Like Drink Tank, Goose Island celebrates curiosity, innovation and community, and is proud of its Chicago roots. We joined forces with the beer company for their 2016 Migration Season. Drink Tank designed, executed and measured a series of hyper-local brand activations to support and strengthen their brand position around sustainability, environmental innovation and authentic local impact.
Through our partnership Goose Island we helped export Chicago’s spirit of collaboration from coast to coast, and fuel conversations that matter. We identified relevant local issues, unique venues, and community influencers, and brought them together for a Party with a Purpose. Using creative applications of design thinking, we helped communities look at something familiar in a new way.
We gathered lobstermen, designers, artists, engineers and scientists together to redesign the lobster trap. In the process our Goose Island event was featured on the front page of the Portland Press Herald and raised awareness for the Gulf of Maine research institute and sustainable fishing practices. The event was held at Portland’s largest makerspace which has started hosting design thinking events aimed at the general public. And of course, the topic of lobster traps and sustainability continues to be top of mind in the northeast. Read more about our efforts to bring innovation to an industry steeped in tradition on our Portland Session Notes.
We collaborated with the Trust for Public Land where we created story-starters to surface insights for key personas in the Trust’s outreach campaigns.These insights are now being used to fundamentally reshape marketing messaging in California. More on how some of The Bay Area's most creative minds reimagined green spaces here on our Oakland Session Notes.
In Chicago we partnered with the Alliance for the Great Lakes to “Map Lake Michigan”, an event that brought a diverse group of thinkers to create maps of the lakeshore. After the event Drink Tank converted these maps into digital format to launch an online campaign that the Alliance for the Great Lakes will use to mobilize volunteers and donors throughout the midwest. Explore these uniquely generated maps on our Chicago Session Notes.
We created an event to elevate local food and ingredients to an art form. In collaboration with chefs, farmers, artists and Goose Island brewers we hosted a progressive beer dinner to cultivate creativity, and result in a community generated piece of art that is now being sold to raise awareness and funds for FairShare CSA. Explore a menu collaboration and see "Grow Together" the original print inspired by the gathering on our Madison Session Notes.
Betabrand is a retail clothing company and crowdfunding platform based in San Francisco. The company designs, manufactures, and releases new products in limited quantities each week. While Betabrand has a strong global footprint, the company approached us to strengthen brand awareness and community participation in the midwest. As part of this strategic engagement we designed a Chicago-based event and brought target audiences together to prototype and generate insights and feedback in real time.
To get started we researched Betabrand’s customer data. Cyclists emerged as a core market segment, and one firmly rooted in Chicago. With this in mind we created a campaign that would help Betabrand learn more about products and apparel that would be appealing to the midwest market. We created a “Bike to Life” event to bring people together to prototype products and apparel aimed at improving the lives of Chicago cyclists, and partnered with Betabrand to build a digital hub to promote the campaign to a global audience.
Next we invited influential, creative and curious types from Chicago’s maker, design, technology and cycling communities. Divvy, Chicago’s bike share company, joined the collaboration and shared cyclist data, insights, and perceived opportunities for the Chicago market. The event sold out quickly, and on one summer night in West Town we met in a local bike shop to sketch ideas related to things like safety, commuting, and of course, Chicago’s Polar Vortex.
Ultimately teams generated more than 20 Chicago-centric designs. To extend the digital reach of the event we worked with Betabrand to pilot a conversation “hub” on their Think Tank so that customers, fans and followers could participate in the event remotely. In addition to the ideas generated during the course of the Drink Tank, the virtual event hub generated dozens of new product ideas from a global community, a local community activation that Betabrand was able to highlight as it sought its next round of funding.
Till School is a design-based high education alternative that helps students solve problems in the real-world. Till School is on a mission to
cultivate inspired, diverse students and then equip them with the skills to identify and solve evolving societal issues, and help students develop
self-knowledge and collaborative leadership skills needed in today's economy.
Till School founder, Erin Huizenga, engaged Drink Tank to host a design thinking workshop to catalyze and crystalize strategic thinking prior to launch. We worked with Erin and her team to identify and articulate the key areas for exploration and recruited some of Chicago’s top thinkers, dreamers, educators, designers and business leaders from places like IDEO, R/GA, CannonDesign, Greater Good Studio, VSA, Gravity Tank and Leo Burnett. Drink Tank designed collaboration “tracks” to foster a creative, yet actionable session to surface ideas, and translate them into a roadmap of prioritized opportunities for Till School.
After the session Drink Tank distilled major themes and insights into a strategic planning document for Erin and her leadership team. The collaboration resulted in modifications to the Till curriculum and schedule, expanded mentorship opportunities for students, and a new website complete with updated messaging. To see the collaboration design and complete list of strategic recommendations visit the Session Notes here.
Brooklyn Boulders (BKB) designs, builds and operates hybrid rock climbing facilities anchored by the premise that physicality stimulates innovation and creativity. Recently the franchise opened a 25,000 square foot facility in Chicago’s West Loop, offering climbing and fitness experiences while providing an unconventional platform to bring the arts, music, culture, and entrepreneurial communities together. They turned to us to explore ways to engage and grow their community (and brand) in Chicago.
