insights about the collection system and the city’s network to the water professionals’ needs.
#8. Back to the office (or not): reimaging the future workplace
2020 has been the year to show us that perceptions of the workplace are changing so quickly. Due to COVID 19, some people no longer go to the office but work from home. As an entrepreneur, leader of a company, some questions about the workplace might pop up. For example: Do you need a formal office space? Should part of the work be remote? How to balance business goals and employees’ needs? These controversial questions will be discussed during the webinar by Beth Kennedy at JLL (Jones Lang LaSalle) with other experienced local entrepreneurs, business owners, and executives who are also picturing how the future workplace should be.
#9. From start-up to scale-up: stories from Aerospace start-ups
This session will be directed by Alires Almon, Chair, Colorado Space Business Roundtable; Vice-Chair, Aerospace Space States Association (Colorado); Director of Innovation, Mental Health Center of Denver.
There is no doubt that the post-startup phase is the hardest time to scale up, especially in the Aerospace industry. The criteria like demands of the customers, contracts, deadlines are always challenging but they must be met. Thus, the young businesses might have several questions such as what will be needed skills? How to outsource effectively? How to fund scaling if the customers have not paid yet? When to pull the trigger on new hires? What might be the risk? These questions might be the issues that all young businesses try to deal with.
In the Aerospace industry, the challenges can be even more intense. The most common and unique ones that should be mentioned are finding/hiring talent within a timeframe for a project. Most will state that the company should never outsource the core competencies. However, in the space world, where it is highly experienced structural, propulsion, and GNC engineers, then affording to hire these talents might be a problem. So, what is the right move? You can join the webinar to listen to the panelists who have faced and addressed these Aerospace Industry challenges from the early stages, and those who have achieved long-term success to help your business scale up faster.
#10. Virtual push-ups and how digital is transforming fitness and wellness
The fact that health has become so important leads to the fast growth of the fitness and wellness industry in the past decade. Hence, new tech and models are also emerging. However, when the Coronavirus appeared, it also accelerated some new trends in the industry. The methods of fitness will not be like before. Thus, the session held by Tom Humphrey will cover several topics around this fitness and wellness sector. For example, how is the fitness industry different from pre-COVID and post-COVID? What will be the future of on-demand and at-home fitness? What is the role of data in fitness management and tech? How to effectively build community? Will the new models like subscription, wholistic fitness, D2C, and B2B bring any new impactful changes? How important is the role of insurance?
People play an important role in the success of any business. No one can build up an empire on himself, thus knowing this, Denver includes a track called People, where the leaders can together discuss how to enhance the team effectiveness, sustainability, or the wellness of employees.
#11. Let’s hear it for the voices of women in sustainability
Sustainability is an important topic in any industry. More people care about their impact on the environment. Thus, a question might arise that “what does the future environmental sustainability look like?”. WIS standing for the women in sustainability will showcase women across Colorado working together to answer this question. This organization concentrates on environmental sustainability; the women have come to provide their voices on what a “new normal” looks like after the coronavirus pandemic. The speakers of this session will be the co-founders of WIS, Becky Migas, and Beth Birchfield, who will provide details and emphasize the voices of WIS on how we can collaborate and create a better tomorrow.
#12. Manager’s cheat sheet to keep her remote teams productive
Arjita Ghosh, a director of growth engineering, will be talking in this session. She believes that the COVID pandemic has put us through many obstacles including remote working. Thus, the managers are trying to deal with challenges like keeping the team motivated as well as themselves in this virtual environment. They are worried about how to make themselves available “perfectly” to keep the team productive.
With this webinar, you will be able to learn some techniques and how to lead your remote teams successfully with emotional intelligence.
#13. Breaking the stigma: mental health and entrepreneurship
Undoubtedly, it is getting more hustle and rushing in life as well as work, forcing people to work harder which results in several health problems. One of the most dangerous health issues that is facing the employees as well as the leaders is mental health. According to the recent study by Small Business Economics, 72% of entrepreneurs are directly or indirectly influenced by mental illness. Besides, there was a 30% increase in suicides in the US since 1999. This session hosted by Chrysta Bairre, a career coach, will have an open and honest discussion about the impact of mental illness on entrepreneurs. Three topics will be included in the discussion. Namely, in which hidden and quite way does mental illness appear in your business and life? How to overcome mental illness as the public face of your business? Finally, what tools can be used to manage a mental illness so that you can stay happy, and healthy in your life as well as work?
#14. How to deal with difficult conversations
Effective communication is the key to any successful businesses. However sometimes we often avoid the “difficult” conversations, and that will not either solve the problems or make the relationships better. Avoiding conversations has several reasons. It can be because you don’t want to hurt or offend anyone and just want to live in peace, or you are not confident of your vocabulary to be able to deliver what you mean, or you’re afraid to be perceived negatively. Those situations can be seen anywhere, it could happen with boss, fellows, families, or a friend. However, this session can help address those problems. During the session, Katie D’Andrea, a Facilitator, Coach, and Digital Marketing Manager at Arlosoul, will talk about ways to approach those sticky conversations, which will result in better and more satisfying results for both parties.
#15. Creating a coaching culture
As leaders in fast-growing start-ups, we face lots of challenges, we need to make sure that the teams will not only succeed but also thrive higher. To achieve that, they need to invest efforts in the task, the company, and themselves. Thus, one might ask how to engage all the team members for the highest productivity and lowest turnover? The answer to this is coaching. A culture involving strong coaching will differentiate the good from the great organizations.
With coaching, the leaders will be able to invest in team members with targeted development, skill-building, and performance improvement. And knowing the importance of coaching, Dwight Braswell- a CEO, startup consultant, training content creator and facilitator at Bunny2Bear, will give a speech and discuss with the leaders about why coaching is so crucial and powerful and how coaching can be more effective than traditional performance review models. In the session, he will also share a simple and impactful model, offer tips, and best practices to improve your coaching technique.
This is the end of our article. We hope after reading this, you will be able to find the most suitable sessions which you can join and then create effective changes for your organization. For more information about these tracks, you can also visit here.