Prophet has launched a new blog, The Inspiratory for the interested and interesting to come and be inspired across the brand, marketing, design, innovation and analytics industries. Click here to visit The Inspiratory, and add it to your bookmark bar (right next to where PLAYSTUDIO is bookmarked).
We’ll be sharing stories and trends, with our signature point of view, through video, photo, infographic, and good old-fashioned blogging. Hope to see you there!

Prophet has launched a new blog, The Inspiratory for the interested and interesting to come and be inspired across the brand, marketing, design, innovation and analytics industries. Click here to visit The Inspiratory, and add it to your bookmark bar (right next to where PLAYSTUDIO is bookmarked).

We’ll be sharing stories and trends, with our signature point of view, through video, photo, infographic, and good old-fashioned blogging. Hope to see you there!

Doing business online is often the hallmark of any successful modern company. Yet, as social media explodes in popularity and mobile devices become our main form of communication, it’s hard to remember the value of a face-to-face interaction, the type of interaction that has become all too rare these days.

For the 718 Cyclery in Brooklyn New York, face-to-face interactions have become bread and butter. Unlike most bike shops, 718 Cyclery is all about the experience each customer has with the bike they purchase through the store. To achieve that goal you are actually invited to the shop to engage in the building process from start to finish. The journey begins online where you determine the parts and style you want for your ride. Then, instead of waiting two weeks for your bike to be assembled and shipped, you get your a** into the shop and get involved. According to the Cyclery’s founder Joe Nocella, it’s worth the experience. “How does the Collaborative Build experience differ from an online “bike build” site? Short answer…it’s the smell of grease, the grit under your fingernails and a sense of accomplishment.”

What makes 718 Cyclery different is its focus on active storytelling. Sure, they have a great story to tell about their brand: “You can have a bike that is truly unique, put together with the right parts, and built by you.” But their customers also have a great story about their interaction with the product they purchase. They walk away with a personal experience that goes way beyond your average customer engagement.

How does your brand engage its target, like 718 Cyclery letting its DIY clients get their hands dirty? How do you give your customers a great story to tell?

*Each Monday, Prophet’s Chief Curator and Provocateur, Andy Stefanovich, or a member of our innovation team shares an on-ramp to Monday with Prophet employees across the globe. We’d like to share the inspiration and expand the footprint of these weekly jump starts by sharing them here. This week’s post was written by Joshua Epperson in our Richmond office. Happy Monday!

Randy Sarafan, technology editor for Instructables, has created an earth shatteringly incredible machine. In an effort to lower energy, Sarafan has crafted a wearable lamp device that only illuminates when the user’s eyes are open. When Randy blinks or closes his eyes, the light goes out, when he opens his eyes, the light comes back on. While the device is currently only utilizing his desk lamp and is haphazardly activated through electrodes connected to his face, the Energy Saving Light will soon revolutionize worldwide energy consumption. Just give it a minute. Trust us.

All jokes aside, the device does, in fact, work. And it brings up a very interesting point about the potential of discovery through the deconstruction of a problem down to the very basic of parts or principles. Randy’s little experiment was a tongue-in-cheek creation to celebrate Earth Day. Taking the broad environmental initiative of reducing energy consumption, Sarafan broke down one of the most elemental issues: the energy devices consume when those devices are not in use. (in this case, even down to the relationship between blinking and reading). Why should a TV be left on when no one’s in the room? Why should your iPhone screen stay illuminated when you’re not using it? Why should a light stay on when your eyes are closed?

Sure, there are more practical approaches to combating the waste of energy, but Sarafan’s approach teaches us a valuable lesson about solving big problems. Often we are swayed to focus on the biggest pieces of a given issue in an attempt to quickly find solutions and do the most good with the least risk. There are no lower limits to innovation – every bit counts. When we set objectives too high (i.e. solving the world’s energy issues) we are setting ourselves up for failure.

Let’s take a different example. Think about a manufacturer of bottled water. Their big problem would be: how do we continue to drive revenue from a product who’s packaging is the largest expense – compounded by the fact that expensive packaging is also filling up landfills and creating a barrier to usage? One solution is discovered through looking at the most discreet elements of the product. Aquafina is in the business of selling H2O. Yet by looking at the actual material that moves their product, they found a way to save money on materials, and solve a big issue. Through reducing the amount of plastic they use for the bottle and cap by even the smallest amounts, Aquafina made a positive environmental impact and lowered manufacturing costs.

