Business Insider recently published a list of the top 25 “most innovative” businesses in Washington DC.
They note that DC is far more than just a town of power-brokers, it’s also a town with a rising food and bar scene, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a growing startup presence, which all in all, makes DC a great town to start a new business.
Analyzing the list I realized that the most common trait among these businesses had to do with food and drink. In fact, 15 of the 25 were either a restaurant or a bar. Each had something innovative that made it stand out. For example, one bar features an indoor bocce ball court, so you can play or view a friendly match while sipping your pint. Another uses wind energy, local farm ingredients, and serves only American craft beers. A third venue is a film distribution company, café, and bookstore that creates a cultural and intellectual space where literature, music, and film by and about African Americans are shared.
And what happens at restaurants and bars? People socialize. They get together. They connect. They dream. They share ideas.
In a recent post on social change at Good.is, Amanda Allen argues that social change needs to be more social. She says, why are we not capitalizing on a social space that everyone has a relationship with: the restaurant and bar.
Allen reminds us that “people have gathered in these spaces for centuries to eat, drink, interact, ideate, and innovate. Restaurants naturally attract an eclectic mix of contributors to social change: business leaders, teachers, lawyers, political figures, and other community members. Why not elevate the productivity and purpose of this space so that organic collaboration can be fostered?”
In other words, work is increasingly happening in social settings. In fact, four of the other top 25 innovative DC businesses had to do with social networking, collaboration, and co-working spaces.
Here are some quick takeaways:
- Hold a promotional event at the neighborhood bar
- Sponsor a happy hour where you can engage with locals and give your business some good ‘buzz’.
- Setup meetings in social spaces and let the owner know you appreciate the space they provide
- Ask a local bar to sponsor or host a featured campaign, which will be a win-win for you both
- Network, network, network at local establishments!
The bottom line is this: whatever your market, product, business, or organizational focus, are you engaging the social scene around you?
At the bar, around the table, over a pint? It’s time, because increasingly, that’s where life is happening.