The Integritas Project
Helping inspire ethical decision making in over 4000 future Navy and Marine Corps leaders at the United States Naval Academy.
This is the project's story...
What is the Integritas Project?
The initial mission statement of The Integritas Project was "To create a video project that uses the power of story, compelling visual imagery and the reach of cutting edge communication media to reinforce in the hearts and minds of midshipmen the unremitting obligation of naval leaders to make courageous decisions in the moment of ethical choice."
But the Project has gone beyond that initial mission statement to become a community of people who have rallied around the idea of a renewed commitment to integrity and honor and over five years, have devoted time, energy and financial support to overcome the obstacles and setbacks associated with a creative endeavor to insure this Project touches the heart, soul and mind of the Brigade of Midshipmen.
At its core, the Integritas Project is about a dream...a dream that includes you.
By visiting this site and asking "What is the Integritas Project?", you are already engaged, however unaware, in a question that, if followed, can inexorably lead you to ask about personal honor in your own life and about how your choices can affect both you and the world around you. Over the months to come, this site will continually develop and change, showcasing new spots, adding new and powerful stories and images. This is only the beginning.
The Integritas Project may begin with the Midshipmen of the United States Naval Academy but it is a dream that belongs to all who inquire about personal integrity.
The Integritas Project began with a question. What if we took the power of sophisticated commercial branding and film making and applied it not to selling merchandise but instead to selling an idea--a powerful idea at the very core of the naval services’ ethos? The idea is that making the right and noble choice provides us with moral authority as leaders and honors all those who came before us, all those who sacrificed for the freedoms we enjoy, and all those who hold high expectations for our actions.
The first step in designing any branding campaign is understanding your audience.
Designing for the Millennial Midshipman
The Integritas Project is the product of years of research and development. During this time Patrick Finnegan, as designer and director, was given unparalleled access to the Naval and Marine community to develop the ideas and insights behind the campaign. In one particular week, from early in the morning until late at night, he met every hour with various groups of military officers and combat veterans, senior enlisted leaders, professors from various academic disciplines, varsity coaches, and affinity groups...in brief any and all who might weigh in on the question of choice and honor. It was an inquiry which did not stop solely at the borders of the Naval Academy. Our quest took us to a round table of more than 20 military journalists and experts in media at the Defense Information School (DINFOS) at Fort Meade, Maryland. On another trip we journeyed south to Quantico, Virginia to speak with a sizable group of seasoned Iraq and Afghanistan Marine commanders, one who had been responsible, during one of his tours in Iraq, for an area the size of New Jersey with only 1400 Marines.
Everywhere we went, we asked the same question, "In the moment of ethical decision, either in the field or life, what was going through your mind? What emotions, uncertainties or images came to you to help you either make a choice you were proud of or one that disappointed your sense of honor?"
The answers we received formed the backbone of our designs.
A changing sense of Time...
In designing for Millennials, one has to also understand the enormous revolution the internet/data-sphere has created in the fundamental psyche of the youth of this nation and the world. Perhaps understanding the scope of that revolution is best symbolized by comparing the two watches above.
The first watch, the analog watch, displays time as a reference to both past and future. When we view an analog watch, we unconsciously see time as part of a continuum. In reading 10 minutes after the hour, we see time in reference to the minutes just passed and those yet to come. We could say that most of the history of our world has operated in an analog paradigm.
The digital watch, however, blinks with a moment by moment readout of this very instant. The watch and readout creates no inherent reference to what has come before or what will come after. In recent history, we have witnessed a global shift to a digital sense of time. Our millennial midshipmen are the children of that shift. They think digitally and designing for them requires a different approach than for previous generations.
The Integritas Project reaches out to a digital generation by creating imagery that captures immediate attention, while at the same time embedding nuanced messaging of analog consciousness, which is critical to making right and noble decisions.