A long awaited intro to… Shared Voices!

Since day one of PinPoint, a core tenant of our process has been walking in the shoes of others (hence the feet photos all over our website) because every unique perspective starts with a unique stance. Because of that, our Become Your Audience Pin has turned out to be one of our core pins when we need to learn from a firsthand perspective. We use this pin to uncover pain points and with that information, determine how our client’s offerings need to evolve so that their business transforms those pain points into high points.

Over the last few months, we’ve been working to determine how we might offer a mini-version of this Pin to the masses. So we did what we do best, applied design thinking to design thinking, and voila!, out of that process came Shared Voices! To put it simply, imagine if multiple ‘Become Your Audience Pins’ married a Kickstarter campaign and had the most magical little baby!! Or in more tactical words, we cracked the code on crowdsourcing customized research – and for a fraction of a Pin cost!

How exactly does this work?

Great question! Well, we heard you loud and clear that trend reports have given you nothing more than useless data points, so our goal is to let you (and at least 15 other like-minded business leaders) craft what the inputs and outputs become. You’ll sit down with one of our Research Strategists to share what you’ve always wanted to know about your customers (scroll a little further to see just who we’ll be talking to first!). This Listening Session will be focused on identifying the types of research insights that would be most impactful for you.

Then comes the customization! We will develop a research protocol that incorporates the goals of you and your like-minded ‘research backers’ so that the questions, conversations and learnings we get out of our qualitative research gives you the answers you need… not just what you hope you’ll find in a typical cookie-cutter trend report. Bonus… you also get one of our favorite things – the power of mindshare! The questions you don’t think of, another anonymous ‘research backer’ likely has, and you all get the answers together!

We’ll do all the research, the robust synthesis, the strategy behind identifying potential opportunities – and you just sit back and wait for all that goodness to roll in. At the start of the next quarter, our findings will be delivered not only in a PDF, but also a personalized video made just for you and your team highlighting how the research is specifically actionable for your organization. 

So who are you talking to?

If we’ve learned anything these past four years, it’s that there’s quite the variance in people’s needs – be it their generation, age, gender, regionality. So for this inaugural issue, we are slicing the pie to look squarely at GenZ women with purchasing power in the top four metro areas – New York City, LA, Chicago, and Houston. Why? Because 1. we’ve gotten more requests for GenZ research than ever. Move over Millennials there’s a new sheriff in town. 2. Women are a core focus to PinPoint’s mission and deserve a voice at the table – especially now. 3. GenZ is the largest generation in American history – ranging from 9-24 year olds, and we want to focus on just those who have the $$$$ to spend.

This will be the first of many Shared Voices – so if you have another slice of customers you’re curious about, let us know here!

Who exactly is this research intended for?

Y’all are so smart with these questions! This inaugural issue is ideal for B2C companies who are selling a product and looking to gain traction with 18-24 year old women. If that’s you, and you love the power of mindshare, get on it! We know there are way more than 16 of you out there, so strike while the iron is hot!We are selling 16 slots between now and August 1st. If you or someone you know is interested, take a look at the new addition to our website OR reach out for a chat. We cannot wait to build a better future – together!

Choosing our favorite kind of client is like choosing a favorite kid.

We just recently stopped by Loyola University’s Quinlan School of Business (shout out to Stacy Neier Beran for inviting us – thank you, thank you, thank you!) where we left beyond inspired by Stacy’s Design Thinking students. Sure sure, the original goal might have been that we were there to inspire them, but we walked out the doors that day with a slightly different perspective on our work.

You’ve probably heard us talk about the ‘oh no’ and ‘a ha’ moments our clients come to us with (if not… well then!), but that day in class, an inquisitive student asked us which one of those states we desire to work in more. At first, the question took us by surprise, almost like asking which kid is your favorite, but it got us thinking. Do we have a preference? 

What We Love About an ‘A Ha’

Who doesn’t love when someone knocks on their door with a brilliant idea and asks if they want to be a part of it!? We for one have all hands raised on this one. We get introduced to so many incredibly smart and talented humans who are in the ‘a ha’ moment of their business – whether they have the next big product idea, received capital for the next phase or, like in the case of our work with Brilliantly, a desire to evolve with the biggest impact first.

