• “I still find it hard to believe that 95 percent of teachers do not receive feedback on how they can improve.”

    The Gates Foundation is investing to fundamentally improve US education. It sees one side of the coin as evaluation of performance and the other, perhaps more important, side as meaningful feedback that helps teachers improve.

  • It’s no mystery that teachers want to learn, too.

    The Gates Foundation asked gravitytank to visit schools across the country to better understand when and how teachers receive meaningful feedback and to provide a framing and direction for its future investments in this area.

  • The simple answer lies in helping teachers give and get feedback from each other.

    Teachers love geeking out over their profession, looking for new techniques and hearing honest feedback about improving their practice. Unfortunately, the structure of the school day and no expectation that teachers provide each other feedback holds back important professional development.

  • Creating a culture of feedback

    gravitytank, in collaboration with the Gates Foundation, has provided a practical vision for increasing the frequency and quality of teacher feedback. This work is helping guide the Foundation’s next set of investments.

  • OfficeMax’s private labels were doing their job.

    They filled incomplete product portfolios with discount, undifferentiated gap-fillers that were maintaining a small, but otherwise unremarkable position within a low margin, commodity market.

  • But there were opportunities that other retailers were ignoring.

    If OfficeMax created a highly visible and sought-after private label, it could be a differentiator and instigate growth. Diving deep into its business, core users and sales data, gravitytank developed a suite of products supported by a business model geared toward lasting value for customers and long-term recognition for OfficeMax.

  • The result was a triple digit rate of return on the initial investment and sales that far exceeded initial forecasts.

    Using rapid design and prototyping coupled with a robust strategy for market entry, we developed an award-winning line of office products, proving that investing a small amount in high quality materials and packaging up front would translate into real growth in the otherwise flat private label business.

  • Research + strategy + design = growth

    Our immersive research with core audiences also uncovered systemic design opportunities for new store layouts, customer targeting and a wider portfolio of private label brands now in development to help OfficeMax stand apart from.... Who are those other guys again?

  • Delighted customers that defend rather than curse their cell phone carrier

    To drive growth as a national carrier, Cricket decided to focus on making its pricing plans clear, stores engaging, and customer service personal.

  • Prototypes that lead to decisions

    Cricket and gravitytank developed an ecosystem of rate plan fixtures, menu boards and countertop mats. Throughout the process, prototypes were evaluated not only for representing Cricket’s brand values, but for their effectiveness at improving customer service.

  • Rapid expansion into several new markets

    This work drove a new corporate style guide, brand architecture and store format. The new identity was rolled out in new markets just six short months after the initial design, followed by retrofits in existing markets.

  • Over 100 percent year over year growth in gross customer additions

    When installed in the mature markets, the new approach delivered overwhelming growth. By focusing on customers’ experiences and business performance in an integrated way.

  • Entry level jobs are the start of productive careers for many youth.

    However, with an emphasis on higher education and the professions, youth who leave high school to work have few resources and no support for building a career. Entry level employers like CVS and UPS struggle to identify and retain talent. Productivity is lost and viable talent and productive citizens remain on the sidelines.

  • A new ecosystem for entry level employment

    In collaboration with Living Classrooms and Icosystems, and through the generous support of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, gravitytank is creating a new ecosystem for entry-level employment. A web-based portal serves young adults preparing for entry level employment, businesses seeking to identify and retain talent, and the agencies serving youth with job readiness programs.

  • New interactions enable new opportunities.

    Replacing paper resumes with video profiles and behind-the-scenes tours, the portal has become a system of honest, easy interactions for both users. Expanding the job search beyond good matches based on skills alone, the portal also links youth looking for jobs with local community organizations who can help them get there.

  • Sometimes systems need to be upended.

    For Kellogg, building an all new job market from scratch made more sense than retrofitting the establishment. The result meant that for the first time in their lives, Baltimore youth weren’t just exposed to the idea of working, they were excited about it. And now there was justification for employers to reconsider traditional, unforgiving “knock-out” rules, allowing young people to get past their past and employers to identify qualified and intriguing new hires.

