Archive of Inspiration

Be the best maple tree you can be

on June 16th, 2016 in Art, Design, and Architecture, Brand and Business, Serendipity by | Comments Off

My inner control freak loves bonsai! It’s nature, in a tiny, perfectly-designed form. Over a long weekend in Oregon, I lucked into an exhibit of American bonsai by Ryan Neil at the Portland Japanese Garden. It was charming and beautifully staged in origami-like frames. What I learned is that American…

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Puppets and pandas

on July 14th, 2015 in Art, Design, and Architecture, Serendipity by | Comments Off

  This summer is off to a unexpected start! I’ve been advising a good friend and colleague, Michael, on a new business he’s starting. It’s based here in Oakland but with an office in Taipei. He asked if I would go with him on his next trip, which was only…

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Are you ready for the design-led revolution?

on January 19th, 2015 in Art, Design, and Architecture, Brand and Business, My Work and Articles, Sustainability and Social Value by | Comments Off

Over the past year I’ve been fortunate to collaborate with the sustainability team at Autodesk to envision their support for the design-led revolution. Haven’t heard of it? You may not know the DLR moniker, but you’ve seen revolutionary design in action. From affordable prosthetics to solar robotics, high-impact solutions are…

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Leaving a mark

on January 13th, 2015 in My Work and Articles, Sustainability and Social Value by | Comments Off

Not many things are as rewarding as seeing your work endure! This week I received a charming note from a former pro bono client, the Center for Environmental Health, in thanks for my annual donation: “Dear Erica, Thanks for supporting our work so generously. Of course, how could you say…

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Purpose drivers

on September 14th, 2014 in Brand and Business, My Work and Articles, Sustainability and Social Value by | Comments Off

It seems everyone is talking about purpose these days. Imperative has a new take on what purpose means in your career — it’s not the cause you work for, but how you work. Curious to see what surprises it might reveal, I took Imperative’s purpose driver quiz. My results:  …

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Explainers

on December 13th, 2013 in Brand and Business, Communication, Serendipity by | Comments Off

This weekend a friend was in town, and visitors are great prompts to do all the local things we don’t get around to — in this case, the new Exploratorium! Something that caught my eye is their name for exhibit guides: Explainers. It’s a miniscule detail compared to the immensity…

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The opposite of inspiration

on July 19th, 2013 in Brand and Business by | Comments Off

A client’s main office has a thoroughly depressing interior despite the building’s landmark architecture. The drabness is made all the more noticeable in contrast to their recent brand refresh, which uses great colors and smart messaging. Every time I visit I think about what a disconnect this is — the…

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Lunch at Hattery

on June 6th, 2013 in Brand and Business, Sustainability and Social Value by | Comments Off

Arguably, the greatest contribution tech companies have made to the workplace is lunch. Hattery takes it even farther – not only hiring a chef to feed their staff, but making it a centerpiece of their cultural strategy. They put their accomplished chef, Tina Dang, out front and center. She and…

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A sign-off screen that brings customers back

on April 12th, 2013 in Brand and Business, Communication by | Comments Off

It’s supremely frustrating to see customers walk away without knowing why. Because if you don’t know why, you can’t fix it. After signing out of TurboTax last night, I received the message shown. It’s friendly and smartly user-centric, no doubt the result of research into why people abandon the software….

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My theme for 2013: Believe

on December 14th, 2012 in Serendipity by | Comments Off

Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, chooses a theme for the new year — one word (give or take) that encapsulates her goals and desires. This year, her theme is Bigger: My theme? Bigger. We’re so often encouraged to pursue simplicity; I fight my urge to simplify, to keep…

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