¨There is an explosion of disengagement¨
T.J. Cook is the CEO and strategist at CauseLabs, where he helps facilitate team building and advancing solutions. CauseLabs helps build tools to impact people because they believe everyone deserves the life-changing benefits of technology. They have helped design over 100 tangible solutions, while assembling an expert team of strategists, designers, and engineers who partner with clients around the world to prototype, win funding, and launch digital innovation breakthroughs.
Drawing on his experience as a teacher, father, and community builder, T.J. explains how has infused the company with a sense of mission, purpose, and desire to make a difference when fostering creativity and innovation. Trying to turn around the current trend of the average employee that sees and understands work as what happens while looking forward to the weekend. According to a study, he says, 70% of employees around the world are not engaged in their everyday job, ¨there is an explosion of disengagement¨, he states, and that, is a problem.
T.J. shares the story of how one-day hackathon-style events, they named ¨Lab Days¨, had led to new products, new partnerships, and a new level of team energy and engagement in the company. These Lab Days, consisted firstly, on a 30 minutes session for a ¨Drawing Board¨, a safe space to share ideas; an ideation process. Then, a whole day off to prototype and work on the shared ideas, and finally a ¨Show and Tell¨ style of presentation session, where the teams would show what they have achieved during the day. This process T.J. shares, led to a new wave of innovative products, such as My Story, a story-telling IOs app for children with millions of downloads.
But, is it possible to make every day feel like one of these ¨Lab Days¨?
T.J. supports that it is, indeed, possible; that organizations can strive for a fundamental structural change that leads to more granular and creative moments, and shares his story on how this process was succesfully implemented in CauseLabs supported by three essential pillars:
- Self-managed teams; with the capacity to take their own decisions, hire and spend money.
- Wholeness; letting employees bring their whole selves to the company, their hobbies, their passions, their children, their problems.
- A sense of evolutionary purpose; where weekly or monthly executive meetings are substituted for an integrated governance process where any employee can stand up and share an idea, a problem or propose a role at any moment, always under a business feasibility scope, T.J. says.
In conclusion, T.J. shared his thoughts on how a shift in work place mentality can lead to new products, new partnerships, and a new level of team energy. This interdisciplinary approach brings skilled individuals together in fast-paced collaborations that kick start solutions while still leaving room for innovation.