The Creative & Innovative Environment

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.).


Why I need a vacation!

I heard a voice coming out of the corner office yesterday encouraging me to write a blog before I leave for my summer vacation. The voice was that of our CEO, Natalia. I smiled thinking to myself of the growing list of things I needed to accomplish before signing out of my Mac and heading out for my time off. The tone of her request reminded me of Mrs. Smith, my grade 5 English teacher, requesting one final essay to be completed before the school term ended. So in honour of Mrs. Smith, today I will write about why I need a summer vacation.

It’s not that I don’t love my job. I love the whole experience of working in a creative place like Delsys. I like every minute of my professional day from waking up and choosing the right bowtie to wear, picking up my daily chocolate cupcake and coffee, to turning on my mac and immersing myself with graphic design problems and riddles for a variety of clients. I love the interaction of a dynamic workplace where we work in teams to come up with visual solutions that match the carefully crafted content of our analysts. But as much as I like being here, I need a break!

This vacation away is going to give me the chance to do a lot of things to replenish my soul. I plan to:

Recharge and pamper
Oh yes, I plan on sleeping in! My brain needs a break. Everyone needs to be able to step away and come back with a fresh perspective. I plan on spending the first 3 days in a hammock just watching clouds go by – raspberry lemonade in hand. I’m going to explore my epicurious side and eat really well. I have a jaunt to Montreal planned with my sister for spa day where I plan to rest, eat to excess, and have my stresses massaged away.

Inspire myself
In a creative field, we find inspiration almost everywhere, but a vacation takes you out of your daily routine. It takes you on roads you haven’t travelled before surrounded by the sights and sounds you would normally miss. I love a week day off in my own city. The experience is totally different because the focus isn’t to get to and from work. Ottawa is made for vacationers and has countless attractions. I know it’s just up the street from Delsys, but I plan on a visit to the National Art Gallery to see the exhibit of The Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts 2015. That is sure to inspire me!

Drop the Tech
The final thing that I hope to accomplish is to get away from technology and focus on the real world for a few days by heading out to camp in Quebec. While the campground offers WIFI (mother nature would be shaking her head), I have decided to opt out and leave my laptop, and iPad at home. I have been trained to react to the ding of a email coming in or a vibration in my pants pocket with every text that comes in. I go to bed reading celebrity news my Flipboard app and wake up to cat videos on Facebook. Now don’t get me wrong I plan on plenty of selfies while I’m away but I’ll wait to post them until I return.

The second half of my vacation will be spend tickling, laughing, and playing with my four children. For me, vacations have always meant a chance to bond in meaningful ways with family. We’ll be taking day trips to grandma’s and hiking in the Gatineaus. Time off with those you love gives you that extra time to share an experience and build memories that will last a lifetime for you and for them.

I need this vacation, I have a lot to accomplish. And, when I return, I plan to be revitalized and ready to take on the world. Maybe I’ll write a follow up blog when I return on the grade 5 standard “How I spent my summer vacation”.