Your Catalyst for Change

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Since 1996, Smashing Ideas has helped our clients plan, create and evolve the most engaging digital experiences possible.
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We’re a little different

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We could rattle off countless facts about our agency – like we’ve been around for nearly 20 years, have won 60+ awards, over 1 billion people have experienced our work, etc. – but we know that’s not why you’re here. You need a digital partner who can help separate you from the noise, set you up for ongoing success, and leave your competition in the dust.
You’re a pro at what you do. Our role? We are the catalyst for change in an increasingly digital world. We bring together a passion for helping companies dream big, the science of understanding human behavior, and decades of experience in actually making the things we recommend. We believe in working with you collaboratively, designing solutions for the long-term, and that quality is paramount.
Couple this with creating custom, high-quality software and our integration of the latest technical ingenuity into each and every build, with our drive to create moments of emotional connection through sensory experiences, and you have a digital agency that creates exceptionally engaging digital products, applications, websites and platforms.
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How do we do this?

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It’s a modern design philosophy and set of practices we call Motivational UX™.  Motivational UX™ is the secret weapon to bridging art with science. It’s a proven blend of behavioral psychology, user experience, and game design thinking. It directly addresses some of your greatest challenges – engagement, retention and revenue – and is integrated into every facet of how you should be approaching your next digital product.
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Just the facts

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60
Awards (and counting)
Awards (and counting)
1B
Enjoyed by over One Billion People Worldwide
Enjoyed by over One Billion People Worldwide
PRH
A Penguin Random House / Bertelsmann Company
A Penguin Random House / Bertelsmann Company
6Y
Six Year Average Client Tenure
Six Year Average Client Tenure
70
Hard-working Employees
Hard-working Employees
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Meet your team

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Our crazy mix of designers, developers, strategists, mad scientists and everything in-between.
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Leadership
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  • Patrick Cousans
    Patrick CousansExecutive Director, Client Engagement

    Years of experience | 21

    9:00 – 5:00 | As Director of Engagement, Patrick manages the engagement between Smashing Ideas and our partner clients. From aligning product goals to establishing cross-team dynamics, he helps refine business objectives for clients to ensure product profitability and successful deployment. In partnership with the Production Team, Patrick helps clients and project teams as they scope, plan, budget, track, and launch a range of large-scale digital endeavors.

    Expertise | Patrick has a track record of converting ideas into achievable product deliverables by working with teams to define, and consequently redefine, a digital product’s best use of technology. Clients include Nickelodeon, Penguin Random House, Walt Disney Home Video, Fox Home Entertainment, and The Voyager Company.

    Past life | Life before SI saw Patrick as Producer at Screenlife, Senior Producer at Digeo, and Executive Producer at Reel.com

    The smarts | BA of Communications from the University of Southern California

    Hidden talent | Resident SI travel planner.

  • Chad Otis
    Chad OtisExecutive Creative Director

    Years of experience | 24

    9:00 – 5:00 | As Executive Creative Director, Chad inspires and leads the Creative Team to design the most visually appealing and user-centered experiences possible. For nearly 10 years at SI, Chad has helped create a collaborative environment where personal and professional growth go hand-in-hand, resulting in the creation of innovative and disruptive solutions for our clients.

    Expertise | Chad’s an idea guy – generating blue sky thinking that produces creative results, while solving both consumer and business needs. From best practices for user experience and internal production methodologies, to interaction and visual design tenets for desktop experiences and mobile interfaces, he guides the agency towards creative solutions that produce measurable results. A sampling of clients include Discovery Communications, Microsoft, Nickelodeon, Penguin Random House, Disney, and the Cartoon Network.

    Past life | Life before SI saw Chad as Art Director for Cricket Moon Media and Art Director/Lead Designer for the Edmark Corporation

    The smarts | BFA in Visual Communication Design from the University of Washington

    Hidden talent | Extreme word un-jumbler – once the #1 ranking global word un-jumbler for the top word game app in the world.

  • Lisa Dawson
    Lisa DawsonExecutive Director, Production

    Years of experience | 22

    9:00 – 5:00 | As Executive Director, Production, Lisa oversees the day-to-day operations of all cross-functional project teams, focusing on maximizing team performance, meeting company objectives, and ensuring the successful launch of large-scale, complex digital projects.

