Posts tagged verynicework
verynice + USGBC-LA Call for Artist Volunteers

The Background:

At the end of each year, USGBC-LA holds its largest fundraiser and social event—the Annual Green Gala—to celebrate a year of achievements in the local green building movement. USGBC-LA’s 10th Annual Green Gala will take place on November 13, 2014 at AVALON Hollywood. The gala will recognize the leaders in the green building industry with USGBC-LA’s 4th Annual Sustainable Innovation Awards  and will feature live cirque performances by SkyFire (skyfirearts.com ) showcasing aerial acrobatics, fire dancing, gymnastics, stilt-walking, and performers wielding arcs of electricity from a 10’ tall Tesla Coil.

As part of this special celebration, USGBC-LA has enlisted verynice to select three (3) volunteer Los Angeles-based artists or art collaboratives to each design and construct a sculptural installation for exhibition on the evening of the Green Gala!

 

 

The chosen artists will create these sculptural installations by sourcing materials from Interior Removal Specialist, Inc. (“IRS, Inc.”), a full-service tenant improvement demolition company which has been a pioneer in recycling much of the deceptively toxic items and materials generated in commercial demolition jobs. IRS, Inc. finds a second life for many of the common furnishings, equipment and fixtures that are left behind in commercial properties slated for demolition or remodeling. IRS, Inc.’s warehouse—located approximately twenty minutes southeast of downtown Los Angeles—contains a treasure trove of salvaged materials and goods that it has generously opened up to us. These donated items will serve as the raw materials for artistic interpretation and inspiration. In addition, artists will each be provided with a small stipend to purchase outside materials (paints, hardware, etc) not found in the warehouse. All other time and labor costs of the artists will be on a volunteer basis. It is anticipated that future opportunities may exist for these completed sculptural pieces to be displayed in and around the Greater Los Angeles area after the Green Gala event.

The verynice team toured IRS, Inc.’s warehouse in September and took snapshots of its vast contents [http://bit.ly/VNwarehouse]. As the warehouse’s inventory regularly changes, the items pictured are not guaranteed to be available when the selected artists visit for materials-gathering, but they are representative of the types and kinds of pieces one may expect to find: doors, door frames, glass, wood, wires, electronic waste, lamps, chairs, tiles, pipes, fixtures, cabinets, desks, and an array of unique one-offs.

 

 

The Prompt:

Millions of square feet of offices, schools, conference rooms, lobbies, and more are demolished each year in Los Angeles. IRS, Inc.’s warehouse is piled high with items destined to otherwise become buried in a rubbish heap had they not been "rescued" for reuse. In collaboration with the USGBC-LA, verynice is interested in exploring how artists can take advantage of the trace that these buildings leave behind in order to invent something completely new. Using remnants of past spaces that sit on the threshold of beauty and decay, we invite our community to help us create a series of three sculptural artifacts that present a narrative of resurrection and sustainability. What might future archeologists make of our 20th/21st century civilization when they unearth our forgotten landfills and fallen buildings, and what stories or narratives might the warehouse pieces be repurposed to tell? How can these sculptures serve as a message to our future selves about collaboration, sustainability, and reusability through modern waste?

 

 

Interested in becoming an artist volunteer? Click here for more project details and application instructions!

Civic Innovation is verynice.

Civic innovation IS verynice, and here's why: verynice has constantly been evolving its definition of "local" since its inception. Starting with our Los Angeles office, verynice is making it a priority to dedicate greater capacity to helping innovate and design for our local communities.

That's why we were thrilled to partner with the City of Los Angeles' Controllers Office to craft a brand new position that aims to blend design thinking and civic innovation to solve some of the city's greatest problems: The Civic Innovation Fellowship (Interested? Apply here!). The position is a natural evolution of our Entrepreneur In Residence program— and it essentially carves out an entirely new role for designers in government. 

We believe our focus on civic innovation is crucial to our future as both a company that enacts change in the world and as individual citizens. To explain exactly what we mean, we sat down with our founder, Matt Manos, for a quick interview on verynice's approach to civic innovation. Check it out!


Hey, Matt!

Why is it important for citizens to participate in civic innovation? (Phrased another way: why can't the government just do it?)

