Believing in the Impossible Because You Didn’t Know It was Impossible: An Agency of the Future Event Recap

At GovLoop’s Agency of the Future Event, Ann Rodriguez, Director of Global Brand Marketing for Soccer and Lacrosse at Under Armour said, “I didn’t know I couldn’t,” as she referenced the culture at Under Armour. “I didn’t’ know I couldn’t” is part of Under Armour founder Kevin Plank’s philosophy for his company.

Under Armour was built on the idea of no limits or boundaries when it came to meeting the clothing and apparel needs of athletes. To this day Under Armour lives by their “I didn’t know I couldn’t” motto to drive innovative ideas for the company.

In addition, Rodriguez shared tips from Under Armour to encourage government employees to create innovative ideas to meet the demands of citizens.

If you missed GovLoop’s event yesterday, here are some of her major points:

  • Promote a culture of innovation in your organization that encourages all employees to look for creative solutions. To create this culture of innovation, make sure that all employees know three things:
  1. Innovation doesn’t have to come from the top. Every single employee can develop and advocate for a creative idea.
  2. You have permission to fail. Create a pilot project, make a proposal, test whether or not a solution will work, and if you fail, try again.
  3. Your organization has yet to make its defining product. There is always room for improvement, especially as technology and citizens’ needs change over time.
  • Reach out to citizens with social media and storytelling. Under Armour relies greatly on visual images and ads so that it can get its message across to a wide audience. The company promotes these images through both traditional and social media outlets. Government agencies should do the same given that citizens in the United States come from such a diverse set of backgrounds and can increasingly be reached through social media.
  • Form partnerships with other players. Still a growing company, Under Armour collaborates with sports channels and teams across the world in an effort to increase the reach and effectiveness of its products. In a time of budget constraints and sequestration, government agencies can also benefit from collaboration across agencies or with the private or non-profit sector.

Rodriguez concludes in a manner similar to how she began, encouraging government employees to go beyond thinking outside the box, to imagining creative solutions as if the box wasn’t there.

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Megan Price

Great re-cap! I found this session to be incredibly eye opening. I think there are a lot of parallels government employees can pull from Under Armour – you mentioned many above…here are a few I took away:

1 – Be Innovative – everyone has the power to collaborate. Be creative, collaborate with peers and make the case for change.

2 – Partner with Others – Link up with other agencies and partner up with similar minded stakeholders to help propel ideas forward.

3 – Fail Forward – While this isn’t the norm in government culture; there are new and traditional ways to fail forward and not meet resistance. Don’t be afraid to try – its ok to fail – just make sure you’re learning something from it!

4 – Tell Your Story – latch onto your success stories, make government more human! Our government is constantly doing amazing things – tell people about it!

5 – Be Social – not sure how to get your success stories out…try social media! Its one area you can apply all these points and make change happen. Don’t be afraid to try something new, partner with the key stakeholders, and tell your story via social media.

Terrence (Terry) Hill

I loved their promotional videos! Very inspiring! I haven’t seen anything close to this in government, except for the inspiring Marine Corps commercials. It’s too bad we can’t market our services!