MMP1: Creative Services anyone?

Susan T. Evans 
Senior Strategist, mStoner, Inc.

The audio for this podcast can be downloaded at

Announcer:  This is one in a series of podcasts from the HighEdWeb Conference in Austin 2011.

Susan T. Evans: Thank you for being here. Is it a bunch of East Coast people? And so it’s really 9:30 for you? OK.  Well, this is as you know, the first one and it’s early and when Lorie mentioned to you all that I work for mStoner. I hope this isn’t like the announcement that the flight attendant makes where he or she is says, "you're on a flight to Orlando and if this is not where you’re intended to go, now is the last chance to leave the plane".

It is true, I did move to working for mStoner about six weeks ago, but before that I was on a campus, I worked at the College of William and Mary in Virginia for 22 years. I was in the IT organization there for about 12 years and then the last 18 months 20 months, I was there I was their first director of Creative Services.

So hopefully that gives you enough background about me. There are a couple of folks from William and Mary Creative Services here, they know the story already.


So it must just be that they want to make sure that I get this right now that I’m not on the inside anymore and that I don’t exaggerate anything or tell any tales I shouldn’t tell. So, I feel like I’m loud, do I feel loud to you all? OK, thanks. So I just want to get a sense of the group.

How many of you are already talking on your campus about creating some sort of creative services organization? OK. And how many of you are already part of a creative services team? That’s cool. And how many of you dream of doing this but you know that it won’t just never happen at your campus, it’s just a change that’s way too big?

I will tell you that I worked for the CIO before we created Creative Services and I started to warn him as I could see this was happening on our campus and he said to me at one point that kind of organizational change just does not happen at William and Mary.


So, you don’t have to worry about this. So it did happen for us so, those of you who are a little bit more skeptical maybe this will convince you. All right, so let’s just head right into it. I think we ought to start by talking about what it is and it can be a lot of different things but essentially, what I mean when I say creative services is we’re talking about a team of people where the capabilities, and skills, and tasks, and responsibilities are blended across mediums.

So, the idea is that you might have a writer on that team and if you do, that writer writes for the web and writes for social media and writes for video scripts and writes for print. And perhaps you have designers on these teams and they design for web, and they design for Facebook, and they design title slides for video.

And perhaps a technologist on a creative services team is somebody who manages the CMS or understands the way to integrate social media with your primary web presents or understands web architecture.


So, again you’re just blending the skills of people and looking at them across multiple mediums. At William and Mary what we were ended up responsible for was the top level web presents. the portal. The content management system we had the CMS administrator on our team, lots of web application development skills on the team, photography, print, multimedia, major publications, some video even though they never got a video resource to do the work for us.

So, that just gives you a sense. So in recent years you all probably know that there has been a trend towards these kinds of units on campuses. I think it is a certainly a more holistical way to approach your communication challenges and your communication goals.

So I think there is a trend towards this kind of unit. I think the bailiwick changes from campus to campus, sometimes it includes this thing and sometimes it doesn’t and sometimes it includes that thing, but we can talk about those specifics a little bit later.


All right, so here’s what we’re going to do in the next probably 30 minutes because I want to make sure we have lots of time for questions especially since some of you are already in this kinds of units. I want to hear what you all have to share with the group.

And by the way this presentation is going to be available so I got a link at the end of my, I should say that, I got a link at the end of my slide that will take you to or in my presentation I’ll show you a website you can go to. We’re going to talk about four things.

We’re going to first talk about what problem we’re trying to solve, and then we’re going to talk about imagining a right future, and then we’re going to talk about what we wish for and what we’re going to do if we get it and finally, take it from someone who knows.

So I’m going to give you some lessons learned from my time as a director of creative services. All right, so let’s start right into it. So think of me as a really good Higher Ed therapist who seen it all and I’m so good remarkably that I can tell you what your problems are before you even lie on my couch and tell me.


And the reason I say this is I think it’s pretty much same story, different campus when you talk about communications, a lot of the things that we’re all facing even though we’re on different kinds of campuses and in different kinds of schools. And let me try to prove what I mean by asking you to raise your hand or say amen if you choose to any of the following statements if you think they might me overheard on your campus. OK?

