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  • Blog Posts by Justin Ahrens

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    • Story Makes the Whiskey Go Around

      Recently I had an opportunity to holiday in Scotland and visit some of my favorite whiskey distilleries with some of my favorite people. We visited the Speyside region (located appropriately along the Spey river), whose distilleries tend to produce a smoother, less peaty/smoky scotch than you might experience from the Islay region per say. (For those non-whisky drinkers or wanting…

    • What is your “Africa”?

      No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another. —Charles Dickens The first time I stepped off the plane in Ethiopia, I suddenly and dramatically realized the world was a lot different than I had thought during my first thirty-six years on this earth. That might sound obvious, but for me…

    • Design for Good: Is It Too Much?

      I recently attended a conference where a well-known speaker said he didn’t believe design could change the world. Although he thinks design has the potential for great influence, he suggested that perhaps the “design for good” believers should take a log off the fire. He said the expectation to feel responsible for changing the world…

    • 5 Steps for Culture Shift

      There is a clear path to healthy culture, and you achieve this one step at a time. Let’s look at what it takes to get there. Define: Begin by reflecting on and prioritizing the values your company stands for and the beliefs you hold about how people work best. Be Strategic: • Why these principles?…

    • Exploring Good Culture

      In the last blog post, I explained “why” culture is important to your company. (If you haven’t read it yet, make sure you catch up!) To summarize, I would like to challenge you to think about culture as something other than the physical output you see (such as a fancy, cool office or an hip…

    • The Importance of Understanding Culture

      We can get inspired; we can learn how to upgrade our skills—but if we are not in the right culture, or helping to create the right culture, we are missing out on our best work opportunities. Culture is an important component of any company; in fact, I would argue that it may be the most…

    • Take Time to Celebrate & Dream

      No matter what position you hold at the company you’re with, taking time to celebrate the past and dream about the future should be a yearly ritual for your career. Due to life, deadlines, and the pace of our days, many of us often fall into the routine of looking forward to the next holiday…

    • Focus on Strengths

      Do you ever sit down and think, “Man, I’m really good at this or that”? Too often, it seems like we focus on what is wrong with us; we think that if we can just fix that one thing – lose some weight, master this extra skill, or whatever that thing is, all would be…

    • Conversation Skills Make A Difference

      Not everyone is a great conversationalist, and even the best have a tough day now and then. Plus, we’ve all had a client that is challenging to talk to. So, what sort of things can you do to make better conversation? Here are four ideas: 1) Be interesting by doing interesting things “Interesting” can be simple or complex.…

    • The ROI on Design

      Investing is putting time or money in something you believe in hoping for a potential return. This sentence contains a few key terms that are paramount when thinking about the factors that can affect your business. Design is an investment. It should be a part of your business plan in the earliest stages. We have talked to many clients that have a great idea but have given little thought to the part that strategic design plays. Occasionally they enjoy early success, but then they reach a…