If Jess didn’t stumble across NewCo‘s Instagram ad (good to know they actually work by the way), we might have missed this incredible day that was packed full of creative businesses and co-working spaces that believe in changing up the norm of the industry.
The way that NewCo works as a business festival is that you plan your schedule on their mobile phone app and travel between each office space to sit in on a design thinking workshop, strategy session or receive a sizeable dose of inside knowledge with their respective business leader. It really was something else to be welcomed into each speaker’s home turf and get a glimpse of their team and their everyday practices. What’s different about these select companies is that they are intentionally harnessing their true and higher purpose which leads into creating positive change in our world – we’re pretty excited that more and more businesses are pursuing something more than just the ol’ 9–5.
Remy, Jess and I travelled down together to Sydney, representing Mezzanine and INNX – here are some of the many thoughts we scribbled down…
A day Uber-ing around Surry Hills to each design agency’s home turf? What a good idea! We planned to take full advantage of the five sessions in one day – It was a mission bordering on an information overload, but we absolutely loved it.
Real stand-outs from my day was the chat with a creative consultancy named Monogram and the design thinking workshop with human-centered experience designers, Syfte (which means ‘purpose’ in Swedish! Fun). Monogram lives in a co-working space and Syfte lives just down the road in an open-plan loft. Both had Pinterest-worthy decor and were beautifully considered spaces to sit in.
Amy Nadaskay, the leading lady of Monogram started us off with a case for why purpose matters when it comes to brand building. It makes sense when she said businesses need to show differentiation because only 38% of their customers are engaging and 77% of their own team are disengaged on a day-to-day basis, because that confirms that the market is completely saturated.
I personally believe that if people don’t understand why you (the business) exist – They’re not likely to be compelled to pledge their loyalty to you or care for anything more than how much you’re costing them.
With just that little bit of googling and I could find someone else with a cheaper price and more perks to the job. Without a purpose, I think that anybody would be likely to choose according to the bottom line. That being said, if a higher purpose is only embedded throughout the marketing then doesn’t it become just another fad? Purpose is something that builds a business through Culture, Leadership, Innovation, Customer Experience, Business Strategy and Brand Expression, and it should feel like a guiding intuition that informs all your choices, no matter how small – because that’s what it means to have authenticity and cohesiveness in your business.
Otherwise, you’ve just jumped on another bit of hype (in the hopes of going viral) and sooner or later your team and customers will pick up that you aren’t really who you said you were. I love it when people understand how their higher purpose ties into their seemingly mundane to-do list; it can develop collaboration, guide exploration, encourage loyalty, add emotional connection and make each business truly unique.
Syfte is an experience design agency that I feel have tapped into their originality. Their Founder Katja Forbes and her team facilitated the design workshop that ended a big day of learning for us, bringing collaboration, cleverness and laughter! The question to find a solution for was this: How can you enhance someone’s gift-giving experience? With that in mind, we were taken through a full design cycle and partnered with the person next to us – Beginning with interviews, to identifying the human need, then to the final concept.
To think of each encounter in your life as an experience that has been designed, offers a whole other layer of insight to the way we live each day.
It reminds me to continue being intentional in my work and to grow in my consideration of how another person would respond to the project, throughout all of my design process. Empathy is a skill that I always want to have in hand.
I just love how this ‘conscious’ approach to work is gaining more momentum… Having a personal purpose that can align with your work and bring meaning into each task, just makes sense. And operating from a place of higher purpose isn’t simply a win just for you; but a win for your team, clients, customers and stakeholders! As Annie Dillard famously says, “How we spend our days is of course how we spend our lives” – so why not make the most of your potential?
Thankfully NewCo was is yet another voice to confirm that what we are heading towards; is a life that is no longer stuck in segregation – but a life that is a reflection of being all-in, to see an idea beyond ourselves take shape!
What an experience! Being welcomed into the co-working spaces of the mission-driven founders and top executives of Sydney’s finest companies felt more like they were proudly welcoming us into their own homes.
Co-working is more than providing beautiful, shared office spaces. It is providing a community and connecting to something greater than ourselves.
The spaces we were invited into projected inspiration and motivation. I felt a sense of genuine community engagement that is invaluable to the success of businesses. In this age we are so consumed by technology that people are lacking communication and social skills. More and more businesses are realising that success breeds more success. Taking advice from people in other industries, hearing about what others are doing or grabbing a beer after work and sharing experiences are only a few of the perks of co-working!
My stand out was entering ‘wework’ where their mission is to create a world where people work to make a life, not just a living. This concept is disrupting and challenging the traditional workplace culture and allowing individuals to create their own life’s work. Why not define ‘success’ by your own personal fulfilment? Once our basic needs are met it’s quality relationships and a strong community that increases our happiness.
Workplace architecture is crucial. The environment and surroundings people work in is crucial to their daily motivation, productivity and well-being. How can we expect to unleash creativity and innovation if the atmosphere we are in isn’t reflecting it?
Our second stop ‘Spaces’ offers creative working environments with a unique entrepreneurial spirit. They want to redefine the way work is done by cultivating a community of thinkers, achievers and imaginers. They are a home from which creators and innovators can embark on their exploration of new ideas and others can partake in their journey. “Plug into our energy and watch our world accelerate”.
The first thing I always take notice of when entering a new space is the people. The people are responsible for the vibe. They can dramatically create the atmosphere with a simple smile, deep and meaningful conversation or a casual chat when the mind-blocks enter!
When someone’s passion shines through, their purpose becomes clear. The things you are passionate about are not random. It combines to create your calling.
NewCo refreshed my way of thinking. Why do I do what I do? I want to inspire, motivate and encourage. I want to become the facilitator of sparking new ideas, collaborations and projects in the community. For me, setting the stage for others to push the boundaries is so important. Enabling people to collaborate and grow, whilst building strong relationships and experiences is extremely memorable and rewarding.
I challenge you to think… how do you embrace collaboration?
Not only did the day leave me with more insight into the ins and outs of purpose-driven business, but it sparked more questions in me than ever before… and I couldn’t wait to shed some light on them.
The world has come to a point where people have become accustomed to ‘product claims and benefits’ due to false and over-use. Companies need to be built from the ground up with their higher purpose embedded in every corner. So that a business is created from a place of honesty and can hold integrity in all their decisions. The businesses we visited on this day with NewCo were inspiring examples of what this looks like beyond a nice theory.
My favourite takeaway was during the session with ‘We are Unity’. Their Founder and Head of Agency Ben Bars expressed the importance of infusing a higher purpose in all that you do. But not just in an overall business sense, on a personal level too. Employees who have the potential to have the deepest emotional connection should share the same the purpose as the business. It is then that they can understand how their day-to-day responsibilities add to the bigger picture and in the long run increase productivity, advocacy and positivity within the business and greater world.
When both your behind-the-scenes work and purpose come together and align, customers too feel an authentic connection with the company, even if it’s not the cheapest service or product. The ‘benefits’ of a service/product is simply not enough.
A deep connection and experience with a brand beyond the surface level is much more memorable.
“At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
From there, it’s about translating what’s in your heart (your purpose), to your head (your mission and strategy) then to your hands (your expression and culture) which is a whole other story so let’s leave it here for today. But in the meantime I challenge you to have a think for yourself – does your business/the one you work for have a higher purpose and how does it coexist with yours?
Photo Credits in order: NewCo Sydney, Syfte, We Are Unity and NewCo Sydney.