Adidas is stepping up the game in the shoe industry by upcycling plastic in the ocean. They are turning this plastic into yarn that in 2018, they were able to create over 5 million pairs of shoes with. Their goal in 2019 has increased to 11 million pairs due to an incredible consumer demand.

Adidas hasn’t stopped there. They are the first to use recycled plastic to make football jerseys that the 2018 University of Miami Hurricanes wore. The yarn used for their jerseys came from fishing nets and other plastic pollutants in the ocean.

As the temperature gets warmer and one of my favorite holidays nears (more on Earth Day here), it’s even easier to get outside and do well for the environment. Whether you are individually doing something (trying zero-waste or simply picking up trash on your walk during lunch) or setting goals for your company to be environmentally sustainable, thinkspace would like to hear about it! Let’s celebrate all we do for the earth and share it so others can be inspired. It’s easy to forget that a lot of little small things add up to make a big difference.

Every April 22nd you might receive a message imploring you to spend the day picking up trash, eating a meat-free meal, or joining the movement of sustainable living. On this historic day back in 1970, in communal solidarity, millions of people gathered to protest the repercussions of 150 years of industrial development. Now, The Earth Day Network (EDN) reminds us annually to celebrate this day as Earth Day.

Each year EDN gears up with a new theme to inspire the global community to do something special – to inspire us to make change for our earth. The 2019 theme for Earth Day is to protect threatened and endangered species. Worldwide, a multitude of events will be held on Earth Day to support environmental protection and campaigns come from both corporate and grassroots efforts. This year EDN expects 1 billion people and more than 193 countries to take part in Earth Day celebrations.

Earth Day Network is asking people to join their “Protect our Species” campaign. Their goals include:

  • Educate and raise awareness about the accelerating rate of extinction of millions of species and the causes and consequences of this phenomenon.
  • Achieve major policy victories that protect broad groups of species as well as individual species and their habitats.
  • Build and activate a global movement that embraces nature and its values.
  • Encourage individual actions such as adopting plant based diet and stopping pesticide and herbicide use.

We can all do our part to educate not only ourselves and our community, but also can initiate positive change in the companies we work for and incentivize employees for doing their part as well. With Earth Day 2019 quickly approaching, challenge yourself to do a little more for the earth and its future generations.

Need any ideas? How about planting a bee-friendly garden? These can include sunflowers, honeysuckle, strawberries, magnolias, and roses. If you don’t have a green thumb you could also simply ask your Congress representative to pass the Pollinator Recovery Act and to protect the Endangered Species Act. There are limitless options and certainly something for you!

On December 10, 2018 Geekwire published an article about Microsoft seating first in Forbes ‘Just 100’ list of most responsible companies. To learn this, Forbes partnered with Just Capital and asked 81,000 Americans what they want to see most from America’s largest companies. Among the top answers were fair pay, treating customers well (while keeping their information private), environmental friendliness, and commitment to diversity. Of 890 of the largest publicly-traded companies, Microsoft ranked #1 which shows that while taking public interest to heart, it continues to grow economically and in public consciousness.

Categories where Microsoft did exceedingly well:

  • Environment – minimize pollution, reduce waste, and protect the planet
  • Worker Treatment – keeping worker pay and treatment at the heart of just business practices
  • Customers – maintaining fair treatment, privacy, and honest sales terms
  • Leadership – prioritizing ethical leadership and value creation 
  • Communities – providing community support at home and abroad

Though Microsoft like any other company has room to grow, the most noteworthy category I found was where they ranked lowest: products.

  • Products and services should be high quality, fairly priced, and beneficial to society.

Entrepreneurs create companies because they have a passion for an idea or product; success often follows if they can solve a problem facing their target market. Having been involved in the software industry for decades, Microsoft’s strong brand awareness and reputation for great products have kept them in competitive business all these years. Because of this it’s rather shocking to see that they ranked so low in the product category. If not for their product, why are their customers so loyal and their brand first-rate?

In an interview that came long the rankings, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told Forbes in an interview “People are finally coming around to saying, ‘it’s not just the surplus you’ve created for yourself. What’s the state of the world around you?’ That’s where I feel like we’re at our best.”  With this is mind it seems ever more relevant to ask what your company is doing to support the state of the world around you? Having a product or service that solves a problem or that people enjoy is what put you into business, but how do you take it to the next level in how you give back to your employees, customers, and the environment. We’re curious at thinkspace what you’re doing and where you think you rank in these categories. Leave a comment below and let’s start a discussion on why your product isn’t always the sole driver of your company’s success.

