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Hi I’m Sabine Storm and I’m a designer for ustwo.
LONDON
Founded 2004
MALMÖ
Opened 2008
NEW YORK
Opened 2012
We are a digital product studio, we create apps, games and ever...
I work in the Malmø studio, we have everything in house, designers, developers and business developers.
Culture is something we treasure very highly. Silje (former ustwo employee) invited me to talk about the culture at ustwo....
First I would like to ask you all a question: Did any of you ever try to have fun? Did you like it?
That makes a lot of sense - ever since the beginning of the universe there has existed a constant amount of fun between us...
Right now we are in a good place. There is a direct access to the source of fun. There are different theories on why, we
k...
Some people are more connected to the fun then others. But when it’s there you need to ride it like a wave, and the
magica...
It happened for most of my colleagues, some within 30 minutes before I send out this survey and asked if they and fun.
And...
What is culture?
Why have fun at work?
Why even HAPPINESS
But that’s not a coincident. Here is the business model for ustw...
What is culture?
Why have fun at work?
Why even HAPPINESS
And if you zoom in…
What is culture?
Why have fun at work?
Why even HAPPINESS
You can see that our employees are one of our most important res...
Now some history: It all started 10 years ago. Mills and Sinx - on the photo, wanted to create the best workplace in the w...
Now we are 200+ sharing that vision, people rarely leave, there are off course different reasons for that but a strong
cre...
HELLO
CULTURE
So I will in this presentation reveal all of our deepest secrets with you, to how we invest in culture and f...
ANALOG PLANNING
In the social area we have a big board showing what teams we have and what everyone is working on.
It crea...
STUDIO SPACE
Our studio is very open, we invite clients to come and work with us from our studio, everybody can draw on th...
WORK HOW YOU WANT
The space is flexible and enables you to move around and work in different ways.
LOOK HOW YOU WANT
We are very diverse, have many cultures and therefor embrace different looks in general. You can even we...
HIRE NICE PEOPLE
We hire nice people. Skills are important but aspiration and passion is just as important. We hire people...
1 ROOM
All projects have their own project room, everyone works on only 1 project at the time, so they can talk and work t...
1 TEAM
Which also means we work as one team, where we help each other. Everyone have their role but that doesn't
mean the ...
COACHES
That guy is called Peter, he is a team coach. Working well as a team is not always easy. A year ago we decided to ...
FEEDBACK
The coaches also help with honesty and feedback not only on the project teams but in the organization.
This means...
WORKSHOP
We have fun with clients. We often use LEGO to share and visualize ideas for a project.
It’s much more fun then w...
It also activates everyone and here are some examples of what a digital product strategy can look like In LEGO.
BEFORE
Here is an example of a group of people who are super bored and therefor get’s nothing done.
AFTER
Just an hour later they are filled with the source of fun, and are visualizing their ideas and creating concepts.
Fu...
WORK IT
Culture, fun and a great work environment doesn’t come along by itself. You have to invest in it.
We have changed ...
A VISION
Before the summer we made a shared vision for all of ustwo. Instead of a Leadership team going on an extended wee...
EXTERNAL:
!
!
We make MAGICAL products
We make products HAPPEN
We make products COUNT
The vision is both external, where i...
INTERNAL:
!
We offer OPPORTUNITY through
COMMUNITY
We prioritize LEARNING &
DEVELOPMENT
We SHARE THE SUCCESS
As well as in...
This is our business plan which is open for everyone to participate in and change.
I want to give an example on how the vision works. We want to be a learning organization for example. This means we will
a...
OPEN LEADERSHIP
MEETINGS
We are a flat organization, the leadership meetings are open. And there should always be at least...
SHARE
Money also makes you happy. The profit from own IP for example Monument Valley is shared between all employees.
HOLIDAY
Every year we all go on holiday together. for 4 days to an exotic destination. Last year we had an enormous budget...
STUDIO LOL
And then we like having fun photos hanging in around the studio. It is mostly funny photoshops we made of each ...
It’s like a little love letter, and you cant be too serious or sad when you see a funny photo of yourself or your friends....
And here is me scratching my ass.