What we love about an ‘a ha’ moment is that our clients come to us already at a ‘woohoo’ mindset on the scale of doom & gloom to excitement – and we feed off that energy! We love validating or refining someone’s genius to make it ‘ingenious’, but with an ‘a ha’, we also have to recognize it feels to them like it’s their baby. And sometimes what we learn when we bring that idea out into the world is that it isn’t needed, or won’t be successful in the way it was originally envisioned.

We did a quick exercise looking at all of our ‘a ha’ clients from PinPoint’s past, and of those, almost 47% of the ‘a ha’ ideas we’ve worked on would have failed if executed before listening to their audience. It’s never easy to tell someone their baby won’t thrive, but we’d be worse partners if we pretended it would and watch it flounder later. That being said, of the almost 47% we had to confront with not-so-great information, all of them did something about it and refined their offering so that 100% of them have come out the other side with revenue, impact and sales growth. Oh the ups and downs of an ‘a ha’…

What We Love About an ‘Oh No’

We’ve seen a lot of ‘oh no’s, especially since March of 2020. Everything from companies coming to us because of a drastic loss in sales to others fearing the end is near, or, like in the case of our latest work with Carbon Arc, knowing they were missing opportunities to better serve and connect with the community, but not knowing how.

We get it, no one wants to label themselves in an ‘oh no’ moment, especially when it comes to business, but sometimes this is the most exciting and pivotal moment for a company. Truth be told, if we could wave a magic wand and grant every business owner/manager a life without ‘oh no’s, we wouldn’t

What we love about an ‘oh no’, for better or worse, is that when in that dark business cloud appears, there’s not only a desire for change, but a need for change. We did another quick exercise looking at all of our ‘oh no’ clients over the years and 95% of them landed in that dark spot because they became too insular – looking inside the business for answers instead of out. When we show up and flip the whole process on its head by going outside the business to find solutions, more often than not our ‘oh no’ clients are the most eager to jump with us. And truth be told, who doesn’t love it when you get a new friend to dive into your favorite process in the world with!? 

In that 92% of ‘oh no’ clients we’ve helped look outside their comfort zone, 100% of them come out the other side with more loyalty, more customers or more sales. And that’s why we love an ‘oh no’ moment, there is power in recognizing the reality of where you are at that very moment, and being brave enough to shift it.

What’s Your Favorite?

So now we’re going to be that inquisitive student and ask the question right back to you – between an ‘a ha’ and an ‘oh no’, what do you prefer? Maybe you experienced it either in business, maybe in life, maybe while crafting your own set of Bernie Sanders’s inauguration-day mittens during Covid. Wherever you were, whatever you were doing, we want to hear from you because the more we know, the more we grow (yep, we’re that cheesy) – grab a coffee and let’s chat!

Why we use quantitative research and what it even means.

For those of you who have worked with us, or talked with us, or maybe just follow us on Instagram, you probably know we’re fans of data. We love a good number, we are inspired by stats and we find facts, well, fascinating. But truth be told, we weren’t always this way.

Back in the day, we were solely ethnographic researchers meaning we listened not to numbers, but to people. Don’t worry, we absolutely still listen to people, but when that was our only means for research, we found ourselves in a guessing game wondering if we were even talking to the right people. In the pre-PinPoint days, we would sit around a table and make assumptions about who we thought our client’s audience was. 

The thing is, sometimes our guestimates were spot on, but there were many other times when they were not. One in particular stands out – a restaurant chain who was looking to better understand their guests in order to evolve their menu, their service and of course grow their ROI. Problem was, when researchers & leadership guestimated their target audience to be ‘middle-aged families’ who they claimed to see most often in their restaurant, the research resulted in less than enticing results with little-to-no actionable steps. What was completely missed were the customers not seen inside their walls – those who ordered online and even more so, those who weren’t even customers yet!

Seeing that misalignment over and over got us thinking there had to be a better way to recruit research participants for qualitative insights. We were fortunate enough to work alongside a data analytics company previous to PinPoint who taught us the power of numbers. That experience led us to define our own PinPoint process where we now start every project with quantitative data (aka. the numbers – % of demographics, $X spent) to guide our qualitative insights (aka. why are they spending $X and what were the decisions that led to it).