Innovation in the public sector has to be a collaborative effort, and the participation of local citizens is a crucial endeavor. Marshall McLuhan is famous for saying 'We don't know who discovered water, but we know it wasn't the fish.' I've always personally interpreted this to paint a picture of the idea that sometimes when we are too close to something, we can miss the most obvious solutions and ideas. The same goes for government— innovation cannot just come from within.

 

What do designers have to contribute to civic innovation?

Marketing and design is shifting significantly, and the role of designers, right now, is drastically different than it was during the days of Mad Men. We are entering a future in which everything around us, from the sidewalks we walk on, to the cities we live in, to the hats on our heads, can be mediums for communication and engagement. Because of this reality, designers have truly evolved beyond the role of the "facade maker" into the role of the facilitator. This makes them an ideal contributor to civic innovation.

 

Can you explain a bit more about "design thinking" and how that intersects with civic innovation? 

In Design Thinking, empathy is at the core of the design process— it is the first step in understanding what the end user might need by being able to get hands-on experience understanding their problems and “pain points.” Empathy, as opposed to sympathy, is a way for us to develop our understanding by sharing an experience. This is a significant tool to leverage in the public sector as it doesn't assume what the public needs, but instead works with the community to create an innovative solution. 

 

Why is civic innovation a priority for verynice? 

As verynice has grown over the years, the concept of what is "local" has changed for us dramatically. At the beginning of this year, we made it a priority for the Los Angeles office to increase focus and bandwidth around local causes and innovation in the public sector. This is a crucial cause in defining the future of verynice as it relates to our immediate state(s), city(ies), and community(ies).

 

Stay tuned for more about verynice civic innovation efforts. In the mean time, we're welcoming applications for the Civic Innovation Fellowship through October 1. Click here to apply

Capacity Match is verynice.
 

Sometimes we get a little intense over here at verynice… in a good way. Our client, Capacity Match, is a service that connects nonprofits in need of outsourcing their capacity building projects to consultants and vendors that match their needs. If you think this sound exactly like our cup of tea, you’d be correct— we’re all about helping to meet the needs of nonprofits.

So, here’s where it gets intense— we recently embarked on two intensives to help build the Capacity Match website: one to design the user experience (UX) and one to build the product (Ruby on Rails). We could go on and on about what a great (and intense) experience this was, but we thought it might be nice for you to hear from Capacity Match Co-Founders Jesse Clarke and Chris Powell instead. See their interview below to learn more about our UX and Ruby on Rails intensives and why Capacity Match is doing great things for the nonprofit space.  


Can you tell us a little bit about the Capacity Match process and why it's unique? 

Capacity Match is a match making service for nonprofits to find quality consultants/vendors for their capacity building projects. Currently the few resources that exist to aid nonprofits with their outsourcing do not make it an easy process. Capacity Match addresses these deficiencies by 1) taking the guesswork out of the process by providing potential consultants/vendors that are matched to the nonprofit’s needs via our proprietary profile matching system and 2) removing the stress that comes from spending valuable time on the search. Our sign up process takes 15 minutes and the nonprofit is presented with two matches. After that, the only step that remains for the nonprofit is to choose the best fit based on their own interviews with them.

Capacity Match also stands out because it is not a volunteer matching service. All of our consultants/vendors are compensated for their work.

 

Why should nonprofits and consultants/vendors use Capacity Match?

The Capacity Match network consists of consultants / vendors that have a track record of successful engagements with nonprofits and are currently seeking new clients. In addition, it expands the pool of potential resources beyond those the nonprofit would traditionally have access to in their or their board of director’s network. Lastly, there are no reoccurring fees. The nonprofit pays for the matches on a per project basis.

Capacity Match also seeks to serve their consultant/vendor partners by providing a great resource for them to expand their network of potential clients. These potential clients are immediately ready to engage in a capacity building project. Thus, Capacity Match is a low cost lead generation service that delivers matches that are highly compatible with the consultant/vendor.

 

What were your favorite parts of the UX intensive and the Ruby on Rails intensive processes?

