More productive, creative, organized, cutting edge

I would like to kick off this issue by first officiating summer! While for some of us this mainly means that the weather is better, for others (primarily students and teachers) this is a very different time of year. I state this fact not to gloat (okay partially to gloat) but rather to take a look at some important business issues. First, some of the best learning that students do happens in the summer. Second, while you start getting inundated with vacation requests from staff, you should plan. The summer is a great opportunity to give your staff a well-deserved break, and to become a teacher for a knowledge-hungry student.

In a university environment, the summers are an exciting time. It is when we conduct the bulk of our research. It’s a time to look at the industry trends coming up on the horizon. This month’s issue discusses some of the movements currently taking place. In our lead article, our digital print expert Heidi Tolliver-Nigro, discusses personalized URLs (or, PURLs). Through a case study discussion, she emphasizes the importance of good marketing being the differentiator for PURL success. I couldn’t agree more. There is nothing more frustrating as a consumer to get excited about my “own” product website only to find that when I get there, I’m just asked to fill out a survey!

In another genre of familiar industry trends, Kristen Read reports on the JDF conference hosted by Ryerson and CIP4 that happened in June. In her article, Kristen will take you through some of the main themes of the day. We were also very excited about tweeting the highlights live from the conference (@graphicarts). My favourite moment of the day had to be Jim Harvey’s (CIP4 executive director) advice that automating a crappy workflow will only allow you to make more crappy stuff faster! Once again, we go back to the utter importance of concept.

Today, we have increasingly more tools that allow us to be more productive, creative, organized, cutting edge, etc. At the end of the day, however, they are just tools. In my humble opinion, it is the thought leaders who succeed. Not because they have the tools, but rather because they have the thoughts and use the tools. As for my summer exploration of future trends I’m thinking RBA (Rules Based Automation) is the new JDF of the coming fall season. What do you think?