Teal for Startups
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Teal for Startups

The Power of Teams Series — Episode 1

Photograph by Pasco taken during the Dignity & Co Retreat at the ASHA Centre 24th to 28th March 2017

To follow on and support the next steps out of the sensing journey, we wanted to share stories of experiments emerging across the ecosystem. We were looking especially at team based experiments and how those teams formed.

In the process, there was a request for guiding questions, so we shared the following which we co-created together during a co-working retreat:

  • How did you find each other and what was the resonating factor that brought you together?
  • How did you align on a common purpose?
  • How did you share responsibilities?
  • What challenges did you face during the journey?
  • How did you resolve them?
  • What surprised you as being easy?
  • What did you learn from the journey?
  • What is your key ask to continue your journey?

We are sharing team stories that we sense provide great insights around team formation. We reached out to teams that we were personally aware of and we felt their experience could help the community and beyond into the wider ecosystem. In this first episode, we would like to share two team journeys, one from Hack And Paint and other from Dignity.

The Hack And Paint Team

How did you find each other and what was the resonating factor that brought you together?

All of us are veterans from the movie and gaming industry. Prior to forming Hack and Paint, we have worked together for many years in probably the biggest and most well-known studios in the world, like Pixar, Blue Sky Studios, EA Games, Ubisoft, Rhythm and Hues and many more. Some of our credits include “Brave” , “Monsters University”, “Ice Age”, “Rio”, “Epic”, “Peanuts”, “Ferdinand”, “Assasin’s Creed” and many others. Throughout the years, we have always discussed studio structures, how studios work and operate and what could be better. Finally last year we decided to act and not just talk. Currently there are 5 partners working full time at Hack and Paint and 10 partners who are working part-time.

How did you align on a common purpose?

When we started, we had the clear idea that Hack and Paint will be a different kind of studio. We knew we wanted to build a ‘Teal’ studio and that was our common purpose at the time. Then that purpose evolved and we decided to work on games, then the business opportunity for VR materialised, so now our goal is to make interactive story driven VR games. Also, we have always wanted to address the environmental crisis humanity is facing today. So our aim will be to always incorporate an environmental element in our games — currently our game “Salt Lake” is centred around a polluted world, where our protagonists — Aiden and Winnie face challenges while embarking on an epic adventure.

How did you share responsibilities?

With Holacracy, that’s quite clear — each of us have very specific roles in the company, some of which we share, but we mostly split the responsibilities.

What challenges did you face during the process? How did resolve them?

Learning to operate and work in a Teal environment was the biggest challenge. This is all very new to us, although it has probably been in the back of our minds for more than 5 years. However, thinking about it and actually doing it are quite different. I would say that we are still trying to learn Holacracy and how we work together as a team.

What surprised you as being easy?

Before we started we thought there would be a lot of challenges, however, many of them were never actualised. That’s quite normal for us humans — to think that something will be a problem, before we even have experience with it. One such thing was the idea that in a self-managed environment there will be tasks which nobody will want to do, and that we will need to address this, because , well… there are no managers to tell you that you should do this particular task. What was strange/surprising, is that people were willing to work, even on the crappiest of tasks for the common good.

What did you learn from the journey?

So many lessons learned… Probably the biggest being “to prioritise doing over thinking”. Perhaps, our biggest failure so far, is that we spent far too much time on designing the perfect place to work and the perfect game, etc… when in fact all that emerged naturally, once we started to work and follow the Holacracy processes.

What is your key ask to continue your journey?

We need a business advisor with prior game studio experience or a current investor in the game market.

The Dignity Team

You can watch this spontaneous eight minutes video and listen to their answers to our questions where Luke and Pasco are presenting on behalf of their team.

What is your key ask to continue your journey?

Well we think right now, funding is our key ask. Although we seem to keep moving pretty fast without it. Money will undoubtedly free more of our time to focus on Dignity, and also mean that we don’t have to pay for all the expenses ourselves, from other less fulfilling work.

Can you help one of the Teams with their key ask?

If you can help and would like to be connected with them, then kindly fill out this form.

How to Participate?

If you would like to share your journey within the T4S community then fill this form to be considered in the next blog. This is also a great tool to help grow your team and to make your key ask visible.

Would you like to read more Teams Journeys?

Read two more team journeys in Episode 2 here.


The co-designers of the Power of Teams Series are Steph a co-creator for T4S and Malek a co-initiator of T4S and co-founder of Unleash Leadership.




Join us in the journey towards more humane, more effective organisations.

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Malek Jaber

Malek Jaber

Strategy | Product | Digital | Innovation | Partnerships | FinTech | eCommerce | Telco

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