At FB Society, we pride ourselves on being visionaries united in a common purpose—to create and execute experiences never imagined. But that’s easier said than done.
When I’m asked what drives our accomplishments, most assume I’ll start with hard work and hustle. And while those are certainly a significant part of our recipe, the most important lesson I share is that travel fuels the imagination and leads to breakthrough ideas.
For instance, when you walk into the “loo” at Ida Claire, you’ll find pull handle toilets from Russia. We decided that this was a must-have feature after a few vodkas at Café Pushkin. Or visit Velvet Taco and you’ll experience a concept inspired by weeks spent traveling through China, Germany and the U.K. That trip sparked the desire to create Velvet Taco’s delicious menu items, except we added “Texas style.” Upon returning from that trip, we began cooking hundreds of international dishes and wrapping them in a tortilla. I’m fairly confident that had we not gone on that adventure, thousands of people would have never experienced a Tikka Masala Taco or lined up outside of our original location for a Back Door Chicken. Velvet Taco is a stellar example of going global and thinking local.
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Perhaps the biggest example of travel inspiring creativity lives at the intersection of Legacy and the Dallas North Tollway—Legacy Food Hall. We re-created memories of our travels from around the world and I soon realized that we had created a playground, not a workplace. Studying food halls in more than 20 countries and building a plan to operationalize these ideas in Plano, Texas wasn’t a job at all. It was a dream that I’d never been able to live had I not been a corporate dropout and chosen to take the trips, not just tackle the P & L.
But you don’t have to go global to imagine a breakthrough idea. Between work and family life, everyone struggles to find time to really think. A short road trip to Austin or a weekend in New Braunfels, Texas help me slow down and really live in the moment. A sign in a small town or meal in a roadside diner can bring equal inspiration. I almost always find something to bring back to my personal life and work. Every trip inspires a new choice in my fridge, a new wine for the table or a new number in my contacts. They all matter. Sparks can come from almost anywhere, but if you’re constantly multitasking and focusing only on what you need to accomplish next, the spark never starts.
Now, during a time when the industry is plagued by burn out and many are ready to turn in the towel, what if we encourage our teams to seek out new experiences instead? What if your best team members were inspired and imaginative? How much value could they bring back to the experiences they’re helping you create?
Jump ship, book a trip or maybe, just take a different route home.
Jack Gibbons is the CEO of FB Society.