So we’re still trying to control the message and keep the old communication model alive. Nobody yet? OK. We have designers but they don’t do web. Yeah, there you go. All right, we have some professional writers, but they only write news stories and press releases for the home page


I knew that would be popular. This is one of my personal favorites, we know it’ll expensive but we have to send this project off campus to a design firm that we’ve worked with for years because we don’t have the expertise to do this in-house.


Audience: Amen.

Susan T. Evans: We need to print 1800 hundred copies of this, we’re pretty sure no one’s reading it so we’re going to talk about.


So, we're going to talk about putting it online next academic year. And then another good one, I’m not very creative but here’s a brochure I designed and I want to put it on my website.


OK. So what I’m saying here with this slide is same story different campus. And I think what we all want is the same thing. What we all want is to bring together a bunch of really talented people with really great skills and have them all working together in the same unit and I would recommended the same physical space telling the story of your campus with one voice. All right, so how do you make this happen?


When I say how do you make this happen what I mean is how are you going to combine what probably is separate units in your university and merge them into one high performance engine of creativity. What steps do you take?

In my opinion, what you do is you forget the past and you ignore the present and you close your eyes and you imagine the future. Now I know this is a very simplistic piece of advice and it’s a lot harder to do but I still think you should try to do it. There’s one step that we took at William and Mary that actually might surprise you a bit, we formed a committee.

And I know that is the dreaded and default answer when we have our pirate problem, that’s what we do, right? We form a committee, we sometimes call it a task force to make is sound like it’s going to be more action oriented. And then nothing happens or the committee struggles for a while, comes up with something great but it never gets funded or implemented, or you know.


So, you know we did setup a committee, it was a small group, we try to run it in a really grass roots kind of way where we talked about what was possible we ignored current organizational charts and reporting relationships. We had a few meetings we talked very concretely about what we were going to be doing.

And then we did a handful of focus groups with people who do communications on campus and the reason we did that was because we wanted to be able to go to the administration and say the people in the trenches think it would be great if we had an in-house creative team. This is what they said to us, this who they talk to because sometimes when you try to push this things forward into senior administration, the resistance is does the campus really want this?

Am I going to get pushed back? What kind of political capital am I going to have to expand to make this happen? And if you can go in and say, here’s what we ought to do and here’s what people are saying they want, you might be able to lay the ground a lot better.


We did write an official report, it was fairly short. I’ve got a link to it at the end of the presentation so I’m happy to share that with you. I wrote it in a way that was both direct and emotional. Emotional writing isn’t usually used probably for business settings but I felt like we might be able to get away with it and it might make our case a little bit better.

So I’m going to show you a couple paragraphs from ours. So using emotion, this was the first paragraph of the report, "William and Mary is a place of ideas, exceptional education and unlike any other university in America. In my view, we are struggling to consistently represent who we are and what we do to those who know us and to those who know of us. A creative services operation could be an engine of creativity, it plays where talented people who love the college can use multiple forms of communication to tell the William and Mary story."


Not like what you normally see in a report at your university but I don’t know, I thought well maybe they’ll think we’re really creative if we write a report like this. So another paragraph, very direct language, "Currently number committees are working hard to coordinate communication opportunities, I think William and Mary could do better. A creative services team could come to work everyday thinking about ways to explain and promote what happens on our campus. A creative services team could produce an integrated splash where individual creative elements like photos and language and graphics all come together to make a lasting impression."

You have to think about your own context and your own audience and your own campus but I think that if you can just really direct language and convey it in an emotional way that’s passionate maybe you’ll gain something.


You'll see when you actually looked at the report. Is it where I’m standing? The closer into that? Oh dear, maybe they just want me to be right here in the middle. Hang on. The other thing that we had in our favor at William and Mary at the time that we were doing this is budget cut which probably a lot of you have that, had that or going to have it.

And so we talked a lot in the report about how this would save money and that was not unintentional. I mean that’s a pretty compelling argument. All right, so you get what you wanted and I’m moving kind of about a high pace here and a high level so we can come back and talk about details and I’m going to stop in a minute for some other questions but essentially for us, it happened.

In January 2010, we established Creative Services at William and Mary. What that meant was we took seven people out of the IT organization, they reported to the CIO, I was the director of web services.


Me and a team of six people blended with the office of publications. The publications office had six people, they did print and university publications and photography. And so we brought the two groups together, physically moved us into two houses that were very close to each other and we became part of the central communications unit at William and Mary.