By deconstructing the problem, looking at each physical, functional and even emotional element – notice Sarafan’s humor in the face of an overwhelming social concern – we find that solutions can live in the most unlikely places. By leaving no stone unturned and forcing ourselves to look at the smallest pieces of the puzzle, we become open to new sources of inspiration.

What might you gain by zooming in on the most discreet elements of your business? What’s your version of making the bottle-cap smaller? How can you take a lighthearted approach to bigger problems?

As we try everyday to do our best work, land every deal, and make every meeting we are constantly running into speed bumps that stutter our momentum. Let’s take the simple example of sharing your business card. Meeting people is easy. You trade your little rectangles of information, and look forward to the rewards of a new connection. Yet, when you again settle down behind your desk and unpack your wallet or purse, those same contact rectangles come pouring out in a confusing heap of relevance and relationship. Where did I meet her again? Why did I think this business was important? This process of sorting our connections seems almost archaic in 2012, but we find ourselves doing this sort of thing all the time.
Most of us have accepted this type of hindrance as essential to getting business done, but are we settling for less? Are we accepting problems that have clear solutions? Are we that boring?
Companies like CardFlick are keeping things interesting. Using pictures from your Facebook page or Instagram feed, CardFlick enables you to create stylish digital business cards instantly. With a focus on the ease of sharing your style and your information, CardFlick takes an awkward exercise and creates a solution that’s aesthetically pleasing. According to their website, “We’re changing business cards because we know you’re about more than just your contact information. CardFlick lets you create beautiful cards and share them with ease. And hopefully that makes you a little bit happy.”
Not only is CardFlick creating an elegant solution to a common annoyance, but they’re approaching the conversation in an emotional and meaningful way. When we make connections with colleagues it’s easy to jam a card in your pocket or purse, focusing less on the human interaction and more on the connection as it relates to business. When our human interactions take a backseat, the business aspect of our relationships becomes less vibrant. We are more than our contact information. We have lives and personalities outside our email and office phone number. Companies like CardFlick remind us that what’s really at the heart of sharing our information is a human connection; an amazing place to discover one’s personality or personal brand, a place to discover a little happiness, and after all isn’t that why we’re here?
Often we over look the irritations around us and simply accept them as essential. This applies to products, but it also applies to business practices and procedures. Just as sharing contact information is a valuable and necessary aspect of doing business, the way in which we’re doing it has become cumbersome. Likewise, business practices that we assume to be a necessary nuisance may deserve reinvention. What’s gained by this reexamination? In a word: everything. What if you could gain an extra hour every week by eliminating an awkward procedure to file paper-work or set up a team meeting? That’s an hour to think creatively about a problem, to read an inspiring article, watch a helpful lecture, connect with a coworker, send a thank you letter, or simply take a breath and reflect. By taking advantage of elegant solutions created by others, we have a chance to create them ourselves.
What are those simple solutions that will allow innovative thinking more time to blossom? What procedures or technologies are we ignoring that can help us be more creative? How would you get inspired with an extra hour every week?
*Each Monday, Prophet’s Chief Curator and Provocateur, Andy Stefanovich, or a member of our innovation team shares an on-ramp to Monday with Prophet employees across the globe. We’d like to share the inspiration and expand the footprint of these weekly jump starts by sharing them here. This week’s post was written by Joshua Epperson in our Richmond office. Happy Monday!

As we try everyday to do our best work, land every deal, and make every meeting we are constantly running into speed bumps that stutter our momentum. Let’s take the simple example of sharing your business card. Meeting people is easy. You trade your little rectangles of information, and look forward to the rewards of a new connection. Yet, when you again settle down behind your desk and unpack your wallet or purse, those same contact rectangles come pouring out in a confusing heap of relevance and relationship. Where did I meet her again? Why did I think this business was important? This process of sorting our connections seems almost archaic in 2012, but we find ourselves doing this sort of thing all the time.

