Walker Sands Book Club: Creativity, Inc.

The fusion of creativity and technology is no simple feat.

That’s why Ed Catmull’s “Creativity, Inc.” was the perfect addition to the Walker Sands Book Club. As the president of Pixar, Catmull’s tale centers on the development of the stories we love most, revealing the company’s creative strategies and dynamic approach to technology.

But as powerful as Pixar is today, it certainly didn’t start that way. For years, the company’s founders worked tirelessly to build the bridge between storytelling and computers. It wasn’t until after the completion of Pixar’s first feature film, “Toy Story,” that Catmull realized the company had some serious “Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration.”Q3 Book Club

Over oatmeal cookies and refreshments, our latest book club dove into Catmull’s tips for fostering a creative company culture:

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Just a Book, Part 2: Honing Agility


Watch this video to hear author, Scott Brinker, talk about hacking your management style to produce agile teams and work!

Hopefully after last week’s recap, hacking has taken on a new meaning for you. Likewise, agile, once defined as athletic flexibility, will take on a new meaning as well.

For all intents and purposes, in marketing, “agility” refers to prefered methods of project management that break work into small tasks that can be easily reevaluated and make for adaptable marketing plans. Small tasks and frequent assessment sounds like the ideal work flow; however, before the 21st century, marketers relied on waterfall methods to complete projects. This meant that one task had to be completed in order to begin the next. Sounds good in theory, right? Wrong. The waterfall method leads to bottlenecks and the inability to easily backtrack or experiment with new ideas.

Enter the “Agile Marketing Manifesto,” proposed in San Francisco in 2012. This new way of work suggested that people value small experiments over large bets, data over conventions, intimate consumer tribes over mass impersonal marketing and transparency over official posturing. It was with this proposal that marketers could step into the role of software creators and start effectively marketing in a digital world.

2What exactly did this manifesto suggest marketers change about their management styles? First they suggested the end of waterfall management and the integration of either Scrum, Kanban, or a lethal combination of both. Scrum is broken down into phases of sprints, stand-ups, backlogs and retrospectives, while Kanban helps people visualize work by breaking down tasks into three columns; to-do, in progress and done, which can be broken into subcategories as needed. By breaking down tasks that allow management to revisit, evaluate, backlog and put a time limitation on, combining both styles will increase agility and allow for rich experimentation, leading to transformative ideas.

Why should more marketers use Scrum and Kanban?

Aside from being agile and lean management methods, what makes them superior to old methods of management? Scrum increases efficiency and gives you the competitive advantage with agile sprint cycles. Agile sprint cycles begin when a bigger tasks are broken into a smaller tasks called sprints. The sprints are then organized into a backlog, which can be continuously rearranged based on shifting priorities. Then, the fun begins. Prior to a sprint cycle, 15 minute standups are held to discuss the trajectory of the sprint. Standups are concise, quick and efficient affairs. Any issues are immediately solved or put into the backlog. Once the sprint is complete teams celebrate small victories and meet to reflect on what went right and what could’ve been improved.

During all of this Kanban charts are MVPs for helping teams visualize what’s being worked on, what needs to be worked on and what is done. Because of this comprehensive and transparent work flow chart, your people can adapt a pull mentality. Rather than overwhelming team members with work in the beginning, they can focus on completing their task at hand and pull in more work as their own time frees up. Not only is this efficient, but teams will be more empowered to take ownership of their work.

At the end of the day, Scrum, Kanban or Scrumban lead to faster management, not faster workers, which in the long run frees you from extraneous tasks and eliminates bottlenecks.

Check back next Tuesday for when we go over how to use innovation to hack marketing from communications to experiences!

Want more content like this? Join Just a Book and come to Walker Sands on Aug 23 to meet Scott Brinker, click here to RSVP for your own copy of “Hacking Marketing” and to reserve a spot at the author meet and greet. Space is limited.