Now, we’re not the Neilsen’s or McKinsey’s of the world, nor will we ever claim to be. And quite honestly, we don’t intend to work with the companies who can afford those large dollar partners (we’re pretty over making the Fortunes more fortunes!). So while we’re not the specific individuals out there doing deep data scrubs of credit card purchases or internet usage or census results, we do have access to elements of those scrubs and with that access comes a heck of a lot more knowledge than we ever used to have. 

Our data spans from dollars spent by zip code to generational preferences to industry-specific purchasing behaviors. This is the type of data that allows us to paint a much more intelligent picture of current & future customers – a recipe card per say for recruiting people to tell us what the numbers don’t say (aka. what is provoking 41% of adults aged 30-59 to increase the number of days they drank heavily in 2021 – lots to unpack there!).

At the end of the day, our goal is to give companies who care enough about their community access to that community. We intend to leave this world a more equitable place than the way we found it. Our belief is: through data we become more informed – creating understanding and empathy, and with empathy comes change. That is what drives us and what led us to our Pin Process – guaranteeing a deeper, more factual, more empathic understanding of who you serve and how to serve them better… without the unattainable price tag! 

On a mission to better serve your community? Ever wondered how to find the right people to talk to before making a big investment? Just want to hear more absurd facts like ‘more than 80% of gamers eat while playing’? We got your back – grab a coffee and let’s chat.​​

Reflecting on our purpose

The end of one year and the start of the next is always a prime moment for reflection. I know you’re going to be shocked when we say this, but we were no exception to the reflection jam! During the last three weeks, we took some serious time to look back on our Founders story, why we started PinPoint in the first place, how our work to date laddered up to that vision, and began projecting on how to more thoughtfully execute our purpose in our everyday actions.

Since there are a few new faces in the crowd, here’s a brief review of how PinPoint came to be:

Faith – an actor who spent more than half of her life “walking in other people’s shoes”- ran into Stacy – a recovering architect wanting to design for people over ego – at one of the most prominent human-centered research & design agencies in Chicago. Together, they followed each other around for upwards of ten years until they realized they could – and should – do more than grow the fortunes of Fortune 500s. 

As Faith describes it, they locked themselves in a room only allowing themselves to apply human-centered design methods TO the human-centered design field until…. TADA! PinPoint was born. And with it came a new purpose. By (their) definition, human-centered design is the process of listening so deeply to the people you are creating for, that you have no other choice than to design with empathy vs. ego. That’s what PinPoint was made for – as a means to approach people as individuals and incorporate underrepresented voices into the design process so their context and needs could directly influence businesses that cared to listen.

Fast forward, PinPoint is nearly 3.5 years old and during this time of reflection as 2022 kicks itself off, we once again locked ourselves in a room (this time, it was a magical cabin in the woods of Wisconsin with our business coach) and took a long, hard look at ourselves in the mirror. What we learned was that since PinPoint’s initial days, we had both honed our purpose, but also steered away from it. We let ourselves get excited by some shiny objects that didn’t necessarily align with our ‘why’. And at the same time, we have found dynamic words to finally articulate what our ‘why’ is. 

Perhaps the greatest gift coming out of that blustery cold cabin was finally writing on paper PinPoint’s purpose and values. No longer are they strewing about in our heads, but rather they are the north stars our co-founders, our team, our clients and even our research participants can strive for. We promise over this next year to share all of our values with you in detail, but until then we’ll leave you with our purpose. 

We, PinPoint, are on a mission to create more inclusive communities.
And we promise to shape a better future with great research that incorporates underrepresented voices who deserve to be heard.

We hope you share that mission. We hope you signed up to receive these tidbits because of that. And we also hope you find your own purpose and values that drive you day in and day out. Whether or not you share ours, know someone who does, or need help to define your own, we’re always down for a coffee talk. We hope you join us.

Collective giving, the PinPoint way

As you can tell from our letter above, this past week we were given the rare moment to reflect on just how thankful we are for all the guidance, trust and cheerleading that our support network has generously provided to us on the daily. We hope that you and yours were also gifted a moment to pause and be present with one another. We don’t know about you, but when given the space to truly reflect, recognize and absorb all of that appreciation – we find we have so much more clarity about what really matters. It fuels this deep need to want to give back to others. 

