Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Snow White and Speed Writing

By John Trimble

The new IOS video uses whiteboard animation, a form or technique that you cannot not watch. You might remember an older UPS commercial where a hand is diagramming on an easel in hyper speed. I think the reason it is so addictive to the eye is that we all intrinsically love to see progress sped up.

Even today kids love to see Disney’s animated Snow White quickly clean up the messy Dwarves’ house with the help of woodland creatures. In the film "Limitless" Bradley Cooper transforms his pig sty of an apartment into something presentable, assisted only by sped up time and, oh yeah, a miracle drug. But the message is the same: progress is nice but transformation in sped up time is awesome.

Could you do a time lapse accomplishment film on, say, re-inventing a business process? It’s not the sexiest thing in the world but then again neither is a filthy apartment. I think you could.

You would see a lot of bodies, a lot of cubicles, a lot of paper. You would wonder why they all looked frustrated and why there were so many of them. You would see a lot of shuffling of documents, a lot of e-mails and phone calls about where this or that invoice or sales order is. Occasional heroes and villains would emerge but mostly they would be faceless – trapped in a broken system, with a get me out of here vibe.

Until… the hand on the easel transforms them in hyper speed; then you would see filing cabinets and paper stacks disappear, close ups on invoices or sales orders sailing from one workstation to the next, approved and completed. You would notice fewer cubicles, people actually looking happier, commerce occurring.

Speed drawing is not real life but what it shows is. What it depicts is also not the future, it is the present. Companies are doing this every day. Not in hyper time but with our help they are doing it more quickly than you imagine; not even real time but what IOS calls “Fast Time.” Their process improvements are so vivid that you cannot not watch.

That is the movie that IOS makes. For a list of our previous screen credits we are only too happy to share. Talk to us.
Monday, May 2, 2016

We're Listening

By Angela Childs

Why do you do things the way you do?

I bet there are a lot of reasons.

Could be that once upon a time a bad thing happened and the process was designed to prevent it from happening again.  Maybe it was designed to accommodate other systems or processes.  Maybe that’s just how it’s always been done.   Is it the best way?  Is it a modern way?  Does it facilitate sharing of information?  Does it provide real-time access?  Is it easy to look at metrics and respond to issues, take advantage of opportunities, or adapt to changing conditions?

I’ve said before that technology years are like dog years and, baby, we’ve come a long way.  It’s easier and easier to provide real-time access to information, to put what people need to make good decisions right in front of them, to automate, and to accelerate.  If you’re not taking advantage, why not?

Fear of change?  People don’t “fear change”.  What they fear is that they won’t be better off because of it and that’s legitimate.  Projects start but never finish, go over budget, toddle past deadlines and often when they wrap the benefit is far less than expected.  Why do bad projects happen to good people?

I recently had a very frustrating experience with one of our vendors.  We were starting a project and, working to ensure success, had outlined clear objectives for what we needed to accomplish, a roadmap on how to accomplish each one, and had identified areas for which we were looking for advice.  This is what we do for a living after all so we had a plan.  We had done our homework and we made sure everyone had the details well in advance of the first meeting.  We were set to hit the ground running.

Except we didn’t.  You saw this coming.  It was like we were starting from zero.  They weren’t prepared. Super…  We shook it off and laid it all out during the meeting, we had everything detailed after all so we were ready and we just took them through it.  They asked questions, we had answers.  We stressed what factors were key to this being successful for us, what we were concerned about, and what we needed from them to round out the plan.  Back on track.

Except we weren’t.  Follow-up meeting and we’re starting all over.  I couldn’t figure it out.  This was important to us.  We put in the time to make sure we got it right and still we weren’t making progress.  We were going to have to drag this vendor along with us.  It was infuriating and I couldn’t put my finger on exactly what I found so frustrating.   That is until, while doing a testimonial video with us, one of our clients said that working with IOS they felt like they were heard and that we were prepared to do business with them in the way they needed.  They could ask for advice and the suggestions they got back were sound and worked for them.

It’s like it all clicked for me.  They felt like they were heard and that we were working with them. I didn’t believe our vendor was listening which translated to “we don’t care about this as much as you do” and I definitely didn’t feel like they were working with us.  We weren’t a team.

We completed the project but we had to roll that boulder all the way up the hill.  We stuck with it because they’re good at what they do and we decided if we just made up for what was lacking we could get what we needed.  It ended up being successful but it was way harder than it should have been and if we hadn’t made sure we added time and resources to fill in for the shortcomings, it would have failed.

That experience is how projects get a bad name but they don’t have to.  If you have a solid plan and everyone’s in, it can be transformative.  Want to see what it looks like when it goes right?  Take a look.

Our people, our expertise, our ideas…working with you to challenge the status quo.

That’s IOS.