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Slide Notes

We hear enough about startups, we need to focus more on stay ups and sustainable growth.

This presentation is on the changes in the workplace and ways of adapting to flexible work patterns, places and projects.

It references the book Dance at Work by Helen Baxter: http://danceatwork.net

Dance at Work

Published at Nov 06, 2015

Presentation by Helen Baxter of Mohawk Media at the Wellington Female Founders Forum.


Dance at Work

    We hear enough about startups, we need to focus more on stay ups and sustainable growth.

    This presentation is on the changes in the workplace and ways of adapting to flexible work patterns, places and projects.

    It references the book Dance at Work by Helen Baxter: http://danceatwork.net


      I'm a director of Mohawk Media - producing animation, infographics and data-driven storytelling with a creative team based in Wellington, Auckland, Leigh, London & Vancouver. Next? Probably Brazil. http://mohawkmedia.co.nz

      I have loved animation and writing since I was a child and enjoy telling stories with meaning and value. The stories we like to tell the most are about technology or science innovations, research, community and social enterprise.

      This image is from the Child Poverty solutions series produced in 2013, in associated with Dr Siouxsie Wiles, one of New Zealand's top science communicators.


      Untitled Slide

      • Web 1994 Remote 2001 Start Up 2004 Mohawk 2006 Wellington 2010
      Born in NZ. Left on UK OE at six weeks old. First startup in 1994 on a dial up, with a website hand-coded in HTML on a 486!

      In the UK I was a writer, internet trainer, online producer then editor of an international KM & Innovation community for the European Commission.

      Moved back to NZ in 2001 for the lifestyle, the slower pace and the Knowledge Wave. One year in the Waikato. Seven in Waitakere. Five in Welly.

      Wellington is the best place I have ever lived for being a 'Creative Geek', for people, place and potential. It's really exciting to be surrounded by entrepreneurs, academia, makers and doers.

      So many success stories to tell, and hopefully I can help.
      Photo by kennymatic

      NZ Bandwidth 2001

        Rewind to 2001. Running KnowledgeBoard with a tech team in Bristol (UK), KM team in Brussels and Stuttgart, over 60 editors worldwide. From a farmhouse in a forest in the rural Waikato.

        With no Skype, Google docs or Cloud tools. Just email, phone and text based chat Babelfish to help translate all the European languages.

        No broadband, 2 dial up lines and a satellite that stopped working when it rained.

        It rains a *lot* in the Waikato.

        Covered a story in 2001 of a local adventure company that were sending digital pics for printing by pigeon, as it was faster than email!
        Photo by Stéfan

        Future of Work

        • Lifelong Learning
        • Projects / Dynamic Teams
        • Flexibility
        • Globalisation
        • Converging IT, Comms, Media
        The creative business roadmap, and the reason for our flexible/distributed agency model at Mohawk Media, was drawn from a report published in 2001 by the KnowledgeBoard team predicting the future of work in 2011.

        Highlighted 5 key drivers leading to fundamental changes in the nature of work and the workplace.

        1. The falling costs of technology
        2. Increasing globalisation
        3. Increasing mobility of work and workers
        4. The rise of e-business and ubiquitous technology
        5. The convergence of IT, communications and media

        Leading to increased flexibility, globalised teams, the need for lifelong learning, projects based work with dynamic teams and the congence of IT, Communications and Media.

        Photo by peasap

        No More Jobs

          The first chapter of my book is titled No More Jobs covering the rise in flexible, contract based work.

          Watch an infographic video at the Big Idea creative community.



          • Flexible Working
          Don't think of it as remote - see is as flexible working.

          Portfolios of projects for a range of clients with local/international teams. Some at home, some co-working, some in coffee shops.

          Choose the right location for the best project outcomes.

          Why Remote Work Thrives in Some Companies and Fails in Others - https://hbr.org/2015/03/why-remote-work-thrives-in-some-companies-and-fails-in-others

          "Many companies focus too much on technology and not enough on process. This is akin to trying to fix a sports team’s performance by buying better equipment. These adjustments alone might result in minor improvements, but real change requires a return to fundamentals.

          Successful remote work is based on three core principles: communication, coordination, and culture. "

          Key 'Remote' Work Issues

          Loss of confidence
          Working longer hours
          Less feedback, thanks or support
          Feeling ‘out of the loop’
          ‘Out-of-sight, out-of-mind’
          Photo by UrbanGrammar


          • Reputation
          • Transparency
          • Social Glue
          • Trust
          • Respect
          • Intangibles
          The Trust Special Interest group on KnowledgeBoard was by far the most popular and active. Based on reputation, intangibles, respect, open, shared connections.

