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919-480-8744

Newsletters

Trig's email newsletters to our community of innovators and marketers.

The next billion dollar tinkerer

Ty

Hi there,

Another holiday weekend is upon us. Happy Independence day, we hope you have a relaxing weekend filled with fun, food, and fireworks. Here's a cool gif to kick off the celebration:

On to some super interesting reads:


That's Connie in the bottom right, she wants to talk to you about Archetyping. ^^^

Taking a deeper look at the ASUS 3D printing project

You've probably heard of open-sourced software, you probably use something open-sourced almost every day (like if you're reading this on Firefox, for example.) Open-source hardware is a bit less popular among average consumers. It's more popular among modders using Arduino boards or Rasberry Pi to bring life to their home-made robots. 

Last year ASUS introduced a 3D printing project in which they provide CAD files through community forums for printable components that can be installed on ASUS products. In our latest thought piece, we dive into the idea that ASUS and other hardware companies could use this open-source methodology, along with 3D printing, to fundamentally accelerate the advances of our hardware world and bring the design process to the consumer. 

Read the full post here. 


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Red Bud Labs Stage Case Study

Trig recently helped develop the Stage for Redbud Labs of Chapel Hill, NC. The device uses proprietary technology to accelerate the mixing of samples and reagents in microarray assays for laboratory test procedures and clinical diagnostics. Don't know what any of that means? Don't sweat it - we think it's awesome to look at regardless.

Check out the case study here. 


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Interrogation and Innovation

We're not talking about the good cop/bad cop interrogation in a dark room with a very bright light, we're talking the literal definition of interrogation: to elicit useful information.

Drew Brisley dives into what interrogation means for innovation in one of our favorite Tangent articles. In order to be good interrogators—and thus great innovators—we must reject the notion that the way things are is the way things will be. 

In order to go about interrogation in the service of innovation, you must go about it in the freest ways possible:

  • You have to be willing to be wrong about your ideas (!)
  • You must have an open mind
  • You must be able to stand in a different set of shoes—those of humankind itself (and they may be small and uncomfortable or large and insecure)  
  • You must be able to question the status quo (to see fluidity where other see concreteness)  
  • You must question the research (in order to understand its context)

Check out the full post here for more.


What we're up to


What we're reading


Until next time,

Ty Hagler

Principal

Trig Innovation

 

 

How Training for the Olympic Trials Inspired our Product Design Process

Ty

Hi there,

We published a lot of great content this week, I'm excited to hear what you think. Big thank you to those of you who reply to this newsletter each week and special thanks to those who share it with their colleagues.

Welcome new subscribers, on to this week's reading. 


That's Connie in the bottom right, she wants to talk to you about Archetyping. ^^^

Think creativity stems from the "right brain"? Think again.

For a long time people have referred to playing musical instruments or meditating as a way to stimulate your "right brain" and, in turn, boost creativity. While those are, in fact, ways to boost creativity, it is not exclusive to just the right half of your brain and unless you're playing the drums, you'll need a bit more movement to maximize the effect. 

In our latest piece penned by yours truly, I explore the recent scientific discovery that creativity is sparked from a combination of using both sides of the brain. With this new finding, it is confirmed that creativity can be boosted by stimulating all quadrants of the brain, not just the left or right. What's the best way to stimulate your whole brain? Moving your arms and legs. A bunch. You know, like exercising.

In this post, dive into how training for the olympic trials helped to inspire our product design process and how that basically makes us the coolest design firm you could possibly find. 

Full post here. 


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Growing with purpose

If you enjoy the post above, you'll also enjoy this podcast I was recently featured in. We touch on the concept of exercising to boost creativity a long with a whole bunch of other interesting things like:

  • A significant emotional event that has shaped my leadership approach: [25:30]
  • What book influences my leadership style: [42:34]
  • I'm stranded on an island, this is what I'll take: [43:40]

Pop in some headphones, check out our notes, and listen to the podcast here


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Cool Hunting

Ever wonder how marketers get plugged into the most recent, fastest growing trends? It's a job called Cool Hunting and it's more scientific than it sounds. 

