Category Design Case Study VI: Give AGENCY.

Let’s talk about people, and creating the environment where they feel in control of their destiny, able to deliver more and better. The category design case study is about giving people agency by creating an agency.

Here are the other case studies: Intro – case I: TRUST – case II: FLOW – case III: SCALE – case IV: TRANSPARENCY – case V: CULTURE.

Here is the case study V PDF version.

The enduring challenges: (what is…)

  • Threat: everyone is a communicator. What do we do now?
  • Antifragility: “It is better to do what you cannot explain than explain what you cannot do.” – Nicholas Nassim Taleb, Heuristics.

The point of view (what if…)

  • Let’s upgrade our skills and service offering beyond what “normal” people can do.
  • Let’s experiment and test everything, in all directions, so we are ahead of the organization.
  • Let’s do the work ourselves, increase velocity, reduce cost.

The sell-ution (what wows…)

The cost of learning has collapsed. Online environments (MOOCs, groups, apps, YouTube, certification) and technology / tools / equipment are within reach. Adults learn by doing. We need to pick up new skills and techniques, get our hands dirty. We incrementally built a studio full of equipment and a mindset of experimentation – across audio, video, 360, AR, presentations, virtual events, social media, web..

Concurrently, the private citizen’s experience as a content creator exploded <see case study: SCALE / TRUST>. Everyone is a communicator, a writer, videographer, photographer, performer. The team needed to move up the value chain, into technically complicated services, where agencies prosper. We need to encourage all team members to upgrade their skills, and in a safe, fail forward way. This is where the fun happens. Our mantra: ‘one foot in (understand the org vibe); one foot out (bring the emergent practice from the marketplace)’.

The mobilization (what works…)

We started hiring not for experience but for creativity and a learning and curiosity modality. We sought the best interactive arts and technology students for internships that regularly became part-time jobs during studies and full-time jobs after graduation.

Our willingness to stretch toward everything meant we were able to hire and retain talent that would otherwise move on to ‘bigger and better things.’ 

Our budgets dwindled. Equipment upgrades mapped to technology price point drops from professional to prosumer. Cost became ‘time and effort’ – and we had team members who were always learning in their free time and bringing their skills to bear at work. We adopted an under-promise, over-deliver mentality, where we could surprise stakeholders with the quality and versatility of the work <see case study SCALE>.

We encouraged stakeholders to ask for more, as a challenge to our hivemind commitment to edge work. [The CEO would often call: “I saw this <insert content>. Can we do something similar?” Yes, yes we can…] The product was always industry-leading (our only content competitor had a team 20x the size).

Dis!Organize resources: Hiring advice – Antifragility Studio 20.

This Much We Know.

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