The Bureau Briefing

The Bureau Briefing

The Bureau Briefing is a podcast by the Bureau of Digital, an organization dedicated to giving digital professionals the support system they never had. Each episode, we talk to a member of our community doing awesome, inspiring things.

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    Episode 098: The Business Value of Design

    Not so long ago, design was viewed as aesthetics, a nice-to-have in the world of business. With the rise of Apple and other enormously successful design-centric organizations, design has claimed its rightful throne. Today, design is recognized as a powerful business differentiator. From customer satisfaction and loyalty to revenue, valuation, time to market and more, design has clear bottom-line benefits.

    As the Director of Design Education at InVision, Leah Buley has a front-row seat to the business impacts of design. A self-described data nerd, Leah and the team at InVision have just released The New Design Frontier, the largest design maturity study to date. Spanning 2,200 companies across 24 industries and 77 countries, the report explores the five levels of design maturity, and how companies can create better business outcomes with design. Leah joins us to walk us through the report, share some “aha” moments and offer some insights to use at your own organization.

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    Episode 097: From DPM to Partner: Pursuing Your Passion

    Nearly nine years ago, Nora Lahl left print production at a traditional agency to venture into the world of digital. Signing on with Lightburn, a Milwaukee-based web design and digital marketing agency, she saw the need for a move from a focus on projects to a focus on client services and client relationships. Stretching outside her job description, she went to work fulfilling that need.

    Today, Nora is a partner at Lightburn. After nearly a decade building relationships with clients and investing in Lightburn’s success, she knows a great deal about what works and what doesn’t. Nora joins us to talk about her journey from print to digital, how project managers can level up to business leaders and what it takes to go after and formalize an executive role.

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    Episode 096: 2019 State of the Industry

    About two months ago, we invited digital shops to help us shine a light on market trends, by sharing business conditions in 2018 and expectations for 2019. Nearly 170 shops responded, sharing a general consensus that business was good in 2018 with healthy revenue growth, solid employee efficiency results and strong profits. But there were some unexpected findings on how generalists did compared to specialists and different characteristics that had some shops growing much faster than others.

    Thanks to our partner, Promethean Research, we were able to dig deeper into the data and collect insights across many key performance indicators for our annual State of the Industry Report. Nick Petroski, Managing Director at Promethean Research, joins us to talk about what the research revealed, a few surprises and where the industry is headed.

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    Episode 095: Mark van Leeuwen

    Each day, we fire up app upon app upon app, going through the motions to create and organize our work and business in meaningful ways. Trouble is, all of that work takes a tremendous amount of time and effort. It can lead to a culture of chaos, leaving people frustrated when they can’t find things, align teams or projects or benchmark data to make good decisions.

    Mark van Leeuwen, CEO of VOGSY, has been working in projects his entire life. He knows how complex professional services can be, and how difficult it can be to create change. Mark joins us to share insights gathered from working with many, many professional services organizations, and talk about some of the ways technology can ease our pain.

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    Episode 094: Kianosh Pourian: Empathy, Acquisition & Intuition

    Looking back over the past few years, some have a tidy, linear career path. Others’ professional journeys are a series of unexpected twists and turns. Kianosh Pourian is a technologist with 20 years of experience in the web development industry. After working at Staples for over eight years, Kianosh set out on his own—right in the midst of the great financial crisis.

    He found success with his own consulting firm, went through a merger and then his new company experienced a lull in the pipeline. Never expecting an offer for acquisition at that exact moment in time, that’s exactly what happened. With the deal inked, Kianosh went from an organization of seven people to being part a 150-plus company. Months later, the office Kianosh called home was shuttered.

    Throughout this rollercoaster ride, Kianosh has stayed true to founding principles. Before being acquired, Kianosh’s company didn’t have a vision statement. It had one word, and that word was “empathy.” In many ways, he’s come full circle, back to the desire to venture forth and build new things. Kianosh joins us to talk about the lessons life has to teach us and how it’s always best to go with your intuition.

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    Episode 093: The Reluctant Leader

    Margaret Lee, Director of UX Community & Culture at Google, began her career before the Internet was really a thing. After majoring in architecture, she decided she didn’t want to be an architect, then stumbled into technology by accident. As she describes it, her career has almost been a process of elimination, of trying different things and figuring out what did and didn't work for her.

