WHITEBOARD

2017 Impact Report

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Dear Stakeholders

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At Whiteboard, we believe the Internet and its capacity for human connectedness provides unprecedented opportunity to inspire positive cultural change.

 
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Our mission is to leverage the Internet for good.

 

2017 was an exciting (and challenging) year for Whiteboard. Our team of twenty digital pioneers served more than seventy organizations through design and technology. Although we love to live, work and play in Chattanooga, Tennessee (for many reasons), over 65% of our clients are located outside of the State of Tennessee.

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Amidst a unique cultural tension between perpetual political discourse and economic growth, the world continues to look to innovation in the technology sector to create our future our world.

2017 highlights include:

  • SpaceX unveiled their vision for a rocket-powered transportation system that will get people anywhere in the world in less than an hour.

  • Artificial intelligence has made its way to into consumer facing brands.

  • Initiatives like Time Well Spent aim “to stop technology platforms from hijacking our minds, and to start putting our best interests first.”

  • Facebook has started its complicated battle to defeat fake news.

  • Virtual Reality (even subtle expressions of VR) have been normalized.

  • Don’t miss the conversations revolving around blockchain.

  • Medium is focused on being a people-first publication that pushes against advertising-based business models.

  • Drone technology is influencing recovery efforts after natural disasters.

  • Patagonia continues to lead by example in their mission-marketing.

  • If your company isn’t on Slack--you’re falling behind in a digital-first world.

  • MIT Technology Review lists their Top 10 Breakthrough Technologies in 2017 (including reversing paralysis, self-driving trucks, paying with your face, etc.)

  • Bitcoin (BTC) sets record as currency surges towards $19,000 USD mark, but continues to be volatile.

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As we reflect on 2017, we're introducing our first ever Impact Report, an annual assessment of our mission at work. This report examines our company's outcomes, resources, team endeavors, community engagement, and more. Whether you're a client, prospective client, colleague, family member, friend, or industry fellow, we hope you find inspiration and encouragement in the Internet we're creating at Whiteboard.

We look forward to working together to see (y)our mission fully realized in 2018.

Onward, 

Eric Brown
Cofounder & CCO

 

Outcomes

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In 2017, we continued to focus on complex challenges related to digital product development, marketing, operations, and business strategy. Through our consultancy and studio, we worked with organizations deeply committed to meaningful progress in the following areas of society: Conscious Business, Innovative Education, Science & Emerging Technology, Spiritual Formation, Health & Wellness, and Humanitarian Efforts.

Highlights from 2017 include:

 
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We worked with Land of a Thousand Hills to help reimagine their brand.

 
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We traveled to Haiti to help Children's Nutrition Program of Haiti tell a more powerful story.

 
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We helped Aegle Gear's fluid repellant medical scrubs go viral.

 
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We built a new online home for TableTalk Magazine.

 
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We helped Food for the Hungry launch a more visual and inspiring website.   

 
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We helped Last Mile Health launch the Community Health Academy at TED 2017.

 
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We helped Airbus launch a new business unit (and we got to play with drones...).   

 

MailChimp spotlighted our work with Preemptive Love Coalition.

 
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Purposity expanded in Atlanta, Denver, Chattanooga, and other cities.

 
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Our Digital Product Team helped launch a new app for She Reads Truth.

 
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We built a Facebook Chat Bot for Tearfund. 

 
 
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And much more! 

 
 
 

Company Highlights

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This year, we served over 70 purpose-driven organizations, revisited our core values, expanded our service offerings, refined our business model, partnered with several worthwhile initiatives, and more.

B Corp Certification

As of December 2017, Whiteboard is 1 of 3 Certified B Corporations in the State of Tennessee and the only Certified B Corporation in Chattanooga. Since we started Whiteboard in 2010, we’ve aimed to be a digital agency with a purpose. We not only desire to be recognized for our creativity and skillset, but also for our commitment to our team, our partners, our community, and city. Read more.

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Team & Services Growth

 

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Mobile Applications

We expanded our in-house expertise in creating robust, multi-platform mobile applications. 

 
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Digital Marketing

We served more clients than ever in expanding their exposure, engagement, and revenue through our digital marketing strategy and implementation.

 
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Media

The Internet is a powerful storytelling tool, and telling great stories that are compelling and follow-worthy requires exceptional use of media. We’re thrilled to have Mia Baker, a renowned humanitarian photographer, leading as our Director of Media. In 2018, she will help facilitate a dedicated network of producers, filmmakers, photographers, writers, editors, and directors.

 

Team Endeavors

Many of our team members continue their passion for design and technology outside of the Whiteboard office. Below are a few that continue to serve our sector and beyond. 

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Developer Tea

Created and hosted by Whiteboard’s CTO, Jonathan Cutrell, Developer Tea continues to reach millions of developers and engineers around the world. Our favorite interviews include IDEO’s CTO, Tom Eich, Wired Magazine Cofounder, Kevin Kelly, and Elena Grewal, Head of Data Science at Airbnb.