          Trust is what binds networks of people together, and comes from transparency through activity streams, clear objectives and communications.

          Trust Tips

          Regular checkins
          Activity streams for transparency
          Weekly with manager (personal)
          Knowledge flows
          Culture & Community
          Monthly ‘social’
          'Face' time

          Photo by carterse


          • Attention
          • Flowtime
          • Focus
          • Output v timesheets
          • Makers schedule
          We don't have a problem with lack of time - we have a problem with attention overload and lack of focus. Also a clash between the Makers and Managers schedule.

          Time Tips

          Clear deadlines and expectations
          Processes for briefing, managing and delivering work
          Regular ’Face Time
          Set boundaries (work/life)
          Watch out for overwork

          ''Makers v Managers schedule"

          Paul Graham is the founder of successful VC/seed accelerator Y Combinator who funded Scribd, Reddit, Airbnb, Dropbox, Disqus, Stripe and over 300 tech companies and non-profits. He sees coders and developers as makers as well as designers/creatives.

          The Managers' schedule is one hour chunks of time. Makers work in 90 minutes flow time cycles in half day units. It takes time to warm up/cool down and switch tasks.

          "Each type of schedule works fine by itself. Problems arise when they meet. But the smarter ...bosses... restrain themselves, if they know that some of the people working for them need long chunks of time to work in."

          At Sift.co.uk (who built the community platform behind KnowledgeBoard) people had to book time ahead with the technical team even to "ask a quick question".

          They respected the flow time needed to create or solve problems.
          Photo by srgpicker


            I often say that open-plan offices where thinking goes to die. They are useful for the right type of work and the right time

            Choose flexible options for the required tasks, save Face to Face for high bandwidth and knowledge sharing activities.

            Can recreate some of the experience of Face to Face but not all remotely

            Get people together onsite at least every quarter if possible
            Photo by B Tal


            • Comms? Google/Slack
            • Focus? Pomodoro
            • Projects? Teamwork
            • Learn? Feedly
            • Money? Xero
            Out of 300 tools in my book dance at work I managed to narrow the list down to five.

            OK, six, but Pomodoro is a method for helping with focus not a tool.

            We use Teamwork as a company intranet, to manage our projects and international team

            For communications - Google and Slack

            Money management (invoices/accounts) is through Xero

            News feeds - I subscribe and read my news/research using Feedly on multiple devices to get out of the distraction of a browser.
            Photo by jdtornow


            • Pose goals as questions
            • Live your values
            • Have fun
            • Work in stages
            • Dance at every chance
            Use processes, brain-hacks and apps to help you.

            Pose goals as questions to activate your subconscious superhero. How can you exercise more? Who do you want to work with?

            Values underpin everything.

            Work in stages to get to where you want. It's not always an Either / Or choice but AND.

            Fun doesn't have to be frivolous.
            Photo by Pedro Vezini

            Future Proof?

              How can you future proof anything? You can't.

              However you can keep asking why? how? who?

              Adopt the Kaizen philosophy - continual, incremental improvements to save time/decisions. Too many decisions lead to decision fatigue.

              Like matching mug colours to spoons so you always know which mug has sugar in!

              Yes, we really do this at Mohawk Media.
              Photo by Bilal Kamoon

              How can we...

              • Keep money and knowledge flowing while growing?
              • Stay earning and learning?
              • Work less achieve more?
              • Have fun!
              • Stay fit and healthy?
              Growth means different things to everyone.

              It could be to grow a large company or a small but highly profitable one.

              Personal growth is also vital, without health wealth is meaningless.

              How can we grow, keep money and knowledge flowing, get more out of the time we spend while staying fit, health and happy?

              Some good apps to stay on track - Buddhify, Coach.me, Happy.me

              The concept of retirement also need to being re-examined and that may not be such a bad thing....
              Photo by ecstaticist


                How can you build a life to retire to not from?
                Photo by Damian Gadal


                • danceatwork.net
                For a free personal planner visit http://danceatwork.net

                Read the first chapter for free at Amazon:

                This last pic really appeals to the geek in me.

                It's a Stormtrooper, dancing with Storm.

                Thanks to the Female Founders Exchange in Wellington for inviting me to speak and to Meg Melvin for livescribing.


                Photo by JD Hancock