SELECT A CASE STUDY

Investing in teachers

“I still find it hard to believe that 95 percent of teachers do not receive feedback on how they can improve.”

The Gates Foundation is investing to fundamentally improve US education. It sees one side of the coin as evaluation of performance and the other, perhaps more important, side as meaningful feedback that helps teachers improve.

The simple answer lies in helping teachers give and get feedback from each other.

Teachers love geeking out over their profession, looking for new techniques and hearing honest feedback about improving their practice. Unfortunately, the structure of the school day and no expectation that teachers provide each other feedback holds back important professional development.

Creating a culture of feedback

gravitytank, in collaboration with the Gates Foundation, has provided a practical vision for increasing the frequency and quality of teacher feedback. This work is helping guide the Foundation’s next set of investments.

Why differentiate with commodity merchandise

OfficeMax’s private labels were doing their job.

They filled incomplete product portfolios with discount, undifferentiated gap-fillers that were maintaining a small, but otherwise unremarkable position within a low margin, commodity market.

But there were opportunities that other retailers were ignoring.

If OfficeMax created a highly visible and sought-after private label, it could be a differentiator and instigate growth. Diving deep into its business, core users and sales data, gravitytank developed a suite of products supported by a business model geared toward lasting value for customers and long-term recognition for OfficeMax

The result was a triple digit rate of return on the initial investment and sales that far exceeded initial forecasts.

Using rapid design and prototyping coupled with a robust strategy for market entry, we developed an award-winning line of office products, proving that investing a small amount in high quality materials and packaging up front would translate into real growth in the otherwise flat private label business.

Research + strategy + design = growth

Our immersive research with core audiences also uncovered systemic design opportunities for new store layouts, customer targeting and a wider portfolio of private label brands now in development to help OfficeMax stand apart from.... Who are those other guys again?

What drives growth for a mobile phone operator?

Delighted customers that defend rather than curse their cell phone carrier

To drive growth as a national carrier, Cricket decided to focus on making its pricing plans clear, stores engaging, and customer service personal.

Prototypes that lead to decisions

Cricket and gravitytank develped an ecosystem of rate plan fixtures, menu boards and countertop mats. Throughout the process, prototypes were evaluated not only for representing Cricket’s brand values, but for their effectiveness at improving customer service.

Rapid expansion into several new markets

This work drove a new corporate style guide, brand architecture and store format. The new identity was rolled out in new markets just six short months after the initial design, followed by retrofits in exisitng markets.

Over 100 percent year over year growth in gross customer additions

When installed in the mature markets, the new approach delivered overwhelmiong growth. By focusing on customers’ experiences and business performance in an integrated way.

Creative value in the entry-level employment market

Entry level jobs are the start of productive careers for many youth.

However, with an emphasis on higher education and the professions, youth who leave high school to work have few resources and no support for building a career. Entry level employers like CVS and UPS struggle to identify and retain talent. Productivity is lost and viable talent and productive citizens remain on the sidelines.

In collaboration with Living Classrooms and Icosystems, and through the generous support of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, gravitytank is creating a new ecosystem for entry-level employment. A web-based portal serves young adults preparing for entry level employment, businesses seeking to identify and retain talent, and the agencies serving youth with job readiness programs.

Replacing paper resumes with video profiles and behind-the-scenes tours, the portal has become a system of honest, easy interactions for both users. Expanding the job search beyond good matches based on skills alone, the portal also links youth looking for jobs with local community organizations who can help them get there.

NewOptions@Work highlights a truth of innovation: sometimes systems need to be upended—for Kellogg, building an all-new job market from scratch made more sense than retrofitting the establishment. The result meant for the first time in their lives, Baltimore youth weren't just exposed to the idea of working, they were excited about it. And now there was justification for employers to reconsider traditional, unforgiving “knock-out” rules, allowing young people to get past their past and employers to identify qualified and intriguing new hires.