Inside our Culture of Innovation
Like most boutique development shops, our team at Big Room Studios is moving a million miles an hour. We don't have the luxury of tossing billable hours to the wind so we can explore personal projects. But still, over the last 16 years, the Brothers Mateosian have developed a culture of innovation that has mobilized our small but mighty team to produce hundreds of weird and awesome projects.
From 3D games, to rap music videos and software for transparency in local government, the culture at Big Room makes people want to create. While we don't have a formalized strategy for "fostering innovation at work", that's inadvertently what has happened. And we're all better for it.
When creativity, innovation and risk-taking are allowed from 9-5 - employees are happier and more productive.
Here are a few of the things BRS has done that probably supports our weird culture of creativity:
There is always time for a ridiculous meme and a string of inside jokes. We've found that having a sense of humor encourages people to be themselves at the office. And our flat-organization means people crack jokes with co-workers and the boss without the fear of backlash or not being taken seriously later. Our team is more productive in a relaxed environment where hard work is celebrated alongside a stupid joke.
Get the hell out of the way
It's tempting to want to control the culture at your company. When new corporate trends come along you may jump to formalize it by writing it into the company handbook or scheduling "company culture days". But in the end - culture is larger than the sum of it's parts. Allowing employees to explore new ideas without overcomplicating things will allow innovation to ebb and flow. As projects come and go - keep an eye out for those that aren't just fads, but are truly at the core of your company's mission.
Put your money where your mouth is
While employees experiment with new ideas, technologies and projects, it's likely they'll turn to other team members and the boss for guidance and support. When these projects align with business goals and growth potential, it might be time to support them with resources. Whether it's sending employees to conferences where they can dig into a new area, or allowing them to spend some 9-5 time working on the project, nothing truly underlines your commitment to innovation like financial support.
At BRS, our commitment to Open Source Software development first started by supporting employees who were already involved in OSS projects during their free time.
Don't be afraid to just go for it
Entrepreneurship, development and creativity are by definition risky endeavors. In an industry where apps are created and abandoned every day, there is no guarantee that what we're building will succeed in a constantly changing market.
Collaboration and open communication are at the heart of making sure that we take measured risks to create the best products possible and balance risk-taking with thoughtful strategy. As a team, we talk openly about missteps and better ways to approach a project. We take responsibility for our own errors and ask for help as soon as we recognize we need it. That is at the core of our ability to fail and fail better as a group.
If you're interested in learning more about our side projects, or hire our team to collaborate on your next project - get in touch. We'll just be over here cracking jokes and building cool stuff.