Session 05: Defining the Ideal State
Hey there. Welcome to this session for the Compass Definitions project where I am defining the ideal state of Cryptiquest with an emphasis on rewriting the compass statements (vision, mission, value statements) in an objective and measurable way. In the last session, I identified the terms within the compass statements that need to be defined. In this session, the goal is to tease those terms into measurable and objective definitions.
(Before I continue, I want to momentarily reflect on the fact that I would never have guessed that these would be words that I was going to be typing when I started Cryptiquest but here we are.)
I suppose I should start with a list of the identified terms and loose definitions from the last session.
- Business Cryptiquest, as a content creator, a policy maker, and an income generator
- Conduct The ways in which Cryptiquest manages policy and public relations
- Consistent to the world it creates A minimal amount of plot holes, paradoxes, and scientific inaccuracies (reasonable to the science established in the containing content)
- Content Fictional characters, settings, plot, or other types of story elements that are used in a narrative or in any other capacity (e.g. an example in a reference manual, etc.).
- Content creation tools Guides, surveys, worksheets, and other documents used to directly or indirectly generate content
- Corporate humanistic policies Policies are based on the assumption that humans have opinions, ideas, and experiences which are valid and valued and that decisions should be based on data to support a vision while permitting humans to have opinions, ideas, and experiences
- Create Cryptiquest fabricates or commissions the fabrication of content
- Cultural Appropriation The taking of cultural element or elements from one identity and re-purposing it for something else
- Culture The environment fostered within Cryptiquest in which social and professional interactions exist
- Ease of use Minimal loss in production rate due to tool design
- Entertaining Not boring or frustrating to experience
- Feedback Criticisms, suggestions, and other comments regarding quality
- Freely available Obtainable for free and with ease
- Identity One or more categorical labels by which a person is represented
- Immersive media Content that is entertaining, unique, consistent to the world it creates, professional, and understandable
- Inclusive fiction Invented story and/or story elements which strive for representation while avoiding tokenism, stereotyping, and cultural appropriation
- Industry The businesses, contributors, users and other associated individuals and organizations that foster content creation as Cryptiquest does
- Industry role model An example to which similar companies respect and take inspiration
- Inspire creators Provoke and/or assist creators to create
- Model Serve as an example to which others look up
- Novice creator The person is either new to creation or relatively new to being a person
- Open to refinement System is versioned to track older iterations from the current
- Partnerships Third party or those who are otherwise contracted by Cryptiquest who are not content creators
- People-first Respect people’s identities and validation before addressing performance
- Professional Standard of quality is above amateur
- Professionalism The quality of skill in which Cryptiquest performs
- Representation Prominent inclusion of people of diverse identities that may or may not be typically featured in media
- Responsibly Ensuring that toxic philosophies are cast in a negative light
- Seek diversity Actively find people with backgrounds which differ from previous projects
- Share Provide freely
- Stereotyping A myth or over-generalized belief assigned to all people of an identity
- Talent Content creators who are contracted by Cryptiquest
- Tokenism The inclusion of an identity just to serve as a symbol of diversity and/or a character who only exists to portray an identity
- Tool effectiveness The production rate for the intended purpose
- Tools Surveys, worksheets, instructions, and other documents used for educating
- Understandable Not confusing, misleading, or convoluted
- Unique Different enough from everything else to appear genuinely fresh
- Unlock creators Convert a non-creator into a creator
- Users People who actively use the tools
- With the world Any and every human
- Would-be creators People who either have created or have yet to create but either way may create in the future
Okay. I think I’m going to tackle the vision statement first:
To responsibly unlock and inspire creators of any and every identity.
Here is the literal translation using the loose definitions:
Cryptiquest’s vision is to convert non-creators into creators and provoke and/or assist current creators to create more; making an effort to access all creators by any and every categorical label by which they identify while ensuring toxic philosophies (as they come up) are cast in a negative light.
That’s pretty clunky but that’s sort of the point. What are the measurable objectives based on this?
- Cryptiquest will convert non-creators into creators.
Err… That’s not workable. This isn’t going as easily as I had hoped. Let me try this from a different approach. Here is the vision:
To responsibly unlock and inspire creators of any and every identity.
With zero restrictions and limitations how would Cryptiquest’s vision manifest?
People from all over the world utilize Cryptiquest’s free and expansive library of design tools to take their creative projects from concept to release. In addition, Cryptiquest has several popular brands of stories, games, and other content (including that famous series on the latest media platform) which showcase the tools and values of the studio. The studio is seen as an industry leader – one that other studios mimic and to which start-ups aspire.
This feels like a better direction. Now I need to identify the measures of all the statements that support this ideal vision.
Let’s break that first sentence down:
- People from all over the world…
- …utilize Cryptiquest’s expansive library of design tools…
- …to take their creative projects from concept to release.
People from all over the world – Does this literally include everyone? I think the words in line 3 qualify who this refers to: those who have creative projects. But how big is that circle of people? It can be assumed (I think) to say that it includes all adults, teens, and even tweens. But what about children younger than 10? What about children (and adults) who haven’t learned to read? Is it unfair to exclude the illiterate? In an ideal world with no restrictions? The answer is an astoundingly enthusiastic “YES!” It’s not within the scope of this project to figure out how or what obstacles are in the way.
To make this measurable, let’s consider an objective of the Cryptiquest ideal to be:
Tools are accessible to creators of any and every identity, regardless of language, ability, class, region, or societal barriers.
Expansive library of design tools – While I’ve been using the word “documents” in the compass statements and project logs, digital tools, apps, and software has been the goal in the back of my mind. A secret goal – this whole time (from years before Cryptiquest was a thing) was a completely dynamic media designing and sharing forum where those who like to create characters can create characters and those who like to design clothes can design clothes and those who like to write plots, quests, stories can do so (and so on and so on) – all using each others’ materials.
