A Quick Guessing Game To Inspire Your Next Big Idea

Lichtenstein The Head of Barcelona

As a small business owner, it’s easy to fall in the trap of limiting myself to look only at what others are doing in their businesses.

But as a business coach, that kind of same-same thinking wouldn’t help my clients—because they hire me to be their thought partner to shatter glass ceilings, walls and floors. That’s why travel has become one of my go-to’s for inspiring fresh perspective. It exposes me to experiences,  events, industries, history, happenings and humans outside of the vortex, drawing inspiration for more powerful, innovative and seamless expansions.

Barcelona is no stranger to reinvention. They’ve reenvisioned and reengineered their landscape and infrastructure on a grand scale—not once, not twice, but three times—in order to host two World Fairs (1888 and 1929) and the 1992 Olympics. Many of its most iconic landmarks are attributed to these events—including the Lichtenstein sculpture featured with this story.

So in a city that embraces change, it’s no surprise you’ll find countless examples of mini- and maxi-reinventions throughout the city. In this final installment of my #vidainbarcelona articles, I’ll share three examples — along with questions that spark ideas for how you might apply it to your own inevitable pivot(s).

What’s round, 6 levels high and used to be home to a controversial form of entertainment?

If you guessed shopping mall Arenas de Barcelona, you’re right!

Although the original exterior of this bullring was preserved, the interior was repurposed as a shopping, dining and entertainment complex after bullfighting was banned in Barcelona in 2004. It now houses 100 establishments—including retail shops, restaurants, a movie theater and exhibitions that range from Body Worlds to Warhol.

Bullring Progress | Arenas de Barcelona

Arenas de Barcelona before, during and after repurposing from bullring to shopping haven

Carolyn Herfurth | Arenas de Barcelona

Checking out the view from the rooftop of Arenas de Barcelona

Arenas de Barcelona

Shopping? Ole!

Q: Which product or service do you have that looks good on the outside, but needs to be gutted to make it more relevant in today’s market?


What was once taken for its medicinal virtues, is used as an ingredient in popular martinis and has found its revival as a mid-afternoon aperitif (hey, don’t judge) served over one big ice cube?

Right again. Vermut. (aka Vermouth in English.)

Vermouth drinking in Barcelona is a deep-rooted tradition, but lost favor until a recent resurgence in popularity. Today, Catalonians “ir de vermuteo” (go for a vermouth) with friends before lunch, usually at a bodega like the one Linda Clair Puig, Pam Ivey and I tripped over as we rambled along Carrer de la Diputació one Saturday afternoon. Talk about old school!

Vermut Barrels | Bodega | Barcelona

Big barrels but no frills at this Barcelona bodega

Vermut tasting Barcelona

Early afternoon vermut with locals

But it’s restaurants that brought its popularity back into the mainstream. We, of course, had to taste it in multiple locations and times of day — just to be sure we got the full experience. All in the name of research. 😘

Vermut | Barcelona | Linda Claire Puig

My “ir de vermuteo” partner, Linda Claire Puig

Q: What’s something “old school” that you could add into your current mix to spice things up?


What’s a contentious art form that’s illegal in most cities, but has reclaimed arrest-free, “interaction” zones for artistic expression in Barcelona?

You’re good at this. Yes, graffiti, it is.

Barcelona has legalized and legitimized street art. Graffiti artists can get a free permit from Wallspot and schedule where and when they want to create their next masterpiece. The walls could be painted over the very next day (no promises), but you’ve got your canvas if you want it.

Street Art at Tres Xemeneies

Tres Xemenenies (Three Chimneys) urban art

Tres Xemeneies

Art in progress at Tres Xemeneies

Q: What’s perceived to be off limits that you could rethink and legitimize? Which of your offers could use a facelift?


Not all reinventions are radical, like the bullring, for example. But even small, inspired pivots can create radical results. So be sure to check back here as I talk about the “reinvention spectrum” in future articles and find out where you fall along the gamut by taking our reinvention readiness quiz – COMING SOON!  😎



Posted In: Business Model Design