Bits & Pieces?
Two weeks ago we welcomed our new group of interns. However, we were so busy working with them that we forgot to officially introduce them here. Without further ado, please say hello to Jenn, Bryan, Madeline, Joel, Laura and Kelly.
Jennifer Spelman is a rising junior at the University of Wisconsin – Madison majoring in retail. She loves dancing and performed at a national dance competition in New York City. She even took second place in her age group.
Bryan Padovano is a junior at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design majoring in communications design. He is funny, smart, talented, passionate about what he does and at one point of his life attended a Spice Girls concert. My 10-year old self bows in respect.
Madeline Bok is also a rising junior but at Marquette University studying advertising, Spanish and graphic design. She wants to be Nick Pipitone when she grows up. How could we not hire her?! Or maybe that was her strategy to get in.
Joel Rottier is a junior (senior-ish in his words, whatever that means) majoring in graphic design with a background in strategic communication at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. He is a night owl who believes that I have unlimited supplies of chocolate and sticky notes, which might or might not be true.
Laura Moorhead is a junior at the University of Minnesota Twin-Cities. She started her college career as a interior design major but later switched to strategic communication and media production. Laura is a Vice-President of Development of Kappa Alpha Theta’s Upsilon Chapter and, just like other people on the team, a creative speller.
Kelly Warpechowski is a junior at Alverno College majoring in interactive media design. She loves bringing people’s ideas to life. Besides being the president of IMD Adobe Designers, Kelly is also a DJ for Alverno Inferno Free Radio. Oh, and I almost forgot; today is Kelly’s 21st birthday. Happy birthday!
Welcome to Jigsaw and OrangeAid.
Our web project manager, Jacque Dahlgren, successfully completed another project last Friday, by putting the ball in the hole in one shot at the par 3 6th hole at Mee-Kwon golf course in Mequon, Wisconsin. As expected, Jacque employed the five phases of a web project to complete her task:
Discover: She identified the hole as in fact the 6th, a par 3. She identified the pin placement. Calculated the wind direction. She considered her past golf experiences and scores to inform actionable items in the next phase.
Define: After putting together all the data collected in the discovery phase, she decided to use a 5 wood.
Design: A tee was deployed straight into the ground and she stood carefully behind the ball, looking up at her target to make sure everything was in proper alignment. After making a few changes and final adjustments, her plan was approved and she gave herself the go ahead to swing the club.
Deploy: She swung her club perfectly and the ball was lofted directly toward the green, where it promptly bounced into the cup.
Want to make an art director and a copywriter shiver in fear? Mumble the words “annual report” to them. These projects were and still are huge beasts, sprawling projects that seem to go on and on and on. “How about another round of changes?”
While for many this is still the case, our client BloodCenter of Wisconsin decided to bring their annual report, which they call the “community report,” online. Our ears perked up, especially at the prospect of doing something different. Using the theme “Life is in our DNA,” we shared the larger BloodCenter of Wisconsin story, a story that goes beyond giving blood and reaches out into diagnostics, research, organ and tissue donation and more. The site incorporates a two and a half minute video, a “movie trailer” of sorts that brings together the many aspects of BloodCenter’s good work.
The homepage features the video, and if I may geek out for just a moment, I’d like to share some details about the video player. (The following is about to become quite geeky indeed, and I’m providing indication to what part you can skip. You’re welcome). <GEEKiNess>These days it’s always a concern about mobile capabilities when designing anything new for the web. Everyone wants to know if the video will work on their new iPad, their phones, and anything else we may not even know about yet. The challenge was having the entire homepage feature a video, a video that needed to play on all the above. In this case, embedding a Vimeo or YouTube player wasn’t going to cut it aesthetically. And having a custom flash player did not solve any mobile issues (thanks Apple). So, we decided to use an HTML5 video player which helped us solve every playback issue on any device. The HTML5 player works on all newer browsers and even has a flash version it defaults to if for some reason you don’t update your browser (which you should always do. It’s free). On top of the flash back-up, you can also provide a regular video file (mov or mp4) that will play on all mobile devices. If you will be doing video on the web anytime soon, we highly recommend you bookmark that link.</GEEKiNess> And, we’re back.
