Our Projects

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Sharing Sustainable Practices Across the Mango Industry

THE NEED

After completing two supply chain sustainability assessments for the National Mango Board (NMB) in 2010 and 2014 in countries that covered over 60% of mango imports to the US, it became clear that among the many practices for growing and packing mangos, there was a significant opportunity to increase sustainability across the industry through the sharing of environmental and social responsibility best practices. With these objectives in mind, Milepost created a set of sustainability platform that consisted of a comprehensive set of tools that could be used by producers and packers across Latin America and the Caribbean to improve operations from a sustainability and resiliency perspective.

OUR APPROACH

It was critical to the success of the project that mango producers, packers and importers felt ownership of the platform. For this reason, our first activity was to create a special committee sourced from the NMB’s board of directors to advise and provide feedback through development. From our many years working with producers, we recognized the resistance the initiative could receive due to reporting fatigue, with producers often forced to report out various levels and kinds of information to please their many buyers. To combat this, we identified and concentrated on practices that were relevant to major buyers in order to make reporting easier. Finally, we wanted to create an easy-to-use, visually-engaging, didactic guide that provided a description of best practices as well as their rationale, cost of implementation and resources for more in-depth information.

THE RESULTS

Milepost developed a full suite of tools, in English and Spanish, including a best practice reference book, training guides, webinars and evaluation protocols for the platform. In addition, we provided training for NMB personnel on how to use the tools and developed a launch plan for the initiative. The tools are available to producers and packers in most mango production countries in Latin America and the Caribbean and are currently being shared by local mango associations and their agents to engage members in sustainability.

OUR ROLE

  • Stakeholder Engagement
  • Market Research
  • Data Collection & Reporting
  • Messaging & Storytelling
  • Facilitation
  • Team Training
  • Branding & Graphic Design

 

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Educational Tools for Commercial SEM

THE NEED

After producing a set of Industrial Strategic Energy Management (SEM) Talk Cards, a portable educational tool to help building managers, engineers, and maintenance staff gain a greater understanding of the energy efficiency opportunities in their facilities, NEEA contracted with Milepost to create a redeveloped and improved upon deck relevant to customers in the commercial sector. Because SEM has only recently gained traction in the commercial sector, where it is quickly building momentum, it was important that the Talk Cards speak to the unique and diverse needs of commercial customers.  

OUR APPROACH

Milepost began by gaining a solid understanding of NEEA’s goals for the effort through discussions with the project sponsor. After this was established, we sought insight into the target audience, the barriers that needed to be strategically addressed; and the critical components necessary to engage commercial building engineers. In an effort to maximize NEEA’s investment in developing the Talk Card collections, our team provided recommendations on which cards could be re-used from the industrial deck, new cards and sections to be developed, and improvements that could be made to the structure and design of the deck for clarity and ease of understanding. Milepost then developed a brand to help the Talk Cards stand out and look fresh and interesting, and developed a content structure to distill large amounts of information into a concise and easy-to-digest educational format.

THE RESULTS

The final deck of 154 double-sided Toolbox Talk Cards on Commercial Energy Efficiency provide key learning points and discussion topics on energy efficiency meant to engage staff and provide them with information needed to pursue energy efficiency in commercial buildings. The cards include the items that most commonly contribute to poor building performance, with bite-sized pieces of information that can be used to initiate conversation around energy efficiency practices to reduce operations and maintenance expenses and improve operational practices. The deck also includes a set of inspection checklists for building walks, and additional resources should the reader want more information on a topic. The deck is now located on the SEM Hub website, where they can be downloaded for free.

OUR ROLE

  • Market Research
  • Technical Resource Development
  • Data Collection & Content Creation
  • Branding & Graphic Design
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Make It Fun and People Will Engage with It

THE NEED

Building on a cutting edge study by the Stockholm Environment Institute that calculated King County’s Greenhouse Gas (GHG) inventory and emissions related to individual consumption choices, the Seattle Office of Sustainability & Environment (OSE) hired Milepost to develop an engaging infographic that would summarize the story of consumption and provide specific steps for behavior change that would reduce GHG emissions.

OUR APPROACH

After identifying the project goals, the intended audience, and the critical components needed to engage the community, we worked with OSE to develop a story of consumption that would speak to the values of the intended audience. We then illustrated that story with a fun, vibrant infographic.

THE RESULTS

Milepost took a lengthy, academic report and summarized into an easy-to-understand story combined with practical behavior change techniques that engaged community members to help lower Seattle’s GHG emissions.

OUR ROLE

  • Messaging & Storytelling
  • Branding & Graphic Design
  • Behavior Change
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Generating Enthusiasm for Performance Management

THE NEED

Seattle Parks and Recreation wanted to roll out a Performance Management Initiative that allowed the 1,500-person organization to gain greater visibility into their impact on the community and access data to illustrate progress to funders. Because performance management is often poorly received, leaders anticipated challenges to getting employees to not only embrace the new initiative, but feel excited about its power to inform choices and ensure they were improving the lives of citizens. They turned to Milepost to build a strategic communications effort that would successfully engage and energize employees at all levels around the initiative.