    Expertise | Lisa excels at guiding successful project teams through scope and budget management, cross-team collaboration, and the implementation of Agile methodologies. She is passionate about the growth and advancement of her team and is a seasoned veteran of effective personnel management, career mentoring, and mediation tactics. Her work spans the healthcare, retail, travel, technology, and cyber-security industries, and a sampling of clients include Swedish Medical Center, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, and AT&T.

    Past life | Before leading the production charge, Lisa was the Director of Product Management at Internet Identity, Director of Project Services at Allyis, and Manager of Corporate Systems at REI.

    The smarts | Bachelor of Arts in Leadership & Organizational Studies from Antioch University
    Certified Scrum Product Owner

    Hidden talent | Award-winning Morse code translator.

  • Brian Burke
    Brian BurkeCEO

    Years of experience | 22

    9:00 – 5:00 | As CEO, Brian manages the daily operations of the agency and leads the overall direction, development, and implementation of SI’s long-term growth and market strategy. Built upon his extensive experience in early and late-stage start-ups, Brian guides the agency to develop innovative design and technology-driven solutions that help our partners thrive in competitive markets and engage at a deeper level with their customers.

    Expertise | Brian’s specialty in growth strategies and keeping content and product companies ahead of the shifting digital landscape has resulted in a partner and client list that includes Mattel, Adobe, Sony Pictures Television, GE, British Airways, Nickelodeon, Panasonic, HBO, and Turner to name a few. Furthermore, his expertise in the digital content ecosystem, media, platforms, mobile and devices, and design trends has positioned SI as a strategic partner and digital arm to several Fortune 500 companies. He has spoken at numerous conferences, from CES to SXSW and GDC, on topics ranging from the future of mobile gaming to the impact that technology has on our collective experiences as consumers.

    Past life | There was a time long, long ago, where Brian worked outside of SI, helping build digital companies such as Atom Entertainment (AtomFilms/Shockwave) as Vice President of Syndication and at Zango, as Senior Director of Business Development.

    The smarts | Master of European Studies from K.U. Leuven, Belgium and BA of Communication Studies from Seattle University

    Hidden talent | Punk rock singer, guitarist, and drummer.

  • Victor Allen
    Victor AllenChief Technical Officer

    Years of experience | 21

    9:00 – 5:00 | As CTO, Victor lends his technical expertise to the development of digital products that have the potential to impact human behavior. He leads the Development and Quality Assurance teams, as well as guides the agency’s overall technical strategy and development process standards. Victor always takes a client-first approach by providing consultation services on product realization for leading-edge partners worldwide.

    Expertise | Victor excels at technical team management, digital product realization, technical strategy, web application development, user experience (UX), and content management. He has provided mobile development, web development, and innovation strategy for such clients as Sony, Mattel, Nickelodeon, Discovery Channel, Coca-Cola, and Callaway Golf.

    Past life | Before leading the technical charge at SI, Victor was the Director of Development for The Buddy Group and Senior Flash Developer at Juxt Interactive

    The smarts | BA of English/Critical Theory from the University of California, Irvine

    Hidden talent | Cat whisperer.

  • Brian Marr
    Brian MarrChief Strategy Officer

    Years of experience | 20

    9:00 – 5:00 | As CSO, Brian partners with client and internal teams to drive product and experience vision. He leads a strategy practice, focused on unearthing the insights and opportunities that innovate products and digital experiences for their customers. He is a strong believer in the use of Experience Mapping to create product vision clarity, and the practice of Motivational UX™ to create an engaged, loyal audience.

    Expertise | Brian is a marketing strategist, business leader, and educator highly adept at discovering and applying the triggers that motivate customer behavior towards a desired business outcome. His strong history in software product management, digital media, and advertising has resulted in the opportunity to work with clients including Mattel, Wilson, Seattle Sounders FC, Windows Phone, and Pepsico.

    Past life | Life before SI included roles as Managing Director/Director of Digital at the Wexley School for Girls ad agency, Group Marketing Manager of Emerging Media at Microsoft, and Senior Product Manager for Windows x64 at Microsoft. He also worked at a few Silicon Valley startups you probably (and unfortunately) never knew about.

    The smarts | BA of Psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz

    On the other side of the podium, Brian teaches two graduate courses in the Master of Communication Leadership program at the University of Washington.