In addition to the main video and the content of the standard community report pages (Board of Directors, financials, etc), the site also features four patient stories from real people that have had their lives touched by BCW. These stories fall under the categories: Discovery, Diagnosis, Treatment and Cure. We could share with you exactly what those emotional stories are about, but we’ll leave it up to you to explore and find out. At the very least, watch the video.
I hope you enjoy our newest work. It’s work I’m really proud of. It ran the gamut, whether it was learning what an OGG file is to sneakily shooting stills while the cameras were rolling.
Notice I abbreviated Photo Showdown in the title? Pretty fancy, right? And, space saving. Anyway, this weeks photos are also fancy and we need you to vote on which one is your favorite. This weeks photographers are Nick Pipitone, Michael Prince, the returning champ—Danielle Fritz, and myself. These are our attempts at capturing “Motion”.
Yesterday, in the first part of this post, I was thinking it was time for some Business Process Management (BPM) applied to our agency Status meeting. To briefly recap, BPM is a company’s ongoing (or semi-annual at least) equivalent to closet-cleaning, and it allows us to shed unnecessary process rituals in favor of newer, more efficient processes and (ideally) increased nimbleness.
Today we’ll look at a quick and easy way to sort through a process ritual in order to determine if it has the appropriate level of purpose and value or whether it no longer makes sense.
Speaking of closet-cleaning, I think the process of cleaning out a closet offers a good template. Everyone knows (well, I guess it depends on how much Oprah you’ve watched), that there are just a few easy questions you can ask to determine whether a garment should remain in your closet – or whether it should be placed in the keep, toss or repair pile.
- Have you worn it in the past 1.5 years?
- Does it fit/is it flattering?
- Is it the image you want to portray?
Cleaning out a process-closet can be a bit trickier than cleaning out your personal wardrobe though. Imagine that you share your clothes with a group – or maybe even all – of your co-workers. The decision making must involve the whole team. BPM is not easy, but the more we practice the better we can get at it.
So we haven’t had Status in months, but it hasn’t yet been years. It’s not completely forgotten, we still think about it quite often. So in that sense, it’s still a keeper.
Does it fit and flatter? My guess is no. Well, at least it wasn’t fitting everyone. Something about status wasn’t working – too long/not long enough, too many people/not enough people/not the right people, wrong time of day/week, not valuable enough, etc. It was probably all these things! So now we know it’s not in the keep pile – but should we toss it or repair it?
At a very basic level, the purpose of any status meeting is to keep work flowing. In theory, the rest of the week we work independently or in smaller project teams and it’s plausible that during this time we move away from each other. Status is about course correction and being one cohesive business unit. Is this the image we want to portray? I would say yes, absolutely.
So, now we know. We will keep Status, but it needs alterations before it’s ready to rock again.
From this point, it’s just a quick business analysis exercise to discover who uses Status, what each user expects from Status and how Status can be modified to deliver the most value to the highest percentage of users. Certainly not an insignificant task, but much more digestible now that we have a better understanding of the value.
It’s particularly easy to come in and do this sort of closet cleaning/process optimization when you are new to an organization. We’ve noticed that our OrangeAid interns have a unique ability to ask us why we cut the ends off of our ham – among other things. But you don’t have to be an intern or a newbie or even a process-oriented individual to initiate these sorts of evaluations.
The closet-cleaning model is just one way to keep things fun and easy. More important than how you go about it is that you have good dialog about it within the agency and that and you do it. Get in a room, focus on one closet at a time, and start sorting through what works and what doesn’t. Not only does this foster a progressive energy within the agency but it provides the necessary meaning to the process rituals that give each agency their structure and strength.
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