Most of us have accepted this type of hindrance as essential to getting business done, but are we settling for less? Are we accepting problems that have clear solutions? Are we that boring?

Companies like CardFlick are keeping things interesting. Using pictures from your Facebook page or Instagram feed, CardFlick enables you to create stylish digital business cards instantly. With a focus on the ease of sharing your style and your information, CardFlick takes an awkward exercise and creates a solution that’s aesthetically pleasing. According to their website, “We’re changing business cards because we know you’re about more than just your contact information. CardFlick lets you create beautiful cards and share them with ease. And hopefully that makes you a little bit happy.”

Not only is CardFlick creating an elegant solution to a common annoyance, but they’re approaching the conversation in an emotional and meaningful way. When we make connections with colleagues it’s easy to jam a card in your pocket or purse, focusing less on the human interaction and more on the connection as it relates to business. When our human interactions take a backseat, the business aspect of our relationships becomes less vibrant. We are more than our contact information. We have lives and personalities outside our email and office phone number. Companies like CardFlick remind us that what’s really at the heart of sharing our information is a human connection; an amazing place to discover one’s personality or personal brand, a place to discover a little happiness, and after all isn’t that why we’re here?

Often we over look the irritations around us and simply accept them as essential. This applies to products, but it also applies to business practices and procedures. Just as sharing contact information is a valuable and necessary aspect of doing business, the way in which we’re doing it has become cumbersome. Likewise, business practices that we assume to be a necessary nuisance may deserve reinvention. What’s gained by this reexamination? In a word: everything. What if you could gain an extra hour every week by eliminating an awkward procedure to file paper-work or set up a team meeting? That’s an hour to think creatively about a problem, to read an inspiring article, watch a helpful lecture, connect with a coworker, send a thank you letter, or simply take a breath and reflect. By taking advantage of elegant solutions created by others, we have a chance to create them ourselves.

What are those simple solutions that will allow innovative thinking more time to blossom? What procedures or technologies are we ignoring that can help us be more creative? How would you get inspired with an extra hour every week?

*Each Monday, Prophet’s Chief Curator and Provocateur, Andy Stefanovich, or a member of our innovation team shares an on-ramp to Monday with Prophet employees across the globe. We’d like to share the inspiration and expand the footprint of these weekly jump starts by sharing them here. This week’s post was written by Joshua Epperson in our Richmond office. Happy Monday!

Sometimes we can find inspiration in likely places, like a museum. Other times we find inspiration in the most unlikely of places, like a simple story from a colleague. This week’s on ramp is a little of both, and comes from Hillary Bleckley by way of an e-mail she shared with some of her innovation teammates. Here’s her thoughts…
“Last night, Andrew (Hillary’s Husband) and I made a late night visit to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. I had been telling him about the small, but impressive, exhibit, Photographs from Paris, and insisted that we also visit another new installation by artist Diana Al-Hadid. (It’s this prodigious, enchanting art form that overtakes an entire room). After checking out both exhibits, Andrew asked if we could make our way to the modern art wing to view his favorite piece, Landscape with Wing, by Anselm Kiefer. I’m not particularly taken by Kiefer - many of Kiefer’s paintings incorporate straw, tar, and ash, depicting post-war Germany – but this one is quite captivating with the juxtaposition of a massive metal wing floating above the desolate landscape.
While Andrew and I stood in silence at the back of the room to take in the full breadth of the painting, a docent came up to us and asked us if we knew much about the piece of art. We didn’t really, other than what was detailed on the little plastic placard to the right of the massive painting. The docent proceeded to tell us that the painting was inspired by an Icelandic myth. The story was about a boy mason worker who became a slave to a Viking family, who neglected the boy and made him toil for years. Determined to escape and seek retribution on the evil family, the boy spent months fashioning a pair of metal wings. Upon final construction, the boy mercilessly killed the family, strapped on his wings, and escaped by flight from the farm never to return.
The story was disturbing, and alarming, but it gave the painting new meaning. It put the painting in context. It gave it emotion. Within a matter of minutes, that wing told a different story. I found myself studying it differently. Suddenly, from the painting, emerged themes like freedom, desperation, hope –themes that certainly resonated in post-war Europe. It was a good reminder that everything has a context. Everything has a story. Whether a company, a brand, or a person. When we take the time to dig a little deeper, uncover the story, it shapes our interaction, our connection, to that thing. The beauty of art is there is always room for interpretation, but the beauty of telling a story is the depth of understanding and opportunity for connection that it brings.”

