MEREDITH Strategy + Design

We design the places and spaces where people come together to do great work


Weeknotes, January 16, 2010We're testing the "weeknotes" concept, basically a report on what we were up to in the last week.

"Sitting there waiting for the economy to get better" A bit out of context, this is a quote from Anna Wintour in reference, obliquely, to the sisters behind the Rodarte fashion label. We're using it as a theme, of sorts, for the development of some thoughts about the state of "sitting there."

Wintour was referring to some fashion houses who, currently sitting things out, needed a talented designer to get things going. Our interest is the implication that even great brands are losing ground. Some assume that it is the financial market holding them back, when it may be other, internal conditions that affect their perceptions and confidence, and therefore slow momentum and affect their position.

So we're reexamining some of the issues associated with projects that have been put on hold over the past year or two. Then later this month, we'll join others to explore combining creative financing with creative consulting, and develop concepts to help our clients grab leadership and move things forward.

Activation strategies We finished the year with some very interesting projects. The subjects were right in our "sweet spot" and were made even more fulfilling by clients who understood that the world of work is changing quickly. In each case, their interest was in new kinds of work settings to  engage people more effectively and innovate more quickly. In each case, the workspace became a place for others outside of the organization to participate actively and deeply in projects.

We've begun to outline a presentation on what we've found as common concepts and principles we've developed in this work.

Agile organizations We've been connecting with an increasing number people we've worked with in the past and developing ideas together about our next moves. It's impressive how much the organizational model, for both clients and colleagues, is changing toward a more flexible platform with more dynamically scalable resources.

Directions in innovation We were pleased to get an invitation to write a paper on new directions in innovation from the leader of a group who was the editor of an earlier compilation on the subject.

Boilerplate In every life there comes a time for the necessary introductory presentation. We've bitten the bullet and are outlining and preparing a visual statement of qualifications, interests, curiosities, accomplishment

Archizoo We updated the blog with some speculation on some subjects of interest. We're keeping the list a bit light, perhaps superficial, yet, as we warm up to a deeper exploration of some of these subjects.

Matthew Barney We went to a presentation and conversation with Matthew Barney at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Barney is an artist, perhaps best known for some extraordinarily interesting and beautiful films composing a work called the Cremaster Cycle.

Barney found an interest in Detroit and is now working here to develop some pubic and private performance pieces, and record them as part of his next major work, a years-long effort to develop an epic "opera" based on Norman Mailer's Ancient Evenings.

Barney showed some "rough cuts" of the work that were extraordinary as images and surprising as Detroit contexts. A portion of the piece takes place in and around a more than 100-year old Catholic church in Detroit's Delray neighborhood, the former St. John Cantius, now surrounded by a waste treatment plant.

Some other interests Walking through walls We had a short exchange over on BLDGBLOG about the concept of "walking through walls." Although the tone for us there was political, we nonetheless are considering further the concept of open, fluid space and how walls in some contexts defend and in others limit.

Red Cliff We're assessing whether we have the stamina to get out and see Red Cliff this weekend. It's a five-hour commitment, but the movie is one of the greatest – and the most expensive of all time – to come out of Asia.

October Sky In the meantime, we enjoyed watching October Sky, a good movie to inspire the entrepreneurial, start-up, competitive spirit.

and, over at one of our tumblrs...