The Navy whaler is a heavy wooden boat, very stable but difficult to get moving to a high speed. You don’t hit a solid pace until everyone is in sync. Disruptions to the rhythm will invariably cause ripples of compensation - and frustration - as everyone else adjusts around the new cadence. If you’re on a top performing whale boat crew, you effortlessly sense the flows of energy in your boat and you discover strengths within yourself that you never realized you had.
So it is with creative teams.
Nothing matches the feeling of being on a team at full performance: everyone has deep connections to each other and understands the ebb and flow of the work. Grounded in trust and respect for each member, they are resilient to change since they know each other’s skills and they understand their unique strengths. They have created a predictable system among them so that they can overcome the unpredictability of the challenges they’ll encounter.
Let’s introduce ourselves: Su and I have been in the creative industry for ages.
At this stage, we’ve seen it all: small indie game studios, larger corporations, mobile, console, social, work-for-hire, you name it. We’ve built teams and felt the exhilaration of being at the center of making them high performing.
Last year, we wanted to gain traction on our own creative work and in searching for resources and exploring our local networks, we were disappointed with the sort of friction that we feel is a universal refrain: lack of funding, lack of resources, lack of support. We saw a familiar landscape of big companies with their own ideas and established IPs and small indie developers being absorbed into multinationals. Many individuals adding their unique contributions, but persistent gaps in a broader ecosystem unfriendly to starting up or diversifying.
Driven by the rapid changes to the world of work when COVID-19 hit, we recognized that there is a timely opportunity to evolve working environments across the creative technical industry since science has proven that:
Access to a broad range of experience yields better business success than mono-cultures. This has been labeled as “Diversity”.
Psychological safety is necessary for innovation and high performance. This is an essential part of “Inclusion”, together with strategies to reduce bias and groupthink.
However, these truths are not getting sufficient traction in the halls of power to dramatically change support for underrepresented groups. Since decision-makers overwhelmingly are from highly represented groups, they are often not self-aware or motivated enough to change their behaviour to welcome unfamiliar or challenging ideas. And pointing out flaws in a system that disadvantages you too often leads to disbelief, being ostracized or otherwise punished for creating friction, or at the very least requiring so much emotional labour that it risks burning you out.
This kind of viscosity is not optimal for creativity. Having courage to drive innovation is hard enough without having to teach those around you how to welcome your ideas.
But since we want everyone to experience the joy of working on a high performing team, and we want our creative community to thrive with full access to its diverse experiences, we need to change the system to accommodate the conditions for optimal creative environments.
Let’s take this analogy to a macro level. If we look at our entire BC creative tech community as our “team”, what are the desired elements for that team to be successful?
It should be diverse, with a broad range of experience to draw from, and inclusive so that it capitalizes on the panorama of expertise that each individual brings. Work shouldn't be predicated on overtime or crunch to ensure necessary bandwidth. We should encourage a vibrant, high performance culture of strong business & creative fundamentals.
Let’s use our decades of expertise to create this environment for our team.
Respeccd’s role is driving conversations, supporting community building efforts, accessing our combined skills and experience to lead in various areas.
We have learned what works and doesn't, and this has given us context, leadership savvy, and business sense. This informs our foundational values.
We are navigators and accelerators, and we want to bring this to everyone. We improve understanding, provide tools and facilitate.
We can bring experience from multiple landscapes.
Work founded in diversity and inclusion, and grounded in business fundamentals, will provide demonstrably better outcomes than current modes of operation.
We believe that once people are armed with knowledge and the ability to reach their potential, impacts of gatekeeping will dwindle because they can quickly recognize quality organizations they want to contribute to, or build their own and change the game themselves.