*Each Monday, Prophet’s Chief Curator and Provocateur, Andy Stefanovich, or a member of our innovation team shares an on-ramp to Monday with Prophet employees across the globe. We’d like to share the inspiration and expand the footprint of these weekly jump starts by sharing them here. This week’s post was written by Geof Hammond in our Richmond office. Happy Monday!

Sometimes we can find inspiration in likely places, like a museum. Other times we find inspiration in the most unlikely of places, like a simple story from a colleague. This week’s on ramp is a little of both, and comes from Hillary Bleckley by way of an e-mail she shared with some of her innovation teammates. Here’s her thoughts…

“Last night, Andrew (Hillary’s Husband) and I made a late night visit to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. I had been telling him about the small, but impressive, exhibit, Photographs from Paris, and insisted that we also visit another new installation by artist Diana Al-Hadid. (It’s this prodigious, enchanting art form that overtakes an entire room). After checking out both exhibits, Andrew asked if we could make our way to the modern art wing to view his favorite piece, Landscape with Wing, by Anselm Kiefer. I’m not particularly taken by Kiefer - many of Kiefer’s paintings incorporate straw, tar, and ash, depicting post-war Germany – but this one is quite captivating with the juxtaposition of a massive metal wing floating above the desolate landscape.

While Andrew and I stood in silence at the back of the room to take in the full breadth of the painting, a docent came up to us and asked us if we knew much about the piece of art. We didn’t really, other than what was detailed on the little plastic placard to the right of the massive painting. The docent proceeded to tell us that the painting was inspired by an Icelandic myth. The story was about a boy mason worker who became a slave to a Viking family, who neglected the boy and made him toil for years. Determined to escape and seek retribution on the evil family, the boy spent months fashioning a pair of metal wings. Upon final construction, the boy mercilessly killed the family, strapped on his wings, and escaped by flight from the farm never to return.

The story was disturbing, and alarming, but it gave the painting new meaning. It put the painting in context. It gave it emotion. Within a matter of minutes, that wing told a different story. I found myself studying it differently. Suddenly, from the painting, emerged themes like freedom, desperation, hope –themes that certainly resonated in post-war Europe. It was a good reminder that everything has a context. Everything has a story. Whether a company, a brand, or a person. When we take the time to dig a little deeper, uncover the story, it shapes our interaction, our connection, to that thing. The beauty of art is there is always room for interpretation, but the beauty of telling a story is the depth of understanding and opportunity for connection that it brings.”

*Each Monday, Prophet’s Chief Curator and Provocateur, Andy Stefanovich, or a member of our innovation team shares an on-ramp to Monday with Prophet employees across the globe. We’d like to share the inspiration and expand the footprint of these weekly jump starts by sharing them here. This week’s post was written by Geof Hammond in our Richmond office. Happy Monday!

