Can It Be Summer Forever?

Excitement filled the air as contenders of the first-ever “FUSION Feud” approached the buzzer table. While the game was to guess the most popular answers to trivial survey questions, the real battle was around who will be crowned the winner in this week’s summer office activity.

Over the summer, the  FUSION OF IDEAS team enjoyed “Summer Fridays,” where each week was a new mini-event or a friendly competition. From Pancake Breakfast and Lunchtime Yoga to Aloha Day, the team got to participate in a variety of mid-day events to break up the 8-to-5 grind.

Take a look at some of the highlights:

Chandran, shipping and fulfillment manager, cooks up egg scrambles at our Brunch Buffet.
Chandran, shipping and fulfillment manager, cooks up egg scrambles at our Brunch Buffet.
Chris, production manager, whips up delicious waffles using homemade batter.
Chris, production manager, whips up delicious waffles using homemade batter.
Hungry employees line up to gather their favorite ingredients at the Brunch Buffet.
Hungry employees line up to gather their favorite ingredients at the Brunch Buffet.
Employees taking a mid-day break to stretch it out at Lunchtime Yoga.
Employees taking a mid-day break to stretch it out at Lunchtime Yoga.
Contestants line up for our first-ever "FUSION Feud."
Contestants line up for the company’s first-ever “FUSION Feud.”
Our iOS and Android developers battle it out as they guessed the most popular answers to survey questions.
Our iOS and Android developers battle it out as they guessed the most popular answers to survey questions.
Tropical goodies take over the break room on Aloha Day.
Tropical goodies take over the break room on Aloha Day.

Leaders in the Making: A Look Behind the Curtain

Declare. Define. Decide. Create. Commit. Complete.

These are the steps to the path to get you where you want to go. Last week, the FUSION OF IDEAS leadership team set out on a two-day retreat to learn about what it takes to be game changers, difference makers and better leaders.

Led by two influential executive coaches, Setema Gali and Nate Bailey, the retreat kicked off with the FUSION OF IDEAS team meeting at the beach for a two-hour physical training to push ourselves beyond our physical and mental limits. We dunked ourselves in the ocean (multiple times), raced in teams, immersed ourselves with sand, squatted with sandbags, did planks, burpees, and jumping jacks, all in the name of learning to be vulnerable and working together as leaders.

Mike, our business development manager of applications, reflected back on the training and said, “You can always do more than you think you can.”

Back in the classroom, we set big goals and discovered practical ways to reach them. Together as leaders, we made a commitment to learn from one another, teach each other and confront obstacles. And together, we set out to define the company’s vision, build a culture where our teams can grow and thrive, and set standards for achievement.

Here are a few other takeaways:

  • “Embracing and welcoming uncomfortable situations tend to be the opportunities when we grow the most.” – Julia, business manager
  • “I was proud to see everyone’s efforts on the beach and pushing themselves to limits that we didn’t know were possible. We worked well as a team, and I loved seeing us work together in an extreme circumstance like this.”
    – Chandran, shipping and fulfillment manager
  • We all have to work together. Regardless of who is at fault, if one of us goes down, we all go down.” – Bryan, creative manager
  • “Being a leader means being bold, stepping up under any circumstance and having integrity. You do not need to have the title or role in your job to be a leader. Anyone can be a leader.” – Heather, director of communications.

The Fusion Glossary

By Jennifer Fujimori

Take a moment to recall your first job in a professional environment. Did you enter the workforce knowing the definitions of terms like OOO, B2B, SWOT, and EOD? How many times have you heard someone say they’d circle back, touch base, drill down, or get the ball rolling? We’re willing to bet most working professionals have at some point caught themselves saying things like “leverage” or “alignment” during work conversations.

The redundancy of corporate jargon may be maddening at times, but before you write it off, consider the values of using a commonly accepted lingo. It can be efficient, allowing you to deliver information using shorter messages; and it builds camaraderie between you and your coworkers, functioning much like an inside joke. In addition to those benefits, reducing ambiguity and the potential for misunderstanding can have an invaluable impact on business operations.

In business settings, this tends to happen easily and naturally. Even the term “lingo” has several different synonyms or words that mean essentially the same thing – jargon, slang, vernacular, lexicon, buzzwords – the list goes on. But it isn’t just universal business terms that tend to seep into workplace dialogues. Google, for example, refers to new employees as “Nooglers” and to their annual employee survey as “Googlegeist”. Trader Joe’s store managers are called “Captains” and assistant managers “First Mates”. Disney employees are guided by a “compass” with four points, one of which is a customer service approach they refer to as “Guestology”. And in medical and military fields, where precision and speed are critical, the use of shared and abbreviated terminology is not just a convenience but a necessity.