WELCOME
When we have new starters, we all send them a welcome mail. This means 150 hello emails from strangers,
often with...
And then we have something truly unique. Something you cant buy or hire. It is Mills.
Even though culture is achievable fo...
And then we have a process we use, I can recommend anyone to use. its called JFDI it means just fucking do it , and what i...
I want to share some of our own projects with you. We invest in our own IP. This makes us happy. It’s a playground for exp...
MAKE FUN
Some of them are very silly - yet silly is sometimes very necessary. It enables fun for others. Don’t keep all th...
With Mouthoff you take the phone up to your mouth and talk, the animated mouths will animate to the sound of your voice.
Like this, it gave us some press. So maybe not directly a big pool of money short term, more longterm.
Honk! was a chat app we created and released a couple of years ago.
We made Honk! because we realized that we are the only planet in the entire universe with the entire internet.
We had to m...
The internet is also a place with a lot of extraordinary good stuff.
At the same time we thought personal communication was too boring, it hadn't evolved at all.
So we combined fun from the i...
Honk! was not a big audience success, but we embrace mistakes. We are not afraid to fail. We learned a lot, at least we
ha...
Luckily we released Rando right after…
Which is an anti social photosharing app where you share photos with random strangers across the world.
You cant friends w...
25.213.012 Rando’s sent since launch
It was a massive success, It was a lot of fun for a lot of people, and gave us even m...
We even had some nice billboards up in London. I can give you some billboard insight: downloads did not go up.
Unfortunately it was hacked so we closed it last spring.
So why do culture, why have fun, why even happiness?
Here is why: great people, in a great culture and a great environment creates great stuff.
And great stuff is profitable..we are a successful design studio now - 200 people
So fun suddenly turned into serious business.
This one is for the CEO’s and finance directors in here, I will bend it in neon for you:
The more happy and fun the more m...
And the more money the more you can invest back in to having fun and be happy -
it’s a loop that will take you out into th...
Do take a note - your happy might not be the same as ours, and we might not be 100% happy, but we’re working on it.
And remember one important thing: you are ALL culture.
(this is a photo of the next speaker Ken Wong from Monument Valley ...
Why culture, Why fun, Why even Happiness? A talk on how we invest in culture and fun at ustwo.
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Why culture, Why fun, Why even Happiness? A talk on how we invest in culture and fun at ustwo.

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Why have fun at work and why even be happy in the first place?
A presentation from IXD Oslo on why we invest in culture and creativity at ustwo. It is a broad sneak peak into very tangible initiatives we have tried at ustwo.

Please get in touch if you have comments or questions.
sabine@ustwo.com

Veröffentlicht in: Leadership & Management
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Why culture, Why fun, Why even Happiness? A talk on how we invest in culture and fun at ustwo.

  1. Hi I’m Sabine Storm and I’m a designer for ustwo.
  2. LONDON Founded 2004 MALMÖ Opened 2008 NEW YORK Opened 2012 We are a digital product studio, we create apps, games and everything digital.
  3. I work in the Malmø studio, we have everything in house, designers, developers and business developers.
  4. Culture is something we treasure very highly. Silje (former ustwo employee) invited me to talk about the culture at ustwo. So why do we do culture, why fun at work and why even be happy in the first place?
  5. First I would like to ask you all a question: Did any of you ever try to have fun? Did you like it?
  6. That makes a lot of sense - ever since the beginning of the universe there has existed a constant amount of fun between us. Which simply enables anyone to have fun.
  7. Right now we are in a good place. There is a direct access to the source of fun. There are different theories on why, we know more about ourselves and the world, we have the internet, and we can share the fun.
  8. Some people are more connected to the fun then others. But when it’s there you need to ride it like a wave, and the magical part is that it grows when you ride it. Fun can happen to anyone!
  9. It happened for most of my colleagues, some within 30 minutes before I send out this survey and asked if they and fun. And they all agree: fun makes sense in different ways.
  10. What is culture? Why have fun at work? Why even HAPPINESS But that’s not a coincident. Here is the business model for ustwo. It is placed in our social area, for everyone to look at and have an opinion about.
