3.27 – Simple Starters

A brief tangent; I’ve been making bread today. Sourdough bread, to be precise. Oooo, how very hipster. Yes, well, possibly. But the thing is; it isn’t as hard as you’d think. You need a starter, which is basically just mixing some flour and water together, over a few days, until it starts to ferment. Then you knead that with some more flour and water, a pinch of salt, and ta-da, bread.

Now, there are ways to make it harder. To be more precise, to test and learn, to vary conditions, quantities and so on. You can go to town on the complexity, or you can just find something that works for you.

One side benefit to making tasty bread is that you can work away in the kitchen as the bread is baking… it’s a little bit like the pomodoro technique, which is a great way to chunk time into small, distinct units to get things done. And you get the benefits of a standing desk as well, and additionally the creative advantages of shifting work into another space.

Anyway… what’s this got to do with what I’ve been working on?

The first of the four tasks I gave myself to do (as we head towards the conclusion) was to make a simple, easy to start version of the Culture Matrix. The equivalent of a sourdough starter; it’s just bit of flour and a bit of water.

I’ve been playing tonight with a format tonight that’s simply about helping you use your peripheral vision to look at culture; rather than looking at something directly, you think about four questions around that event.

27 - simple starters

You start by looking at the task at hand; “What is our work here?”. On the edges of the task as it presents itself, though, there are peripheral questions which prove useful. The first two questions are about PEOPLE, or ‘our work’. The second two are about SPACE, or “…here”. All four have some extra fleshing out below them, so you can imagine where the conversations may take you.

– What is it trying to build upon?

Why is this thing next? What does it do for our customers? What came before it which made this the next step? Who was responsible for that? Where are they? Do they still believe in it? What can they tell us?

– What is it trying to get people to do?

Why do we want it to happen? If we do this, what do we expect to change? Who will this help? What are their ambitions? Do they want this? Have we asked them about it? Have we shared what we’ve got planned? Have they helped us steer it?

– What will it create today?

What artefacts will we make as part of this? What will exist today that didn’t yesterday? How will the existence of new stuff affect our ecosystem? What will change in the environment for teams, or for individuals? What will cease to exist because this replaces it?

– What will it leave behind for tomorrow?

How will it affect us in the long-term? What will it change in the spaces between us all? When people find this in three years, what will they think? How will we talk about it in retrospect? Where will it live in our culture?

They’re not perfect yet, but it does create a simple version on top of the Culture Matrix that invites people in to play; the equivalent of the learning level in a game, perhaps, or the first time you make bread.



PREVIOUSLY – 3.26 – Designing Flow Engines

NOW READ – 3.28 – Question Engine


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