From the Editor – Collaboration lives at the core of great ideas

Posted on Aug 1, 2014 :: Editor
Margaret LeBrun
Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

They may fight over the marker, but hey – they’re working and planning together.

This is how leadership at Omni Resources gets things done. President and CEO Gail Ondresky and Jeff Lang, Omni’s Solutions Group manager, know the best ideas start at the 30,000-foot view … with doodles.

This month’s cover story by Sean P. Johnson shines the light on a technology staffing and IT solutions company that found the best way to innovate involves gathering those who need to be involved and then sketching out ideas for solutions – well before letting the experts dig in. 

Brainstorming and exploring possibilities as a group before diving too deep into solving a problem saves time, saves money and prevents headaches. Plus, it’s fun. 

This issue is full of ideas that convey the power of collaboration.

What could be more collaborative than bringing several different departments of one company under the same roof? The new Schreiber Foods headquarters in downtown Green Bay, which opened this summer at the site of what was once the Port Plaza Mall, consolidated the work of about 700 people that used to be spread among six buildings throughout the city. The five-story building has changed the dynamics of downtown Titletown.

“Everything will be significantly bigger and better for us,” says Dan Puyleart, a research and development lab team leader for Schreiber, a leading supplier of products to restaurants, institutions, grocery stores and food manufacturers. “We are all going to be under the same roof and can collaborate much easier.” Check out Johnson’s story, “Recipe for success.” 

With just a little research I learned that construction management for the Schreiber Foods home office was provided by The Boldt Company, which incorporated Building Information Modeling to help its client visualize what the project would look like upon completion. 

Using BIM, or three-dimensional drawings, is itself a collaborative process, as you’ll read in MaryBeth Matzek’s story, “Project in Focus.” Such modeling allows architects and engineers to communicate ideas with their clients to save time and money. Together they can visualize multiple options for floor plans, lighting and materials before any hands-on work begins. “There’s something very satisfying with that,” says Alex Sudbrink, architecture and engineering services lead for Keller Inc.– Planners, Architects, Builders in Kaukauna.

A relatively new tool that helps people collaborate and visualize their ideas is visual recording. Our Small Business Spotlight this month shows how the technique helps people bring ideas to life. Mick Walsh, who launched his company, SketchBiz, puts his pen to paper as people verbalize their ideas and brings their brainstorms to life. The result is a collaborative effort among the idea originators, a script writer, a narrator, a videographer and his active illustrations. Check out the story by our intern, Sam Allen.

At Insight Publications, we’re already feeling the positive vibes of collaboration in our new office environment at 400 North (Richmond Street) in downtown Appleton. The layout includes offices on the perimeter and a more open concept in the center, with a small conference room for private meetings and a large conference room that brings the light from our floor-to-ceiling windows into the shared spaces. People “tune out” as they focus on their work and “tune in” when a subject arises that they might help each other with. 

As a communications company, we feel we’re communicating – and thus, collaborating – more than ever. The Idea Paint on the walls doesn’t hurt, either. 

We have yet to wrestle over the dry erase markers … but watch out! With our new collaborative environment, brainstorms are brewing at Insight

Margaret LeBrun

About Margaret LeBrun

Co-Publisher, Executive Editor View all posts by Margaret LeBrun →