We had the good fortune of connecting with Lori Rock and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lori, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I pursued an artistic / creative career because it pursued me.
I loved sketching and drawing as a little girl. My dad would get right down on the living room floor with us kids and piles of coloring books and crayons, and we would draw and shade and fill in every single spot of blank paper on those pages. He taught me angles and lighting and points of view. I can still remember the way the crayons smelled as they heated up against the pages.
Coloring was a fun activity, like recess or something, but it was separated out from school studies and chores.
But over time, I found that sketching and coloring actually helped me understand the world. It helped me take notes in college, and it led me explore the world visually. So as I moved into strategic planning and got my master’s degree in systems thinking . . . I used visual thinking and illustrations as a way to understand and explore new concepts. And I came to realize that if I could draw something, I could understand it better. And conversely, if I couldn’t draw an idea or concept, it was because I was not yet able to comprehend it. And drawing became a tool that I found useful in every professional role I’ve held. That includes accounting, fundraising, marketing, strategic planning, PR, community relations and the list goes on.
I’ve realized that the creative, visual approach enhances everything I do, no matter what it is. It creates clearer shared understanding. So, to say I pursued a creative career is one way to consider what happened. But what feels more authentic is that it (creativity) found me and I said “yes”! And when the opportunity arose, I started my creative company: BigIdeaZoo. And now I bring these tools to companies and teams of people and audiences – because they work – really well.
What should our readers know about your business?
BigIdeaZoo emerged accidentally. I was not planning to start a company. I had become part of a creative agency and was learning and growing with an internal team; until the company founder began moving in a direction that excluded customer input and trust-building. That’s when I knew I needed to leave. And suddenly, I found myself with no employment and so much visual work to do in the world.
So I started BigIdeaZoo. I borrowed equipment to get projects underway and I always found that more transparency and collaboration with customers built trust . . . so I kept moving in this direction. That was May of 2013. And since then, multiple customers keep coming back for more creative, visual work.
One of the biggest elements that sets my company apart from other creative agencies is the combination of deep listening that I do, combined with an open approach to visual communication – right in the planning and project management processes as well as final deliveries (because most of us process information visually). But just as dynamically different as this way of working, my team delivers on time and within budget. Things happen, scopes increase, extra changes are sometimes needed. So we communicate about it, and customers know what they can expect at every step along the way of working together.
The BigIdeaZoo brand – in a nutshell – is about visual language. Whatever the topic might be and to whomever the audience is, people think better with pictures. So BigIdeaZoo brings visual language to organizations at every stage of communication. Visual language brings better understanding, connects multi-cultural audiences and builds trust.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
As this is a Shoutout LA . . . I don’t know the area as much. But KoreaTown is amazing!!!! And Boba Guys Bubble Teas is a MUST – whatever location you find them.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I dedicate this shoutout to two main characters.
First, my late dad who was one of the most creative humans I have ever known. As I mentioned in my story, he didn’t just share ideas or make suggestions, Dad rolled up his sleeves and played right in the creativity with us kids.
And second, my big brother, Don. Don had the WORST time with school. He was challenged with multiple learning disabilities and cognitive development challenges. He was two years ahead of me in school. But at one point, he was held back a grade and I skipped a grade . . . so we ended up in the same class. Don had a different way of thinking and seeing the world. And I found that drawing to help explain our homework or to find ways to make it more like a game helped him learn. We were in school during an era that didn’t have as many resources for developmental disabilities in the classroom. But I helped bring pictures and creativity in the best way I knew how. So, thanks to Don, I really honed my visual skills.
All photos are the property of BigIdeaZoo.