The Exclamation Point
We live in turbulent times.
Leaders are faced with unprecedented competition. Business models can be made obsolete overnight. Entire industries can be restructured by one deal.
While some companies retrench and retreat, innovative companies are seizing the opportunities created by this turbulence.
NeoSystems Corp., headquartered in Tysons Corner, VA, is a great example of a company who seized the moment to aggressively capitalize on new opportunities.
The company started 12 years ago as a provider of accounting services for government contractors, who must comply with complex and burdensome rules.
Inspired by its visionary leaders Michael Tinsley and Rob Wilson, the company developed a new strategy to expand beyond this core business, including:
- Expanding into new markets, specifically the Non-Profit and Commercial segments
- Providing new services, including IT, hosting, systems consulting, contract management, financial planning, and HR
- Adding new software products and capabilities
“Our vision is to be recognized as the innovator and pioneer in the field of strategic back office services,” explained Michael Tinsley, the CEO of NeoSystems.
NeoSystems describes the new, expanded business strategy as the “New Neo.”
Over the past 18 months, NeoSystems has undertaken a strategic change initiative to bring everything (and everyone) into alignment with the new vision and strategy.
To reinforce the concept of the New Neo, the company developed a new brand identity designed by Red Thinking. The new brand projects a young, modern, high-technology vibe, with vibrant colors and an innovative logo mark.
In addition, Neo created new core values, a new value proposition, a new tagline, a new organization structure, a new performance management system, a new dashboard, new job descriptions, a new website, new marketing collaterals, and more. Each of these individual changes had an impact, but the cumulative effect of all of them together totally transformed the firm.
In early 2011, NeoSystems signed a lease for new, larger office space in preparation for their continued business success. Thus, the company had the opportunity to reinforce the new strategy with the design of their new space.
“We operate more like a high-growth technology innovator than a traditional accounting firm,” said Rob Wilson, COO of NeoSystems. “Therefore, we needed our new space to reflect our new strategy.”
The team did an outstanding job of using NeoSystems’ new brand identity to reinforce the strategic transformation. The new logo and color palette were incorporated everywhere in very creative ways.
The design of the new space was the exclamation point on the New Neo!
NeoSystems unveiled the new space as part of their annual all-hands meeting in November 2011. There was an incredible buzz about the design, the colors, the open floor plan, and the exceptional way that it reinforced the new strategy.
Jim Alegro, from FOX Architects explained their approach, “Our goal is to translate the client’s strategy and culture into architecture and design.”
The NeoSystems space features 30,000 square feet in one of the nation’s hottest regions. The space also features a large training center and conference rooms named after NeoSystems new core values, which they call “Success Factors.”
The design features lots of open space, abundant glass, vibrant colors, and modern furniture. It has a youthful, high-energy vibe. Two kitchens serve as cultural anchors and meeting points.
On Friday nights, people hang-out on the barstools for happy hour. The NeoSystems logo mark is etched into glass panels along the feature wall, anchored by the company’s signature 322-gallon fish tank.
Many of NeoSystems employees work on-site at their client’s location. Thus, hoteling was a key aspect of the design strategy. In addition, the space serves as a hub and home base for everyone.
“The team worked together to make the entire process easy and fun,” said Wilson. “They captured the essence of who we are and who we aspire to become.”
While every organization may not have the luxury of moving into new space, every leader would be well served to think creatively about how to use design to reinforce strategic and cultural priorities. It worked beautifully for NeoSystems.
- Architect & Design: FOX Architects