Inspiration can come from the strangest places. Seemingly random encounters with songs, movies, poems, anything you can think of, can offer the most unexpected solutions to a problem that you may be attempting to solve in your work, at a time when you may not even be actively attacking it. For the team at Connect Coworking, an early issue with conceptualizing their project for a boldly innovative collaborative workspace was finding some kind of hook, an image and a name that would easily resonate with prospective clients for whom such a project would be a terrific solution to their start-up needs.
“Early on,” said Stephanie Bermudez, Community Director for Connect, “we were brainstorming, and simply slinging out a ton of ideas. We knew that we wanted to foster an open environment, and one of the chief ways of doing that is by literally building transparency.” This meant an early concept involving glass structures, which remained intact for Connect Beta and is absolutely in effect at the new location at 5th Avenue and Congress. However, the early name and visual was definitely a sticking point. “At one point, Scott, Rudy, and the others had tentatively settled on Igloo, since the glass walls they had in mind seemed a lot like ice,” said Bermudez with a chuckle. “I went home that night, and suddenly had this terrible image of freezing to death while ice-fishing inside an Igloo by a fire too small to keep warm.” The others on the team came to very much the same conclusion, and the struggle with this idea continued for a few days. “We came around and knew that Igloo was just not going to work, but we kept chipping away at it, and nothing good seemed to be emerging,” said Bermudez.
Of course, as we all know with a tough issue, sometimes you need to back off a bit, and simply pick up where you left off the following day. “I wish I knew exactly who said it,” said Bermudez, “but we were still absolutely hung up on the ice thing, and while in another idea session one morning, kicking around related concepts, somebody mentioned penguins.” The image and idea of the bird itself was simply captivating (who doesn’t love penguins?), and suddenly, all of those little frozen tumblers inside the lock of this previously unsolvable problem went click for the Connect crew. “Whatever name we eventually came up with, the penguin was going to have to be part of it!”
Upon further research, the idea grew yet stronger for the team, given that emperor penguins are a social bird that uses collaborative behavior to survive in the most hostile natural environment on planet Earth. It was the perfect relatable visual metaphor for the perils of starting your own small business in this economic climate. Henceforth, the emperor penguin became an iconic part of the culture being created at Connect Coworking, born out of very much the same kind of collaborative idea generating so many budding entrepreneurs find valuable. Next time…the fusion of penguin and brand!
By James J. Jefferies