    From early days as a design practitioner to becoming a design lead and a manager, she never planned to be a leader—or really saw herself as one. Her journey has been an organic one, shaped by her willingness to volunteer for new roles and get outside her comfort zone.

    Margaret joins us to talk about her path to Google, nearly 10 years leading the Geo UX organization and the many different faces of leadership. Hear how her current role cultivates UX knowledge, community and talent, and why it's better to call it early than to try to stick with something that doesn’t feel right.

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    Episode 092: Reimagining the Consumer Reports Experience

    It’s a brand that many of us grew up with, pages sprawled open on the kitchen table or stockpiled in the garage. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has been a mainstay of savvy consumer decision-making for more than 80 years. In the minds of millions of subscribers, the brand has long been synonymous with unbiased testing, research and consumer advocacy.

    Over the decades, Consumer Reports has worked to reach new audiences, and bring the magazine experience online. And they’ve found success in their efforts. They were one of the first to charge for content and do it well. With their broad media portfolio spanning online, print and TV, they’ve steadily shifted from more transactional-oriented ratings engagements to experiences that hold you over time.

    Cara Determan, Director of User Experience at Consumer Reports, has helped lead that change. Together with her team, Cara has helped to evolve the Consumer Reports experience into what it is today. Cara joins us to talk about CR’s recent redesign, membership and the journey to align everyone around reimagined experiences.

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    Episode 091: From Inbound to Outbound: 20+ Years with Electric Pulp

    Electric Pulp came of age in the early days of the web, back before Y2K, smartphones or civilization as we know it today. Back then, it was like the Wild West: few competitors, few rules…With more work than they could handle, Electric Pulp left it to businesses to come calling—and call, they did. From Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert to the global rebranding of Ford, Electric Pulp was scoring huge projects based on word-of-mouth marketing and a simple elevator pitch: “We build websites.”

    Aaron Mentele, Co-Founder at Electric Pulp, looks back on those early days, and says they didn’t need to pitch, or talk about the work they were doing. They were just launching cool stuff. Fast forward to today, and it’s a different story. Now, they're launching work that’s improving businesses. And that changes everything.

    Take a trip down memory lane, and revisit the web industry past, while learning how agencies are adjusting to the present and planning for the future. We’re talking PR, spec work, RFPs and all sorts of dirty little words that may turn you off—or may just change how you do business.

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    Episode 090: Andrei Bernovski

    At some agency, somewhere, right now, someone is crunching numbers. “I’ll need John, Amy, Jason…20 hours here, 10 hours there, buffer 20 percent…” Looking back at similar projects, they may add a few hours here, pare back scope there, carry the one…And then, voila, a tidy little estimate that’s sure to strike gold.

    Until it doesn’t.

    Project estimating and budgeting is both an art and a science. One Andrei Bernovski knows all too well. Working in project management and operations at agencies such as Tribal DDB, Razorfish, Sapient and boutique firms, he’s seen his fair share of what-if scenarios and projects gone good and bad.

    Inspired to solve his own personal pain points, Andrei co-founded Price&Cost, a project financial estimation and financial management tool. Hear how he set out to right estimating wrongs and how it’s better to adapt the budgeting wheel than try to reinvent it.

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    Episode 089: Staying Curious

    For some, the clear boundaries of an organization can be a comfort. For others, there’s something exhilarating about the great unknown. How do you bring curiosity and a sense of discovery to any situation or workplace?

    Nathan Paterson has worked for organizations of many different shapes and sizes, in boutique settings, leading creative teams for the likes of Disney and now at IDEO Tokyo as a Senior Design Lead. His career orbits around creative pursuits he finds fascinating: theatre, film, musicals, cutting-edge tech, cross-disciplinary design. When Disney came calling, Nathan thought he would give it a year, and ended up staying for nearly ten. Curious about other industries, he transitioned to IDEO, a playground of nearly every industry, sector and organization under the sun.

    Nathan joins us to talk about his journey, and how different organizations and industries inspire in different ways. Hear how ambiguity and optimism help him to stay curious, and what excites him about what’s to come.

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