Case Study: InnovationWV
While West Virginia is not commonly known as a hotbed of innovation, many motivated, capable, and visionary individuals answer the challenges they meet in work and life with innovative solutions. In April 2019, InnovationWV arrived to harness their creativity and couple it with the science of innovation.
The Story so Far
With the motto “Innovation Lives Here,” the Wehrle Innovation Center on the University of Charleston Campus stays true to its mission – to provide the UC community with an opportunity to study entrepreneurship and engage in hands-on experiential learning.
The center, dedicated in December 2016, attracts the brightest and most gifted students and faculty. Not surprising at all that the association leadership agreed to have the University host their chapter when Assistant Director Dr. Terry Cyfers pitched the idea to Dr. Brett Trusko, President & CEO of IAOIP.
The IAOIP communicates its international presence as shown in the slider graphic below. The design carries over to the association website and its publication, the “International Journal of Innovation Science.” Other international chapters had adopted the “eye” graphic and infused existing graphic elements of the organization’s design with their name and/or location.
To not infringe on the organization’s established design guidelines, and to promote the West Virginia chapter statewide, Made in Germany developed a new visual identity. As a nod to the chapter host, we included University of Charleston characteristics like the timeless Neue Helvetica Pro font and the signature Pantone 208 maroon color. To add gravitas, we contrasted the color with weighty black and neutral Pantone Cool Gray 8.
Using negative space, we stressed the “west” part of the state acronym. Because who didn’t hear “oh, Western Virginia, I’ve been to Richmond” before? The added state outline removes any doubt, which Virginia we’re talking about. Simple enough to be recognized and comprehended when passed in traffic, yet as memorable to be recalled days after a single exposure. Introducing – the logo of InnovationWV:
As we solidified name and visual design, the availability of the domain name shaping the URL – the Uniform Resource Locator – gained prominence quickly. Lucky enough, www.innovationwv.com was still available. For associate and professional members of the IAOIP, the domain address intelligently points to the WV chapter page on the association website.
All other visitors land on the association’s main page, where they can apply for membership. The chapter page offers access to a member directory, an event calendar, blogs, forums, and a photo gallery. National and international association members have the ability to visit, comment, and connect to this section.
To promote the inaugural chapter meeting, and to give current and future members an easily accessible platform to communicate, share innovation news, and register for events, we launched the InnovationWV Facebook page. With growing followership there, we hope to excite others to join the association and chapter, participate in chapter meetings, and learn about association benefits like innovation resources, training, and certification.
A Member market email blast, sent by the Charleston Area Alliance – a local economic and community development organization, affiliated with the Charleston Regional Chamber of Commerce – reached our particular target audience within a 4K+ email database of business professionals and thought leaders. With an open rate of 20.7 percent – standard for this kind of e-blasts – we achieved 853 opens that lead to a total of 45 registrations.
Putting the email content to use, and attracting additional individuals, we created an interactive PDF flyer. Forwarded as an email attachment, or printed and passed on as a handout, it communicated our main talking points, detailed event information, Facebook, email, website, and the InnovationWV brand.
To extend the reach of InnovationWV, spread the visual identity offline, and communicate the chapter platforms, we designed and commercially printed 3.5″ x 2″ InfoCards. Offering these in person, at locations of business and education, and our chapter meetings, they serve as leave-behind, notepad, brand ambassador, and conversation starter.
On Tuesday, April 16th, current and future association members, innovation students, faculty, dignitaries, and many others gathered at the University of Charleston Innovation Center for the inaugural chapter meeting. University of Charleston’s Assistant Director of Innovation Terry Cyfers and President Marty Roth delivered the opening remarks.
The six-minute welcome message below casts a vision of innovation as a tool, its necessity as a catalyst of progress in the Mountain State, and what it means to host the association’s newest chapter at the University of Charleston.
Leslie Stone of Stone Strategies facilitated an introductory exercise to get people moving, meeting one another and talking about their personal innovation stories. She also engaged participants in an interactive innovation session on DeBono’s Six Thinking Hats.
Six Thinking Hats is a simple, effective parallel thinking process that helps people be more productive, focused, and mindfully involved in exploring challenges that need innovative solutions. It is part of a robust toolset, used in corporations worldwide, to foster innovative thinking and can be applied immediately once learned.
Commemorating the inaugural meeting with a quick statement, Made in Germany‘s Jens Kiel compared InnovationWV to the Explorers Club of New York City:
“For my part, I’m glad you followed the call and came here tonight. In the spirit of the Explorer’s Club, defining the accomplishments by their members as ‘Famous Firsts’ – I encourage you to join us and strive for becoming the ‘cutting edge’ of our area of business, development, education, and public service. As Norman Vincent Peale put it, “Turn Problems into Possibilities.”
We are glad to be allowed to put our expertise, our time, and our talents to use in shaping the InnovationWV brand, promoting the inaugural chapter meeting, defining the digital platforms, and contributing to the success of InnovationWV in the role of a sponsor. As an associate member, we will continue our role of ambassador to the brand and a member of this fantastic group of people.
“Thank you for this case study. The University of Charleston is delighted to host and lead InnovationWV!” -Marty Roth
Last but not least, kudos to the members of the strategic steering committee – Leslie Stone, David Ramsburg, Terry Cyfers, and Jens Kiel. Their passion, dedication, and vision will excite West Virginia’s innovators and make the chapter a continuing success for the IAOIP and the University of Charleston.
The Russell and Martha Wehrle
2300 MacCorkle Ave SE
Charleston, WV 25304
tel (304) 357-4757