So with that in mind, we will take a different approach to our typical newsletter. This month we will keep our PinPoint Post brief, we will refrain from speaking to our silly donut obsession, and most importantly we will change this from a one way communication channel to a powerful call to action.  

As a way to reimagine the ‘traditional’ holiday client gift, PinPoint will be supporting GirlForward, a Chicago-based non-profit dedicated to creating and enhancing opportunities for girls who have been displaced globally by conflict and persecution. PinPoint will be giving in-kind donations via this wish list we curated from recommendations shared by the organization. Our Collective will come together to wrap and drop off all gifts collected by December 20th, 2021.

PinPoint will be donating on behalf of ourselves and our Collective. However, we would be grateful for your support. Simply select an item from the list you would like to donate, check out, and all gifts will arrive at PinPoint’s studio to be hand wrapped and delivered to GirlForward in time for Christmas. Something not on the list that you would like to donate? Simply send it to our studio at 3717 N Ravenswood Ave Suite 208, Chicago IL 60613. We appreciate your support, thank you. 

Want to inspire us by talking about what community or causes align with your mission? Want to make space to just pause and reflect to find things we appreciate together? Then let’s chat and find ways to show others some well-deserved support, empathy and inspiration.

Design with diversity, for diversity

Since the conception of PinPoint, we have prided ourselves on being a company ever evolving. None of this “signed, sealed and delivered” attitude (*although we love a great Stevie Wonder jam*), but rather embrace and appreciate that everything from our process to our team to the space we work in are, and should be, ever evolving.

We would be lying if we said this perspective wasn’t tiring, or many times, overwhelming. But in all honesty, most of the time it’s enlightening, inspiring and fueling. One of the core themes we have discussed at length with one another, fellow colleagues, and our Collective is around the definition and methodology of ‘human-centered design’. Besides the convoluted issues that come when a phrase such as “human-centered design” finds itself on the ol’list of buzzwords, we also believed there was a better way to express what it is we do, and more importantly believe in. 

Over time, we’ve been able to put words to our beliefs. Most importantly, we can now communicate what resonates and what doesn’t resonate with the phrase ‘human-centered design’.
 

  • Typically, ‘human-centered design’ refers to humans as ‘users’. We don’t know about you, but we don’t walk around the world saying we’re ‘users’. Instead, we’re ‘people’, ‘community members’, ‘part of a larger audience’ – that needs to be refined.
  • ‘Human-centered design’ has always, will always, advocate for a ‘nothing about us without us’ methodology. No policy should be decided by representatives without the full and direct participation of the members it affects – HELL YES. But…
  • Oftentimes, ‘human-centered design’ allows researchers and strategists to put themselves at the center of understanding. Yes, we may in fact be ‘a human’ that is part of the community we’re researching, but it’s important to hold ourselves accountable to look beyond our own lived experiences and approach every problem objectively. Otherwise, we prioritize our own biases and that’s unfair to the community we’re serving. 
  • Last but not least, one of the core tenants of ‘human-centered design’ is to empower iteration – nothing is precious. HCD encourages participants to prototype, break ideas and come up with crazy new ones. But too often, those learnings remain tribal knowledge and processes remain static. Screw that – the more we share, the more we learn, and the more iterative our processes become, the better we can serve the communities we value most.
     

For example sake, the following is a small sampling of statements that come directly from our Code Of Ethics. Every one of our employees and Collective members signs and agrees to these ethical guidelines designed to advance the quality of our organization. They are meant to provide general principles in which we will all stand for both individually and collectively:

Know our audience.
As impactful designers, in order to know whether we are solving the right problems, we need to meet the people who are having them. We strive to ensure those people are represented. The more we can reflect the audience we are designing for, the more thoroughly we can solve the actual problems they have. We will come at a problem from different points-of-view, from different backgrounds, from different sets of needs and experiences. That is the only way we will design meaningful and impactful solutions for our world.


