Welcome back to the Innovatemap Values Deep Dive series where we take a closer look at our company’s core values and the people who exude them. Today we’re talking about excellence with Parker McCullough, Senior Brand Designer at Innovatemap. At Innovatemap, we define excellence as: we believe in mastery of skill, intention and character to be premier colleagues, partners and leaders.
The most excellent people, we believe, are the ones who know excellence isn’t a one-stop shop. You don’t become excellent, then settle in on your high shelf looking down on others. Excellence takes work. Parker is always skilling himself up then sharing that new knowledge with his larger team. If he finds an example of a brand getting a design element very right (or very wrong), he’ll share it with the team as a case study, pinpointing why the design is important, on-trend or what can be learned from it. With an infectious hunger to learn, Parker’s colleagues have become more curious, too, causing a ripple effect of continuous learning and as a result, greater excellence among the team.
Like many who become masters of their skill, Parker’s commitment to design excellence doesn’t stop after 5 p.m. He is always seeking out new opportunities to learn. He has been a frequent volunteer of the Brand New Conference, a premier design conference. Each time he attended, he returned to Innovatemap with a treasure trove of design inspiration that filled not only his cup, but his colleagues’ too.
To better get to know Parker and his commitment to excellence, we asked a few questions.
Why is the pursuit of excellence important to you?
For me, it’s about creating meaningful change. Excellence is a natural by-product of working toward that goal.
Do you naturally seek excellence, or have you had to work to make it a priority?
I am a product of my environment. It’s a lot easier to pursue excellence when you’re surrounded by it. I’m fortunate in that growing up, I was surrounded by excellence in the form of my family. From an early age, I was encouraged to ask questions, be curious about the world and work toward accomplishing whatever mattered to me. Here at Innovatemap, everyone is so skilled and driven in their respective disciplines; it would be hard not to be inspired to keep learning and growing in and out of design.
Why is achieving excellence in design an ongoing effort?
Design is about solving problems, and fortunately, as a designer, there are always new problems to be solved. Every problem brings unique challenges, so design is very much an ongoing process. Designers are typically a curious bunch and that innate curiosity naturally lends itself to continue pursuing better ways of solving problems.
Your thirst for knowledge is infectious! Why is it important for you to share your expertise with those around you?
At Innovatemap, everyone brings such different skills and perspectives to the table. I’ve learned so much about design, technology and business simply by absorbing the knowledge of our team members. I’m able to apply those learnings in my work daily, and the work is stronger because of it. So, it only feels natural to pass that knowledge forward to hopefully be valuable for someone else.
(Don’t worry, Parker, it is valuable!)
How is excellence nurtured within the design team?
One example is evident in our design team standup meetings. Each week, a different team member gets half an hour to lead the team through… essentially anything. We’ve worked together to design book covers, looked at examples of design throughout the world, and done some playful things, like designing a Zoom integration that would kick someone out of a Zoom meeting if they start flailing their body around like a hurricane (we have fun).
I personally enjoy these exercises because they bring out everyone’s unique strengths and different perspectives. No two people on the design team have the same super power, so the results are always interesting and vary widely.
As someone who works so hard to achieve excellence, how do you deal with setbacks or things that go wrong?
When there are setbacks, it’s important to lean on clear communication to get things back on track. Effective communication is so important to keep projects running smoothly. We use clear communication internally and with clients to get through any issues that may pop up.
Parker is incredibly humble, never boastful, and that’s one of the reasons why his excellence is so inspiring to the rest of us here at Innovatemap.
If excellence also drives you, please check out our careers page. If no open positions catch your eye, consider joining our watch list for potential future opportunities.