 

 

5-stones-coffee-peter-chee-allie-ghosn

If you could work from anywhere, where would you go?

Stay at home? Go outside? Coworking? Work and travel? Coffee shop or restaurant? The library? 

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Whether you decide to stay at home in your pjs or get outside for a meeting, it can definitely be nice to get out of the office to get some work done. Last week, Peter and I spent the afternoon at 5 Stones Coffee Co and got more done on our project in three hours than we did the entire week before! It can be really hard to focus with the many interruptions that happen throughout the day: phone calls, emails, kids and other things that just come up. Sometimes, all it takes is a new location and a fresh perspective to crush your goal!

Kate_mythinkspaceAs a team, we’ve been taking a few hours each week to work from somewhere new and see how it affects our productivity and happiness at work. Follow us on instagram for more great photos @thinkspace.seattle and share your own! #mythinkspace

IMG_1335I know, I sure am! With this 88 degree weather, it is impossible for me to stay inside so I am extra thankful that I got to spend yesterday afternoon out at the park. You may be wondering, “how do you get work done in the park?” Luckily, I had plenty of work that could be done offline, but I was also able to set up my phone as a hotspot and be totally connected to email and my colleagues. Different jobs, will of course, have different limitations but try going somewhere new. I think the results will surprise you.  Now, we want to know where you get your best work done;

where is your “think space”?

Personally, I love traveling, so any time I get the opportunity to work on the go, I take it! Check out #mythinkspace favorite from last year here and share your own!

Xx Allie

12417650_10153711428095795_8134718167907541815_nLast Saturday, Katie and I had a chance to participate in Melody Biringer’s co-storming session, which immediately qualified as one of the most energizing and inspiring experiences. “Co-storm” is Melody’s original initiative where you lay down your project, its roadblocks, and its mission in front of another professional – who might be completely unrelated to your field – and start from there. A great round of feedback follows, and because Melody has a great way of finding just the right people to work and connect with, you find yourself in a buzzing conversation filled with ideas, advice and strategy.

When a brainstorm is not enough…

A crowd of about sixty women from various professional backgrounds gathered in downtown Seattle, and divided into small groups guided by a mentor, they stormed their initiatives. With professions in the fields of IT, marketing, business development, and everything in between, each of us had 30 minutes to storm the struggle we needed a new perspective on. Afterwards, the group discussed it from their own point of view, trying to come to constructive solutions – or at least ask the right questions. The idea might seem simple, but the results are no less than extraordinary.

Both Katie and I focused on perspectives for thinkspace in 2016, but went in with a different project to pitch into the discussion. We had a chance to talk to brilliant mentors whose fields of expertise were very closely related to the answers we were looking for, or with experience and knowledge so distant from our problem that they offered a view from a completely different, unpredicted perspective.

Finding the answers to well-asked questions

One advice that has stuck with me since Saturday was given by Mikki Kingrey, authentic sales strategist and the owner of Real Results Mentoring, who urged me to look for answers to two questions:

Who is your niche?
Who is your anti-niche?

And that should mark the clear, sharp starting point for the strategy in marketing, sales, business development, and content creation. You can iterate and pivot afterwards to expand your chosen niche, but you want your initial message to be clear. Focusing on a wide, murky group of addressees automatically dilutes your message, content, and initiative, spreading them too thin to create visible effects.

Defining your anti-niche is just as important and impactful. A message that alienates or disturbs no one, is probably weak enough to interest no one.

No calm after this storm

Without a doubt, every woman attending the co-storm had her own “ah-ha!” moment, that – if executed with the same palpable determination that was filling the air on Saturday – will be enough to push the projects we came with to their successful endings. We braved the storm, came out ahead, and will be bringing the results and conclusions to build a stronger community in 2016.

2016-new-yearIt’s almost the New Year, which means resolutions are just around the corner. I personally love resolutions… the challenge and goal-setting fires me up.  One year I resolved to give up sugar.  That resolution lasted two years (and I’ve since made up for the two years void of sugar).