I reported to the VP for strategic initiatives. We were all pretty excited when it happened, but for me actually I knew that the hard work was just beginning. The hard work was not getting the approval to setup the unit, the hard work was the first year because it’s a huge transition and it’s a huge management challenge and I tried to make that really clear to our administration before we moved ahead.

So why is the first year tough? Because you have a group of people who are really enthusiastic but they’re in a brand new organization and they knew what they were supposed to do when they worked in IT or in publication, but when they came together in one group and they knew these expectations were pretty high on campus, they weren’t necessarily sure what to do right away.


We had to put new processes in place, we had to figure out how we are going to manage our projects, we had to figure out how we are going to describe ourselves to the campus because the language we use to describe what you need to get the administration to say yes is different than what you tell the person you meet at the coffee shop.

And there were a lot of initial concerns about what do we do and what do we not do? Somebody comes to us and says we want you to print table tents for a meeting, do we do that because he had in the old publications office. Somebody comes and says we want a micro site, do we do that?

So you spend a few months really trying to figure out what everybody is going to do and how it’s going to work. This is something I don’t think I did as well as I should have after about a year we wrote an internal mission statement.


And the reason we did it was because amongst the team, people were really -not confused but they were like again, what are we? Are we marketing, are we communications, do we do stuff for the academics? And once we wrote the internal mission statement where we all got together and talked about it, people started to feel a lot better.

Because there’s a lot of anxiety that comes from not being able to describe to someone on the street what your unit does on campus. So just to give you a little bit of language, here are a couple of things that we included in our mission statement. We offer the skills and expertise of an award winning creative services in-house agency, little bit aspirational there at the beginning but not now.

We want to bring currently outsourced creative work in-house. And we promote and explain academics. That one was really important to us because there were already a lot of people on our campus who are talking about events and news.


I don’t know if that’s true on your but it’s harder to talk about the core, the academic experience and what that means for a student. So we decided to sort of take that on too and to think about promoting that stuff since it is important and no one else was really focusing on it as much as we thought they should.

All right, so I’m going to talk about this one slide and then I’m going to stop for a minute. I suggest that this presentation because I think within the HigherEdWeb Association, organization we do a great job of sharing information.

What we share is based on web, best practices, technical standards, technology solutions, not as much sharing goes on about management challenges that we all face. I think there’s a little bit of it but maybe there could be more. So I just thought this would be a great way for us to start some of that and that you could learn some lessons from what I’ve already been through.

So before I go into the next part, I just want to stop and see if there are any brain questions that you all have about, I mean I didn’t talk about a lot of details pretty high level, but if you have specific questions about how we got the organization established.



Audience: Around the main reasons for having a separate team as it is when working together by taking out of their home departments...

Susan T. Evans: I think that on some campuses if you have the right people and the right leadership of those different units, you can probably still accomplish a whole, whole lot and maybe even do a great work.

For us, maybe it was that William and Mary doesn’t have one administration building and so we’re all spread out in a lot of different places and so you have the best of intentions that you’re going to keep each other informed, you’re going to talk about what you’re doing.


What we ended up just showing people when we were done kind of what we were doing and sharing it with them but they weren’t really working on it necessarily collaboratively, so that's one thing. The other thing is we want to reduce print on our campus. There was a pretty strong reliance on print that we wanted to reduce and we felt like one way to do that is bring that web component with the print component.

Frankly on the publication side, we had some people whose skills are pretty out of date, they had not sort of kept pace with what modern communications means and so we thought it was a way to get those folks some new backgrounds and give them projects to work on that would teach them how to function in a different way.

And I don’t think we would have gotten that. We also -I love the web redesign project at William and Mary and so I did that working for the CIO and then I took responsibility for the main website.


And when that happened in 2008, it was much more common to see IT as responsible for phasing public phasing web presents. That’s not as common anymore. I think it’s moving back towards the marketing and public relations folks.

So even I after a couple of years started to feel like, I don’t really belong in IT anymore, I kind of feel like I belong with the communications folks. Now I wanted to see a mass manager to come with me and he did so that was good. So I don’t know if I have answered your question but does that give you some sense of.  Good. Yes?

Audience: You had mentioned some of the language you used to convince administrators that this is a good idea, is that the same one which you use for the general university community to tell them what you’re doing?