Venezuela’s University of Momboy started an ambitious program to promote “reading, health, and sustainable development” in remote Andean villages. Using a very basic approach, mules loaded with books that travel to remote Andean villages, the group is promoting access to something as basic as knowledge. One of their key objectives is to “develop the child and adult farmer, not only as mere reader and consumer of information, but also capable of producing, narrating and writing.”
The bibliomulas, or book mules, are the equivalent to book mobiles – mobile libraries that take books to villages without access to libraries. Except in this case, the bibliomulas go to villages without access to roads.
The founders, Roberth Ramirez and Jose Luis Briceño were interviewed for an innovation award from “America Learning Media” discussing some of the challenges of the Bibliomulas program. They face many of the same challenges most corporate innovators face. Here are a couple of excerpts from the interview (courtesy of Google Translate).
The group discussed, among other challenges, the difficulty of getting buy-in for a program that others viewed as too idealistic and unrealistic. Through passion and perseverance, the group illustrated the purpose driven benefits of the bibliomulas program. “El promover la lectura en las comunidades y especialmente en niños, fortalecer la educación rural, potenciar la relación comunidad – escuela, el estimulo a la creatividad y apoyar la actualización de los docente rurales; nos brinda la oportunidad de imaginar una mejor realidad.” [Roughly translated: “Promoting reading in communities and especially in children, strengthens rural education, enhances community relations, and stimulates creativity, giving us the opportunity to imagine a better reality.”]
The group also discussed the obstacle of constant innovation and continuous improvement, going beyond books to create “Bibliomulas 2.o” (could not resist). Since its inception, the program has expanded beyond books to include cybermulas, mules loaded with laptops, projectors, and mobile phones that access the internet through wireless connections. (I very cool marriage between high tech and low tech).
The founders, when sharing their passion for the program, paraphrase Argentinean Poet Jorge Luis Borges: “Sin duda, la lectura es el descubrimiento más grande y hermoso que ha tenido el hombre, ya lo decía Jorge Luis Borges: la lectura es la mejor de las conquistas del hombre. De tal manera, que llevar la lectura a un niño lo va a convertir en otro ser humano distinto a su padre, que en la mayoría de los casos no sabe leer.” [“Without doubt, reading is the largest and most beautiful discovery…reading is the best of men’s achievements. Thus, to take reading to a child is going to make another human being different from his father, who in most cases (does) not read.”]
Check out their blog here - (http://bibliomulasuvm.blogspot.com/) And think about what new innovations you can create through the marriage of old and new technologies.
*Each Monday, Prophet’s Chief Curator and Provocateur, Andy Stefanovich, or a member of our innovation team shares an on-ramp to Monday with Prophet employees across the globe. We’d like to share the inspiration and expand the footprint of these weekly jump starts by sharing them here. This week’s post was written by Geof Hammond in our Richmond office. Happy Monday!

Venezuela’s University of Momboy started an ambitious program to promote “reading, health, and sustainable development” in remote Andean villages. Using a very basic approach, mules loaded with books that travel to remote Andean villages, the group is promoting access to something as basic as knowledge. One of their key objectives is to “develop the child and adult farmer, not only as mere reader and consumer of information, but also capable of producing, narrating and writing.”

The bibliomulas, or book mules, are the equivalent to book mobiles – mobile libraries that take books to villages without access to libraries. Except in this case, the bibliomulas go to villages without access to roads.

The founders, Roberth Ramirez and Jose Luis Briceño were interviewed for an innovation award from “America Learning Media” discussing some of the challenges of the Bibliomulas program. They face many of the same challenges most corporate innovators face. Here are a couple of excerpts from the interview (courtesy of Google Translate).

The group discussed, among other challenges, the difficulty of getting buy-in for a program that others viewed as too idealistic and unrealistic. Through passion and perseverance, the group illustrated the purpose driven benefits of the bibliomulas program. “El promover la lectura en las comunidades y especialmente en niños, fortalecer la educación rural, potenciar la relación comunidad – escuela, el estimulo a la creatividad y apoyar la actualización de los docente rurales; nos brinda la oportunidad de imaginar una mejor realidad.” [Roughly translated: “Promoting reading in communities and especially in children, strengthens rural education, enhances community relations, and stimulates creativity, giving us the opportunity to imagine a better reality.”]

The group also discussed the obstacle of constant innovation and continuous improvement, going beyond books to create “Bibliomulas 2.o” (could not resist). Since its inception, the program has expanded beyond books to include cybermulas, mules loaded with laptops, projectors, and mobile phones that access the internet through wireless connections. (I very cool marriage between high tech and low tech).

The founders, when sharing their passion for the program, paraphrase Argentinean Poet Jorge Luis Borges: “Sin duda, la lectura es el descubrimiento más grande y hermoso que ha tenido el hombre, ya lo decía Jorge Luis Borges: la lectura es la mejor de las conquistas del hombre. De tal manera, que llevar la lectura a un niño lo va a convertir en otro ser humano distinto a su padre, que en la mayoría de los casos no sabe leer.” [“Without doubt, reading is the largest and most beautiful discovery…reading is the best of men’s achievements. Thus, to take reading to a child is going to make another human being different from his father, who in most cases (does) not read.”]

