Employer Spotlight: Kaleidoscope, Chicago and NYC

Kaleidoscope is always busy making their clients happy through their Co-Creation process that applies insight-driven design strategies to brand communication. They also work on the floor, draw on the walls, dance on their desks and bounce off the ceiling. Colleen Vos, Culture & Talent Manager of the Chicago Kaleidoscope office, was happy to answer my questions about their unique process and unique culture. 

Besides your company mission/boiler plate language, how do you describe Kaleidoscope? 

Colleen Vos: We’re a melting pot of creative, strategic, sane, crazy, passionate and innovative people, and we embrace it. It’s what makes us so, well, us. We’re not afraid to push the boundaries and ask “what if?” and our clients love us for it. We’re also unique in the fact that our branding and design capabilities are closely integrated with realization, which is the term we use to refer to the departments that bring ideas to life – like implementation, production, mock-up, prototyping, etc. We have our own model shops and printing equipment, and we’ve been able to integrate them into the design process even in the innovation and ideation step, which makes for a unique process with no missing pieces.

No one uses the same lens to view the world. Ever. So Kaleidoscope looks for input and feedback everywhere to design better solutions.

What does "collaboration-focused" mean in terms of the design, iteration and production process at Kaleidoscope? 

CV: The word we use most often to refer to this idea is Co-Creation – it’s really about leveraging the perspectives from all team members, clients and users to develop design solutions for brand challenges. The only way we can truly deliver innovative solutions is to bring an idea to life, get feedback and figure out how to make it better. We need that “collaboration” in order to get people to input and provide feedback.

The Kaleidoscope office dogs and their pet cow.

Do the Kaleidoscope offices have office dogs? 

CV: Every day is “Bring Your Dog to Work Day.” They hang out at people's desks, on the rooftop deck and the grassy outdoor area. Olive, Stanley, Pecan, Harley and Cali are probably the ones that visit the most.

An ideation session stretches onto the floor.

What does “work on the floor, draw on the walls, dance on your desks and bounce off the ceiling,” mean? 

CV: Our loft space is actually in the Universal Building, an old stove factory built in 1901 – a mix of concrete, wood and lots of natural light. It's a very flexible and open place.  We literally do draw on the walls, and it's done very well. In the ideation area, we make rooms out of white boards – a gentleman that came to install the last round of white boards actually said that we had the biggest one he had ever seen.

What do you do at Kaleidoscope to keep everyone sharp, creatively inspired and tuned in to the latest industry trends? 

CV: Our space plays a huge role in keeping us creatively inspired and we encourage all of our staff to network and be part of industry specific associations. Professional development and personal goals play a huge role in our performance management process – everyone is encouraged to seek out different learning opportunities and ways to improve their specialty.

Co-creating together across all areas of expertise.

Tell me about the Industrial Design role open at Kaleidoscope right now. 

CV: We are looking for someone with great ideas that loves to solve problems. This person will have an elevated passion for creativity, a willingness to collaborate, and determination to deliver the most cutting edge creative possible. The ideal candidate would have extensive big brand experience and the ability to deliver big thinking to smaller clients as well.  We would love to have someone that thrives in a team environment, loves the co-collaboration environment, and understands that great ideas are cultivated.  Our clients value our ability to think on our feet and involve them in the process along the way.

What do you look for right away in candidates? 

CV: Smart people without egos that can understand the big picture and are serious about putting the client first.  

Kaleidoscope is all about continuous dialogue and collaboration.

What is your favorite question to ask interviewers? 

CV: My favorite question to ask is, “if you accepted this position and we sat down a year later to talk about your experience, what do you think you would have learned and where would you have added the most value?” This question shows me how well the candidate understands the job requirements, if they can see the big picture and how they fit and also what they think their strengths are. 

CV: The most memorable application I’ve ever received was in the form of a woman’s high-heeled shoe! The candidate just wanted to get her “foot in the door”!

The open feel and flood of natural light into their studio serve as constant reminders to keep our eyes and minds open to inspiration.

How does Kaleidoscope give back to the community? 

CV: We are in the process of developing a mentorship program for local youth interested in what we do. We’ve also partnered with non-profit organizations like A Special Wish Chicago and St. Joseph Services to support their marketing efforts.

Pizza, cake, champagne...  Kaleidoscope celebrates a lot? 

CV: Yes, all the time! We celebrate a lot. It's part of what people enjoy about working here, along with the games, flexibility, etc.

After hours BBQ on their rooftop deck.

What do Kaleidoscope employees look forward to the most each day? 

CV: Many would tell you that coming to work at Kaleidoscope is like coming to play. There’s a good energy here. Everyone’s ideas are valued.

Kaleidoscope is looking for even more creative, outspoken and collaboratively minded folks like you to join their team. Check out their Industrial Designer opening in Chicago, as well as their Communications Designer position in Culver City, CA and send them your resume. 

If you’d like to see your company featured here on the Employer Spotlight, please send me a note at hillary.okeefe@coroflot.com. I look forward to learning why your company rocks and what kind of creative talent you’re looking for. 

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