Susan T. Evans:Yeah, I mean one of the things that you’ll see in the internal mission statement is some of the best things our team did were things that no one asked us to do. And some of the best things we did were things that we didn’t ask first, we just did it.


And then we got far enough along, it was so much momentum behind it and then we sort of unveiled it and everybody went, "Oh cool campus calendar." You can hear more about that when Tina talks about it later in the week or I mean in the conference.

But, yeah we tried to use some emotion to convey the fact that everybody is struggling to do something great for William and Mary. We used video to talk about it in some ways because a lot of people were still sort of challenged by video. I mean either that there could be a team that could support that is also this one. Yes?

Audience: Your original background, were you a writer, an IT person?

Susan T. Evans: I was going to be a high school Spanish teacher. I spent the first 16 years of my career working for human resources organizations, I was human resource management professional and then I moved to IT because I knew how to manage projects and how to do training.


When I went to IT, I knew how to use email and Microsoft Word. And then during my time in IT, I took the responsibility for web services. I mean it’s the typical learn while you do the job kind of training. Yes?

Audience: When you created the creative services, was there still like an IT group that still made websites?

Susan T. Evans: The whole kit and caboodle came our way.

Audience: Were there other people doing it or it was?

Susan T. Evans: You know how campuses are, it’s decentralized. There’s like other communications people outside the central communications unit, but actually that was one major disadvantages that the IT organization at William and Mary has struggled in some ways to kind of figure out how to do the web based things that they need to do without a web team to give that responsibility to.


All right, I’m going to move in to some lessons learned the first year. I wrote a series of blog post about this. I started on New Year’s Eve 2010. I wrote 12 different ones and so some of what you’re going to see here is just sort of high level ideas and thoughts that I had that you could find in this blog post.

And then we can go into some of the detail of these that you might be more interested in during the Q and A. So some people just want services, everybody’s a designer, right? So in my experience, a lot of times in creative services, customers would commend to you and they already know exactly what they want and how they would like you to do it.

And to these folks, I started to say you want services and what we do is creative services. So we have a dog in the fight, we have expertise to contribute, we want you to know that a successful communication project involves professionally designed concepts that are grounded in what we know about our perspective audiences, and our target audiences.


There's going to be some people who are going to come in and they're going to know exactly what they want, they just want you to fix it. The other thing that would happen especially at the beginning is people would come in with work that was sunstandard, brochures, websites, just stuff.

And they wanted you to just change a little bit of the text for them. And we did a little bit of that at the beginning, but even that I started to say no to. I started to say to somebody who came in. That is substandard design, and I don't want anyone to think that Creative Services did this.

So, if we do this for you, it's going to look like one of our products so I'm not -we can't do it. It took a while to be able to say that, but we eventually did. The other thing is creative services is not a fast food restaurant, you don't come in with an idea for a theater poster for show you're going to launch and then leave with the poster.


Not to say that we take forever to do things, but it's not a walk in service. And sometimes people had that kind of impression too. So, answer the phone, it might seem like a strange one,but I don't think our phone ring a whole lot anymore.

But when mine rang it was usually because someone on campus was dissatisfied with something. That's when they seem to pick up the phone and call about it. And the point of act is when we first started creative services I was a little bit nervous about taking those calls because they were usually about print and I didn't have a lot of background in print and it made me pretty nervous.

But I had to take the call and what I discovered was the customer service calls actually make you better because you find out quickly what the problems are, what the challenges are, what people are frustrated by.

And you can hear that and learn a lot about the work that you're going to be doing. You can also, during the calls since we very rarely use our phones anymore, it's always what we type or what we message to people.


You can convey a lot of enthusiasm and commitment for working with someone and give them a sense that you are listening and that you know maybe there were some difficulties and you're trying to improve that for the future.

So, my recommendation is don't be afraid to take this calls and talk directly to people about what your office and your teas do because that's how you get better, that's how you learn what you need to improve. So, quickly or quality? This was an early discussion for us too because anything that I worked with I want to be able to respond quickly to a great idea.

How many times do you sit and when you think of something great you could do for commencement or homecoming, or whatever it is. But you have a week and you think, oh I wish we've had this idea like three weeks ago, or month ago.

But I think you need in a creative services team what we wanted to build was a way for a nimble group of people to respond when those great ideas come in. and to be able to actually do them.


