A lot, as it turns out.
In 1973, in the basement of the Minnesota Zoo, we quietly opened our doors as a non-profit, non-governmental organization called the International Species Information System. Over the subsequent 43 years, an inventory system became an information system; paper logs were computerized, and desktop applications moved to the internet. ARKS and MedARKS evolved to become ZIMS—available in 3 languages and likely to be in a fourth in 2017. Membership grew from a handful of institutions to over 1000. ZIMS went online. We’ve extended our reach from traditional zoos, aquariums, and zoological associations to educational institutions, rescue centers, and other species welfare and conservation organizations. We’re proud of our progress.
But we had an issue with our name—or more precisely, with our acronym, ISIS, which we now had the misfortune of sharing with terrorists. Sure, we were here first, but our staff began to receive inappropriate phone calls and emails; we became well acquainted with our local and federal police. Members began struggling with what to call us. (And call me petty, but we minded having to remove our very popular ISIS luggage tags when traveling.)
The issue became a major distraction. Last October, in consultation with our Board of Trustees and many of our members, we decided a change was due. Now, several months and a lot of careful soul-searching later, we are unveiling a new name, logo, tagline, and the beginnings of a new website (which will be completed over the next several months).
Our new identity builds upon the core themes of ‘species information’, ‘global’, ‘technology’, ‘inclusion’, and ‘conservation.’ ‘Species360’ represents all-encompassing species information. 360 implies a circle, comprehensiveness, and a reflection of our living planet and our global members. The tagline speaks directly to the global magnitude of the organization, implying collaboration and a willingness to work together and share information, united by a common wildlife conservation goal.
We hope you like our new identity as much as we do. We look forward to providing the same great systems and service!
–Jim Guenter, CEO, Species360