Different by Design: 5 Takeaways on Designing an Inclusive Workplace Culture from Tina Roth Eisenberg

We caught up with the designer and entrepreneur to talk about bringing energy and joy to the workplace

By Naomi Goldin, DV Alumnus, Lead Strategic Designer, BCG Digital Ventures

Ask any business leader what the key to their success is and it’s likely they’ll point to their people. For years, leaders have tried to capture the perfect formula to build collaborative and high-performing workplaces; however, there is no one size fits all solution. Cultivating an inclusive environment rooted in trust and loyalty that brings together employee and business values and celebrates difference requires a designer mindset. With this in mind, BCGDV invited Tina Roth Eisenberg to share her perspectives on how to approach leadership, build effective teams, and make space for joy in the workplace.

Tina, often referred to as swissmiss after her popular blog, is a Swiss graphic designer turned Brooklyn-based serial entrepreneur. Over the past 15 years, she has founded several successful businesses: a creative co-working community called FRIENDS, a global lecture series called CreativeMornings, a simple to-do app called TeuxDeux, and Tattly, a high-end temporary tattoo shop.

Eisenberg recently joined BCGDV and BCG’s NYC Inclusion Accelerator for a discussion during our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Week. I’ve captured five key takeaways below.

  1. There is no right way to lead a company or team
    Tina recalled earlier days of reading one business book after another, only to realize that they couldn’t pinpoint what she valued in a working environment. Only after she articulated the values that are important to her (joy, fun, warmth, and safety) was she able to develop her own leadership style and hire accordingly.
  2. Start small, even if you’re at a big company
    Recognizing that not every company is a small business, Tina pointed out that you can create an inclusive and collaborative culture by starting with your immediate colleagues, team, or department. “A small department can be considered a company in its own right,” said Tina. A few culture-building suggestions Tina shared included getting to know your colleagues’ passions, starting the week off by sharing personal highs and lows, injecting playfulness into the day with props…or even a drawer full of confetti!
  3. Creating a good work culture starts with self-love
    If a year of working remotely in a pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that separating work and life is difficult. But to Tina, bringing work and life together is not necessarily a negative if approached in the right way: “To me, work and life is all one…and I really feel the big lesson is that it all starts with self-love and being kind to yourself. It’s all one big ecosystem, so how you show up in your personal life impacts your professional life.”
  4. Building an inclusive business requires a designer mindset
    Whether creating a new company or a collaborative community, Tina cites her designer mindset of prototyping and adapting as one key reason behind her success. “You have an idea and you create a rough draft…You have to be comfortable with not being perfect right away, and having things unfold and evolve as you go.” As an example, Tina shared how CreativeMornings evolved from a networking breakfast to a lecture series to a full-blown global creative community.
  5. Craft what you consume
    When asked how she infuses positive energy, fun, and warmth into her communities, Tina spoke about how she’s curated her Instagram and YouTube feeds by seeking out videos and posts that are uplifting and bring joy. After everything we’ve been through over the past year, I loved the idea of purposely crafting a social media environment that makes you smile. We all need good energy to draw from, so if you haven’t checked out @swissmiss on Instagram yet, I highly recommend a visit.

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BCG Digital Ventures - Part of BCG X
BCG Digital Ventures

BCG Digital Ventures, part of BCG X, builds and scales innovative businesses with the world’s most influential companies.