Thursday, March 25, 2010

War and Peace

I guess it's kind of ironic that the team working with a client whose company uses the name "Piece by Peace" should call its Idea Village work space The War Room. Honestly, when Mike slapped the sign on the exterior door no-one batted an eyelid. When it comes to self awareness and a basic cognition of things such as these the Berkeley Haas team is evidently a bit slow. It must have something to do with all of the pot dispensaries that litter the region surrounding the Berkeley campus. Berkeley's got a reputation, you know. I'm just sayin'.

Rohan prepares for a day of combat with his ideas

At any rate, sometime late yesterday the sign was mysteriously vandalized. Scratched over the word "war" was the well known peace symbol. Maybe we can take a hint after all, and within a few minutes of our arrival back at the IP this morning a retooled version of the sign found its way onto the door. We're the Berkeley Haas team. We've got a reputation to uphold. And nobody knows how to draw peace symbols better than us. We're also rather decent at getting mad about things.

You might remember late last year there were a series of protests across a number of UC campuses, the first of which transpired at UCLA. I recall walking by the Berkeley campus with another Haas classmate who remarked how unconscionable it was that UCLA should hog all the protest glory. "Berkeley won't stand for this," he observed, "I can pretty much guarantee you that something's going to happen tomorrow that will reassert Berkeley's status as the protest capital of the UC system." The next day forty protesters barricaded themselves behind the doors of Wheeler Hall, thereby ensuring that UC Berkeley recaptured its mantle as the undisputed center for latching onto a cause and getting really mad about it.

The re-christened door had its effect. The creative tension of the prior days melted away and the Haas team basked in the newly established resonant harmonic frequencies reflecting off our chamber walls. We were awash in some major good vibes and man, did it feel great. Innovation is an iterative process, circling back around on itself with increasing degrees of refinement. As Wednesday drew to a close, and as the detritus of emptied coffee cups and Oreo wrappers piled up on the table, we came to understand that what had at times been a confusing doubling back had in fact been exactly what we needed: a continual refinement of ideas and concepts. Hell or high water (no pun intended), Traci is going to receive a thick wad of output from the Haas team. We're determined to ensure that the output is actionable and of some ultimate use. Reaching that point has required the repeated discarding and reincorporation of ideas that at one point lacked a meaningful context but later found one. We've got a day to go.

While the light of the day faded, the Haas team emerged from the Peace Room to soak up a bit of local flavor at Wednesday in the Square. Music and booze are integral components of the New Orleans DNA. We enjoyed a bit of both. It was a fitting end to a day that saw the Haas team wage battle with its concepts and secure a lasting peace. It's kind of fitting that on Friday we'll present to none other than General Wesley Clark. I think he might know something about these things.

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