Check out their blog here - (http://bibliomulasuvm.blogspot.com/) And think about what new innovations you can create through the marriage of old and new technologies.

*Each Monday, Prophet’s Chief Curator and Provocateur, Andy Stefanovich, or a member of our innovation team shares an on-ramp to Monday with Prophet employees across the globe. We’d like to share the inspiration and expand the footprint of these weekly jump starts by sharing them here. This week’s post was written by Geof Hammond in our Richmond office. Happy Monday!

Hotels offer two main things – a room and a location. While I’m no expert in retail location, I imagine the cost benefit analysis of hotel construction relies pretty heavily on what nearby attractions are worth visiting. But how do you meet the demands of location if an “attraction” is temporary?
Back in 2004 Jacksonville Florida was in the running to host the 39th NFL Super Bowl, making it the smallest city ever considered to host the game. However, the NFL had a stipulation that in order to be considered to host the games, a city must have a minimum of 17,500 quality hotel rooms – something Jacksonville was about 3,500 short of. Rather than withdraw from consideration, the Jacksonville Super Bowl Host Committee suggested a unique alternative – cruise ships. The idea was a success, adding 3,600 rooms for NFL guests, sponsors, and other VIP’s. Great idea if you have an accessible body of water nearby.
Snoozebox is a more recent innovation in “transportable, temporary hotel accommodation.” The European company offers “flexible configurations from 40 to 400 rooms, Snoozebox can be fully operational and ready to welcome guests within 48 hours of arriving at almost any event or location around the world” (from the Snoozebox site). Assembled from shipping containers, each room contains a “living area,” with bed and closet, as well as a “wet room,” with a commode, sink, and hot water shower. (see inside of a “room” here) “And Snoozebox is truly adaptable, being totally self-contained with no need for mains services or flat terrain to be sited.”
The concept has been used for sporting events and concerts to house anyone from fans to project crews and production staff. Check out some upcoming events here – including accommodating performers for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant at Windsor Castle this coming September.
Both concepts - Snoozebox and cruise ships - are great examples of using innovation by reframing the objective. In this case, both groups moved from the traditional “get people to the hotel” to the more innovative “get the hotel to the people.” It’s pretty audacious if you think about it. How might you reframe an objective you’re working on?
*Each Monday, Prophet’s Chief Curator and Provocateur, Andy Stefanovich, or a member of our innovation team shares an on-ramp to Monday with Prophet employees across the globe. We’d like to share the inspiration and expand the footprint of these weekly jump starts by sharing them here. This week’s post was written by Geof Hammond in our Richmond office. Happy Monday!

Hotels offer two main things – a room and a location. While I’m no expert in retail location, I imagine the cost benefit analysis of hotel construction relies pretty heavily on what nearby attractions are worth visiting. But how do you meet the demands of location if an “attraction” is temporary?

Back in 2004 Jacksonville Florida was in the running to host the 39th NFL Super Bowl, making it the smallest city ever considered to host the game. However, the NFL had a stipulation that in order to be considered to host the games, a city must have a minimum of 17,500 quality hotel rooms – something Jacksonville was about 3,500 short of. Rather than withdraw from consideration, the Jacksonville Super Bowl Host Committee suggested a unique alternative – cruise ships. The idea was a success, adding 3,600 rooms for NFL guests, sponsors, and other VIP’s. Great idea if you have an accessible body of water nearby.

Snoozebox is a more recent innovation in “transportable, temporary hotel accommodation.” The European company offers “flexible configurations from 40 to 400 rooms, Snoozebox can be fully operational and ready to welcome guests within 48 hours of arriving at almost any event or location around the world” (from the Snoozebox site). Assembled from shipping containers, each room contains a “living area,” with bed and closet, as well as a “wet room,” with a commode, sink, and hot water shower. (see inside of a “room” here) “And Snoozebox is truly adaptable, being totally self-contained with no need for mains services or flat terrain to be sited.”

The concept has been used for sporting events and concerts to house anyone from fans to project crews and production staff. Check out some upcoming events here – including accommodating performers for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant at Windsor Castle this coming September.