Beyond the middle.
For years, people who weren’t in the majority were called ‘edge cases’ and marginalized. By subtracting the needs and opinions of those ‘edge cases’, we are making a decision that those people aren’t worth solving for. When we call someone an ‘edge case’, we’re defining the limits of what we care about. This can come in the form of immigrants who want to open a bank account and can’t get paperwork in their native language. This impacts the person in a wheel-chair who can not serve themselves at a buffet. This impacts gender fluid people who have no appropriate box to check on forms when applying for most anything. They are not ‘edge cases’. They are human beings and we owe them our best work.


After 3.5 years of the realizations above, it occurred to us that perhaps we needed new verbiage to accurately represent our approach beyond ‘human-centered design’. So with that in mind, we are proud to introduce our appreciation and adoption of….(*cue drumroll please*)…. Equity-Centered Innovation!

That’s nice, ladies (you might be thinking) but what exactly do you mean by that? Well, great question! Whereas equality means treating everyone the same, equity means providing everyone with what they need to have the same chance at success – and that only happens when we approach people as individuals and amplify their voices. As we learned above, it’s no longer enough for executives to sit around a boardroom making decisions based on what they ‘THINK people want.’ That’s what we’re here to change. Equity-centered innovation advances underrepresented audiences by incorporating their voices into the design process, allowing their voices, context, and needs to directly influence goals and outcomes that they ACTUALLY need.   

Motivated by the evolved movement? Ready to learn and collaborate with your audience to be confident they have seats at your table? Let’s chat over a donut of course about your audience, your understanding of their existing needs, the solutions you have already provided and, like us, where you want to continue to evolve your business!

We Go Together Like Rama Lama Lama…

Partners & Process Are Everything   |    09.07.21
Us and Design Scout looking down at our shoes

Do you have that person in your circle who you catch yourself awkwardly staring at from the other side of the cafe table because 1. everything that comes out of their mouth is genius 2. your cheeks hurt from smiling so much when you’re together and 3. you genuinely want to be when you grow up!?

Well, PinPoint got ourselves a new one of those and you all need to follow this wonderful human ASAP – Scout Driscoll. Not only has it been an absolute dream to collaborate with Scout these past few months, but she, too, has surrounded herself with an incredible team of kind humans and talented experts that make up both DesignScout and VINT.

Together, we crafted a unique and powerful way to support clients when they are in a moment of change. Most recently with a client who was in the midst of having an “A-HA!” moment and thought there was an opportunity to disrupt their industry. We still need to be tight-lipped at this very moment. But once this incredible line of products hits the market – you better believe we will be first in line to purchase, shouting from the rooftops.

Because this particular client had personally experienced a need that had not yet been addressed by a long-standing industry, they wanted to ensure future consumers also had the same need, well, and that there were enough of those consumers to make the initial investment worthwhile! Not only did they want to validate the market share, but were smart enough to want to prioritize which audience to show up for first so that they not only met, but exceeded expectations from the onset of launch.

Alongside VINT, we created a research-forward approach that would not only validate whether this new product was desirable, but generate the business blueprint before putting pen to paper and designing the brand strategy (what VINT does best!). So we did just that, starting with a quantitative scrub. The great news is, our research revealed a handful of potential consumer types and a scalable market size (validating the need) but equally as valuable, showed us that we needed to dig in our heels deeper to uncover which driving behaviors would trigger purchasing and drastically impact the future brand strategy.

This was one of those projects when VINT’s expertise, experience and recommendation of starting with research before brand strategy came to light in neon. Our client had a gut feeling about one target segment coming out of quant research, but as soon as we got out in the world and met 1:1 with prospective customers to uncover their purchasing behaviors, we quickly learned the ‘gut segment’ would in fact be a consumer, but not an early adopter. It was a huge a-ha. Those learnings helped guide Vint to a naming strategy, a package design, access channels and messaging that would swoon a younger hipper consumer (the early adopter) yet transition to the ‘gut segment’ without skipping a beat.

To say this PinPoint-VINT collaboration was a dream would be an understatement. Without research, we may have created a product that would sit on a shelf with nowhere to go. And without VINT, well, our pile of research wouldn’t turn itself into a beautiful brand! One of our greatest prides is a client who leaves us confident in their business strategy, who knows who they’re talking to and who has a reason behind every beautiful, thoughtful and differentiated design decision (that last point all thanks to VINT!). The power of art and science is real, and alongside Scout and her team, we get to live and breathe that motto daily. For that, we are grateful.