Here are a few examples of some of the jargon, some universal and some company-specific, that you might hear around the Fusion of Ideas office.

Mockup – high-quality images of several devices and design options, provided at the beginning of each client conversation about our customization services.

Asset Tagging – the process of scanning the barcode and serial number of each device so our system can track them.

Kitting – Fusion service that involves adding in (“kitting”) additional items to a package to be shipped neatly together. Examples include insert cards, charging cables, cases, and other device accessories.

Proof – final design file that is sent to the client for approval after our design team has finished making any requested revisions.

Production File – a production-ready file that has been prepared according to the specs of the specific device we’re customizing. The file is created by our design team and sent to our customization team.

Hybrid Etch/Print – combination of visible laser etch and color print. One of our most popular customization options.

Stealth Armor – protective, industrial grade film that can be customized and heat bonded to a device or product for style and protection.

Break/Fix – a replacement/repair service for damaged or broken devices. Under this program, Fusion will ship out a replacement device, then repair the damaged device and place it into the client’s inventory.

Digital Content – custom content that can be pre-loaded onto devices. Examples include apps, home and lock screens, videos, music, photos, and PDFs.

Device Depot – a client-specific inventory of devices which are stored and managed at Fusion and can be pulled from upon the client’s request. For example, we might pull from the inventory to replace a client device that was broken, lost or stolen, or the devices might be kept on hand and ready to ship to a new employee upon request from a client.

Mobile Device Management (MDM) – service that allows businesses to manage specific content, programs, apps, and settings on their devices. Updates and changes can be pushed remotely to the devices.

DCS (Dynamic Content System) – simplified custom mobile app option for displaying and updating content. Can be continuously managed by the client using admin portal.

Ordering Portal – A client-specific, easy-to-use web or app portal that allows clients order, ship, and manage their devices. The front end provides information about the program and device options. The back end allows for the client and Fusion to manage all orders and reports.

HQ – the “headquarters” of all our projects and related data, HQ is Fusion’s custom Client Relationship Management (CRM) software and project management database program. HQ houses all projects, proposals, client contact information, and notes.

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Fusion 2018 Softball Season Comes To A Close

By Jennifer Fujimori

If there’s one thing that unites all of us here at Fusion of Ideas, it’s good, healthy competition. Over the years, we’ve held countless games and competitions at our office in Lake Forest, and occasionally offsite. To name just a few: Mario Kart, foosball, Guitar Hero, golf, scavenger hunts, escape rooms, ping pong, Pogs (remember Pogs?), and our annual Office Olympics, which consists of seven separate competitive events. Take any activity, pit teams or individuals against each other, and you have a successful Fusion event.

So it should come as no surprise that a few years ago, many of our team members were hungry for more. Waivers were signed, a roster was assembled, and in 2014, the Fusion of Ideas team played its debut season of softball with the Irvine Athletic Department. To put it mildly, the competition was a bit tougher than anticipated. But our team soldiered on, savoring even the faintest taste of victory each time we reached a base, scored a run, or fielded a hard-hit grounder. “It’s rough out there,” said Director of Operations and starting pitcher Andrew Nielson. “Somehow, our opponents have been able to hit right through the gaps in our defense. We’ve been working on finding the right configuration of outfielders, tightening up our infield, making the easy outs on defense in general, and having more productive at-bats on offense.” When asked whether he’s optimistic for improvement in future seasons, Nielson said he was still hopeful.

You probably can’t help but think of the obvious parallels between this scrappy team and the 2002 Oakland Athletics in the movie Moneyball. Piecing together runs using a sabermetrics approach, as illustrated in the movie, has proven much more successful for Fusion than swinging for the fences. It takes patience and experience to recognize that bases on balls, smart base-running and well placed soft hits can be highly effective at manufacturing runs and creating momentum. But even this approach takes time to cultivate. The Fusion of Ideas softball team recently completed its fifth season. There were highs and lows, great games and not-so-great games, but never an absence of good sportsmanship and fun (for the most part). Everyone loves an underdog, and our team plays that role to a T. Here’s hoping the 2019 season is our best one yet.

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