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How to Wow Meet three project experts who can teach you the Art of Wow! From: Issue 24 May 1999, Page 133 By: Cheryl Dahle Photographs by: Larry Ford URL: http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/24/howwow.html Main story: The Wow Project More: The Proto Project The art of creating a Wow Project involves four key stages and a multiplicity of tasks, tactics, and tricks. To help you in your efforts to create a Wow Project, we've identified three people, each of whom epitomizes a key aspect of the new world of project work. Geoffrey Canada, the CEO of Rheedlen Centers for Children and Families, teaches a central lesson about the art of Wow Projects: Every project is an exercise in community organizing. For Canada, community organizing isn't a metaphor -- it's his life. Working in Central Harlem in New York City, Canada's project work consists of marshaling resources to help poor families and children, and of energizing that community to help itself. Irene Etzkorn's projects offer a critical corollary to Canada's work: Any project can be transformed into a Wow Project -- if you inject it with the right energy, enthusiasm, and creativity. From her position as executive vice president at Siegel & Gale Inc., Etzkorn often executes projects that others might dismiss as boring: redesigning everyday office forms, for example. But, by looking at the "project behind the project," Etzkorn and her colleagues take the seemingly mundane and transform it into the compellingly Wow. Finally, Rick Smolan leads a production company, Against All Odds Inc., which tackles enormous photographic projects on a global scale. Smolan's projects are massive, complex, challenging -- and invariably rewarding. They serve as an important reminder that the first test of a Wow Project is, Is it worth doing? No Trivial Projects For Geoffrey Canada, 47, the notion of "life in the projects" isn't a metaphor. Canada grew up poor in the South Bronx, left home to attend Bowdoin College and Harvard University, and, in 1990, returned to New York, where he later became CEO of Rheedlen Centers, an organization that brings opportunity and hope to residents of Central Harlem. In 1994, Canada received the prestigious Heinz Award for his work on behalf of poor families and young children -- a $250,000 prize that recognized him as a leader of social change. Also in 1994, he published a book, Fist Stick Knife Gun: A Personal History of Violence in America (Beacon Press), that chronicles the despair and violence that he saw while growing up. Today Canada devotes his energy to eradicating that kind of despair and violence. Page 1 of 4 How to Wow | Printer-friendly version 12/20/2004 http://pf.fastcompany.com/magazine/24/howwow.html
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