But one huge problem with resolutions is that after the first few weeks of the new year, we rarely stick to those resolutions. Research shows that actually 8% of people keep their goals.  Not exactly inspiring odds.

But research also shows that if you have help – if you have someone who comes alongside you and encourages you with your resolution, then your chances of success increase.  This isn’t that surprising, many of us know that accountability helps to achieve goals.  But accountability with resolutions?  Some resolutions are deeply personal.  Not the kind of thing I want to blast over social media.  And especially with those kinds of resolutions – to overcome an addiction, to be a better parent, to spend more time doing “X” – we need a friend to walk alongside us.  Because we can’t do it alone.

Here’s my suggestion as 2016 closes in on us.  Instead of making a resolution for yourself, make a resolution for someone else.  Talk it over with one close friend or mentor, and see if they will partner with you in this.  You make a resolution for them, and they make one for you.  One of the things we love about the holidays is the spirit of giving – we give gifts to others and receive gifts from others.  Resolutions are usually done alone, and therefore are isolating.  But when we give resolutions to others and receive resolutions from others – they are shared.

And resolutions are more sustainable when shared.

So think of a friend/mentor – what’s your resolution for them in 2016?
That they finish that project they’ve put on the back burner?
That they finally make it to Ireland to visit their ancestors?
That they complete their first 5K race?
Whatever it is, once you’ve thought of it – go and tell them.

 

Fremont Run To Beat Breast Cancer LogoSeattle Startup Week is only two weeks away, and preparations are in full swing here at thinkspace!  October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  And you know we are always looking for ways to build and strengthen our ties within the community. If you’re a part of the startup community and we haven’t met you yet, we’re hoping to change that soon.  And if we have already met you, we’d love to see you, too!

We’d like to invite you to spend your morning with us on Wednesday, October 28th for a 5K Run to Beat Breast Cancer.  Run, walk, skip, jump and be merry with us.  The run begins at 8:30 am and will take us along the Burke-Gilman Trail and through Gasworks Park.  Stick around after the run concludes to eat some breakfast noms and jam out to some early morning disco tunes at our Fremont location.

The event is free, but we’d appreciate any donations you can put forth.  All proceeds will go to raise funds for Dr. V.K. Gadi’s research at Fred Hutchinson Medical Research Center.  5K t-shirts will also be available for $20, with all proceeds supporting Dr. Gadi and his team.

RSVP for the Fremont Run to Beat Breast Cancer here.

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Peter Chee, Ali Spain and Katie Walvatne at Brunch to End Breast Cancer October 11, 2015

Can’t make it on the 28th?  Running just isn’t your thing?  Not to worry!  We’ll be supporting Breast Cancer Awareness Month throughout Seattle Startup Week, with opportunities to make a donation to the Fred Hutch team at each of our events:

 

 

unnamedWhether you’re new to drinking craft beer or a longtime fan Seattle Beer Week is your chance to join thousands of others who want to enjoy what the market has to offer. The ten day celebration kicks off today with dozens of bars, pubs, and breweries hosting dozens of events showcasing a variety of hop based beverages. It’s no coincidence Seattle Beer Week is successful. According to the Brewers Association, Washington State ranks second in the nation  in the number of craft breweries creating batches of a drink first created in ancient Mesopotamia.

Among the dozens of business owners participating is Burc McFarlen, who runs The Beer Authority in Lake City. Like a sommelier speaks effortlessly about wine, Burc knows his beer. With 13 taps that are constantly changing, more than 400 bottled beers, Burc estimates he’s tasted about 75% of his inventory. He uses descriptions like “floral notes,” “hoppy,” and a “hint of vanilla” when explaining the subtle differences in beer you can find at his bar. He’s looking forward to Seattle Beer Week and is hosting a few events starting with a golf tournament. “The first four days we’re only pouring Washington beer to keep it local,” he explained.

BA_BurcPhoneBurc also partnered with Alaskan Brewing Company to offer a unique event on May 15. Customers can try grilled Alaskan salmon marinated in the company’s amber ale. Exotic meat like reindeer sausage from a butcher shop in Juneau is also on the menu. “We’re going to do a vertical tasting of their smoked porter,” Burc added. It will be from 2014, 2012, 2010, and 2008. Burc raved about the beer comparing it to “drinking smoked salmon.”