The UX process provided the confidence necessary to move forward in building a web tool that customers needed vs. guessing what they wanted. The feedback loop of interviews was the most valuable part as we narrowed down different options.

The Ruby on Rails sprints were again a great lesson in focusing on the most important needs of the customer without getting caught up in extraneous bells and whistles. Pairing the UX intensive with the Ruby on Rails sprints was very important as we learned that we had to be flexible in the final output, which required us to constantly reevaluate our priorities.

 

So, what's next for Capacity Match? 

We are excited to continue to build out our nonprofit and consultant/vendor network and make successful matches that elevate the work of the social sector.

Looking forward, we want to continue to enhance the robustness of the network with reviews and recommendations that act as checks and balances, ensuring we maintain a high bar for our clients on both sides of the network. 

 

Thanks, Jesse and Chris! We're excited too… and can't wait to see Capacity Match and its network expand and continue to produce outstanding results!

Renaeverynicela, verynicework
Code for America is verynice.

Code for America is a nonprofit that develops technology-focused solutions to help government and citizens work together. By leveraging technology, Code for America is able to facilitate government cooperation and empower residents to actively solve problems within their communities.

Code for America logo

Code for America logo

The Code for America Accelerator is a four-month program that provides technology startups with training, mentorship, and access to their vast government network and technology landscape. To participate, the startups must pass Code for America’s very selective application process. Out of more than a hundred, only five make the cut.

For the past two years, verynice has been a mentor with the Accelerator program. This means that Code for America assigns us between two and three startups per year to provide mentorship around brand strategy.

Cool text image via codeforamerica.org

Cool text image via codeforamerica.org

This year, we are so excited to have been assigned to two fantastic startups:

Trailhead Labs collaborates with outdoor groups and local government in order to connect people with the outdoors.

MuniRrent allows municipalities to rent needed equipment from one another through the MuniRent application, saving them (and therefore their citizens) the high cost of traditional rental services.


Last year, we had the opportunity to work with SmartProcure, StreetCred, and Family Assessment Form:

Smartprocure collects data from thousands of local, state and federal agencies in order to improve procurement knowledge, allowing companies to make better purchasing decisions.

Through a program that aggregates information from the court and a variety of law enforcement agencies, StreetCred helps law enforcement agencies find and remove fugitives from the community, keeping their officers safer in the process.

Designed by social workers and home visitors, Family Assessment Form is a practice tool that helps family support practitioners standardize the assessment of their services so that supported families can receive the most effective services possible.

 

We'll keep you updated on our work with Code for America. If you haven't seen their TED talk, you'll want to watch that here— trust us, you'll walk away feeling empowered. 

A Two-Week Sprint (UX-Style) with SILVERWING

When we say, sprint, we're not talking about a half marathon. Instead, this is a two-week process in which verynice works with a client to develop and test a concept for a digital product. For this sprint, we worked with SILVERWING— a sleek and innovative online service for reserving jets that aims to disrupt the private jet industry model. 

Over an intensive two-week sprint, verynice worked with SILVERWING to create a comprehensive UX design and product development strategy for their startup. From pencil sketches to a room full of whiteboard insanity to a streamlined set of clickable prototypes, every move was measured and calculated through a series of user studies that introduced the product to a curated group of individuals for feedback to inspire a series of product iterations.

Some say this process is too intense and should be done over a longer period of time— but we live for this kind of thing at verynice. After all was said and done, we were curious to see if the creators of SILVERWING share our love for our unique product development format. So, we asked CEO Devyn Silverstein to give us some some info on the SILVERWING brand and tell us what he thought of the process. 


Hi, Devyn! Tell us a little about SILVERWING. How is it different from traditional private jet services?
SILVERWING is putting together an online marketplace to charter private jets, the likes of which currently do not exist. Anyone can go online and use Priceline, Delta.com, etc. to book an airline ticket, but the current booking process for a private plane is complicated and inconvenient. Currently the charter industry is run by brokers, and very little is done online. We're aiming to pioneer a platform that users will love, which will also benefit aircraft operators, and create a winning brand for the private jet charter market. 

