Great post by Nathaniel Wittemore at Social Entrepreneurship on the story of ZURB, a San Francisco design house whose corporate philanthropy takes the form of an annual “coffee fueled marketing marathon” in which they do an entire pro bono marketing strategy for a nonprofit they select…all in 24 hours.
The way it works is that each year, the ZURBwired program selects one mission to accomplish for a nonprofit. It can be a new website, publicity for a new fundraising campaign or something else entirely. For 24 caffeine-fueled hours, ZURB, the nonprofit and participating partners rethink the project from the ground up. At the end of it, the nonprofit participant is left with both valuable outputs, as well as a new approach to the design process they can employ every day.
It’s the last part of the last sentence that makes the process so powerful.
Described in P/E/O lingo, the 24 hour marketing marathon is a Participation-level activity: short-term, high-touch, high-yield, and understandable without external reference.
But notice that one of ZURB’s goals is to train the lucky nonprofit intensively in a design process that the nonprofit can use with other projects in the future. This is an attempt to coach the nonprofit to E so that their view of design and project management is ZURBified, as it were. In other words, the one day marathon project is designed so that it breaks out into the ordinary ongoing life of the nonprofit organization.
But there’s a hint of O in here on ZURB’s part, too:
ZURB’s work isn’t meant to be a closed process, in which it’s only the nonprofit in question that benefits. Instead, they put everything online for all to see. For the ZURB team, this is a chance to introduce groups to a process of design as much as it is about applying that process in one specific instance.
Take a look at the process here. Really instructive.
What may be most interesting of all is that ZURB is coaching the nonprofit rather than the other way around.
What would happen if a nonprofit took it upon itself to coach a design house in its own area to undertake such an approach. Like, say, for instance, you?