The importance of ideas

That famous job interview question:  “what is your biggest weakness?”  Difficult to answer.  Saying something like “I’m a bit dishonest” isn’t an option.  So interviewees find weaknesses that are actually strengths … “I’m a perfectionist” … “I’m a workaholic” ….

Well, I will be open about my weakness.  I’m terrible at ideas.  I never think of anything original.  I can take someone else’s idea and turn it into an outcome … but if you ask me to think of an idea I will simply stare back at you.

This is why I like the leisure industry.  It’s full of people with great ideas.  And often these ideas seem so obvious once you know them … a bit like the lottery numbers.  However, the skill is originating them and this week has seen some excellent examples.

The Propel Newsletter reported the opening of a £3 million nightclub in Basildon by Deltic Group.

This is newsworthy mainly because it’s the single biggest investment in a regional nightclub for a decade. The club itself seems fairly normal … different rooms for different music, fancy interior design and a sky bar.  However, it has a little extra .. the toilets contain pamper stations complete  hair-dryers and hair straighteners. It doesn’t seem like much, but its original and this can make all the difference.  Lots of people (especially girls) will try the club at least once.

And the role of innovation in the nightclub sector has been picked up by Pinders in their November regional e-newsletter.

Pinders first report that the number of nightclubs have shrunk from 3,144 in 2005 to 1,733 in 2015.  The reasons are several.  For sure university tuition fees and youth unemployment have reduced the spending power of many traditional nightclub customers.  However, Pinders speculate that revellers can now stay at a bar and enjoy a wider selection of drinks, cheaper prices and longer opening hours.

Pinders believe that technology can help.  Many clubbers are put off by long queues which “doesn’t fit with today’s young generation who are used to having a phone app for everything”.  So, the club operator with the talent to think of a way of using a smart app to reduce queues and speed up bar service is likely to gain a material advantage.

This focus on original thought is emphasised elsewhere in the Pinders November regional e-newsletter.  For example:

  • A coffee shop that doubles a wine-tasting venue and store has opened in Copthorne, West Sussex.  Oliver’s Coffee and Wine Shop allows people to sample up to 24 wines before deciding what to buy.  Prices start at 30p.
  • London’s smallest craft beer taproom has been launched in Piccadilly. The London Beer House, which measures just 15ft x 20ft, opened in Charles II Street with nine rotational keg beers and a wide selection of bottles and cans.
  • Artisan bakery-cafe Foxcroft & Ginger has opened the UK’s first poached egg bar within the Beyond Retro vintage clothing store in Stoke Newington Road, Dalston. The egg bar specialises in “eggs cooked at 63 degrees for an hour that give a great running yolk and perfectly cooked white”

The role of original ideas is one of the reason why, at Ortus, we only keep half an eye on industry trends.  For sure the general direction of the leisure industry is important and we can’t ignore it.  However, whether the industry is going up or down, leisure business built on original ideas and run by quality people always stand a great chance.

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