Are you entertaining an “A-HA!” moment of your own? First of all, thrilling! Second of all, we commend your valor. Third of all, let’s grab a coffee! We love nothing more than brainstorming how this art and science process works across industry lines, plus we’ll never turn down a reason for more caffeine!

If I Could Turn Back Time

Shifting Your Days from Spending Time to Investing Time   |    07.31.21

We’re sure you’ve heard of the old adage “time is money” and stumbled upon loads of time tracking tools, articles and posts to manage your valuable time, but if by some weird vortex you haven’t, here are just a few to set the stage: Remember The Milk, RescueTime, Pomodoro apps, Forbes, Fast Company.

For the hundreds of thousands of fancy gadgets and intricate articles out there, the one thing these services or “expert opinions” can’t do is tell you what the best most valuable use of YOUR time is. We don’t know how you feel about that, but as a leader, knowing your personal value of time is The (yes, with a capital ‘T”) most crucial element to managing the chaos and chasing that elusive “balance” we all seek. Anyone else out there feelin’ us?

So of course we did what we do, and started researching this topic (shocker!). We read the books. We analyzed what felt like every tool on the market. And most illuminating, we talked to others around us – clients, fellow leaders and small business owners like ourselves to see how we might solve this predicament for our team and others.

We’ve got good news and bad news for you all. Which do you want first!? Ok ok, we’ll start with the bad. Just as we hypothesized, there is no one-size-fits-all solution or mathematical equation that cracks the code. Nor should there be, there are just too many inputs and personal values that have to feed into that equation.

But don’t forget – there is good news! While there may be no magical equation, there is a process, and if you know anything about us – it’s that we’re all about process. It takes some facilitation, a few frameworks and a chunk of energy, but if you’re willing to dig deep and 1. reveal how you’re spending time now, 2. write down your vision for the future, 3. be conscious about what keeps you up at night, and 4. be real in defining your feasibility between near-term & long-term actions… there is an answer in sight! We learned that when you can literally see your goals, wants and needs (both personal and professional) all mapped holistically in front of you, you can prioritize your time and determine what each action is worth.

We’ve gone through this process with numerous clients and for ourselves too many times to count at this point and we have to say, the results are somewhat magical. At the end of the day, who doesn’t want to go from too many thoughts bouncing around in their head making you restless and unfocused to feeling powerful and fueled? Yeah, you can count us in for the later! Because guess what – spending quality time on you now will save you infinite wasted time in the future.

Applying this process to PinPoint has been a cosmic shift to us both personally and professionally. It has taught us how to clearly identify when something is worth outsourcing versus tackling ourselves. It has uncovered operational milestones specific to our business, such as intentional triggers to grow our team. And in full transparency, it uncovered just how much we love time spent collaborating with our brilliant Collective, making our clients’ visions come to life, eating donuts and cuddling our cats.

For anyone out there interested, we created a cheat sheet (or 4 sheets) to get you rolling on figuring out your highest, most valuable use of time. Here’s a link to dig in. We want to hear how it goes, what you learn, what surprises you or what frightens you – besides clowns of course,… because clowns. And whenever you’re ready, let’s grab a coffee.

Imagine a world absent from your phone. Absent from living in a little Zoom box. Absent from being on call 24/7. A world where that little ‘ding’ (you know the one) didn’t immediately trigger a spiraling state of questions and concern wondering who it is, what do they need, do you need to address it at that moment or what are you missing. Is it hard to imagine? Is it easy? Is it anxiety inducing? Is it dreamy?

A car driving into the sunset
How do we snap the feeling of being in limbo?

We went through the exercise of mapping out the last moment we disconnected from the digital world for more than 24 hours and let us tell you…frankly, it’s embarrassing. It doesn’t help that this past year pushed us far down the ‘at-home-on-the-couch-scrolling-on-my little-screen-in-front-of-the-big-screen-as-a-reward-for-being-off-my-medium-screen-with-nothing-else-to-do’ rabbit hole. All that being said, here we are over a year from the pandemic onset with the end of the tunnel and a slight glimmer of light in sight, yet we just can’t stop watching The Circle until the wee-hours of the night.

Friends, we are languishing. And similar to a Pantone color, it’s quickly becoming the emotion of the year.

