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The Tip of the Iceberg

December 30, 2013 by Klaus
In Ontario right now, there are more than 2100 MW of power being generated by wind. That’s almost 10% of the total power generated in the province. We almost never stop to think just how quickly renewable energy has invigorated our lives. 20 years ago, only a few “greenies” were preaching renewable energy – and here in Ontario we thought we had a leg up by virtue of renewable hydro-electric.

Today, there are 2389 MW of renewable hydro-electric power being produced, and wind has almost caught up with 2158 MW. 20% of the provinces power is from water and wind!

But it gets better. There are another 3600 MW of wind projects in development, which will triple our wind production in two years. There are another 725 MW of hydro projects underway as well.

And then we have solar. The Ontario government has solidified the FIT (Feed-In-Tarriff) program to make it economically viable for ordinary businesses to generate solar power. And while there are currently 814 MW being produced commercially, we’ll be at 2000 MW in the next two years.

Bio-Energy is the smallest portion of renewable energy, but it is more than tripling with projects underway, to 365 MW.

The Ontario Power Authority reports that current contracted capacity is 22,234 MW – and here’s the fun part – 48% of which is renewable: 11% renewable hydro; 37% from wind, sun and more. The greening of electricity in Ontario is very real, and the substantial progress we’ve seen is just the tip of the iceberg.


The Value of Outsourcing Creative Direction

December 16, 2013 by Klaus
Everybody wants the best – we can just rarely afford it. When it comes to personnel resources, we staff according to the level of company requirements – you can’t have a VP-level person in every role. You couldn’t afford it, and couldn’t keep them engaged.

Creative Direction is no different – you’ll have on board the resources for managing day-to-day activities. When a new requirement comes along – say to add photographs for an annual report, or create a new look for a division or product line – chances are that you won’t have the expertise on board to either execute or manage these activities.

And if you hire someone, chances are you’ll stop at just getting the execution outsourced – after all it’s easy to find a photographer. And then you’ll hope that your staff knows how to get what you need from this person. And what level of photographer is needed, what to pay them, how to get modifications to precisely match your brand, how to format the creative assets for multiple uses….

A more complex project requiring someone who knows photography, illustration, print design, web design, brand extension strategy… well, it’s time for some experience and breadth on your team. But the project may only last six months or a year. What do you do with this high-priced talent then?

In an ideal world, you say “Thanks, we’ll call you when we next need you.” You can’t do that with an employee – you can with a contractor. The trick is finding a contractor with the depth needed. The nice thing is that they can be over-qualified – because you only pay for what you need. That does enable you to afford the best.

The Basics of OCD

December 02, 2013 by Klaus
OCD to us doesn’t mean Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, but Outsourced Creative Direction. There are more than a few similarities however in attention to detail and getting things perfect!

Outsourcing Creative Direction can seem to be a big step for companies who have previously handled this internally. There are several circumstances which may prompt you to this decision, with two major drivers: economics, and capacity.

Dealing with the economic aspect is straight-forward – you pay for the expertise you need only when you need it. It can be very expensive to keep specialists on salary when you need them sporadically. And the level of management that needs to understand how best to utilize these specialties can be a further level of overhead you can’t afford all the time.

Capacity factors strongly in economic utilization, but more importantly rears its head when you need skills you don’t have on staff. It may seem simple enough to hire a photographer or illustrator, but having the ability to get the best people – and the best from them – is a management skill. Which you probably don’t have.

The other major consideration in capacity is of overstretching current staff. If your team is fully engaged, taking on a large new project can lead to overload very quickly. Outsourcing direction for the project can add capacity, and give you a single point of responsibility which liaises with your existing team to ensure continuity. Use of internal and external resources can be coordinated to give you best coverage – and the skills to manage them – without stressing your current creative team.

Of course, economics and capacity go hand-in-glove when considering outsourcing creative direction – but you’d be surprised how many companies consider the possibility only when economics force them to. Be pro-active - consider the potential increased capacity and economic sensibility early on, to make the right decision easy when you need to make it.