In the world of marketing agencies, companies are in a constant state of change. New clients, new projects and new challenges presented every day create a world where a team can rarely plan out an entire day.
Is it challenging? Yes. But it is the unknowns that make it so great. At SilverTech, we may start our day out by tackling social media strategy for one of the largest utilities in the country and by the afternoon we’re focusing on developing a campaign for a global apparel company in partnership with the NFL. This is agency life.
Over the years, I have learned that when hiring people for our agency, we need to find someone that truly loves the life. Perhaps more than any field, they know it may mean working until midnight. They know they will come across a problem they have no idea how to solve but ultimately find a way, in the best way possible, before hitting a deadline. They know that to be successful, you have to think differently.
Most agencies will tell their clients that they “think outside the box”…but how is that proven? Well, results…and surprisingly, this cool contest created by the SEE Science Center.
As a proud sponsor of the SEE Science Center, SilverTech was invited to an event at the house of Dean Kamen, inventor of the home dialysis machine, Slingshot water purification system and the Segway. The fundraiser presented a series of science team-building challenges.
In the first challenge, the goal was to move a small, magnetic marble between two points in the longest time possible. As a team, which included our guest, friend and client JG Autographs, we could define our own beginning and end points.
Presented with the game pieces, a pegboard at a slight angle, and our supplies, a paper bag of straws, paperclips, a tea bag et. al., Team SilverTech began designing our system.
Most teams built complex, pachinko style, mazes to slow the balls descent. SilverTech thought outside-the-bag (so aptly named for the container of our supplies) and built a pendulum. Most teams came in with times that were less than a few minutes. The official score-keeper ‘called-it’ for our solution after 11 minutes – the pendulum still swinging down to its final point defined as the center of the game-board.
SilverTech took first place by several minutes and moved on to the final round: another challenge. This time, it consisted of a series of tubes in descending thickness with the goal of balancing Wiffle balls on, or in, the tubes. The thinnest tube was worth 100 points.
Instead of prepping the transmission, Team SilverTech prepared the cargo, securing the Wiffle balls over a series of dowels, forming a strong, secure tower. At the starting bell, when the other teams began their human-assisted Rube-Goldberg solutions, a member of our team simply lifted the tower from an attached handle, brought it to the highest scoring pipe and stuck the base of the tower on it. It was held in place, though I’m still convinced it could have stood on its own.
Again, SilverTech built from the solution back, devising a system with which all balls could balance on the 100 point pipe, and all balls could be placed securely in less than a minute. Mathematically speaking, this was the highest scoring possibility.
While it may be thinking radically to create a solution like this, it was also about making sure you don’t over think and try and develop too much for all the cylinders. We played within the rules and every person on the team worked together to develop amazing solutions to difficult problems.
What this showed me is that you can hire the smartest people in the world with the most amazing resumes but in agency life, you have to think outside the bag, work collectively and as a team. The more difficult the problem the more true this becomes, but after this victory, and years of award-winning work from our agency, I’ve never been more confident in our growing team.