What is languishing, you might ask? It’s that feeling of being stuck in limbo. One minute life is just too overwhelming and the next minute life just isn’t compelling enough. It’s feeling numb and burnt out while simultaneously feeling restless and eager to engage with the world again. While 2021 has given access to the COVID-19 vaccine for many, at the same time it has also emphasized feelings of waiting and a lack of control over what the present looks like or what the future will hold.

So, we did what we do best, and started researching this ever prevalent behavior taking over society. What we learned was both heartbreaking and encouraging – quite like some of the emotions attached to ‘languishing’ itself. Ironic? We think not.

Let’s just get the heartbreaking part out of the way. In this past year alone, 69% of mothers said they experienced adverse health effects due to worry and stress during the pandemic. On top of that, 75% of remote workers claimed they would consider quitting their current position for a job that focused more on employeesʼ mental health – dang! And then near and dear to PinPoint’s heart, business leaders reported a decrease in innovation around core products and services in 2020.

But, there’s hope and actionable ways to cope with languishing. While it feels counterintuitive once burnout sets in, it’s time to take a break. A real break. As people who are typically unapologetically curious and responsible for ideation, we knew we needed to address this ever-present feeling to allow space for inspiration – so we looked to the experts and started working with BeMOR on mental fitness coaching and have learned how to take many small, meaningful breaks throughout the day to be more present in the moments that matter. Ohio-based PR firm Geben Communication started offering ‘self-care’ days to encourage employees to disconnect – they are just one of many companies offering innovative solutions to the limbo of languishing.

Truth be told, we could go on for hours about what this research has taught us about ourselves, our relationships, society as a whole and about what it means for the future of working, of parenting, of marketing… truly the future of (fill in the blank). So whether you want to nerd out with us, need thirty minutes to decompress or are kind enough to help make sure we take a break from the day, let’s grab a coffee and conquer this languishing together.

Lady in Grey

When black or white don’t do you justice, you own the gray.   |    04.29.21

As many of you know, we find an insane amount of joy in celebrating and empowering women – I mean, could we have screamed it any louder from our digital-mountaintop last month? Perhaps it stems from our days having to play with ‘Malibu Barbie’ before ‘Presidential Candidate Barbie’ made her debut. Or perhaps it comes from our mothers who taught both of us to challenge the ‘supposed to’s’ of society. Wherever it stems from, it’s certainly impacted who we’ve become today.

And while we’ve found a PinPoint-niche in female focused projects lately, we’ve also found a PinPoint-pinpoint (pun definitely intended) in collaborating with female leaders, because the truth of the matter is society still sits somewhere between Malibu Barbie and Presidential Candidate Barbie when it comes to championing women in the workplace.

A few weeks ago, we had an inspiring conversation with a female exec who described her decision making mid-career. There came a moment where she was positioned to choose her side of greatness – be a great executive and a good mother or be a great mother and a good executive. 

Truth be told, there is no right and there is no wrong when it comes to being a woman – at home, at work or anywhere in between. Yet everyday we are faced with black and white oppositions forced upon us by a multitude of varying pressures and expectations surrounding us. One of our favorite bloggers, A Cup of Joe, recently shared stories of shame and guilt many women feel when choosing to feed their newborn formula over breast milk – even when formula is the absolute best option for her and baby.

As we’ve grown into our niche collaborating with brilliant female leaders, we find ourselves in conversations like the ones above more often. We’ve had a rare career in which our job is to listen to people, many people, and empathize with their unique lives in order to design new futures – futures different from the ‘supposed to’s’ just like our mothers taught us.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the many conversations we’ve had with female leaders this past year, it’s that there is no ‘right or wrong’ or ‘black or white’. Instead, there’s a whole lot of gray and choosing gray often means choosing what’s best for you. If the Benjamin Moore paint wheel taught us anything in this pandemic, it’s that there’s a gray for everyone.

We each deserve our unique gray – derived from our values, our roles, our aspirations and our expectations. If there were only black or white to choose, life would be a whole lot blander or a whole lot dimmer. So here’s to finding your gray – whatever gray means for you. And whenever you need that little birdie in your ear to tell you white or black just aren’t for you, let us grab you a coffee. We’ve got your back.