What's your favorite part of the two-week UX intensive process? 
I love to build things and see how they are made. That said, I have never seen the inner-workings of a website, nor have I seen one get designed from the ground up. It was fascinating to see that something as technical and futuristic as a website, still begins with pen & paper. 

What finding from the intensive was the most surprising?
General arrangement and layout changes, mostly. As someone who considers himself to be visually inclined, it was surprising to see some of the suggested design changes that happened during the user testing rounds. 

So… what's next for SILVERWING? 
Next for SILVERWING is the design phase, where the verynice team will really work their magic. I'll be posting progress on my Instagram,  @MrSILVERWING.  The future for SILVERWING is bright. Check us out in a few months at FlySILVERWING.com 

 

We'll keep you posted with future SILVERWING updates— including the launch of their site. Whether you're a private jet user (we wish!) or just someone who appreciates a sleek-looking site, you'll dig it either way.

verynice Client, Citizen Engagement Laboratory, Launches New Initiative

Climate Relief Fund, is an intitiative of the Citizen Engagement Laboratory’s (CEL) Climate Lab, which aims to push political and cultural response to climate change. CEL believes that communities affected by natural disasters not only need support but also a voice. The severity and frequency with which climate disasters occur is increasing dramatically— and climate change is the culprit. Their new initiative, Climate Relief Fund, attacks the issue in two ways: raising funds to help communities affected by climate disasters recover and showing the public how these disasters are linked to climate change. They are the only disaster relief fund that uses 100% of their donations to fund their mission. 

This is the first of a series of collaborations between verynice and CEL. We were honored to create a brand strategy and identity design for Climate Relief Fund. In our collaboration, both CEL and verynice wanted to achieve an action-oriented feel. Our idea was to convey the message that funding and leadership go hand-in-hand with grassroots endeavors. It is important not only to attack the issue of climate change by lending a hand to the supporting organizations, but also by raising awareness many of the issues we are facing are avoidable with the right outlook and planning. For this reason, we decided to position Climate Relief Fund’s design direction between trends commonly found in the political campaign space as well as the charitable campaign space. 

One of our favorite parts of the project was developing an identity that serves as a metaphor for connectivity and strength. The finished product is a logo that captures this perspective and will allow the campaign to begin with a powerful and distinctive character. 

 

verynice credits

Creative Direction: Matthew Manos
Design: Kate Slovin, Alisa Olinova
Project Management: Cindy Hammond

 

This project was the first in a series of collaborations between verynice and CEL. Stay tuned for future announcements from this partnership and check out CEL's inspiring and powerful new initiative, Climate Relief Fund

 

 

verynice Client, Fifth Dimension, Launches Website

"Creating an atmosphere of acceptance and love our interactions become an exchange of energy with all living beings sharing our planet Earth."  —Fifth Dimension

Based in Los Angeles, Fifth Dimension is a yoga lifestyle clothing company committed to creating gorgeous (and comfortable!) clothing that is sustainable and organic. Working with local manufacturers allows Fifth Dimension to amplify their sustainability efforts by supporting the local economy and reducing their carbon footprint.  Fifth Dimension is the creation of Carla Teran, entrepreneur, designer, and certified Kundalini yoga and Pilates instructor. Teran created Fifth Dimension to reflect the yogic principles of living healthfully and with unconditional love and compassion.

verynice was honored to create Fifth Dimension's website. We aimed to find a minimal and unique way to curate their product while maintaining the soft, feminine feel of the brand. A light, earthy color scheme with minimal UI design helped us achieve this. In place of a traditional grid, our design team created an innovative structure for Fifth Dimension's shop; it uses a mixed scale grid to feature products and maximize users’ ability to sort through categories. This added a fresh and unconventional look to the page. verynice also provided site photography direction.

A world traveler, Teran has a stunning collection of unique pieces from her adventures. The site’s Around the World section curates some of these amazing pieces and provides an interesting way to promote the brand's culture. It’s one of the verynice team’s favorite sections on the site!


verynice credits

Creative Direction: Bora Shin
Account Management: Cindy Hammond
Design: Kate Hynes


Fifth Dimension and verynice value sustainability, healthy living, and kindness (to nature and ourselves). Fifth Dimension's first collection is a beautiful example of how your clothing can embody these values too!