Both concepts - Snoozebox and cruise ships - are great examples of using innovation by reframing the objective. In this case, both groups moved from the traditional “get people to the hotel” to the more innovative “get the hotel to the people.” It’s pretty audacious if you think about it. How might you reframe an objective you’re working on?

*Each Monday, Prophet’s Chief Curator and Provocateur, Andy Stefanovich, or a member of our innovation team shares an on-ramp to Monday with Prophet employees across the globe. We’d like to share the inspiration and expand the footprint of these weekly jump starts by sharing them here. This week’s post was written by Geof Hammond in our Richmond office. Happy Monday!

This year marks the 100 year anniversary of LL Bean, the purveyor of high-quality outdoor gear and apparel based in Freeport, Maine. To celebrate the occasion, LL Bean has created the “Bootmobile,” a giant replica of the iconic “Maine Hunting Shoe” on wheels. The company is sending the Bootmobile around the country on a “Million Moment Mission,” collecting one million customer stories of great outdoor moments.
The project speaks to the power of stories to connect customers to products through shared experiences.
The campaign delivers on multiple levels. It’s a celebration of company heritage and a reaffirmation of their commitment to high quality products, customer service, and social responsibility. And it’s also a great PR and story-gathering vehicle (pun intended) that will only help to further fuel LL Bean’s understanding of their customers. (LLBean will then donate $1 for every moment shared to the National Park Foundation’s programs that are dedicated to helping underserved kids experience the outdoors - check it out here.)
This is a company committed to the customer - one example includes a customer service representative who drove a canoe down to Boston from Freeport, ME to help out a customer in a bind. There are no locks on the doors of the flagship store in Maine because the store is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Free shipping and a total product guarantee remain hallmarks of this brand. (LL Bean has so captured the hearts of their loyal customers that when founder Leon Leonwood Bean passed away in 1967, over 50,000 letters of condolences poured in.)
Consider your brand’s products and services that are out in the world right now creating stories. If we set out to collect these tales what type of narrative would they create?


*Each Monday, Prophet’s Chief Curator and Provocateur, Andy Stefanovich, or a member of our innovation team shares an on-ramp to Monday with Prophet employees across the globe. We’d like to share the inspiration and expand the footprint of these weekly jump starts by sharing them here. This week’s post was written by Joanna Chow in our Chicago office. Happy Monday!

This year marks the 100 year anniversary of LL Bean, the purveyor of high-quality outdoor gear and apparel based in Freeport, Maine. To celebrate the occasion, LL Bean has created the “Bootmobile,” a giant replica of the iconic “Maine Hunting Shoe” on wheels. The company is sending the Bootmobile around the country on a “Million Moment Mission,” collecting one million customer stories of great outdoor moments.

The project speaks to the power of stories to connect customers to products through shared experiences.

The campaign delivers on multiple levels. It’s a celebration of company heritage and a reaffirmation of their commitment to high quality products, customer service, and social responsibility. And it’s also a great PR and story-gathering vehicle (pun intended) that will only help to further fuel LL Bean’s understanding of their customers. (LLBean will then donate $1 for every moment shared to the National Park Foundation’s programs that are dedicated to helping underserved kids experience the outdoors - check it out here.)

This is a company committed to the customer - one example includes a customer service representative who drove a canoe down to Boston from Freeport, ME to help out a customer in a bind. There are no locks on the doors of the flagship store in Maine because the store is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Free shipping and a total product guarantee remain hallmarks of this brand. (LL Bean has so captured the hearts of their loyal customers that when founder Leon Leonwood Bean passed away in 1967, over 50,000 letters of condolences poured in.)

Consider your brand’s products and services that are out in the world right now creating stories. If we set out to collect these tales what type of narrative would they create?

*Each Monday, Prophet’s Chief Curator and Provocateur, Andy Stefanovich, or a member of our innovation team shares an on-ramp to Monday with Prophet employees across the globe. We’d like to share the inspiration and expand the footprint of these weekly jump starts by sharing them here. This week’s post was written by Joanna Chow in our Chicago office. Happy Monday!


