We’re looking forward to participating in this weekend’s NTEN Leading Change Summit’s Idea Accelerator in San Francisco. Dawn account director Janet Kornas is among a panelist of coaches offering participants advice on topics including content strategy, digital marketing, nonprofit communications and project management.

The Idea Accelerator taking place Sept. 6 – 7 aims to surface new ideas and allow participants to get feedback and support for programs, products, apps, websites, online community platforms or hybrid organizations.

Here’s how it will work:

  • Participants will pitch their ideas Friday evening to a panel of judges.
  • Chosen concepts will be workshopped Saturday.
  • Finalists will compete for different prizes by refining their concepts and preparing presentations. Ideas will be judged on aspects of community, creativity, technology, collaboration and sustainability.


Start-up Spirit

As entrepreneurs ourselves, we’re excited to contribute to the Idea Accelerator and compare notes with the start-up community. In 2013, Dawn owners Angela Liao and Amy Wang co-founded OrangeGlad.com, a subscription dessert box service that handpicks a variety of sweets from trending bakeries and delivers them right to your doorstep.

It wasn’t easy bringing a concept to life. We’ve toiled through many long nights of work, from branding, website, product design to packing hundreds of boxes in the basement and driving them to the post office. Today, OrangeGlad has the backing of a startup accelerator firm and more than 800 subscribers who receive a monthly box of sweet treats.

We’ few things we learned along the way:

  1. Be determined and act fast. Opportunity is everything, if you think of something, chances are someone is already working on it. Get on it now!
  2. Open your ears. It’s fun being able to create a brand from scratch, and it’s super important to listen to customers and get their feedback in order to evolve and grow.
  3. The right people in the right places. Team up with the right folks. Although equity/ownership is the most valuable asset, don’t be stingy about giving it out to people who deserves to be on the team. Sometimes a great idea can either bloom or die because of the team. Nowadays, it’s typical to have a tech person on board. Without him or her, your idea may just remain an idea. (Boo.)
  4. Never stop improving your product. Nothing is ever perfect, or finished. Technologies grow at a lighting speed, and if you let yourself think for a second that your product is finished, then you are wrong. Keep improving and react fast to market changes.
  5. Biggest challenge? Creating a buzz and getting awareness once the product was ready.
  6. Key to getting past the bumps along the road? Targeting key groups and niches and engaging them in word-of-mouth marketing, blogging (and giving them incentives to do so…free treats!), rather than trying to do everything on our own.

Got ideas? Let’s hear ‘em!

Follow the action at the Idea Accelerator #LCS14. Don’t miss live tweets from @JanetKornas and @Dawn_Design.