Our brilliant intern, Sophia, talks about how, from a behavioral perspective, different groups of people pick up trends at different stages of the trend cycle. From the Devil Wears Prada to the Baltimore Orioles, check out this post to understand when and why different groups adopt different things. 

Check out the full post here for more.


What we're up to


What we're reading

  • Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore Geoffrey A. Moore’s Crossing the Chasm reveals the steps necessary to make your product surpass the “fad” phase. It is an essential read if you want to learn how to strategically place your product in a niche market, and become the next big thing. It teaches you to think from your customer’s perspective: what they want and what their values are.
  • The War of Art by Steven Pressfield A concise, appealing, and applicable guide for succeeding in any creative sphere, The War of Art is nothing less than Sun-Tzu for the creative, not warring, soul.

Until next time,

Ty Hagler

Principal

Trig Innovation

 

 

We haven't stopped learning from Hot Wheels and card games

Ty

Hi there,

To all the fathers out there, I hope you have a wonderful Father's Day weekend full of family time and relaxation. I'll be chasing after our collection of biscuit snatchers, which involves changing diapers, being a guest of honor at a tea party, and getting whacked with a plastic lightsaber. 

Anyway, here are a few things we learned since we last spoke:


That's Connie in the bottom right, she wants to talk to you about Archetyping. ^^^

That's Connie in the bottom right, she wants to talk to you about Archetyping. ^^^

Arche-What?

Does it seem like every Disney movie is the same? They are. We've seen the hero save the girl hundreds of times throughout human history, we know what's going to happen, but we still pay millions of dollars a month to keep consuming the same story. It's no coincidence. It's science, and it's called archetyping.

Our own Connie Tran, with a little help from Carl Jung, highlighted the 12 archetypes that could define your brand. Understanding these archetypes is the first step to creating a brand that motivates people like Disney does. 

If you're curious what archetype your brand falls under, we're offering a free brand consultation - no strings attached. Just reply to this email and I'll get you setup. Also, check out some examples of our work using this idea of brand archetypes in the "what we're up to" section below. 


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Magic Lessons

Not the kind like the guy you hired for your son's 4th birthday. The Magic that is played by an estimated 20 million people around the world and published in 11 languages. We're talking about Magic: The Gathering. Mark Rosewater, head of design for magic, is delivering a series of insightful pieces titled "Twenty Years, Twenty Lessons," in which he releases ~6 lessons each week he has learned from building Magic over the last 20 years. We drew six snippets of inspiration from Part 1:

  1. Don't fight human behavior - don't change your players to match the game, change your game to match the players. Build your product for your audience. 
  2. Don't fight human perception - Aesthetics matter. Failure to satisfy aesthetics makes players feel ill at ease, distracts them from focusing on your product, and makes them pay attention to the product instead of the benefits it creates. 
  3. Don't start from scratch - your audience already has a life's worth of experience they will relate to your product. Understanding those experiences is step one to a great product.
  4. Use your audience's preexisting knowledge - don't reinvent the wheel. If your audience is used to referring to a certain feature or benefit by a certain name, don't change it to be unique, stay consistent to be helpful. 
  5. Is this interesting or fun? - when you're introducing a new feature you need to ask yourself - is this an interesting feature? or is does this make my product more enjoyable to use? The latter is what will lead to success. 
  6. No line is worth a scene - no matter how good a feature or piece of content is, if it's not serving the whole product brand, it has to go. 

Check out the video of his full speech here


Serious play and serious work.

Since 1968, Mattel has been releasing one of America's favorite toys: Hot Wheels. What many people don't know is the highly detailed and labor-intensive process behind designing, and ultimately manufacturing, the 1:43 replicas of our favorite cars. 

In early June of 2017, Marc Levitz released an incredibly insightful interview where he sat down with two Hot Wheels design legends, Jun Imai and Ryu Asada. These two are responsible for the whole Hot Wheels die-cast design team and take us through the process of ideating and designing Hot Wheels, start to finish. A few of our thoughts from the piece:

  • Similar to all of us at Trig, both Jun and Ryu knew they wanted to be designers from a very young age. Also similar to many of us in this space, they experimented with more technical paths like physics and engineering before ultimately coming back to their true passion: design. 
  • The best design work starts with a sketch. Missed last weeks newsletter? We sketch too
  • Mattel has tracks set up everywhere in their office so the team can be playing with the designs they’re working on. Serious play with serious work. More support for the success of a commitment culture model.
  • Creativity stems from being able to be inspired by everything and anything, and being able to visualize how one cool thing from one area could be incorporated in another (in this case, little cars). This is something we strive for every day.

