Keeping The Furniture Moving

Guest blog by Ally Walker, Marketing Consultant

Castlight have moved the office furniture around again.

I’ve noticed this before and just assumed that the team was creating more desk space for the new starts that are joining on an almost weekly basis.

But its not. It’s because the principles of driving a disruptive technology company are hard wired into every member of the team. They simply can’t help themselves wanting to see things from a different angle – often quite literally. They are all about not being comfortable, not being content that because something worked well yesterday it will work well today. And if that means pulling down a wall and re-configuring work stations to help people work better or differently, then that’s what they do.

Mixing  It Up

Yesterday, CEO Phil Grady didn’t invite me into his office for our meeting – because his office walls have disappeared since last week and he now has a standing work station. When I arrived, he was standing ramrod straight, firing out emails with a view across Glasgow’s thriving Finnieston community. He had a new perspective and that was utterly intentional. He was looking at the environment around him from a new angle. He may not have looked particularly comfortable, but that’s the point. You don’t do much disrupting if you’re comfortable.

And it wasn’t just Phil. It actually never is, because the whole Castlight team are driven by the same sense of wanting to shake things up, do things better and make new connections. And that kind of attitude drives new behaviours.

Take the data scientists for example. They do things differently too. Every so often, they leap from their screens, up on their feet for a vertical meeting. Five or 10 minutes standing in a circle to share information, agree priorities, report on progress or brainstorm problems. There’s a palpable sense of agility, a sense of nimble movement and nimble thinking.

An Agile Working Model

Peter Brady, founder and director of a company called Collaborative Design in Sydney, calls it an “agile working model” and believes standing meetings and fluid meeting spaces are fundamental to collaborative behaviour.

I’d agree with Mr Brady. And I like his “agile working model” terminology, but when its applied to Castlight, I believe the model can only facilitate and channel the real driving force, which is a team energised by disruptive technology, encouraged to think for themselves and challenge the status quo and a real desire to deliver products which provide financial security to the people who need them most.

Clare Blackburne has just joined Castlight’s data scientist team. And she really likes the atmosphere and way of working. She says: “I feel invested in Castlight. I’m engaging with what I do in a way I haven’t done before.”

She’s clearly happy and motivated but she almost certainly won’t be sitting in the same seat when I see her next!