 
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The Reformation of Internet Manners

Amid an online culture of humiliation, disagreement, and endless opinion — there has to be a better way. Could a resurgence of manners be what our society needs? Our cofounder and CCO, Eric Brown, wrote an essay on "internet" manners. Read it here

 
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Master of One Podcast

Patrick Hill is one of the cofounders and hosts of Master of One Podcast, where they bring listeners the latest in games, design and film every week. Mof1 recently launched their YouTube Channel.

 
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Nearly Racing

Our Director of Design, Kody Dahl, is also an engine aficionado; often driving his 1973 Datsun or his classic motorcycle to work. This year, Kody and some friends aimed to dive deeper into motorsport...with varying levels of success. Follow along.

 
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Beyond Bootcamp 

Written by Jonathan Cutrell, the Beyond Bootcamp Interview Week Prep Guide is 100% free. Jonathan's goal is to help developers connect deeply to their career purpose. Covering a 7-day span, you will go through a series of exercises that will help uncover your strengths and goals and connect those to the company you are interviewing with.
Download it now.

 
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The Gray Project

Last year, Russ Pate took a break from social media. He recently launched The Gray Project, an initiative challenging others to commit time to disconnect from their devices. Read about the project here and make your commitment here.

 

Top Articles

 
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A Holistic Approach to an "Agile" Life

 

By Lauren Cutrell

Read Now

 
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Codifying Our Team Culture

 

By Eric Brown

Read Now

 
 
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A Retro: Starting Year 4 

By Lindsey Gaff

Read Now

 
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How Our Client Got 4M Views this Week

By Nick Blackmon

Read Now

 
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On Work, Improvement, and Doing things That Matter

By Alex Nichols

Read Now

 
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“Lack of Experience” isn’t an Excuse

By Stephen Van Gorp

Read Now

 

CreativeMornings Chattanooga

Kody Dahl (our Director of Design) and various stakeholders in our community hosted CreativeMornings on the last Friday of (almost) every month. CreativeMornings Chattanooga has brought together over 500 creatives in our community. Here are a few of our favorite talks:

 
 

Other Meaningful Moments

 
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What's Next?

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As we continue to work in a sector that is infatuated with the next new shiny thing, our team is looking to history to learn, understand, and navigate our cultural moment.

In 1727, Benjamin Franklin convened a group of friends to provide a structured forum of mutual improvement. Conversations on morals, politics, faith, and business were purposed towards bettering the city of Philadelphia. The meetings became a club called "Junto" (pronounced [who-n-toe]). They were organized with a series of questions that Franklin devised and covered a range of intellectual, personal, business, and community topics. These questions were used as a springboard for dialogue and local action. The fascinating results of these gatherings are still evident today.

The Junto sparked the creation of the first libraries, volunteer fire departments, public hospitals, police departments, paved streets, and educational institutions. The participants recommended books, shopkeepers, and friends to each other. To be qualified as a member, a person was required to stand up, lay their hand upon their chest, and answer aloud the following questions:

Q: Have you any particular disrespect to any present members?

A: I have not.  

Q: Do you sincerely declare that you love mankind in general, of what profession or religion soever?

A: I do.

Q: Do you think any person ought to be harmed in his body, name, or goods, for mere speculative opinions, or his external way of worship?

A: No

Q: Do you love truth for truth’s sake, and will you endeavor impartially to find and receive it yourself, and communicate it to others?

A: Yes.

Amid a society that is often lost in fleeting news headlines, mindless social media posts, and other forms of digital "noise," the last question resonates... Do you love truth for truth’s sake, and will you endeavor impartially to find and receive it yourself, and communicate it to others?”

Famed novelist George Orwell said, “In a time of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” As a company that aims to be purpose-driven, we have a renewed commitment to partner with people and organizations that are in the pursuit of truth.

Just as Benjamin Franklin shaped Philadelphia (and consequently the world) through his community, we aim to shape society by serving our clients and their missions through design and technology. Although truth is rarely simple and often complex, we believe the power of the Internet is in our hands and we choose to leverage its capability with conviction and purpose. We must use it to advance truth. Here’s how we plan to do that over the next twelve months:

A Deeper Commitment to the Big Idea

We believe the Internet and its capacity for global human connectedness provides unprecedented opportunity to inspire positive cultural change. Consequently, we believe that if not engaged responsibly, the internet also has the power to foster humanity’s downfall. Therefore, our mission is to leverage the Internet for good. 

A Deeper Commitment to Resource Our Community

We're launching Whiteboard Sessions, a new resource that explores a variety of topics related to the power of branding, design, technology, culture, marketing, and business. Our desire is to deliver content that is distilled and serves as a worthwhile resource for you and your team. For more about Whiteboard Sessions sign-up for updates.

A Deeper Commitment to Measure Key Metrics & Outcomes that Transcend the Digital

The irony in our work is that we really don’t want people to get lost in a digital world, but rather look up to the wonder of the world in front of us. We’re committed to promoting metrics that matter and keep our community informed about our progress.

No matter what innovations come our way in 2018, we believe that engaging others with empathy, kindness, and generosity is the foundation for a meaningful future. Great work starts with and revolves around great people. It’s an honor to serve you. And if you’ve never read about Benjamin Franklin’s life, start here.

In all things, gratitude.

- The Whiteboard Team

 
 
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Thank you!

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