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Jeff Veen: Let's design a creating culture

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Having listened to Simon Bennet and Jeff Veen amongst other great talks at FBTB 2016 I can not help to wonder if we instead of asking “how to build a great product?” should be asking and in fact answering “how do we handle disaster?”

Why do some products become great and reach great success while others do not? As an UX strategist I am often asked to help clients along a transformation journey from good to great. In most cases the focus is on setting up processes/practices for “building the right product” (BIM) and “building the product the right way” (Agile/Lean).  

But what if we have all these processes in place; we listen to our users, our designers and engineers work together, we iterate and prototype and much much more, and still don't succeed in making the leap to greatness? What more can we do?

Jeffrey Veen was one of the speakers at From Business to Buttons on April 15. In his talk, called “Designing Culture”, he pointed out that “Everything is connected and everything breaks”. It is your reaction–as the leader or as the team member–to such troubles that will determine whether you'll make or break a great product.

How do we handle disaster best? By creating a healthy and positive culture, where the team members feel safe and trust each other. As Jeff Veen points out, culture is not something that just emerges suddenly, but something that you create, every single day. Jeff shared how he and his team have designed their work environment to build trust and respect. It all comes down to:

1. Creating an environment that fosters communication or ”communication compression” as Jeff put it.

2. Creating an environment that fosters teamwork.

3. Creating an environment that is free from scapegoats.

Does it sound easy? Or obvious? According to Jeff it’s not, and a lot of companies seldom or never accomplish a truly creative, healthy and positive culture. To get the best hands-on advice–check out the video!

And, the next time you ask yourself  “How do we build great products?”, take a moment to think about how your work culture supports your team or organization to do great work and start the change there.