    Hidden talent | Riding bicycles fast, ideally in the mud.

  • Drew Erickson
    Drew EricksonDirector of Finance

    Years of experience | 21

    9:00 – 5:00 | As Director of Finance, Drew leads the finance and administrative teams that support the monetary health of the agency. From measuring and evaluating performance to identifying opportunities that optimize business growth, Drew helps guide SI’s economic strategy and forecasting.

    Expertise | Drew has a long-standing history in financial leadership for technical and creative businesses, centered around deep analysis and planning. His 20+ years of experience include financial management with venture-backed start-ups and corporate mergers and acquisitions.

    Past life | Prior to SI, Drew was the VP of Finance and Operations for the Washington Technology Industry Association, a non-profit serving the Washington tech community.

    The smarts | BA of Business and Economics from Washington State University

    Hidden talent | Finding the deeply hidden logic error in a spreadsheet.

  • Lisa Forsyth
    Lisa ForsythSenior Director, Strategic Accounts

    Years of experience | 19

    9:00 – 5:00 | As Senior Manager, Lisa is responsible for the successful management of one of the agency’s largest clients. She leads and manages a highly skilled team of front-end and back-end developers, QA engineers, designers, and producers that support more than 70 sites in 20 different languages across the globe for Sony Pictures Television, Digital Media Networks.

    Expertise | From design, development, project management, strategic planning, and team management, Lisa’s expertise covers nearly every facet of a digital engagement, from an initial concept’s action plan to post deployment maintenance. She manages multiple projects and their corresponding deadlines and objectives with hyper-focus, ensuring continued project success that is aligned with her clients’ long-term business goals.

    Past life | Before SI, Lisa was the Director of Shared Application Engineering at msnbc.com, the Director of Tactical Development at msnbc.com, Program Manager at drugstore.com, and Software Engineer at Ignition Mortgage Technology Solutions.

    The smarts | MA of English and Film Theory from the University of Florida and BA of English and Visual Culture from the University of California, Riverside

    Hidden talent | Elephant juggler by day, published eBook content author by night.

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Senior Team
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  • Lisa Smith
      Lisa SmithSenior Producer
    • Adam Michel
        Adam MichelCreative Director
      • Brittany Carlstrom
          Brittany CarlstromSenior Marketing Manager
        • Clemente Miller
            Clemente MillerSenior UX Designer
          • Steve Markey
              Steve MarkeySenior Producer
            • Jessica Barnes
                Jessica BarnesCreative Director
              • Amanda Behrens
                  Amanda BehrensSenior Producer
                • Drory Ben-Menachem
                    Drory Ben-MenachemCreative Director
                  • Bill Wright
                      Bill WrightTechnical Director
                    • Andrea Pollock
                        Andrea PollockTalent Manager/Recruiter
                      • Sam Jacobsen
                          Sam JacobsenProduction Manager
                        • Steven Rose
                            Steven RoseSenior Developer
                          • Maya King
                              Maya KingSenior Producer
                            • Martin Young
                                Martin YoungAssociate Technical Director
                              • Antonio Holguin
                                  Antonio HolguinDesign Director
                                • Telford Burtts
                                    Telford BurttsSenior Producer
                                  • Chris Hannon
                                      Chris HannonAssociate Creative Director
                                    • Brendan Andersen
                                        Brendan AndersenAssociate Technical Director
                                      • Matt Murphy
                                          Matt MurphySenior Engagement Manager
                                        • Paola Reyes-Sanchez
                                            Paola Reyes-SanchezDesign Director
                                          • Sean Sehr
                                              Sean SehrSenior Developer
                                            • Lulu Xiao
                                                Lulu XiaoSenior Strategist
                                              • Nick Pollock
                                                  Nick PollockSenior UX Designer
                                                • Heidi Schindler
                                                    Heidi SchindlerSenior Strategist
                                                  • Guy Borgford
                                                      Guy BorgfordDirector of Business Development
                                                    • Yuka Lipsey
                                                        Yuka LipseySenior Producer
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                                                      PR / Media Kit
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                                                      Interested in having SI share our knowledge with your team or convey our smashing ideas at an industry event? Download our media kit to continue the conversation.
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                                                      Newsletter
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