I thought initially that we might have to sacrifice some quality at first it turns out, I was wrong about that. Someone on our team said, "Let's do this quickly and let's do this well, but let's not assume we're going to have to sacrifice any quality. So, a great example for us we at William and Mary the last day of class the seniors ring the bell and ran building on our campus.

And it always is one of those traditions that always gets a lot of play on Facebook and Twitter when we talk about it, and I thought wouldn't it be great for alums to be able to see a video of ringing the bell. And so, we thought about it, you know like a week before the last day of classes.

And I sort of tried it around and talked to different people in the team, everybody said yeah we can do it so we did. And it's just like any great idea it's a lot more complicated when you actually get ready to do it, because what we found out was that you can't -the place where you filmed the student's ringing the bell, you can't hear the bell because I don't know. Anyway, so we had to have one person sort of recording the bell ring way up and somebody else filming the students.But it worked we got it done.


You know it was a 30 second thing, people loved it. And my point is that we learned that you can do great work fast and that more than once we would quickly pull a group of people together and get something done. When we were motivated by the idea and we stopped our natural tendency of over thinking it and over planning it.

So, print is different, does anybody have currently responsibility for print here? OK. I now have enormous respect for communication professionals who -I want to read this one. Who back in the day had print as their only option. This was pretty new to me and as one of my colleagues Anne Sellers says, "In the print world publish really mean something."

And I didn't think about that way, but it makes a lot of sense. We had some early successes when we started creative service, we illuminated a lot of what I started calling stupid print, just stuff that was easy, OK we're not going to print that anymore that's dumb.


But you're still on most campuses I think you're still left with print and it's usually now stuff that really matters. And it's high visibility stuff, or it's stuff that's related to fund raising or it's stuff like a commencement program. I mean it's going to be a while before we don't have to print commencement program and parents want to see those names, you know maybe we'll get to that point, but for now we still got some print to deal with.

I could go rant on about this for awhile, but I'm not going to -the one point that I'm going to make is that print has a built in -you're done point and you lose control of it when you have to send it to the printer. And over the last year and a half as I managed University of Publications at William and Mary I thought back about the night before we launch the William and Mary website.

We're literally until the point we had launch we were making edits, we were making changes, we were eating so much junk food the night before we got this wonderful fabulous ideas literally at midnight and we implemented them in time for the launch the next day.


You cannot do that with print, I mean at some point you've got to send it to a printer and hope that you got it all right. And if you want to make a change you can, and if you want to make an improvement you can, but there's a chiching in the background when that happens because the printer will charge you.

So, I just have a lot of respect for print and what it takes to do. And it's different than web. What time is it? I want to see what time, 9 o'clock. OK. Setting up to few people that they disappoint you and they will. People have a hard time figuring out what the point of their communication is.

They come to you, they want a brochure, they want a website, they want a poster, they don't know what they're going to say, they don't know who their target audience is, but they want the stuff and we did a lot of pushing back so when they said our target on is audience's faculty staff and students we said no, it is not. You need to be much more specific than that


And so, rather than getting disappointed by the fact that people weren't bale to do a good job setting up their own communication projects. We just decided to help them do it and be frustrated by the fact that they didn't know what they wanted or they didn't have an either copy ready.

I mean they come in and they say, "I can't really tell you how much I'm going to need until I see how you're going to lay it out, and then I'll give you the content. And we quickly decided that we don't start until you know what you're going to say and we talk through some of the stuff.

As soon as possible, the reason I have this in here is that when you have a new office you want to be responsive and we were pretty serious about customer service and when people came in we wanted to help them and the way to do that is to have a delivered deadline, right? To find out when they needed and the most popular two answers to when do you need this are; whenever you can fit it in? or as soon as possible.


And you know, I've been managing small and large project for IT and lots of organizations for years. And I cannot work back from as soon as possible. And I cannot work back from whenever you can fit it in. So, I really did try to force people to give us a timeframe. And sometimes the way to do that is to talk through the various stages of your project.

To talk about strategy and concept and photo selection and copy editing, and design, and layout, and all those things that you for any kind of print piece. And quickly they realized, oh I should have started my copy four weeks ago. So, it revised on that. Campus evangelist here the third times a charm.

Yeah, somebody on your campus whether you're on creative services or not means you go around talking to all the senior administrators about why communications is important and how to do it well. And you can get frustrated by the fact that you have to say it over and over and over. Because if you've taken any kind of public speaking class you know, what do you do? You tell them what you got to tell them? You tell them and I need to tell them what you them.


