Other companies have off-sites, we—as a fully remote company—have on-sites! Earlier in November, the six of us left our desks in our homes and met in Berlin-Kreuzberg to spend some quality time together.
022: Villagers, assemble!
We began planning this on-site a few weeks in advance, with some very ambitious goals:
- discuss internal topics and resolve tensions (this is sometimes easier in-person)
- improve client work (this is our bread & butter)
- work on something together (we're tinkerers and love to be hands-on)
- and while we’re all together, take some group pictures! 📸
I'm not going to bore you with details of our discussions and sessions, but would like to share some highlights and learnings from this week:
1. We are very candid in talking about our thoughts and feelings
We created a safe space for everyone to talk openly about their concerns, aspirations and challenges. This open communication is of course achievable in traditional companies as well, but with the co-ownership structure of our co-op it's already build-in that everyone's input is equally valuable and crucial, and that there is no repercussion for voicing different opinions than somebody else.
2. We were too ambitious with our agenda
When creating our agenda, we were very much in our remote + async efficiency mindset. This led us to load the agenda with too many topics, which we intended to go through in a very outcome focused workshop-style.
However, it became quickly obvious on the first day that we needed more time in order to have a better shared understanding of these topics and tensions. So we adapted our agenda, removed less important items and created more room for deeper discussions, creative frictions and lively banters.
3. We have finally boiled down our service offerings into 5 clear areas!
We’ve been iterating over the list of things we want to offer our clients for a while now. With our diverse backgrounds raging from freelance to startups and agencies, and with new members like Sev and Julia joining this year, our list of potential services initially grew and grew. And we wondered how the heck could we consolidate everything into something more concise, but still covering all of our skills and wishes?
We spent a few hours discussing and ideating on this, and were finally able to summarize what we want to offer as a studio into 5 clear areas. And because we wanted to be hands on and work on something together, we created a slide with our offerings for our slide-deck (see gif), and started to design + code something for our website (which we just deployed this week).
4. Vision vs. day-to-day challenge
As a bootstrapped company, balancing our ambitious ideas for Village One with our financial stability has been challenging. We have a lot of ideas about what Village One could become, but finding the time and resources to work on these ideas is often difficult. We’ve realized that we need to be more patient, but also to develop better strategies which would allow us to be more creative and experimental with our organisational structure, and still give us enough time to improve our skills and the quality of our day-to-day work. Frankly, this is a huge topic and nothing that can be solved during a single week, but something we’ll be focusing more in the upcoming months. We'll keep you updated!
Until then... here are a few more photos! 😄