This week’s on ramp is inspired by the San Francisco office’s Amy Young, who noticed similarities between hackathons, and Prophet’s supporting pillars of liberating ideas, inspiring people, and driving impact.
For those not familiar, hackathons, which usually occur within the software tech sector, are hardcore coding sessions during which engineers, programmers, and other techies collaborate to build new, or improve upon existing, products or product features. The intensive sessions, which last anywhere from 24 hours to one week, often serve multiple purposes – one part social or educational and the other part creating a usable product. (One of the first hackathons was a four day session in 1999 focused on writing java programming for the Palm V.)
Most hackathons follow a similar format beginning with initial idea identification, followed by an iterative development process. Sessions start with sharing out the objectives and key subject matter with the group at large. The group shares initial ideas, then breaks out into smaller teams based on interests and expertise. These small teams begin an iterative development process – testing and learning until the session is over. The tone and energy of the sessions are shaped by the 24 hour nature of the approach, and often include pizza dinners, sleeping bags, and caffeine.
Interestingly, organizations are expanding beyond software and applying the characteristics of the original hackathons to new objectives, including white space identification, solving social issues, and even talent identification. For example, Random-Hacks-of-Kindness is a hackathon organized by tech companies (including Google and Microsoft) in collaboration with NASA and the World Bank. The goal is to develop new innovations in disaster response and crisis relief.
An early Random-Hacks-Of-Kindness output was a “mobile notification app that can be used when regular cellular networks are so bogged down people can’t make phone calls. Using the "I’m OK" app, people can easily notify friends and family members that they are safe via SMS by clicking one button. The “I’m OK” message is then instantly distributed to everyone a user has designated on a pre-set contact list.” (cNet Elinor Mills)
How might you apply the characteristics and approach of a Hackathon to your objectives?

*Each Monday, Prophet’s Chief Curator and Provocateur, Andy Stefanovich, or a member of our innovation team shares an on-ramp to Monday with Prophet employees across the globe. We’d like to share the inspiration and expand the footprint of these weekly jump starts by sharing them here. This week’s post was written by Geof Hammond in our Richmond office. Happy Monday!

This week’s on ramp is inspired by the San Francisco office’s Amy Young, who noticed similarities between hackathons, and Prophet’s supporting pillars of liberating ideas, inspiring people, and driving impact.

For those not familiar, hackathons, which usually occur within the software tech sector, are hardcore coding sessions during which engineers, programmers, and other techies collaborate to build new, or improve upon existing, products or product features. The intensive sessions, which last anywhere from 24 hours to one week, often serve multiple purposes – one part social or educational and the other part creating a usable product. (One of the first hackathons was a four day session in 1999 focused on writing java programming for the Palm V.)

Most hackathons follow a similar format beginning with initial idea identification, followed by an iterative development process. Sessions start with sharing out the objectives and key subject matter with the group at large. The group shares initial ideas, then breaks out into smaller teams based on interests and expertise. These small teams begin an iterative development process – testing and learning until the session is over. The tone and energy of the sessions are shaped by the 24 hour nature of the approach, and often include pizza dinners, sleeping bags, and caffeine.

Interestingly, organizations are expanding beyond software and applying the characteristics of the original hackathons to new objectives, including white space identification, solving social issues, and even talent identification. For example, Random-Hacks-of-Kindness is a hackathon organized by tech companies (including Google and Microsoft) in collaboration with NASA and the World Bank. The goal is to develop new innovations in disaster response and crisis relief.

An early Random-Hacks-Of-Kindness output was a “mobile notification app that can be used when regular cellular networks are so bogged down people can’t make phone calls. Using the "I’m OK" app, people can easily notify friends and family members that they are safe via SMS by clicking one button. The “I’m OK” message is then instantly distributed to everyone a user has designated on a pre-set contact list.” (cNet Elinor Mills)

How might you apply the characteristics and approach of a Hackathon to your objectives?

*Each Monday, Prophet’s Chief Curator and Provocateur, Andy Stefanovich, or a member of our innovation team shares an on-ramp to Monday with Prophet employees across the globe. We’d like to share the inspiration and expand the footprint of these weekly jump starts by sharing them here. This week’s post was written by Geof Hammond in our Richmond office. Happy Monday!