And that kind of repetitive communication is exactly what you need on your campus. It's not that your administrator's don't care about communications, they have a lot to think about, and they have a lot that can district them and you want to be in their face making sure that they remember, hey I'm over here, I'm doing this web thing, I'm doing this communication's thing, I'm doing this marketing thing, and it's important and here is why.

So, somebody needs to take that on as a responsibility. If you don't know where you're going anywhere, we'll take you there Alice and Wonderland, right? Yeah, this seem simple just like you know, if you exercise you'll be healthier all that kind of stuff. It's hard to make decisions on campuses sometimes because we're afraid, sometimes because we have to tell people what we decided.

Sometimes because we just can't get people in the same room at the same time to talk about it and decide. But if you know what you're trying to accomplish, that is one way to start narrowing down some of your options and at least head towards decision making.


Sometimes you have to say no when people will thank you for it. My favorite example on this one is I had the head of the parking office call me. Every year they publish a 20 page booklet with all the parking guidelines and you got it when you bought your campus parking pass. And they wanted us to print it.

And I said, "You know, are you sure this is a good idea to print this?" Yeah. We're pretty sure nobody reads it, but we want to print it one more time, and they're going to talk to our committee about whether we can put it on the web. And for me that was like ding ding ding ding. So, I said, 'You know what, I don't think we should print it this year. I think we have to do web. I've got some interns, I'll have them create the website and then you'll have a web version." There's more like talking to my committee language, you know.

So, finally and this was early on, finally I said, you know what, Bill. I can't do it this year. I said, "I can build you a website, but I can't do the print." And I felt badly because he had no money, so I knew it was going to be off campus. And he said, " All right. If that's the best you can do, web will be fine."

Later, heard from his boss, thank you so much I'd been telling him that we really didn't need this print thing anymore. So, thank you for saying no and getting us around having to do that.


But don't be afraid to say yes, it doesn't always mean a lot of work. When you have a new unit, you want to be seen as responsive, you don't want to put this whole thing together and then go around telling everybody why you can't do the things they're asking you to do. The reason I was nervous at first was because in IT when I said yes to things it always translated into work, always.

Communications work, I don't know if it's the nature of it, I don't know if it's because people don't view it as their primary responsibility so they can always get to it next year if they don't get to it this year. Well, we would say yes to all kinds of things people would never come back and ask for them.

Now I didn't follow up with everyone of these people, but if it's my boss the president's office, the admission office, development office, I follow it up. But you can say yes to a lot of stuff that never gets kicked off. Couple of bonus material things just results.


These are some of the things, some of the work we did, in the first 18 months and this is not all of it, but just some big projects that we did in addition to the regular stuff. So, Lorie gave me the 10 minute sign, so I'm going to stop and ask what other questions you all have. Yes.

Yeah, we had a weekly -well a couple of things, we had -we use something called fogbugz to track support request, fogbugz it's an open source, well it's not really open source I guess. We started using it to track CMS help request and web request. So, everything came in through that email address creative@w.ddu and we either assign it to someone using fogbugz or whatever ticket tracking system you have.

If it was something brand new and it was big, and it was different, we had a weekly intake process where I met with associate directors in our office and we decided here we're going to do this one, thus these look like something we wanted to do.


And for us at the beginning it was if this is something everybody is going to see, we want to do it. If this is something that's really important tied to our campus messaging tied to strategic planning we want to do it. And there were certain things that we said we're going to do this this year, and we;re going to tell them this is the last year we're doing this for you. So, there was somebody in the back, yes?

Audience: [Indiscernible]

Susan T. Evans: You know we did not. We did not. And we thought about it a lot and we planned to. The reason we didn't is because the budget cuts really hit at that time that we're putting this unit together. And we felt like it would be unfair to start charging departments for services when they had no money at that point either, so we didn't.

Audience: [Indiscernible]

Susan T. Evans: That's what your campus culture thing. I will tell you that when something has no perceived value everybody wants it, you know what I mean?


And it's hard to control photography with the campus photographer, you think having a full time photographer that would be plenty for university. There's something about even just a $25 charge that stops people from asking for something they really don't need.

