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4621 N Ravenswood Ave.
Chicago, IL 60640
United States



NogginLabs was founded on the notion that custom e-learning design and development is the ultimate horizontal industry. Time and again, each new project, client, and industry proves it. The biggest advantage of the e-learning horizontal is cross-pollinating ideas from two wildly different domains. A restaurant service simulation for iPad may influence a high-fashion online retail challenge. E-learning for financial advisors in a bank could inspire a mobile outreach program for cancer survivors. This variety also keeps the creative folks at NogginLabs fresh. Fresh learning ideas and designs come from a set of constantly changing constraints.

On innovation, writing e-learning, and burping


On innovation, writing e-learning, and burping

Lindsay Hunter

Growing up, I wanted to be an actress. I studied theater in college and even spent time at the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute. When I realized I wasn’t very good and didn’t have the desire to get any better, I had to ask myself why exactly I’d pursued acting for so long. What about it intrigued me, other than the rare shot at fame and fortune?

I realized it was the opportunity to make people feel, to affect somebody. I began to wonder if writing was another way to reach people. I’d written stories and poems my whole life, had a zine in high school, dreamed of writing a novel, but I never considered it a serious passion. It was just something I did, something I enjoyed doing. After leaving New York, I decided to find out if writing was my true calling. I changed majors, got my degree in English/Creative Writing and eventually got a Master’s in Fine Arts in Writing. I’ve since published three books and a fourth is in negotiations now.

But never in all my nearly 36 years did I say to myself, sighing wistfully, “One day I’m going to be an Instructional Designer.” I had never heard of instructional design, much less e-learning, prior to applying to work for NogginLabs. Yet here I am. What I bring to the table isn’t a background in cognitive science or learning design. It’s creativity; it’s a fresh perspective. It’s a new way of looking at constraints and solutions. 


Hiring people with diverse backgrounds is one way we push innovation. That’s what’s in it for our clients. But what’s in it for me? Personally, it’s yet another way to create a change in people. Emotional, behavioral, mental—I’ll take any/all. Being a writer isn’t just about waiting for the muse to flutter down from her perch and burp an idea into your ear; often, it’s about learning how to burp on your own. Why did I choose burps for this metaphor? Too late now.

I wrote a novel last spring and I didn’t know what I was going to write until the first day I sat down at my desk. It was going to be about witches or it was going to be about a father. I chose the father; I can’t explain why. It was a decision I made that I stuck to for 65,000 words. Our clients come to us with an idea, or a hope, or sometimes a full-bodied, brapping burp. We take whatever’s there and we make something out of it. When I’m writing a novel or a story, I have a faceless reader in mind, someone I want to grab and hold for pages and pages. It’s probably me; I’m probably trying to impress myself. You know how writers’ egos are. I approach any writing I do at NogginLabs with the same wish, with the same attempt at partnership that any writer longs for in a reader. I want to entertain, affect, reach. I want what I write to linger. We’re in this story together, and I’m talking to you.