Indiana University (IU) is one of those cases where old doesn’t mean outdated. Founded in 1820, IU is not only one of the country’s leading research and teaching institutions, but also a place where collaboration, creativity and innovation are fundamental. We were very curious about how such a large organization applies a progressive approach in running its departments, and how it ensures a smooth transition between very well defined mechanisms and innovative processes. Rebecca Salerno, Creative Services Director of IU Communications gave us the answers.
What is your organization most proud of?
We are most proud of the institution where we work – Indiana University. The students, the faculty, the staff, the alumni – the spirit of IU is all around us every day and it is an endless source of inspiration. Every day we hear remarkable stories about what our students, faculty, staff, and alumni are achieving, and we love being part of that. When we redesigned our workspace last year, we wanted to create a space where people would feel more connected with the institution. Our office is right outside the Sample Gates of Indiana University Bloomington, so we have a great view of the entry to that campus, and our walls are painted in cream and crimson, the school colors.
How do you manage your project portfolio and people? What are the challenges and benefits of your process?
We do work for all the campuses of Indiana University (there are eight throughout the state) as well as IU’s schools, departments, offices, and centers. We enjoy the opportunity to be so involved with the projects that matter to people throughout the university, but the volume of work is definitely a scheduling challenge. We often have between 300 and 400 open projects at a time, ranging from direct mail postcards and invitations to large-scale website redesigns and enterprise system deployments. We added project managers to our team two years ago, and that’s definitely helped us to be more organized and efficient as a service provider while also giving our content specialists, information architects, designers, photographers, and programmers more time to focus on their work without spending all their time in meetings and taking care of administrative tasks.
What attracted you to 10,000ft?
At Indiana University, we love great design so when we were looking for a more effective and user-friendly project planning tool, 10,000ft stood out. It’s a great complement to our collaborative culture. The real-time project status and business analytics will empower us to make better decisions and help our team members communicate more effectively. It’s the ideal tool for our creative workers.
Has 10,000ft added benefit to your organization? If so, how?
It helps us all be more conscious of what’s important, what we need to focus on today through the visual dashboard. It also gives everyone a chance to see what their colleagues are working on and to see the big picture of how we’re all involved in promoting Indiana University.
What’s the secret sauce to your success?
Our secret sauce is Indiana University’s secret sauce: we will take you where you want to go—and beyond. In 2011, we won the Webby Award for the Best School/University website for our work on the Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing website (www.soic.indiana.edu). Our team got to go to New York to accept their award. That’s the type of cool opportunities that our staff enjoy from time to time.
What lesson would you give to someone starting out a creative department?
Look for people who fit your culture. People who thrive in our office love Indiana University, and that love shows in their work. As Steve Jobs said, “If you don’t love something, you’re not going to go the extra mile, work the extra weekend, challenge the status quo as much.”
What’s your vision for your organization in the next 5 years?
We want to see the Indiana University brand gain more prominence globally and to continue to be a leader in higher education marketing.
We are honored to support IU creative process with 10,000ft. You can read more about Indiana University communications work at www.communications.iu.edu.