The testing took the form of workshops for Dotforge
(startup) and Hyper Island
(experiential learning digital school). On top of this I did an ongoing Culture Design process with Northern Quarter
(Culture Design agency).
These environments were the best suited to run this kind of exercise because of the nature of their work. People at Dotforge, Giggypop and Hyper innovate and face unexpected challenges every day. I expected them to be more receptive to culture topics and to try new things for the sake of the team. The workshops were exploratory, the intention was to observe reactions to theoretical Culture Design activities and make notes on what happened.
The difference between my workshops and existing culture workshops like Culture Hacking by Culturevist
(aside from £0 vs. £500 a ticket respectively) lies in who and what the experience focuses on. Team individuals over leaders
Culture hackday from Culturevist offers "access to learn from a room of leaders [...] who have actually helped their brands develop great company cultures
" (Partovi, 2016).
A Culture Design workshop does not have outside leaders and is not meant to tell participants what is best based on someone else's experience. A Culture Design workshop focuses on facilitating teams' in discovering what kind of culture suits them best. This is because I've understood that while culture is manifested in groups, each group is different and its culture starts within each individual
Designing culture is very much like that colloquial advice some friends give me: "don't just copy an outfit! Dress for your shape
!". What looks good on others will not necessarily look good on you.Implementation over presentation
At the Culturevist event, participants pick a random aspect related to organisational culture and come up with an improvement on it, before presenting it to the group.
In a Culture Design workshop, participants work on existing aspects of their culture and during the time of the workshop develop their personal and team understanding of the subject. There is discussion and space for feedback where the team can discuss how to implement realistic changes and new ideas in their culture.