If you consider yourself an innovator you should traverse at least once, through the very-hard-to-label experience of The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, the resort and casino that is credited for revitalizing the Strip, and building a formidable new brand in what feels like the blink of an eye. I know. I’ve done it.
Arriving at the front door, entering the digital trance they call a lobby, and beginning to experience that sense of…VISCERAL SURPRISE…is such an antidote to what my old boss, Tom Peters called, the sea of sameness. It is a reminder of what is possible, what new looks and feels like.
The magic behind The Cosmopolitan is poured decisively every day from a cocktail shaker of imagination, daring, an unswerving belief in originality, and a daily operation that doesn’t sleep in its desire to create experiences “worth returning to.” It’s also a testament to diversity, in the leadership (experienced Vegas operators meet essentialists who just won’t settle for anything that has been done before), in the product (seemingly endless restaurants and bars that spring from a mix of restauranteur-auteurs and an homage to the Rat Pack era of Vegas elegance) and environments.
Recognizing the two sides of our nature, there’s the zen pool and the night club pool. There’s the boxing ring and Hammam. And the big red high heels.
When CMO Lisa Marchese spoke at the Back End of Innovation last year, in the words of some friends, “she killed it”…because she talked openly about how hard this is to pull off, and the real grit it takes for a team to build a dream. Together, with CEO John Unwin and Chief Talent guy Daniel Espino, and the rest of their team, they have created The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas to be a waking dream for right now.
The Back End of Innovation conference alights there on October 6 through the 8th. It includes behind the scene tours of the resort, of Zappos, the Downtown Las Vegas Project and more.
As the conference chair (full disclosure) I fought for this choice because I wanted to help plunge the heavy-lifter innovation crowd, the back-end implementers (who truth be told, often start at the front-end, with insights and ideas) into an EXPERIENCE of innovation — implemented. It’s human, it’s digital, it’s different, it is relentless in its drive for originality and…it’s a commercial success that is proof that daring to be different has a return on investment.
This is the backdrop for three days focused completely on what it takes to do the work of innovation, and what Stanford d-school’s Bob Sutton calls “the problem of more” i.e., getting more of the people in your organization involved in doing that work with you. If you want to see, hear, feel, taste, touch and be inspired by a fully implemented customer journey, then come join us! The BEI conference room rate is a stunning $189 through September 12. Register here while you can!
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Julie Anixter is the executive editor and co-founder of Innovation Excellence. She also serves as the Executive in Residence for the Disruptor Foundation. The co-author of three books, she’s working on a fourth on future innovators. She worked with Tom Peters for five years on bringing big ideas to big audiences. Now she works with the US Military, Healthcare, Education, Manufacturing and other high test innovation cultures that make a difference. You can follow her @julieanixter