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IDEO

I

Interviewee

183 Designer; Human Factors

Team Disadvantages

1, 3

Project Outcome

Successful

Industry

Furniture/home/office

Location

London

Team Risk Tolerance

Team Dynamics

TeamDynamics_FunandProductive

Company

IDEO


oh God, you know... I haven't done my clothes washing for a month and like, I haven't eaten anything but takeaway, and I haven't been to the gym, and I never see my husband and like... and it just, I thought, there was obviously a need. [8588]
So it's pretty much contained to London at the moment. But, you know, a little while ago... just over a year ago, we were in a bit of a state and ideas have always been this kind like hard working, stay til midnight, designers in the zone kind of place. Which is really lovely and great when you're young and you don't have anything else to sort of look after. But people got to the point where they were sort of struggling a little bit, and it all kind of... I think there... we just had a series of projects that seemed to be really draining and then everyone fell apart a little bit and was like... oh God, you know... I haven't done my clothes washing for a month and like, I haven't eaten anything but takeaway, and I haven't been to the gym, and I never see my husband and like... and it just, I thought, there was obviously a need. [8583]
And we've never really concentrated on a, kind of, HR or any kind of looking after people as a role very much. So... and I was doing, as I say, I started... it coincided with me being really interested in the gender and politics course. So I just sort of said, look, I'd be really interested to look at this. And the other thing that was a big trigger was, we've got so many women of childbearing age, which is now obvious, but at the time, none of them were pregnant. But there's this almost time bomb of sort of 30-odd year old women in the office getting booty. And we had no moms at all, and nobody making part-time work, or other responsibilities work. So it was like, oh shit, you know, we'd better look at how we can support people when they've got something really big going on in their life outside of work. [8584]
And it started from there, and I just kind of did it... I took the idea process of kind of going out and gaining inspiration from people, and then sort of processing it and prototyping, and trying things. Went through the whole thing over the course of about, sort of, six to nine months. [8551],[8559]
Then I... well, I guess I've kind of... because of my role in the Human Factors Team, I was... at the time, I was like team coordinator. And I also have quite good friendships with people here, it's very... I mean, you've probably picked up on that. It's like everyone's friends with each other. So we do talk about personal things. So, I picked up on it personally because... well, just, I've noticed that I didn't see as much of my friends, and I was often working late and sort of tired and stuff. But also, a lot of people had kind of talked to me about it from their perspective, and various people have been like, you know I'm sort of... times getting on and I'd like a family but I just don't know how I would cope and... you know, the anecdotal stuff they each have around the pub. But, it kind of all mounted up, and that's what was the trigger. [8552],[8565],[8585]
And then, we kind of... I think the office just realized the leadership were really open to it, and I just kind of went and said, look I'd really like to run this project on work-life balance, and they were just so supportive and said, yeah let's do it, that's great. So I kind of formalized it a little bit more and gathered... sort of did basically what you're doing, that interview to sit loads of people, and processed it all. And then we had brainstorms which I deliberately kept it really, really open. I wanted it to be not at all exclusive. [8553],[8570]
So I had brainstorms, and everyone in the office is invited. And if people with... loads of people came along, and we all kind of tackled ways of what... you know, supporting people with commitments outside of work, people you need to just put part-time, and blah, blah, blah. And then we [8589],[8592],[8590],[8591]
So I had brainstorms, and everyone in the office is invited. And if people with... loads of people came along, and we all kind of tackled ways of what... you know, supporting people with commitments outside of work, people you need to just put part-time, and blah, blah, blah. And then we... I kind of wrote up all of the brainstorm ideas, and we did a massive office voting system over a couple of weeks and then we picked the people that ideas that were the most... not only the most popular, but a bunch of us... myself, and the Location Lead and a couple of other people got together and worked out... we wanted to go for prevention rather than cure kind of method. [8554],[8571],[8560]
I tracked the team over the course of the projects, and then checked in with them every week to find out what the kind of outputs of each little change were. [8594],[8593]
So, we picked out the most popular, prevention, or kind of sustainable methods. We prototyped them on a live client project, which just wrapped up two weeks ago, and it was a huge success in pretty much all respects. Everything that we prototyped worked. [8595]
So, we picked out the most popular, prevention, or kind of sustainable methods. We prototyped them on a live client project, which just wrapped up two weeks ago, and it was a huge success in pretty much all respects. Everything that we prototyped worked. I tracked the team over the course of the projects, and then checked in with them every week to find out what the kind of outputs of each little change were. And so, I kind of gathered all of that from a kind of human, personal point of view. And financially, the project pulled in a higher margin than we've done for a long, long time. [8547],[8557],[8561]
