Designing Culture: New Ways to Think About Work

How might we…

  • invest in relational chemistry?
  • encourage personal leadership?
  • integrate new team members?
  • gain alignment around vision?

These are just a few of the questions we explored in our last Cooper Parlor, Designing Culture. The evening was focused on ways to be intentional about creating a creative culture and work environment. Attendees from design, digital technology, city government, engineering firms, art museums and more shared their desires, challenges, and experiences in shaping the culture of their workplaces. 

We also looked at case studies of companies taking  innovative approaches to culture, such as:

  • Morning Star’s practice of asking staff to write personal mission statements for how they will help the company achieve its goals (side note: they don’t have managers; they are beholden to their mission statement and one another). Read more about them in this fantastic article by Gary Hamel.
  • Whirlpool’s “The Real Whirled”  (yes, a play on MTV’s The Real World) deep-immersion onboarding program. Seven new employees lived in one house outfitted in Whirlpool products for 2 months, visited manufacturing plants, research centers, stores, service calls, and more, to gain a deeper understanding and empathy for customers and colleagues.
  • Salesforce’s Personal Excellence Program, based on the philosophy that when staff value personal development, teams benefit. Select staff focus on an area of personal development for eight months through facilitated groups and individual coaching.

We all walked away from this Cooper Parlor with new ways to think about work.  See for yourself in the video of the event below, and if you feel so inspired, share a culture tip or trick in the comments so we can all benefit and grow from your knowledge. If  your team would benefit from a workshop like this one, drop us a line about custom training at [email protected].

Our next Cooper Parlor

The Gender, Leadership, Design Axis
August 29, 6-8:30pm (Networking at 6, event starts at 6:30)
Details and tickets

Inspired by Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg’s book, “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead”,  in this Cooper Parlor, we invite you to take a deeper look at the gender and leadership dynamics in your own organization and the design and tech communities at large. We’ll discuss if/how the definition of leadership is changing, whether gender imbalances in fields like engineering (approximately 14% are female in the USA) are a phenomenon of oppression or a natural tendency for men and women to gravitate toward different fields, what men and women can learn from one another’s approach to career, and much, much more.

People from all industries are invited to attend. And, while it’s helpful to read “Lean In” prior to the Parlor, it’s not required to be an active part of the discussion. Details and tickets



Teresa Brazen

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