“It’s been fun watching it grow. Although it makes it harder to get into the events that I want to go to,” Jennifer Schweitzer shared with a smile. “It’s a good time. You get to see everybody in one place.” She has nearly two decades worth of experience as a bartender and has watched the evolution of Seattle Beer Week since it began in 2009. She knows firsthand the amount of work required to handle the event.

This year she won’t be behind the bar and is especially looking forward to Sour Fest hosted by Brouwers Café in Fremont. When asked why she loves the variety that’s growing in popularity her answer is succinct, “because sours are the magical unicorns of beer.” According to Jennifer there’s a wide variety of sour beers that are pleasing to many palettes, “the profile ranges from really sweet and fruity to tart and citrusy to boozy and funky. It’s just fun.”

As the craft beer market expanded, Jenn took an interest in the specialty beer about ten years ago. She wanted to know more about what she was serving and the interest has paid off. She’s able to make recommendations and help others give new beers a chance by providing “guidance not judgement.” Last year 252 craft breweries called the Evergreen State home according to the Washington Beer Commission. That’s up from 202 in the previous year and there’s no signs of the trend slowing down. “It’s happening everywhere especially in Ballard. You can’t turn a corner without seeing a brewery,” Jenn added.
As Seattle Beer Week expands Burc thinks there’s room for improvement. He’d like for there to be less focus on major distributors and see it go back to its roots – offering more educational events where people can “nerd out” and really learn about the intricacies of craft beer. His partnership with Alaskan Brewing Company is a reflection of what he’d like to see as a craft beer maven.

Whether you’re a novice or have advanced knowledge of craft beer Seattle Beer Week is a great opportunity to try new beers and share a toast with friends or strangers. “Craft beer is the ultimate ice breaker,” Burc shared.

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It’s easy to get so caught up in the grind that you forget to stop and thank the people around you. In the spirit of Gratitude (our newest company core value), we chose to share the following story.

thinkspace participates in a weekly TINYpulse exercise. TINYpulse provides insights into company culture, prompting anonymous responses to insightful survey questions. Last week, Tiny Pulse asked our staff, “What do you like most about working here?” The response was overwhelmingly about our amazing members! Thank you to our members for making such a huge impact on the thinkspace team! Need proof? Read our team’s responses to the question below & give in to the warm and fuzzies!

 

tinypulse

“Our members. We have some of the most amazing members.”

“The people! All the smartypants I get to work with everyday.”

“I enjoy seeing direct correlations between company success and my hard work. Its motivating to see clearly how my work moves the dial for the company.”

“I really enjoy interacting and assisting the members. We have such a great group of people in the community, I look forward to participating and helping to plan all-member activities and events. They make it fun to come into work.”

” I like the opportunities I get. Whether that be opportunities to better myself as an individual and grow as a leader or better myself professionally and as a team member. I get to meet so many amazing people everyday that constantly keep me on my toes, learning and asking questions. The insightful and incredible stories I get to hear will be experiences I never forget. I am inspired working here. Even if I get stressed out about many things I know I am supported and can take the time to refresh myself.”

The thing that I like most about working here is that I get to pour everything into this company. It’s the culmination of everything I know and everything I am. The experience that I can create for employees and customers can make a big impact in their lives. I would be very hard pressed to find something else out there that could provide that.

“Our members! How lucky are we to work with such creative, brilliant and humble people each and every day!?”

Gabe HerbertHelp us in welcoming our new community host Gabe Herbert! Get to know Gabe a little better. He is pretty new to the Fremont area, so please suggest some great places for him to explore!

What do you do and where can we find out more?
Professionally, I’m a web developer, primarily using WordPress. I also have a lot of IT experience.

What is your favorite beer/wine/cider spot in seattle?
Über, with it’s dozens of taps and hundreds of beers

What is the best place for a bite?
I’m trying to kick the “fast food sushi” habit- Toyoda Sushi in Lake City is one of my favorites. Bizarro is delicious and fun for Italian. And I’ve got to throw in Plum Bistro.

What are your hobbies?
I’ve studied martial arts for years and am just getting into Capoeira. Yoga is an essential foundation for my physical practices. I’m also a bassist, currently looking for a new project. It might go without saying that I’m a big computer geek. Someday I want to build robotic fountains.