Associate, Idea Development
This week, we interview Nick Machesney, Associate on the Idea Development team at Fahrenheit 212.
What do you do at Fahrenheit 212?
I am an Innovation Associate on the Idea Development team which means I’m responsible for making the Magic happen. In the early stages of projects this means supporting research and insight development and later in the process I help lead the creation of Solutions for our clients. No one day or responsibility is ever the same which is part of what makes it so exciting!
Where do you feel most creative?
For me it’s not so much where but when. I enjoy being faced with the challenge of what seems like an unsolvable problem or constraining guardrail. Whether it’s making travel plans, building things, or finding solutions for clients, there’s always a way to make it work and I find I’m at my most creative when tasked with finding it.
Do you have any rituals for the innovation process?
I don’t really have one particular method – every problem is a different challenge that requires a different approach. As a former engineer I always try to apply structure to the process, searching for the variables we know so they can be used to solve for the ones we don’t.
Where do you call home?
That’s a tough one. Growing up my family moved around a few times and since leaving for college 10 years ago, I’ve called 16 more places ‘home’, including an apartment in Sevilla and a bungalow in the Amazon Rainforest. My formative high school and college years were spent in Wisconsin so I naturally have the strongest connection with that area, but home will always be where my family is.
What do you never leave home without?
Unfortunately, nothing… I have a bad habit of physically leaving my apartment before I mentally do. It’s a good day if I leave and don’t have to go back for something I forgot.
When did you first get into the field of innovation?
Professionally it wasn’t until I joined Fahrenheit but I feel I’ve been innovating my entire life. Back in 5th grade, I won the school’s “Invent Event” and have had that itch to find new ways to do things ever since.
What is your favorite innovation from the last decade?
It falls a little outside the ten-year mark, but the Cheesy Gordita Crunch is too innovative to ignore. Taco Bell’s ability to repeatedly find new ways to combine tortilla, meat, cheese, and veggies is nothing if not inspirational, and when they complemented the crunch of the traditional taco shell with the pillowy goodness of the gordita wrap they raised the bar of food innovation forever.
What are some of your interests outside of innovation?
I’m a huge Packers fan having spent ten years living in Wisconsin, including seven in Green Bay, so that essentially fills all my free-time September through February. Aside from that I enjoy snowboarding, traveling, and working with my hands.
Do you have any side projects, hobbies, or a previous life you would like to share?
I’ve always been a handyman and enjoyed interior renovations. This manifested itself significantly in grad school at Notre Dame when seven friends and I bought a 20-year-old school bus and renovated it into a luxury RV dubbed the Serendipitibus.
We drove it 8,000 miles around the country last summer, traveling through 20 different states, countless national parks, and several big cities all while living in the bus’s eight bunks. Aside from needing to get the entire transmission replaced three days into the trip, the journey went off without any hiccups and we were able to see out west in an amazing way.
What is your go-to reading source?
Reddit and Profootballtalk.com – no better place to keep up with the up-to-the-minute news of the Packers. Also enjoying a few aggregate newsletters like Quartz and CB Insights.
What are your greatest life hacks?
Make your bed
Everyone talks about it being a great way to start being productive early in the day, but I’ve found its biggest benefit to be how relaxing it is to come home to a clean room after a long day at work.
It sounds simple, but the powerful and immediate effect it has on not only those around you but also on your own happiness is pretty amazing.
This egg cooker – you’ll never hard-boil eggs the same again.
What is your must-read book?
Aside from Harry Potter, my favorite book has to be Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. I read it back in middle school and picked it up again a couple years ago and couldn’t put it down.
What’s your favorite restaurant in New York?
The ‘Floor Pizza’ dollar slice store in my building. Best and worst thing that’s ever happened to me.