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Still got love for the streets

It's been over a year since we penned our piece discussing what it's like to work at Trig, a virtual company. It's all still true. We love working virtually and "commuting" through technology gets easier every year. Some of our favorite new tools for doing so are: 

Join.me: Super reliable and easy conferencing

Appear.in: We all need water cooler conversations and in a virtual company it happens here. 

Slack: Team communications made easy and free-mium.

Asana: Our home for project management.  We chose it over Trello because Asana has better UX.

Batterii: Digital brainstorming, customer insights, strategy formulation, and private Pinteresting.

If you also conduct business virtually, we'd like to hear about it for an update we're doing. Just reply to this email!



What we're reading

  • DESIGN A BETTER BUSINESS  Justin Lokitz, Lisa Solomon, and Patrick Van Der Pijl include a comprehensive set of tools and skills that will help you harness opportunity from uncertainty by building the right teams and balancing your point of view in this must-read. 
  • THING EXPLAINER: COMPLICATED STUFF IN SIMPLE WORDS This is easily one of my all-time favorite web comics. This smart, quirky book by Randall Munroe uses simple illustrations to explain big ideas. This book is a helpful reminder to all of us who can get caught up in the specialized language of our respective industries to slow down and explain what we do in the most simple terms. 

Until next time,

Ty Hagler

Principal

Trig Innovation

 

 

Cookie Monster and Creative Performance

Ty

Hi there,

Based on your feedback (thank you again to those of you who share your thoughts with us each month), we're trying something new with this month's newsletter. You can also expect to hear from us a bit more often in the future, we promise to keep it insightful, maybe even fun. Let us know what you think of the new format. 
 

Here we go:


MFA is the new MBA

Don't just take our word for it, In his 2005 book, A Whole New Mind, Daniel Pink declares that the MFA (Master of Fine Arts) will soon replace the MBA (Master of Business Administration). I penned a few of my own thoughts about creative performance across innovation, design, and marketing - check it out here. 

The paradox of ideation is something our team chats about often and a driving force behind our updated core values (see below for more on that).  High team performance is critical to success but groups are inferior to individuals with regard to creative performance. This paradox is exactly what inspired our virtual ideation program. If we haven't chatted about the program reply to this email, I'd love to tell you about it. 

paradox of ideation

Let's talk about the cookie monster for a second

I bet you didn't expect to pitch your team your next big idea, citing a fuzzy blue bear from your children's favorite show. I didn't expect to spend 2 hours drawing connections from an academic paper to Sesame Street, but alas, here we are. 

In one of our latest thought-pieces, we dive into the difference between groups who operate as a collection of individuals (Cookie Monster Groups) and brainstorming groups. It's an easy read and you'll learn at least 3 new words (That's 3X Sesame Street). Check it out here

Fun Fact: Cookie Monster used to have big pointy teeth, although this was when the puppet was used in commercials before the beginning of “Sesame Street.” Also, Oscar the Grouch was orange. 

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going up and growing up

We don't just do great work, we have a ton of fun doing it. We love our clients, our work, and our teammates. We've updated our core values to reflect that, you can see the full breakdown here. 

Our new set of core values reflects a company that doesn't just aspire to survival, but to greatness. Relative to our goal of building a 100-year company, we are still very young. With this youth comes the opportunity to reflect on the harder challenges, learn from our victories, learn from our mistakes, and grow into a greater version of ourselves 10, 20, or 50 years down the road.


One quick thing

Sketching, among industrial designers, is quickly becoming a lost art. As software programs and the computers they live on become more powerful, we're finding fewer and fewer young designers mastering the art of sketching.

