Innovation mindset at heart of speakers’ messages

By Sonya Anderson

The two presenters at Barrie’s 8th annual Mayor’s Business Progress Breakfast shared parallel messages — attracting talent and making better business decisions is about adopting an innovative mindset shift.

Eric Termuende, author, speaker, and co-founder of NoW Innovations, spoke to a packed room of local business leaders from across a variety of industries about the need for companies to differentiate themselves from their competitors with an employee value proposition that attracts and keeps top talent.

“In a world that’s increasingly connected people are feeling more disconnected than ever,” he says.Increasingly, people are looking for a sense of belonging and fit within their workplace.”

Termuende recommends employers articulate the life their employees can live as a result of the work they do. A company’s hiring process should focus more on who people are than on what they are. Skills and experience are the “what” of the job, but it’s the intangible benefits that really attract the right talent; such as, team composition, the culture of the company, office style, family time, work flexibility, travel and performance management, to name a few.

“Innovation isn’t the purchase of new technology, it’s the shift in mindset,” said Termuende. 

Truly innovative companies are the ones that grasp this idea and are making changes to the way they hire and keep the best talent by offering potential prospects a corporate culture and environment that they want to belong to.

Mayor Jeff Lehman re-iterated the innovation mindset shift by sharing how the city has adopted a culture of innovation by asking how things can be done better. This is often initiated from the bottom up, by listening to suggestions from employees and people that are directly involved in the changes.  The city has benefited tremendously from this mindset shift financially as well as in its ability to attract talent and businesses to set up shop here.

Part of Barrie’s value proposition is that it has some unique programs that create an entrepreneurial ecosystem, such as; the Digital Design Centre in the downtown core, the Henry Bernick Centre for entrepreneurship, and the soon-to-open Sandbox Centre in the upstairs of the current bus depot. All of these programs allow for shared experiences through interaction, an offset to the traditional isolationism that entrepreneurs often feel. 

Mayor Lehman outlined ways the city has been encouraging STEM careers, tech training and job fairs in an effort to attract talent, entrepreneurs and a skilled workforce to set up shop in Barrie.  

But the real highlight of the presentation came at the end with a sneak peek at the city’s latest tool: a sexy sizzle reel that will be launched soon along with a re-vamped business development webpage. The short video provides a flashy overview of Barrie’s true value proposition – unparalleled recreational opportunities, a vibrant live-music scene, a sizzling restaurant sector and abounding cultural opportunities.  In short, everything you could ask for in an exceptional quality of life.

View Mayor Lehman’s full presentation here.

Photo: from the left, Eric Termuende, Stephannie Schlichter, and Mayor Jeff Lehman, at this year’s Mayor’s Business Progress Breakfast.

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