OUR APPROACH

Milepost began the process by facilitating conversations among the initiative’s key stakeholders to gain a solid understanding of their goals, barriers to be strategically addressed, opportunities to highlight and leverage, and target audience insights. Milepost crafted a comprehensive Communication Plan for the initiative that included a timeline of recommended roll-out activities, branding that would help the initiative stand out and feel fun, fresh and exciting, and the distillation of large amounts of information into concise and easy-to-digest communications.

THE RESULTS

We delivered a full suite of tools that ensured that all communications matched in tone, messaging and design. Most notably, the Performance Management Initiative Manual not only defined the initiative, but connected it directly to the organization’s mission and strategic plan. It also specified concrete steps that Parks staff could take to integrate the initiative into their unique roles. Following the launch, the lead initiative designer was promoted and credits the Manual as a key influencer given the success of the roll-out and adoption.

OUR ROLE

  • Facilitation
  • Messaging & Storytelling
  • Branding & Graphic Design
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Building and Branding 2030 Districts Resources

THE NEED

The 2030 Districts is national public-private partnership composed of leading U.S. cities seeking to reduce the environmental impacts of the built environment. With a rapidly expanding, diverse roster of partners and collaborators, they wanted to undertake a comprehensive redesign of their vast online resources to ensure available tools were inclusive, professional and consistent. The 2030 Districts network needed a fresh design that would accommodate new resources and partnerships, organize the information in a user-friendly format and establish an engaging, aligned brand.

OUR APPROACH

Milepost conducted a comprehensive review of the available resources and performed a gap analysis to guide development of additional tools. We worked with staff and stakeholders to refine and implement a branding strategy among web resources and leveraged existing materials and partnerships to build a comprehensive set of 2030 Districts Toolkits. Toolkits included district formation, technical assistance, metric development and tracking, and branding – everything needed to launch new districts and support existing districts to improve. Milepost created original graphic components for Toolkits and guided the web developer through site design.

THE RESULTS

The 2030 Districts network debuted a beautiful, easy-to-use website that serves the diverse needs of current participants as well as cities starting their own districts. The enhanced 2030 Districts Toolkits offer thorough yet simplified information and tools that help districts brand, market, build membership and advance sustainability goals.

OUR ROLE

  • Strategic Planning
  • Market Research
  • Technical Resource Development
  • Messaging & Storytelling
  • Strategic Communications
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Cultivating a Healthy Culture with Strategic Planning

THE NEED

The Energy Services division of Snohomish County Public Utility District (SnoPUD) was in the middle of a 5-year strategic planning process, with new departmental leadership and new initiatives on the horizon. The division head wanted an infusion of energy and creativity into the Strategic Plan, and to use the process to engage employees to make the plan actionable across all functions. The sponsor requested Milepost facilitate a series of meetings that would culminate in activities to inform the division’s biannual work plan.

OUR APPROACH

Milepost first engaged leadership to establish commitment to the process and identify success factors. We then formed a Cross Functional Team (CFT) representing all programs, and conducted a series of working sessions to guide the team from awareness to issue identification to problem-solving to implementation. Initial meetings revealed fundamental cultural challenges that led to new ways of communicating and protocols designed to foster a culture of collaboration. Milepost researched best practices from design, manufacturing and business fields to create a process whereby working groups developed a business case, presented to leadership, and won resources to carry initiatives forward.

THE RESULTS

The priorities established by the CFT are being addressed and serve as a model for innovation that empowers employees to collaborate and make the Strategic Plan a part of everyday operations. Across the division, there is change focused on improving the customer experience and providing excellent service to colleagues. The CFT model is now the basis of a formal innovation process that engages every employee in refinement of the biannual work plan, as well as cultural shifts that address previously unrealized communications challenges.

OUR ROLE

  • Strategic Planning
  • Change Management
  • Training & Team Building
  • Market Research
  • Messaging & Storytelling
  • Facilitation
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Grounding Sustainability in Data

THE NEED

NatureSweet is one of the largest vertically integrated and branded tomato producers in the U.S. With a desire to cut costs, differentiate its brand, be proactive in mitigating human and environmental risk and seek above and beyond performance requirements of retailers, NatureSweet needed to develop a sustainability strategy built around customized indicators that evaluated its entire supply chain on an annual basis.

OUR APPROACH

Incorporating all aspects of NatureSweet’s supply chain, including the seven production facilities spread across Mexico and the U.S., Milepost mapped the company’s entire business process against environmental and social impacts. In collaboration with NatureSweet personnel, we identified over 100 environmental and social indicators that combined company specific and retail specific reporting requirements. Due to the enormity of the data collection process, Milepost trained key NatureSweet personnel in data collection, reporting and quality.