Drink Tank partnered with the talented team from the Experience Institute, an education program that focuses on experiential based learning, for the discovery phase. We guided students through collecting research including interviews onsite and off with key members of BKB’s management team, target audience and competitors. Based on feedback and insights Drink Tank distilled the opportunity into four primary areas for further exploration:
1) Education & Outreach: How might we collect data and stories from BKB and use the learnings to build awareness about the benefits of physical activity for productivity and creativity?
2) Community & Activation: How might BKB make it easy for new members to become “good citizens” of their climbing community?
3) Strategic Partnerships: How might BKB build network-based partnerships and service offerings that extend reach among target audiences?
4) Marketing & Brand Positioning: Why BKB? Define the target audience and their motivations.
During the second phase of the engagement Drink Tank designed a session to dive deeper into these questions. We invited talented thinkers from Experience Institute, innovation firms, Chicago Tribune’s digital team, The Field Museum, the Chicago Mayor’s Office, climbers, developers, fitness entrepreneurs, and nonprofit founders (among others). Drink Tank distilled the findings from this session into a strategic roadmap that identified strategic partnerships, and ways to help new members feel connected, less intimidated and easily “find their place” at BKB.
Brooklyn Boulders began making modifications to its brand experience both online and off. They launched a program to make new visitors welcome and set up a bulletin board and calendar to inform members about events and activities. They also redesigned their digital newsletter, online calendar and website to feature member accomplishments, events and community partners. BKB has also pursued a series of events to target Chicago entrepreneurs, one of the target markets identified through the session.
Code for America is an organization “dedicated to making government services simple, effective, and easy to use”. Each summer the organization hosts National Day of Civic Hacking in cities across the country. We partnered with the brigade in Lexington, KY to bring a new approach to the event. In an effort to support the organization’s mission, and “build with, not for” we designed and facilitated an event that brought new voices to the table. In addition to technologists, developers, researchers and government officials who typically participate, we invited artists, entrepreneurs, and social service experts to lend their perspective and designed a format that made it easy to participate, despite one’s level of technical abilities.
We generated ideas and broke into teams to prototype. We built discovery, research and testing with real users into the process.
The New Town Hall created a space to identify priorities, gain insights and make connections between Lexington residents and software developers. This unlikely combination of thinkers resulted in at least one new app. Two developers, Erik Schwartz and Chase Southard, proceeded to build gethelplex.org, an online tool to help citizens of Lexington find resources for substance abuse treatment.
Braintree provides payment processing options for many devices. Braintree’s global payment platform processes more than $10 billion annually for thousands of online and mobile companies (including Airbnb, Uber, GitHub and StubHub) in 46 markets across North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. Like many tech companies, Braintree wanted to address issues around diversity and inclusion and sought a partner to help identify what this program might entail. We worked together to collectively identify issues and obstacles, prioritize opportunities and surface insights to help clarify next steps to activate a Women at Braintree program in Chicago and San Francisco offices, and in doing so strengthen the recruiting pipeline and bolster retention.
For the first time in the company’s history they opened their doors to outside facilitators. Braintree hired Drink Tank to guide a productive conversation around diversity and inclusion, and to identify opportunities for the Women at Braintree program. We designed two highly interactive sessions for 100 employees in Chicago and San Francisco to:
1) Educate participants on the current tech landscape, diversity gap, and gender bias
2) Define goals and identify opportunities to activate the eWit program in Chicago and abroad
We knew that employees couldn’t call something out unless they knew what to call it, so we distilled the insights from our two sessions into a “shared vocabulary” to contextualize these themes and make them real and relatable for Braintree employees. This document translated issues around gender and diversity inclusion with relevant examples, anonymized personal anecdotes from the session and survey, supporting industry data, and implications for Braintree. We provided this deliverable along with key insights from the sessions to the senior leadership team. Results from our engagement were shared globally, and resulted in greater investment in mentorship and manager training and a regular series of town hall meetings to measure progress.
Leo Love is a community outreach program at Leo Burnett Chicago, founded in 2013 to continue the company’s legacy of giving back. Through the program, Leo gives to 6 nonprofit organizations focused on Children (our future), Creativity (our talent) and Chicago (our home). These nonprofits include Chicago Shakespeare Theater, EMBARC, Junior Achievement, Marwen, Off The Street Club, and the Ronald McDonald House.
Leo employees give their time through volunteer opportunities, their talent through creative and strategic work, and their money through the Helping Hand Program, which takes a portion out of each paycheck. Through Leo Love, LB has successfully dedicated over 7,500 volunteer hours, rebranded two nonprofit partners, and raised over $175,000 from internal fundraising efforts.
In 2015 we partnered with Experience Institute (Ei), a 12-month higher education program based on real world experiences, to consider ways to deepen community and employee engagement in the program, and to teach Ei students design thinking fundamentals in the process.
We first brought Ei students through our design thinking curriculum to reflect and build on insights generated during discovery interviews with key stakeholders. During these sessions Ei students got hands-on-practice with contextual inquiry, interviewing users to uncover pain points, generating personas, and formulating challenge statements.
Next we brought in Leo Burnett team members and nonprofit partners to participate in a day-long workshop (facilitated in part by Ei students) to help articulate the Leo Loves story and prototype ideas to drive participation and engagement both internally and externally.
Leo Burnett created a specific apprenticeship for a student to continue to drive these initiatives forward. Following the social impact session, Leo Burnett has also pursued technology solutions such as lobby touchscreens to promote and display Leo Love initiatives, and expansions to the company-wide intranet to include information about the program. The company is also developing a new website, based on messaging we helped to articulate.