Senior Associate, Commercial Strategy
This week, we interview Jenny Wu, Senior Associate on the Commercial Strategy team at Fahrenheit 212.
What do you do at Fahrenheit 212?
I help our clients figure out what they should design, whether it’s a new product, service, or experience offering, and establish the case for it through a mix of storytelling, data analysis, consumer research, and cross-category studies. As a Senior Associate, I’m responsible for cracking the business side of our company’s equation, and supporting the project lead in managing the nuts and bolts of the engagement — ensuring that all the moving parts come together seamlessly.
Where do you feel most creative?
I actually feel most creative in the company of other people. There’s nothing like a great brainstorming session that evolves into a chaotic symphony of different people throwing out ideas and building off others.
Do you have any rituals for the innovation process?
At the start of a project, I like to find a quiet place away from the hustle of the office and spend hours poring through articles, reports, and various forms of research. This can be tedious, but I love that you can become a pseudo-expert on the category within days. When it comes to synthesizing, I prefer working with a black pen (Pilot G2!) and a stack of white paper to list out, diagram, and storyboard my thoughts.
And of course, plenty of coffee no matter what.
Where do you call home?
I’ve lived in New York for nearly a decade now and love it, so it’s basically home.
However, I grew up in Sugar Land (just outside of Houston) and have fond memories of Texan surburbia.
What do you never leave home without?
Advil. Spare hair-ties. Pragmatic optimism.
When did you first get into the field of innovation?
My previous job was in more traditional consulting, where I was lucky enough at one point to work on an engagement supporting the innovation group at an insurance company. My colleague and I helped their Chief Innovation Officer run campaigns to crowd-source product and service ideas and build business cases for the ones that made it far enough. On the side, I also worked on smaller projects and initiatives for a division that specifically tackled opportunities at the intersection of healthcare and other industries. I knew I wanted to work more deeply in a field that championed fresh ways of thinking about business models and consumer needs.
What is your go-to reading source?
I read The Skimm and The Morning Brew first thing in the morning while still in bed. It’s great to be able to get all the important headlines in 10 minutes, from key M&A activity in the corporate sphere to the latest internet sensation (or outrage).
Later in the day and week, I’ll read a lot of New York Times and New York Magazine. I also enjoy the blogs Farnam Street and Wait But Why.
What is your favorite innovation from the last decade?
Disney Magic Bands and the entire MyMagic+ experience. The amount of hard work, passion and risk that went into making this ecosystem work is still mind-boggling to me. Disney took the cherished, iconic theme park experience and completely rethought how they engaged and connected with consumers, which has impacted everything from skipping lines to booking character appearances. Thinking from the 2-sided Fahrenheit lens: Visitors get a more seamless, stress-free vacation and the business gets a trove of valuable customer data to optimize operations.
Do you have any side projects, hobbies, or a previous life you would like to share?
I’ve dabbled in a lot of activities since childhood and sort of wish I stuck to something and became extraordinary at it. Piano is probably the thing I’m most passionate about, but it’s been difficult to keep it up living in the city with precious apartment space.
If I have extra time, I also enjoy volunteering with organizations that support and motivate young women, including Girls on the Run and I Am That Girl.
What is your greatest life hack?
For adventurous eaters, especially in foreign countries, always keep activated charcoal pills around. It’s a poison antidote that will massively alleviate your suffering if you’ve ventured into the wrong hole-in-the-wall.
What are your go-to podcasts?
This American Life
Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me
What is your must-read book?
East of Eden. It was a required read during high school but I was stunned upon finishing. It’s a beautiful, frustrating, powerful story that boils down to the struggle between good vs. evil.
If I’m looking for something lighter, I’ll read Harry Potter for the nth time.