Zig Ziglar said, “outstanding people have one thing in common: an absolute sense of mission.” This statement is inspiring and intimidating at the same time, isn’t it? On one hand, who doesn’t want to feel as though they have an absolute sense of mission, but on the other hand, what exactly is the path to reaching that absolute and how do you get a whole team of people to join in the journey? How does a company react as it grows and it’s offerings begin to change? We at Kaiser X Labs are fresh off this bumpy and exciting ride to tell our story.
Whether it’s working for our clients or with our internal teams, collaboration is central to everything we do, so when the big question of an evolving mission and vision started to form we knew that the answer could only come from the team as a whole. From day one it has always been our aim to keep the team unified through a common conversation so this is where we began; and, as Lewis Carrol wrote for Alice, “it’s always best to begin at the beginning.”
Our beginning starts with our love for people and great products, and our future asks us to look at what informs our work and how that has changed. In the last three years, we have added three new locations, a data-analytics team and have welcomed 100 Kaisers. It made sense to take another look at our company in order to highlight our common thread. Our goal was to revisit our history, clarify our present work and guide us in our future decisions.
The Survey & Synthesis
We started our journey with a team-wide survey that included some very specific questions directed to each Kaiser based on project experiences, company foundations, team values and culture. We asked what the most important part of our future could look like. The collecting of all this information was accompanied by an important round of “nag busy people until they respond”. Our findings were then synthesized by a small team represented by Kaisers in research, brand, communication, and analytics. As happens very often, the answers to our questions led to more questions.
How are we different at 100 Kaisers from what we were at 15 Kaisers?
Has our path changed since we’ve been on it?
How do we keep a strong vibrant culture as we continue to grow?
How does our brand inform our work?
How do we best represent the layers of our multidisciplinary team?
What’s the best way to communicate with our growing team?
This process provided us with an inspiring platform to explore our roots and look at where our branches were heading. Very often we were greeted with goose-bump moments as we narrowed our focus down enough to give words to our experiences.
The Call to Action
The idea was simple; revisit our mission and vision to further guide our growing team. The findings from this project branched off into other supporting projects that spanned the growing needs of our team.
The first of these branches was to create a KXL handbook to serve as a guide to our Kaiser culture. This book became a beautiful home for our values and the story of what makes us a team. The handbook was informed by all corners of KXL and its formation touched all of our teams. As the handbook took shape, it also became an important onboarding tool for our new team members and home to a ton of go-to information, brand DNA and team games. It was a fun and inspiring project that became our 2019 first edition publication.
The second of these branches was our very first All-Hands Event. We decided that the best way to celebrate our 100 Kaisers milestone was to get everyone under one roof and throw an awesome party! The first part of this event included an all-hands meeting where our entire team came together around a shared mission to work, learn, share and inspire.
A Celebration of Brand
Our All-Hands Event welcomed every Kaiser and it was important to provide a branded stage for our different teams to work together on. The environment needed to look KXL, feel KXL and be KXL. Here, each Kaisers’ experience was important so a strong brand identity was key to setting the stage for our community.
Providing a strong and unified brand is like turning the company logo into a flag that the entire company can rally around. It reinforces a team passion that inspires us even when challenges arise. We are Kaisers and it is this honest brand that is part of the KXL value. It is our shared identity and the foundation of our work. It is our commitment to our core values that played a part in forming our mission. These values stay true.
We collaborate with others. Working side by side our client teams throughout the journey, we are embedded in the team structure and stay with the challenge from the early stages through implementation and beyond.
Human needs are at the centre of everything we do. We love people and we aim to make digital and business interactions work for everyone. We connect human needs, technical feasibility, and business viability for the digital evolution of our client organisations.
Impact-oriented Our process ensures that we do the right thing and do things right. We accelerate the digital product offering, purposely, aligning UX with business impact to support measurable growth.
Our 4th value in this project was the most important. It was a ‘fill-in-the-blank’ workshop that presented an ‘open value’ activity to let Kaisers of all disciplines work out how they see themselves within our mission. The workshop asked every Kaiser how they transform the ordinary within their projects, locations or disciplines. This was an inspiring activity that made the mission individually tangible while at the same time connecting our team within it.
“I holistically understand our customers and their characteristics and behaviours and can offer a truly personal experience because I was endlessly curious.”
“By enabling a better understanding and a more open mindset through the introduction of new processes, tools and methods I achieved more.”
“By working and experimenting with hypotheses and constantly testing them, I achieved fast improvements and a greater willingness for flexibility.”
We know that great products and services change everything and that digital is ever-changing. Collaboration is central to everything we do. Kaiser X Labs transform ordinary encounters using an integration of expertise in digital transformation, agile digital factory services, research, UX/UI design, brand design, design thinking, data analytics, & customer-centred development to shape meaningful and successful experiences for our clients and their customers.
We imagine a world where business complexity is resolved through experiences of integrated connections and multidisciplinary efforts. We continue to work by this mission and vision.
Written by Jenny Schminke, Communication Manager, Kaiser X Labs, 2019