But that’s not all. The idea is that there would be tools to design and write and share – but most importantly – there would be tools for planning the creative endeavors and these tools would be interlocked seamlessly so you could start with a concept and share it in reality all within the same application. This addresses line 3: take their creative projects from concept to release.
The idea was that there would be a central engine – I envisioned an open-world game engine in various formats: 3D, 2D, and paper) – that would give life to the content.
How to make this a measurable objective of the Cryptiquest ideal?
Tools, while usable for any creative endeavor, are designed specifically for use with the CQ Engine.
Tools work seamlessly together.
Tools guide creators from concept-to-design-to-production-to-release, including collaboration and sharing, for all the content within the engine.
Moving on to the second sentence:
- Cryptiquest has several popular brands
- ..of stories, games, and other content (including that famous series on the latest media platform)…
- …which showcase the tools and values of the studio
Cryptiquest has several popular brands – Legwork has been started on this as Cryptiquest has two brands (regarding media): Imbue and Copperwealth. But how many is several? How popular is popular?
I don’t know the specific answer to that question but I think it’s safe to assume that “several” means “more than four” and “popular” could be defined as “profitable”.
Cryptiquest has more than four brands that are profitable.
Stories, games, and other content (including that famous series on the latest media platform) – This one feels conceited and childish. Let’s chalk this up as “more than two media types” and add it to the previous objective.
Spread among three media types, Cryptiquest has more than four brands that are profitable.
Which showcase the tools and values of the studio – This refers to the tools mentioned above and the values outlined in the vision. These should be easy to convert into measurable objectives.
Media generated by Cryptiquest has been done so with the assistance of the Cryptiquest content creation tools.
Media generated by Cryptiquest has upheld Cryptiquest’s values.
Finally, the third sentence:
- The studio is seen as an industry leader
- …one that other studios mimic and to which start-ups aspire.
The studio is seen as an industry leader – Right away I noticed that this statement doesn’t claim the studio to be an industry leader, but to be seen as one. This isn’t to say that company shouldn’t actually be an industry leader but in addition to being a leader, it should be seen as one (if that makes sense). The idea is that the studio will serve as a role model for others to emulate (as indicated in the following segment). The studio should be seen as an industry leader because of its success but also because of its culture and conduct.
But how does this get measured? How do you measure the perspectives of peers in your community – particularly if those “peers” are not humans but companies and businesses? Send a survey and ask them? I can’t imagine a survey would be feasible for this, let alone accurate. This one has me stumped. How does one measure leadership in anything? Quantity of followers? Quality of followership? How would that be measured?
I found an article on Forbes that talks about how to check if your company is an industry leader which I might use as the standard. (Note that finding one article on a topic written in a “Top 10 Things…” format isn’t exactly professorial but it’s better than me just winging it here.) Here are the factors the article points out:
- Cryptiquest is an honest company.
- Cryptiquest is a trusted source of information.
- Cryptiquest employs thought leaders.
- Cryptiquest has a meaningful relationship with target market.
- Cryptiquest’s key employees are known experts.
- Cryptiquest is recognized with awards and placed in top industry lists.
- Cryptiquest has a reputation for treating people well.
- Cryptiquest shows up in the search results its target market is looking for.
- Researching Cryptiquest reveals many supportive third-party results, validating a positive reputation.
- Cryptiquest has presence at major industrial events.
This more-or-less hits the nail on the head regarding what I was trying to encapsulate. Before making these measurable, I think I see some opportunities for consolidation. There seems to be some themes here: reputation, expertise, and presence; so I’ll try to consolidate these ten points into three.
Cryptiquest’s reputation is that of an honest company which is known for treating its employees well, having a meaningful relationship with its audience, and is referenced positively by third parties.
Cryptiquest is easy to find when the target audience looks for it, whether that be via online search tools or at major industrial events.
Cryptiquest is a trusted source of information, which partners with and employs thought leaders and industry experts.
Okay. That’s pretty sweet. In the next session, I’ll refine these to come up with the verbiage for the strategy page. See you there.
Here is the rough draft of the objectives that define the ideal state of Cryptiquest:
- Cryptiquest tools are accessible to creators of any and every identity, regardless of language, ability, class, region, or societal barriers.
- Cryptiquest tools, while usable for any creative endeavor, are designed specifically for use with the CQ Engine.
- Cryptiquest tools work seamlessly together.
- Cryptiquest tools guide creators from concept-to-design-to-production-to-release, including collaboration and sharing, for all the content within the engine.
- Spread among three media types, Cryptiquest has more than four brands that are profitable.
- Media generated by Cryptiquest has been done so with the assistance of the Cryptiquest content creation tools.
- Media generated by Cryptiquest has upheld Cryptiquest’s values.
- Cryptiquest’s reputation is that of an honest company which is known for treating its employees well, having a meaningful relationship with its audience, and is referenced positively by third parties.
- Cryptiquest is easy to find when the target audience looks for it, whether that be via online search tools or at major industry events.
- Cryptiquest is a trusted source of information, which partners with and employs thought leaders and industry experts.
- Not sure how to do this reliably, but I need to figure out a way to identify if I will have a future need for data before I put it into an HTML table.
- Keep an eye out for project evolution (not scope-creep) with an attempt to identify when it happens (if it happens) and if there is an opportunity to incorporate a step for that in project management documentation.
- Direction change: The direction was originally to define each term discovered in the Compass Statements and string out an ideal state from those but this has instead gone in the opposite direction: define the ideal state first and I don’t think this is a bad thing. Perhaps the compass statements will change based on this approach.