We tended to use instead since we didn't have that chargeback model in place A; he/she is not available to do that, we have a list of freelancers do you want to use a freelance photographer. We were cautious about that at the beginning though because the whole reason we put this group together was we wanted to stop all the crazy outsourcing that had been going on for all different kinds of projects.

So, I think that's really a campus culture thing. We did call sharing. People would come to us and say, "I want a marketing plan for my office and I want a student to run the social media and we'd say, "All right, you fund the student wages, and we'll oversee that work." So, it was a way to extend our budget in that way. Yes.


Audience: How long did it take before you realized you might have called this of successful? And have you terminate it?

Susan T. Evans: It took a year. And at the end of the year I realized, I need to say out loud the transition is over. Because transition is not really a fully positive word. You know, it brings a certain amount of anxiety when you say transition like I'm not where I am, I'm not where I was, I'm not where I'm going to be at, it has an anxiety feeling to it.

So, I actually set out like transition's over. We are new creative services organization, we're still going to have to grow, we're still going to have to change, we're still going to have to modify just like any vibrant organization does, but the transition is finished. So, yes.

Audience: How big your campus was, how many clients were there and whether you think this model can scale to big or small?

Susan T. Evans: Yeah. There are about 5,500 undergraduates at Lima Mary, about well, 2,000 graduates students professional schools in business, law, and education and marine science.


You asked if how many clients? Oh, my Lord. I mean for the web everybody because we had an integrative web presence with one CMS so get 800 people using cascade server, so lots of clients there and lots of clients and all the other. I couldn't even give you a number, Tina could you? Yeah, was just a lot.

Whether it would scale is -one of the problems with doing something really well is people want you to do more of it, and you've pulled it off and you've made it look easy, and then they want more. And like for instance we never got the video resource that we wanted, but we did 15 videos. Because we didn't feel like as a team we could be creative services and say, but we don't do video.

Even though we didn't get the resource to do it, so I had people on the team that were just interested and want to do it. Does it scale? Yeah, but you got to continue to get those partnerships, and what would happen is every time somebody -this happened when I was there, when somebody would get ready to hire designer, a creative person, I say, "Whoa whoa whoa, should that person work over here?"


And sometimes we were successful in that, sometimes it was a dotted line relationship. Sometimes we change the scope of what that person was going to do because there was this central creative unit. Yes.

Audience: You mentioned the integration process and having skills. Should I provide training for that or will they learn on the job? Did you experience running out and how did you handle that?

Susan T. Evans: OK. The first half of your question, how do you teach people? I am just for years -it's not that I don't believe in training, but I feel like you send people to training and you must immediately give them a project that uses that training. And it's a real project, it's not a, go create a website and see how it looks. Now that you know how to do web, it's a real project.


So, they go to the training with the expectation, hey, there's this thing I'm going to be working on. So, we spend a lot of time and money on professional development and training. But the better way to do training is to put people on a project that allows them.

So, it has to be a project where there is either somebody else that's going to do the same kind of thing, they are that's kind of skilled already or it has to be a project that has a longer time frame, so that you build in time for that person to kind of learn what they're supposed to do. The other thing is have a great group of people. If you have a great team of people who are willing to share how they learned to do stuff, that's the way to teach them.

I was in a thing yesterday about for web managers, and I told them more than half of the people that I've ever hired in my career did not have the skills they were suppose to have to do the job I was hiring them for. I hired them because they were great people and could do great work, not because of the skills that they had.

Susan T. Evans: One last question and we're done.


Susan T. Evans: And I can stay. Yes.

Audience: I think this is related to that because you talked about the skill that I wonder unless you are really lucky to have a culture where you bring people together. I wonder if -maybe it's hard for you to talk with some of the team members in the room.


Audience: Whether there's people actually who weren't excited about it or not going to fit, you have to slew off.

Susan T. Evans: Yeah. We write before we made the announcement. Two of the folks on the print side had already decided to take an early retirement option. In part I'm sure it was because they knew this was coming and they weren't sure they wanted to do it. But they stayed around for awhile and they were fine.

And there was nobody on the team who didn't want to do it and showed it which was great. I will say that in the first three months everybody was excited. The second six months everybody was like, oh well, yeah she really means it, we're really going to do all these stuff and we're all going to figure out how to learn how to do it. And that was a little bit of stress. And back to your creative burnout question.


By the way, I forgot to answer that. I don't think we had that yet. So, all right. I'll stay up in case you all have other questions. Thank you.