So it was an overall huge success, and then presented that yesterday and it was really well received. So, it was great. [8548],[8572]
Certainly in London, and... But across the board, all projects, yeah. And they said... they sort of said... the leadership said yesterday they wanted to start immediately. And I've been asked to stay in the role, and kind of be part of project kick offs, and checking in on teams, and reviewing, and that sort of thing, which is fantastic. [8573],[8578]
the leadership said yesterday they wanted to start immediately. And I've been asked to stay in the role, and kind of be part of project kick offs, [8596]
it sounds really overdramatic, but people were a bit like... they kind of lost control a little bit and were sort of staying all hours, and didn't really have a personal life, and were traveling loads. [8597]
Well I think, you know, it is obvious, but it was beneficial to everybody. It was definitely hard to do, there was... there have been some really key... like proper, cultural shifts that have needed to happen. But because they were for the benefit of everyone... I mean, it becomes almost cultish. You know, if you're kind of... it sounds really overdramatic, but people were a bit like... they kind of lost control a little bit and were sort of staying all hours, and didn't really have a personal life, and were traveling loads. [8586]
And so, the people here that were on the prototype project have been really kind of like, this has changed my life, I now see my friends, I go on holiday, it's great, I get eight hours sleep a night, and I'm really healthy. And that, I think, you can see that in your colleagues. You can see when they're happy, and healthy, and... [8598],[8600],[8599],[8601],[8602]
Then, when... if somebody kind of... if you're like nominated to be on a prototype project, and that's fixed you become quite expressive about it. And so, the people here that were on the prototype project have been really kind of like, this has changed my life, I now see my friends, I go on holiday, it's great, I get eight hours sleep a night, and I'm really healthy. And that, I think, you can see that in your colleagues. You can see when they're happy, and healthy, and... [8550],[8562],[8558]
So, I think it's quite infectious that way, which is great. But also I think, the... I can't really get away from... I've done so much looking into client organizations, and sort of research for work and for studies, into organizational behavior and I really have never seen a case where, if the leadership right at the top, support the idea, it works. And if they don't support the idea, it doesn't work. And I think that's what happened here, is... because we hit some hurdles when it wasn't so much on the kind of, table in the big board meetings. [8563],[8574]
But it's... We've now, yesterday, pulled Bennett who's kind of the most influential guy in the office, kind of stood up and said this is great, this is exactly what we should be doing. And working late is so 80's, it's not cool, don't do it. And that's the thing that's going to make everybody not do it. Because the thing that was making everybody do it before was like, oh God, everyone is staying late, I've got to stay late. Otherwise, I'll look bad. Whereas the one kind of trigger from the person who they don't want to look bad to, is enough to make them think, okay, maybe if I do stay late he'll think I'm a dick. So, I think top-down support to genuine buy in from the leadership is what made it really successful. [8549],[8575]
We've now, yesterday, pulled Bennett who's kind of the most influential guy in the office, kind of stood up and said this is great, this is exactly what we should be doing. And working late is so 80's, it's not cool, don't do it. And that's the thing that's going to make everybody not do it. [8603]
people didn't really have an outlet for their kind of angst about it, and their concerns. And so when we started it, it was the first time anyone had been given an opportunity to pour their heart out, so they did. [8604]
Well, I think it was... it's a very sensitive area, and it was highly emotional for a lot of people. And because we didn't have a kind of formalized, I guess, HR machine in this location previously, there was no... people didn't really have an outlet for their kind of angst about it, and their concerns. And so when we started it, it was the first time anyone had been given an opportunity to pour their heart out, so they did. So one of the first big hurdles was this huge outpouring of emotion. And then obviously... I mean, we say we're a flat hierarchy, but we're not. I don't think it would work if we were to totally flat, because we're too big. [8566]
So, there's obvious... there is a kind of chain of responsibility, if you like. And if when the people at the bottom suddenly say, oh God, my life's a mess, this is so awful, work is ruining my life. Then the people up from them start to say, well that's not fair, you've never told me that, it's not my fault. And then the people up from there are like... so there was... it's very emotional I think. And there was a lot of... people had to work though this feeling responsible for each other, and sort of, this kind of blame. And everyone getting out their gripes about who stayed the latest, and who expected you to. And I think there was a... because of the way we've worked with... we have project teams and project leaders. And there's a hell of a lot of responsibility put onto the project leader. [8564],[8567],[8580]
So when we had teams saying like, oh, I've worked on projects where I've been forced to stay 'til 11:00. [8605],[8606],[8607]
