When I sit at my desk in the morning, I am greeted with a cup of coffee and the charming sound of my Mac starting up… along with a large metal cup of bright coloured pencils next to a sketchbook. Past my monitor into the open-concept office area are two sketched-up clear boards filled with client notes and drawings – they look very much like the ones you would see in CSI New York. And through the plexiglass walls I can see, on the glass table in the centre of our common area, a Scrabble board, Play-d’oh and Silly Putty. There is often an ongoing scrabble game and little sculpted creatures sharing the table.
I work in a creative and innovative environment.
At Delsys we embrace digital tools. We are cutting edge around here, and we telecommute, teleconference, Smartboard and e-collaborate with the best of them. We are fast and experienced Mac jockeys, and all Delsys employees carry iPads, and use them – a lot.
But we never forget where we come from, or what we really do. We tell stories — visual stories. Let’s face it, the best tools in the shop are the tools you actually use, and technology is only as good as the story you tell.
This is why the combination of technology and “old-school” techniques make our work place so engaging. We not only merge the new with the old, we encourage our clients to do so as well.
Although it can be tempting to run to a computer and polish a sketch up into sleek lines immediately, my first go-to is a stack of grid paper and a Sarasa Zebra jet-black ink pen. I can feel my fingers twitch with anticipation before pen touches paper, and shapes come to me as I listen to the back and forth in a client session. I doodle and am encouraged to colour outside the margins – I’m the storyteller.
Enter our boardroom in a meeting at Delsys, and along with the coffee and cookies, sure enough one of us will put a whiteboard marker into your hand and ask you to sketch out your ideas along with us. It really doesn’t matter if you can draw or not. You know your story and Delsys is a place to express yourself in a creative way.
Our tools and toys aren’t the only things that help get the creative juices flowing. The staff at Delsys have the most amazing hobbies: we design jewellery and pastry, we garden and feng shui with crystals, we write mystery novels and knit, we shred the slopes and ride motorcycles, we sing karaoke and square dance, we have a secret life as a music producer. Each member of this group leaves to a rich and fulfilling life, because that is what we crave.
Working in teams, we brainstorm together. Both designers and the research team sketch out ideas together; no light bulb is left off in this place. It’s sort of a mini-crowdsourcing. The best ideas are brought forward, and the design team regularly has internal competition on design briefs to give each product a unique look and feel.
Our project workflow and processes are organic and iterative, and we draw from the differences in creative thought and disciplines of each team member. A paragraph written by one of our analysts may shape the look of a piece, and the reverse often happens when graphic form lends inspiration for a clearer analogy in the writing.
The way we interact, that energy we have among ourselves, and the encouragement to pass along cool things we’ve seen or hobbies we do… the Delsys atmosphere is charged with innovation and bursting with ideas, and clients know it when they walk in. It is our culture.
We recognize the place that creativity has in the process of getting a client to their destination. It is a fundamental component of the whole. Without its moorings — rigour, attention to detail, engagement and excellence — creative thinking can dissipate into nothing. This is why our research is thorough, our disciplines are well-grounded, and our relationships with clients are so vital.
(Although nothing stretches the imagination so much as trying to make a Scrabble play using one X, three Ns and a J.).