Returning to the office: go with the flow
This story starts with a job description. My own job description:
"In The Pocket’s Chief Product Officer is responsible for defining and evolving the services ITP offers to the market, and for the company-wide communities of practice where the knowledge and expertise to deliver on these services are shared."
Or to put it bluntly: it’s my job to nurture our knowledge culture.
Nurturing a thriving knowledge culture hasn’t been the easiest part of the job for the past two years. While remote working perfectly allowed us to maintain our existing knowledge culture, it was back-breaking to strengthen it. Bryan Chesky described that same tension best when he announced his hybrid work policy for Airbnb last week:
And I couldn’t agree more. Knowledge sharing is creative work. It’s much more about telling stories and building connections than it is about documenting processes or best practices.
As soon as the pandemic situation allowed us, we started looking for ways to retrieve that much-needed meaningful connection to again strengthen our knowledge culture. How might we celebrate the incredible amount of expertise flowing through In The Pocket? How might we give it the stage it deserves? I’m glad to say we found at least one good answer.
Last month we organised Flow, our very own in-house conference. Flow is about sharing all the exciting things that are happening at In The Pocket. Products we're working on, things we've learned, new tech we're excited about … But more importantly, Flow is about deepening that personal connection again. About injecting new life into our knowledge culture.
Apart from the topics presented at Flow, there’s something bigger that stuck with me. Three things in fact.
- Amazing things happen when you bring together people regardless of team, role or discipline. Take our ‘Figma for non-designers’ workshop as an example. Our people team now sends out neatly designed job proposals, hand-made by themselves in Figma.
- Even more amazing things happen when you openly invite people to talk about something they are passionate about. Our Flow schedule contained 20 slots, and was filled in no time. Some of my favourite surprises: a heated debate about the (non)sense of NFT’s and a Metaverse pet project by one of our software engineers.
- Flow perfectly illustrates our vision on the future of work: remote-friendly, but with well-designed invitations to spend quality time with your colleagues once in a while.
It’s an ancient cliché, but nevertheless true: crises and tensions lead to creativity and innovation.
I truly believe Flow is a part of this creative innovation, born out of tension. Today I am more energised than ever to look for other initiatives that help grow a knowledge culture while embracing a remote-friendly reality. It’s not bad being a Chief Product Officer.