So when we had teams saying like, oh, I've worked on projects where I've been forced to stay 'til 11:00. We're a small enough office that everybody can work out quite quickly which those projects were, and who those Project Managers are. And then it's really horrible for them to have to deal with it, when nobody's been talking about it openly before. It just so happened that we were... I was the first person to say, let's talk about it. [8568]
So there was definitely that. So, that was probably the biggest hurdle is making sure that people put aside their personal sort of hurt, or embarrassment, or discomfort and actually just [inaudible 00:19:02]. No blame, no sort of saying 'X' makes me stay until 11:00, whereas 'Y' is really good at everyone getting home at 6:00. Just forget about it and look at how everyone on the team can support each other. So that was the approach that we had to take. I think it required a bit of a shift in the respect. [8579],[8581]
And then the other hurdle was, I think, as with any initiative and any organization, was time and resources. So it required a huge amount of my time. Absolutely enormous. And it became... it sort of felt really ironic at times that I was working late and tiring myself out on the Work-Life Balance Initiative. But it did, I mean it was so time-consuming. Because everyone... if you expect a culture to change, you have to sort of push, push, push, push, push at it the whole time until it does and then it can be self-sustaining. [8577],[8587]
it sort of felt really ironic at times that I was working late and tiring myself out on the Work-Life Balance Initiative. But it did, I mean it was so time-consuming. [8608]
But there was a lot of the pushing work that took a lot of energy. And I had moments where I was like, forget it, I can't do it anymore. I'm not going to be the person who is pushing water up a hill. [8610],[8611],[8609]
But there was a lot of the pushing work that took a lot of energy. And I had moments where I was like, forget it, I can't do it anymore. I'm not going to be the person who is pushing water up a hill. And then, just as I got to that point, I could make a little breakthrough and that would be what I needed to keep going, and keep going. And each extra person that bought into it and helped out, it got easier, and easier. [8582]
I was the only full-time team member. After some... one of my mini kind of, 'I'm packing it in' breakdowns, there was a Service... their Service Practice Lead, Fran, was kind of just stuck her hand up and said that she would be high-level support. So I knew I could go to her at anytime and say, look, Fran, nobody's listening, nobody's doing this, we need to do this. And she would be the kind of, the heavy. Say, you gotta do this. And then, that was it. [8556],[8576]
Although, as I say, as it went along we did... we made it as open an inclusive as possible so that people could kind of express their input. That's just important. [8555],[8569]
we made it as open an inclusive as possible so that people could kind of express their input. [8612]
Reference Tags
[8588] Unbalanced workload pressure,[8583] Unbalanced workload pressure,[8584] Unbalanced workload pressure,[8551] Communicating ideas across domains,[8559] Win-win conflict about ideas,[8552] Communicating ideas across domains,[8565] Listening disposition,[8585] Unbalanced workload pressure,[8553] Communicating ideas across domains,[8570] Organizational encouragement,[8589] Collaborative-Creative Disposition,[8592] Communicating ideas across domains,[8590] Win-win conflict about ideas,[8591] Win-win conflict about relationships,[8554] Communicating ideas across domains,[8571] Organizational encouragement,[8560] Win-win conflict about ideas,[8594] Empathetic disposition,[8593] Listening disposition,[8595] Methodologically creative,[8547] Great example - Individual & Team outcomes for future efforts,[8557] Ikea effect,[8561] Win-win conflict about ideas,[8548] Great example - Individual & Team outcomes for future efforts,[8572] Organizational encouragement,[8573] Organizational encouragement,[8578] Promote autonomy & sense of ownership,[8596] Organizational encouragement,[8597] Unbalanced workload pressure,[8586] Unbalanced workload pressure,[8598] Appropriate resources,[8600] Balance of challenging work,[8599] Balanced workload pressure,[8601] Organizational encouragement,[8602] Organizing effectively,[8550] Balanced workload pressure,[8562] Empathetic disposition,[8558] Ikea effect,[8563] Empathetic disposition,[8574] Organizational encouragement,[8549] Authority bias,[8575] Organizational encouragement,[8603] Organizational encouragement,[8604] Status quo bias,[8566] Listening disposition,[8564] Empathetic disposition,[8567] Listening disposition,[8580] Win-win conflict about relationships,[8605] Effort justification,[8606] Perfectionism,[8607] Unbalanced workload pressure,[8568] Listening disposition,[8579] Quick resolution of relationship conflict,[8581] Win-win conflict about relationships,[8577] Planning fallacy,[8587] Unbalanced workload pressure,[8608] Unbalanced workload pressure,[8610] Lack of resources,[8611] Reactance,[8609] Unbalanced workload pressure,[8582] Believes one has a hopeful path,[8556] Decisive leadership,[8576] Organizational encouragement,[8555] Communicating ideas across domains,[8569] Listening disposition,[8612] Listening disposition

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MADISON BARNETT
I get my inspiration from the fictional world. I’m a social geek. Completely exploit 24/365 catalysts for change whereas high standards in action items. Conveniently whiteboard multifunctional benefits without enabled leadership.
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