Oct 12, 2006

Idea Factory

When I first started at ePrize I thought that the coolest thing going on was the "Idea Meeting" that the ID team lead each week. It was a no holds barred gathering of people who were paid to be creative as well as Sales assistants, PMs, QA guys, and Sales people. Even the secretary would show up. Other than one blowhard IT guy, the eclectic (and ever shifting) group thought outside of the box (much like the ePrize logo).

The format of the meeting was simple. Each week various Sales people would come in with a handful of clients and they'd give a bit of background on who they are and what they wanted to accomplish. From there it became a freeform riff that dipped into the arsenal of already developed tools ("How about a scratch-n-win where we had...") as well as completely off the wall (and usually brilliant) ideas that would have pushed the envelope. As the head Sales guy always said, "The bigger the idea, the bigger the budget." We were encouraged to think big.

The coolest part of that meeting was the aftermath. Here we were throwing around ideas for a client one month and building our ideas the next. I got to see some of my ideas used in national campaigns! Moreover, it was a great team building exercise as our brainstorms were fueled by the energy and creativity of one another.

I wasn't paid to be creative. That wasn't in my job description. But here I could be as creative as I wanted. I even did some sketches! And I wasn't the only one spreading my wings. I mentioned the secretary being there -- she often came up with some of the best ideas!

Sadly, this revelry didn't last for long after I got to ePrize. This meeting was taken away from the ID team and given to a newly formed department -- Strategy.

"Department" is kind of a strong word for Strategy as it was one guy running it -- the COO's cousin. The weekly idea meetings carried on briefly and then suddenly stopped. After that there was the only occasional meeting, usually for a larger client. Gone was the big group brainstorm -- we were split into groups and cast into different areas of the building. And, after a few of these, the idea meeting stopped altogether.

By the time we moved from the Farmington Hills location to the Pleasant Ridge location the Strategy team had expanded (to at least two) and only grew after that. Oddly, the most Strategy people we got, the less we heard from them. We would get a random email newsletter that pretended it was sent on a regular basis. There were also some "Lunch And Learns" (another excuse to have to stay at the office for lunch) where participants were subjected to dull power point presentations of facts and figures that were seemingly related to our business model but never quite fit.

During my last few months at ePrize I can't recall seeing, much less interacting, with anyone from this mysterious department of misfits. I don't know where the ideas came from anymore but there seemed to be a dearth of them.

6 comments:

ePrizer said...

If you have been gone for months and are so happy now, why are you obsessed with bashing the company? Was it because your attitude sucked while you were here and you guy fired for it?

Stop being a victim and living in the past. Move on with your life. You are a miserable person, and will be miserable wherever you go. Everyone here knows who you are and laughs about you, Mike. What are you accomplishing? Is this productive? Do you get a thrill out of crying about the past?

You know this is a great company, and they are always improving. You are just upset that they fired you. No one gives your comments any credibility. There is a lot of great things and positive change happening here. Why not do something positive with your life instead of spewing hate about the past? Get over it and grow up.

watchfuleye said...

I disagree that this blogger is not providing a valuable service. His / her writing style is spot-on, the stories are compelling and it's even a bit fun to get an insider's perspective of corporate America. I vote to keep the freedom alive and kicking. Don't give in to the pressure, Mike!

dizgruntled said...

Hit me with your best shot...come on and hit me with your best shot.

No Limits is saying the same thing most past-eprizer’s are thinking.

eprizer is probably benefiting because no limits is no longer at the company, at least that's my guess.

You sure are showing the 'best side' of the company by posting here and spewing hate towards a person who is well within their rights to voice an opinion.

If you are half the 'eprizer' you think you are, you would have shut up long ago...or are you looking to be noticed on a blog too, like some of your other co-workers?

Well, here's your pat on the back...great job! Way to stick it to 'em. Er…us.

Get a life. Oh wait, your eprizer... pretty sure your soul was sucked away long ago.

Carry on...

yearofthechump said...

@eprizer:

I come here, I read the blog, I even occationaly comment. My comments tend to reflect the world I worked in. Does that mean that I'm miserable? Hell no, I'm extremely happy with my life the way it is now. Why shouldn't I be allowed to share experiences with people, argue a point, complain about something that happened?

Mayhem said...

For the record, for the last 6 or 7 months creative and strategy have had meetings twice a week to come up with ideas for our clients.

NoLimits said...

That's cool. Still doesn't sound like the cross-pollinization that was so satisfying -- as if Software Engineers or Interface Developers or QA or... don't have any good ideas.

At least Strategy is doing something, I suppose. I always wondered WTF that department was doing.