JALNA GOES EPIC! An illustrative story.
Jalna works in accounts payable for Behemoth Inc. While at her desk, she received an email saying a new sign had just been posted on her street telling drivers to slow down. She smiled because her young children had nearly been hit by a speeder two weeks ago. At the same time, she was a bit perplexed. She, as had other neighbours over the years, had tried calling the city traffic department to get a sign put up to no avail.
Curious, Jalna clicked through the link to a 'mission' her neighbour, Beth, had launched on epic.io. Apparently, Beth had shared it with some other neighbours, some of whom found some research on residential traffic fatalities, some took pictures of other signs in the neibourhood, some shared their stories from the street, while yet another shared it with the local councillor. Moved by the momentum, the councillor had posted to the mission yesterday saying she had talked with the traffic department and a sign was scheduled to go up 'tomorrow'. Today today Jalna's neighbour posted a picture of the sign.
As Jalna took another drink of the office coffee she and everyone on her floor complained about, she started to wonder. If she posted a mission for "awesome coffee on the 15th floor" would she and her colleagues be able to find a way to make it happen? Within a minute she had the mission setup and sent to a couple of her closest colleagues and office-bound friends in other organizations, leading with the question of "what is awesome office coffee". Almost immediately she started getting some responses and examples from her other friends. The next day, when she checked back in to work, another colleague had found some case studies making the economic case of better productivity through better coffee. By the end of the day there were over 100 posts on the mission from 40 different people from both inside and outside the organization... and people were chatting about it - at the coffeemaker.
Over the coming months, Jalna posted more missions, some for work, some for the rest of her life. She found herself paying more attention to what she was doing and where she wanted to go. She also began seeing more missions coming from other colleagues and friends and started contributing to those that mattered most. While there were some missions that seemed preposterously out of reach, she found herself posting progress in unexpected ways and getting clearer on where she wanted to go. She also noticed office chatter shifting. There was more passion and more people talking about what they were doing. People of all levels, were having real conversations about making all sorts of things better, from new product innovations to buying better toilet paper. And, yes, by the end of the year, there was awesome coffee on every floor at Behemoth. Indeed Behemoth seemed a lot more awesome too.
MOONSHOT: Reinventing Leadership
Everyone has been a leader in some context, at some point, of something. Leadership is not the domain of a select few but the potential of humanity. The most adaptive organizations will see flashes and flows of leadership in all areas of the organization. epic.io will surface and nurture that leadership in a number of ways. First every individual account has the same primary privileges. There is no account-level hierarchy meaning everyone enters on the same level. Anyone can post any mission they want. This means they can create a mission related to any aspect of the organization, they are not bound by organizational structure. No matter how big, or how small, anyone can choose to make something happen that matters to them. Interest driven participation. People can choose to follow and participate in any mission that matters to them. Again, they are not bound by organizational structure. Once following a mission they can participate in exactly the same way as everyone other person following that mission, increasing the likelihood that they will be driven towards their most inspired contributions. Peer-based feedback. There are 3 ways to 'respond' to any post made on a mission: comment; favourite; rate. These provide for a range of feedback with the feedback of each user having the same value as that of every other user. This begins to surface how and where value is created as determined by the people themselves. Leaderboarding. The previous aspects enable leaderboards on each mission recognizing that leadership can in fact arise from any participant. Determined by a dynamic algorithm that seeks to balance the types of participation in every mission, leaders are determined based on their contributions to each mission individually. Leadership then, is recognized as it happens, when it happens. It's not granted with a title. It's what's demonstrated. It's something everyone can demonstrate. It is no longer a position to aspire to, but a element in everyone's journey in making their greatest contributions - in working on what matters - in making progress on purpose. Through epic.io leadership becomes evident in the creation and completion of missions, participatory leadership in other's missions, and through feedback on individual posts.
MOONSHOT: Taking the Work out of Work
"Work" is that stuff that we have to do simply because we have to do. As articulated in Dan PInk's "Drive" It is those things that have lost all meaning, those things where we have no autonomy in how it is accomplished. More simply, it's that what makes Jack a "dull boy". That changes however when we are reconnected with the purpose of our mission and freedom to make progress in the way we best know how. This is a primary inspiration behind epic.io and what led to using purpose as a platform. Furthermore we focus on progress as opposed to activity, reinforced by Amabile and Kramer's findings that, "progress" is a primary motivator. Together these two foci converge on motivation, arguably the most important ingredient in taking the 'work' out of work. Additionally, several design elements of epic.io encourage a sense of community and deliver unexpected rewards through a badging system which will recognizes aspects of participation that amplify acts of community, participation and play.
MOONSHOT: Increasing Trust
Trust has inertia built from experience. By changing the experience of work and leadership as described in the two moonshots above, epic.io will increase trust based on the experience and results from self-directed collaboration around common-purpose. There are at least two-stages to this happening. First, trust goes both ways. It needs to be built among those controlling convention to experience positive improvements and results from new approaches and among those trying new approaches being authentically enabled to experiment with the new approaches. The first phase occurs in the adoption of epic.io itself. By starting with even the smallest of initiatives such as finding better office coffee, improving recycled content in office products purchased, or finding new non-threatening opportunities to use epic.io trust can be developed. As these missions unfold, leadership is demonstrated, and results are realized, trust will increase. The more this happens, the more space opens for this approach to be taken. Next, as it grows, the increasing trust will spread from trust of a 'tool' to a more basic trusting in each other. People will begin to see that the world won't fall apart when people are allowed to pursue what matters to them, and in fact, that it generates greater performance from individuals including themselves which translates to greater performance of the organization.
- Sign-up for epic.io alpha invite (or go ahead and build your own platform)
- Start by posting some simple, near horizon initiatives that you are making happen
- Set notifications and progress alerts
- Make some progress
- Play around
- Invite some colleagues you are collaborating with
- Play around and make more progress
- Reflect on implications and opportunities for purpose as a platform in your organization
- Do a little dance
- Respond to what you learn
- Drive, Daniel Pink