Lindsay Burns
Lindsay Burns, Marketing & Sponsorship Specialist

“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty…”
Theodore Roosevelt

The word innovation is often used synonymously with technology. In fact, this is often not the case at all. The Halifax Chamber of Commerce has a history of encouraging businesses to take risks and for business people in our city to be bold. So we decided to try something new too!

This year we participated in Nocturne: Art at Night. Check our their website here. For one evening a year, over 25,000 Haligonians flock to our most vibrant areas of the city to view, explore and enjoy art. This festival aligned very well with our strategic plan, to help build a vibrant downtown core, so we decided to participate. We partnered with a local Artist, Annemarie Johnson of Trompe l’Oeil Studios to help facilitate the art of the project. We paired up with the Downtown Halifax Business Commission to host the event in their new beautiful space and we got some funding from the Culture and Youth Activities Program with the provincial government.

We worked with local high school students to create art that communicated business priority areas in Halifax such as a focus on reduction of red tape, supporting entrepreneurs and creating a positive business environment. The students did a fantastic job with their art pieces and over the evening, we had over 2,000 people view of our project! Success!

Though the project was successful, it does not mean that there were not some bumps along the road of trying something new.

For example: The stakeholders in your project will sometimes have uncertainty about the process and/or outcomes of what new, bold idea you are trying. It can be very difficult to be convincing that everything will work out, because even those that are “in it” are experiencing new and uncertain feelings. No one will know what the end result of all of your work will “look like”, so it can be scary putting all of your efforts in such a risky situation. One way to combat this uncertainty is to map out a plan with all interested parties present. This best achieved once the project has been defined and many of the common questions can be addressed. This will help put minds at ease and instill a bit more confidence in your project.

Communication with all of the different stakeholders throughout the entire project is critical to the success of the project. This may sound cliché but if someone is not feeling comfortable with the progress, they will likely experience more uncertainty and the best result may be compromised.

When all is said and done, the pain is certainly worth the gain. Celebrate the success together and recognize that there are lots of people who appreciate the risks that business people take everyday!