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By James Frisbie, Identity Group, HKS, Inc.
When it comes to mustering your forces around the brand, coercion doesn’t work. Why? For one thing, the overuse of tedious rules and regulations – no matter how well-intentioned – creates drag and can pull focus. You’re much better off hiring smart people and freeing them up to use their unique skills and experiences toward solving problems in real time. But perhaps the bigger issue is that of brand compliance versus brand engagement. All people, no matter their occupation or ranking, want to feel that they are being given an opportunity to make a meaningful contribution. In other words, our natural inclination is to want to be engaged. But by enforcing a strict doctrine of behavior and a “check with me first” style of management, we can actually dampen those inclinations. And what’s at stake might be more than what you think. The top-down style of brand engagement might actually inhibit your organization’s ability to innovate.
This year’s DC Canstruction theme was ‘Playing with your Food.’ The team started the competition brainstorming ideas – soccer, musical instruments, Play-Doh, sand castle – trying to pick something that would be constructible out of only cans of food, provide the most cans for the Capital Area Food Bank and was the most fun. The final concept was ‘CANimal Cracker Box: The Great Escape,’ playing off of everyone’s fun memories of the Barnum’s Animal Crackers in the circus style box.
Vlogging my experiences as an HKS Xchange Fellow in London.
By Kate Weber
This summer at HKS has been one of the best experiences of my life. I’ve never been a part of a company that puts so much time and interest into their employees, let alone their interns. Within three short months, we have had dinner at the Noble’s and DeSantis’ beautiful homes, taken watercolor classes taught by the talented Jeff Jensen, sat in on client presentations and meetings, and toured HKS construction sites. Even day to day work has been a joy and provided us with priceless learning opportunities.
By Amaya Labrador
It's been a month since I arrived in Dallas… it goes so fast! This weekend I headed out to Fort Worth to check out the Tadao Ando designed Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, which offers free admissions on the first Sunday of every month. The exposed concrete and glass provide a beautiful backdrop for the artwork; so hopefully I’m not the first guest to pay more attention to the building than the art!
By Juman Haddad
Your people … are the most valuable asset you have!
By Jay Taylor
The first thing that hit me when I landed was my hunger. I didn’t know it, but this was the start of my endless search for mystical Shanghai food. I have only one rule, “If you haven’t had it before, try it”. This rule has lead me to devour countless dumplings, hand smashed pancakes, Nutella waffles, stir fry octopus, seared pig ear, and spring sponge cake, just to name a few. I have noticed that since I’ve been here in Shanghai, the food portions are smaller but my appetite has also gotten smaller too. Little meals tend to be enough to fill my American belly. I do wonder what will happen when I return to Texas… where everything is bigger.
By Kathryn Stouffer
I spend a small portion of my day people-watching. I have a front row seat to the St. Paul DART Station. The folks passing by are an eclectic conglomeration of well, every type, shape, race, personality you can imagine, like fish in the sea, they are the people who inhabit this concrete jungle of Downtown Dallas. These are the people we create buildings for. We enhance the human experience for these humans. The homeless woman singing to me through the single pane glass window, the police officer, and the frazzled businessman sprinting to catch the train. I want to know all of their stories. Where are they going? Where did they come from? Do they like the DART? Can they see me? Answer to the former is yes. Are they always late for their train? How long have they been racing down the sidewalk, suitcase, or baby, in hand?
By Brinda Sengupta
Growing numbers of privately owned automobiles, pollution, and congestion have helped governments in cities across India realize the need for better mass transport systems. Cities like Delhi are now making substantial investments to improve existing systems and implement new measures. However, even as Delhi is investing in rail and bus lines, “last mile connectivity” – connecting people from their homes to transport hubs – remains an area of concern and neglect for the city and the country as a whole. This lack of affordable and safe last-mile connectivity has created a situation in which the poorest, who rely most on mass transport, are the very people that are having the hardest time reaching safe, sustainable, affordable transport options.
Two Dallas HKS employees recently spoke about the Architectural and Structural Engineering fields at the 3rd annual Bronze Blitz sleepover. The Perot Museum of Science set the best stage for Pilar Guerrero and Janelle Splinter to talk about how mathematics, computer programs and engineering is used on a day to day basis. The interview included questions about the best part of their job and the not so glamorous aspects too. The girl scouts as well as their parents were very engaged and able to learn more about the processes and critical thinking the design team goes through in order to design a building. HKS has maintained a valued relationship with the Girl Scouts here in the Dallas area. HKS Dallas has participated in several of the Girl Scouts STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) related programs, such as the Cookie Box Creation competition.