I can't understate the benefit of working with a designer who can listen to your ideas and translate those thoughts into a sketch right before your eyes. Among the many incredible talents we have here at Trig, we're constantly in awe of our lead designer Patrick Murphy's ability to sketch. Check out this sub-one-minute video we made a few years back displaying his artistry. 



What we're Reading

    • Challenge Your Assumptions, Change Your World
      • Check out our thoughts on Andy Cohen's book about identifying and managing your assumptions so that you see things for what they are, or are not, in order to make the best decisions under any circumstance. 
    • Small Giants
      • Bo Burlingham takes a deep dive into fourteen companies that chose to build great businesses, not just maximize revenue. He demonstrates how the leaders of these small giants recognized the full range of choices they had about the type of company they could create and made the choice to pursue greatness by placing other goals ahead of getting as big as possible as fast as possible.

    Until next time,

    Ty Hagler

    Principal

    Trig Innovation

     

     

    Innovation is not a one-time event

    Ty

    Hi there,

    One of the most exciting developments for Trig in the past year has been the development of our virtual ideation practice. Traditionally, ideation sessions pull together people from across a company for an intense day or two to creatively solve big problems.  We have led ideation sessions and participated as visual scribes or illustration experts since our founding nearly 10 years ago. While we have learned a lot from coaching better creative performance from our ideation participants, the traditional model isn't truly optimized for creative output.

    Revolutionize your ideation sessions

    Virtual ideation, by contrast, takes advantage of the best of both individual and team creative dynamics. Over the past 9 months, we have experimented with a variety of techniques to maximize creative output in the virtual context and have been consistently amazed with the results we're seeing for our trailblazing clients. Oh, the places you’ll go, when you're focused on your customers.

    Don't let innovation be a one-time event

    When properly put into practice, innovation is not a one-time event, but a consistent process of exploration, discovery, divergence, convergence, prototyping, and testing. Too often, ideation sessions are a one-time event that generate lots of ideas that filter down to a select few, while the rest get discarded or forgotten.

    It's why we're excited to launch our new Virtual Ideation Services Subscription
     

    With our new virtual ideation subscription, Trig can offer select clients a predictable schedule for activating the customer insights through ideation—all in a process where participants can join from across the world. What's more, clients will have the ability to maintain a permanent AND searchable digital record of each ideation session.

    Sound interesting?
    Reply to this email to speak to me directly, or hit the button below to contact my team via form.  
    You can also request a time slot to speak with me on my calendar

    In the mean time, check out what else we've been up to lately—you're sure to find some relatable, interesting, or inspiring stories or resources below.


    What else was interesting?

    Growth with purpose - The Small Giants philosophy

    Passionate, purposeful, and values-driven—The Small Giants community brings together like-minded individuals, from aspiring new business leaders to seasoned veterans, looking to harness the connection between culture and business success. Read more or check out the Small Giants community directly here.

    Will your skin be protected this summer?

    We've been working with Voxelight to launch their first product, Sunscreenr, which makes unprotected skin visible. If you happened to catch that one episode of Shark Tank, you've already seen how this magic works. If not, check the the Sunscreenr and pre-order your own here!

    Mentoring young design thinkers

    The student experience is so transformative in the individual's thought process and way of viewing the world that the discipline has been named Design Thinking. We are always happy to say that we enjoy giving back to the community, but in the end, we learn just as much from the students as they learn from us. Read more about our latest talk at SCAD here.

    Digital ideation at Innovate Carolina 2017

    Trig will be sponsoring Innovate Carolina for the 7th consecutive year. We'll be giving a talk on April 21st that explores the risks and rewards of accelerating the front end. The talk will explore a new approach to ideation that balances the need for individual reflection and gathering new creative stimuli from team members using digital collaboration toolsmaking creative teams more effective while reducing the cost and time needed to conduct ideation sessions. The conference will take place at The Biotech Center in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, and we’d love to see you there. Register here!

    Does your startup have what it takes to survive?

    In case you missed some of our recent posts, check out "Biology is Destiny: Choice of Culture and Startup Survival" and "The Value of Interrogation in Innovation."  If this type of content tickles your fancy, check out more of our work and thoughts on our blog, Tangents.

    Hope you've enjoyed the read!

    Ty Hagler

    Principal

    Trig Innovation