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Friday Five: 8/1 – 8/5

Friday-Five-Header

Happy Friday and Olympics Opening Ceremonies! You might as well catch up with some tech news before retreating into your two week international sports-watching binge. Have at it:

Samsung Uses Brazil Olympics to Break VR Content Conundrum – Bloomberg

Speaking of the Olympics, odds are you’ll be watching from your couch rather than Brazil, and Sony wants to help fend off the resulting FOMO. Those who own a Samsung Galaxy smartphone and Samsung Gear VR headset can watch the games via virtual reality on the NBC Sports app. Sony has exclusive VR rights to 80 of the 6,700 hours of programming, and the VR versions will air one day after the live events. So while the content may be limited, Sony is hoping the Olympics are the perfect time to catch attention and spread interest for the new technology.

New security flaw in credit card chips revealed – CNN Money

Implementation of EMV chip cards hasn’t gone too smoothly. American retailers spent an estimated $25 billion implementing the chip readers and shoppers spend an extra 15 seconds at checkout. Now it’s been revealed that the measure doesn’t bring as much security as promised. Payment terminals don’t encrypt transactions by default; retailers need to optionally pay extra for the basic security measure of turning on that encryption. That leaves the interaction between your card and the chip reader in plain text for any hacker to snatch up. NCR researchers recommend that retailers hurry to turn on encryption and that consumers use payment apps and e-wallets whenever possible.

A California City Is Fending Off Zika By Releasing 40,000 Mosquitos Every Week – WIRED

Clovis, California has turned to a biotech startup to address the threat of Zika. The Fresno County city has already been subjected to one case of travel-related Zika, and is working hard to keep it from spreading by releasing 20,000 mosquitos twice a week. It may sound counterintuitive, but these are no ordinary mosquitos. All are males that were bred in a Kentucky lab, where a bacterium called Wolbachia was embedded in their cells. The idea is that these infected mosquitos will mate with female mosquitos, and the resulting eggs will not hatch, thanks to the bacteria. By the end of the summer, 400,000 mosquitos will have been released.

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Team Spotlight: Will Barthel

August is fast upon us, and so is the next edition of the Walker Sands Team Spotlight!

This week, I sat down with Will Barthel to hear what’s up in the world of sales. As the Vice President of Business Development, Will uses over decade of experience in business development specializing in B2B marketing communications to keep our pipeline full.

Here’s what he had to say about working at Walker Sands.

1.What is your role at Walker Sands? What does your day-to-day look like?

Will: I am the VP of Business Development. On the surface, my day looks like phone calls and emails, which are really all about introducing people to the beauty of Walker Sands and working with service teams to move prospects through the sales process to become happy clients!

Will-Barthel

2. How has Walker Sands changed since you first started at the company?

Will: Well, since 2014, the company has doubled in size. We certainly have our growing pains, but the culture and love shared by everyone here has not changed.

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Walker Sands Wins at the 20th Annual Videographer Awards

The last few years have been full of substantial growth at Walker Sands. We’ve seen our walls expand with two office additions and space become sparse in the refrigerators. But with all the growing pains comes the addition of new brains filled with incredible talent. And this year, we hired our first in-house video producer to create new engaging content for internal use and client services.

We wanted to see how our videos were stacking up in the marketplace, so we entered in the 20th annual Videographer Awards. The verdict? We won!

We achieved an Award of Excellence for our Creative Agency Video, which highlighted the items necessary to our creative cognisance. This video was also highlighted on the homepage of the Videographer Awards! Check out the needed ingredients for our day to day here:

Our second award was for The CompTIA Social Experiment Case Study Video which exhibited our ability to tell a good case study story. We dropped 200 USB sticks in cities across America to see how many people would pick them up and plug them in. The Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals awarded it an Award of Distinction! Check it out:

Congrats to our video team for some well deserved recognition on two of our great videos.  Check out more of our creative video content here.

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