THE RESULTS

Milepost developed data collection, analysis and training tools, managed the internal report design and creation and presented project findings to the CEO and leadership team. We created NatureSweet’s highly detailed annual internal environmental and social risk report for 7 years, which was used by NatureSweet to become an industry leader on employee engagement and allowed it to make critical internal decisions supported by robust environmental data. By2012, NatureSweet had added two additional production facilities and employed approximately 5,000 people.

OUR ROLE

  • Data Collection & Reporting
  • Team Training
  • Risk Assessment
  • Messaging & Storytelling
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Helping the Mango Industry Understand Its Risks

THE NEED

The National Mango Board (NMB) wanted to conduct a sustainability assessment that would enable producers, packers and importers of mangoes into the U.S. to share industry best practices, ensure supply chain risks and opportunities were known to the best possible degree, and guarantee all the above were supportable by accurate and relevant data.

OUR APPROACH

Milepost designed a materiality assessment to gather information about Board perceptions of sustainability and created a methodology that gathered both social and environmental sustainability data from growing regions in Mexico and Brazil. This included an online, self-reported data gathering component as well as on-site visits designed to validate reported data. The project’s emphasis on primary data gathering and a baseline comparison, along with the creation of a multi-year self-assessment tool for producers and packers, resulted in a robust data set and report that is representative of the industry and allows for informed decision-making.

THE RESULTS

We successfully completed a greenhouse gas inventory and net carbon footprint calculation for a kilogram of mangoes produced in Mexico (2010 and 2014) or Brazil (2014 only) and imported into the U.S. This effort led our client to better understand their risks and opportunities in relation to sustainability and opened the door to the creation of a sustainability program that encompasses both production and packing.

OUR ROLE

  • Data Collection & Reporting
  • GHG Inventory
  • Carbon Footprint Calculation
  • Risk Assessment
  • Messaging & Storytelling
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Making Organizational Alignment Fun

THE NEED

After working closely with TVA’s EnergyRight® Solutions for Business & Industry (ERSBI) group to redesign team roles and functions to spur increased innovation and collaboration, ERSBI leadership enlisted Milepost to plan a launch meeting that would create a high level of team engagement and support for the new functional model.

OUR APPROACH

Milepost used storytelling to develop a train travel theme, which served as a metaphor for the team’s change and upcoming journey. All aspects of the meeting, from the agenda and location to branded collateral, were built around the theme to drive the impact home through a consistent narrative. We developed exercises that allowed for maximum participation, including time for each team member to present to others about their role and questions to generate group dialogue around how the functional model and tools would fit within existing work flows.

THE RESULTS

Hosted at a local train museum, the launch introduced the functional model to ERSBI staff as a train journey to 'Extraordinary' complete with personalized, branded tools to support the team’s 'travel'. We provided each employee with a train ticket detailing their role, a passenger manifest explaining colleagues’ roles, a roadmap outlining the destination and goals during the journey, and an infographic-based quality checklist specifying working norms and standards. Participants felt the process and resulting model were “unifying” and were excited to take their “programs to another level”.

OUR ROLE

  • Market Research
  • Branding & Graphic Design
  • Strategic Planning
  • Team Building
  • Messaging & Storytelling
  • Executive Coaching
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The Backcasting Approach to Strategic Plan Development

THE NEED

Snohomish County is one of the fastest growing counties in the nation. To fulfill its commitment of service to this growing community, the Public Works Department needed to develop a five-year strategic plan that could adapt within a dynamic operating environment. 

OUR APPROACH

We combined the strategy development best practices of visioning and backcasting with the planning best practices of balanced scorecard and work plan development. Integrated within these tools and techniques were periodic continuous improvement reviews performed by a certified Lean Six-Sigma expert.

The project began with a focus on updating vision and mission and identifying top business priorities for the coming five years. With these strategic markers established, a series of planning workshops were facilitated across divisional leadership teams. The workshops resulted in a collection of strategic goals in each division, aligned to the five-year vision and operating priorities.

THE RESULTS

The combination of tools and techniques used for visioning, backcasting and a balanced scorecard evaluation, combined with facilitated sessions designed to produce decisions and content in limited timeframes, supported an effective planning process that was tailored to the culture and objectives of the Department.

The Public Works Department has aligned every work group within each of its three divisions to the new five-year plan. Every team has a role, and everyone is working toward the same long-term outcomes.

The final plan has a clear strategy. Equally important, it has an underlying implementation and oversite plan that is based on detailed work plans that include activities, key objectives, performance metrics, implementation schedule and periodic reviews for the plan’s adaptation to changes in the operating environment.

OUR ROLE

  • Strategic Planning
  • Organizational Development
  • Capacity Building
  • Project Management
  • Workshop Facilitation
  • Graphic Design
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