Smashing’s New Year’s Resolutions for 2017

2017 is upon us and with a new year comes a renewed focus on the strategic direction for our business, our client partnerships, and how we approach the state of digital in the year ahead. We asked Smashing’s Leadership Team to weigh-in on what their New Year’s resolutions are for our digital agency in 2017…and beyond.

Brian Burke, CEO | At Smashing we always look forward. It defines our strategy and is tied closely with our learnings from our past engagements. We carefully study the user behavior and interactions to evolve our clients’ products and services with continuous improvement. We challenge design norms and get to the core of deep engagement to provide tangible and inspiring value to people in their experiences. With an eye to a maturing digital market in all forms, this year will mark an increased effort to realize a new business horizon wherein we offer more consulting services, new approaches to design thinking, deeper rigor in engineering best practices, and a resolve to make sense of the trends that will matter most to our clients and their customers.

Brian Marr, CSO | Several years ago our leadership team and employees set a vision for our company, which we are continuing to work toward today: be digital pioneers who make things that matter. In the years that followed, we’ve helped our clients transform the way they approach product innovation, driven by deep customer insights and a methodology that provides “catalyst moments” to propel the teams forward. As we look to 2017 and continue to build on this vision, my goals (I always set goals instead of resolutions) for this year are very simple: solidify and expand our core product strategy and insights services to meet the increased demands of our existing and future clients, and develop or add new services and expertise to help our clients shape their businesses, teams, and capabilities.

Victor Allen, CTO |  I believe Smashing’s strength lies in our ability to take the capabilities and potential of technology and through the combined efforts of our multi-disciplinary team, deliver real value and desirable, humane products. In 2017, the Smashing technical team will work to put that strength to work for clients that are looking to explore green fields and blue skies. More businesses can benefit from an innovation or emergent technologies team than can practically support one. Others can benefit from an outside perspective to bolster the work of their internal teams. For the past several years, Smashing’s technical team has acted in this capacity for a number of clients and in 2017 we aim put this experience to the service of all of them. We’re in a sometimes unique position of having both technical and design disciplines working in concert, which can gives us a perspective that is difficult to achieve otherwise.

Lisa Dawson, Executive Director, Production | This year will have an emphasis on learning, empowering our teams to expand their personal and professional toolkits. We will continue to refine how we work together and with our clients through company-wide Agile training and encourage employees to grow as individuals by taking advantage of our Smashing education benefits. As the digital world evolves, the lines between roles shift and it is more important than ever to stay current with technology, find new outlets for creativity, and cultivate communication and leadership skills.

Chad Otis, Executive Creative Director | The value of design has become increasingly clearer upstream over the past year. Design and Design Thinking are now part of the conversation at the C-Suite level and in boardrooms of major companies. In 2017, Smashing’s Design Team will continue grow its capabilities to align with this upstream engagement. We’ll increase capabilities around things like entrepreneurial alertness to better help clients identify opportunities in market and respond with innovative products and services. As always, for Smashing, these innovative solutions will be much more than research-driven problem solving. Design Thinking, research, market modeling, and forecasting can only serve to help light the way for new products and services. As designers, our experience and “informed intuition” play a big role in connecting the dots between consumer needs in market, the latest tech, and problems that can be solved with design – all while ensuring a focus on business viability.

Patrick Cousans, Executive Director, Client Engagement | With the plethora of meetings invites populating calendars, the strategic intent is to maximize our client’s time (and budget) through more efficient use of Smashing’s resources. Therefore, we will do a more thorough review of requests based on the following:

  • Do we really need to be there? (Can we designate someone else more appropriate?)
  • Are the meeting objectives and agenda clearly defined? (Has the appropriate due diligence been done?)
  • Are the right people invited? (Can we accomplish the objectives with the people in the room?)
  • Is the time allocated appropriate for the meeting? (Does it need to be an hour? Can it be done in 30 minutes?)
  • Is a “meeting” really necessary, or can the same objective be accomplished by a smaller team working together?

Thinking these questions through will help us better determine how best to use the time and resources of not only ourselves, but our clients, in order to maximize efficiency!

Lisa Forsyth, Senior Director, Strategic Accounts | Understanding user behavior and streamlining user experiences for consumers of our clients’ global television network sites and applications, as well as the administrators that utilize our custom content management solutions, will be a key focus of 2017.  By deep-diving into analytics and running usability tests, we will be better positioned to help our clients maximize the effectiveness of their worldwide content initiatives and identify areas where simplified workflows and syndication could be used to reach users all over the world, in any language, on any device.  This research-based approach will enable us to recommend and build digital experiences that ensure our clients’ long-term success, while minimizing operational costs.

Drew Erickson, Director of Finance | As I look back the past year I am amazed by the changes we’ve seen – in the clients, in the products we develop, and the markets we serve. Looking forward to 2017, the state of change isn’t likely to slow – and I am excited by the challenge as we continue to evolve our team and capabilities to meet our clients’ needs. We have a passion for serving our clients and delivering innovative products that delight the user and that will demand that we continuously look ahead and plan for the ever-evolving digital landscape.

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