  11. What is culture? Why have fun at work? Why even HAPPINESS And if you zoom in…
  12. What is culture? Why have fun at work? Why even HAPPINESS You can see that our employees are one of our most important resources. A culture where we are happy and have fun is super important.
  13. Now some history: It all started 10 years ago. Mills and Sinx - on the photo, wanted to create the best workplace in the world.
  14. Now we are 200+ sharing that vision, people rarely leave, there are off course different reasons for that but a strong creative culture is one of them we’d like to think.
  15. HELLO CULTURE So I will in this presentation reveal all of our deepest secrets with you, to how we invest in culture and fun.
  16. ANALOG PLANNING In the social area we have a big board showing what teams we have and what everyone is working on. It creates transparency, it’s easier then having a spreadsheet and it promotes involvement and conversation.
  17. STUDIO SPACE Our studio is very open, we invite clients to come and work with us from our studio, everybody can draw on the walls, and put up home made memes.
  18. WORK HOW YOU WANT The space is flexible and enables you to move around and work in different ways.
  19. LOOK HOW YOU WANT We are very diverse, have many cultures and therefor embrace different looks in general. You can even wear a suit if you like.
  20. HIRE NICE PEOPLE We hire nice people. Skills are important but aspiration and passion is just as important. We hire people we want to work with.
  21. 1 ROOM All projects have their own project room, everyone works on only 1 project at the time, so they can talk and work together and do actual design instead of emailing.
  22. 1 TEAM Which also means we work as one team, where we help each other. Everyone have their role but that doesn't mean the interns ideas are not good or that designers cant help developers with testing for example.
  23. COACHES That guy is called Peter, he is a team coach. Working well as a team is not always easy. A year ago we decided to hire coaches instead of project managers. So we don't have project managers, the team manages the project themselves, and communicates directly with the client. Coaches take care of the team, and make sure everyone works well together.
  24. FEEDBACK The coaches also help with honesty and feedback not only on the project teams but in the organization. This means in general more honesty and trust, which in the end means better work.
  25. WORKSHOP We have fun with clients. We often use LEGO to share and visualize ideas for a project. It’s much more fun then writing them down in spread sheet.
  26. It also activates everyone and here are some examples of what a digital product strategy can look like In LEGO.
  27. BEFORE Here is an example of a group of people who are super bored and therefor get’s nothing done.
  28. AFTER Just an hour later they are filled with the source of fun, and are visualizing their ideas and creating concepts. Fun makes people relax. and therefor share more of their great ideas and engage in others ideas.
  29. WORK IT Culture, fun and a great work environment doesn’t come along by itself. You have to invest in it. We have changed a lot the past 5 years, when we have problems we need to address them. We are not scared of testing methods and ideas, some things will work - others wont.
  30. A VISION Before the summer we made a shared vision for all of ustwo. Instead of a Leadership team going on an extended weekend and presenting the vision for everyone two days later, we all participated in it.
  31. EXTERNAL: ! ! We make MAGICAL products We make products HAPPEN We make products COUNT The vision is both external, where is ustwo going and how will we go there.
  32. INTERNAL: ! We offer OPPORTUNITY through COMMUNITY We prioritize LEARNING & DEVELOPMENT We SHARE THE SUCCESS As well as internal. What is success between everyone that works here.
  33. This is our business plan which is open for everyone to participate in and change.
  34. I want to give an example on how the vision works. We want to be a learning organization for example. This means we will adapt to change and fail fast. But what does that even mean? Practically it can mean: everyone on the team should have a personal goal with every project. It’s just an example.
  35. OPEN LEADERSHIP MEETINGS We are a flat organization, the leadership meetings are open. And there should always be at least one guest in them. A guest meaning anyone who is not already on the leadership team.
  36. SHARE Money also makes you happy. The profit from own IP for example Monument Valley is shared between all employees.
  37. HOLIDAY Every year we all go on holiday together. for 4 days to an exotic destination. Last year we had an enormous budget because of all the fun we have had. We get to know each other. It makes us work better to have had a lot of fun together. We don’t work on the holiday but we do dress out.
  38. STUDIO LOL And then we like having fun photos hanging in around the studio. It is mostly funny photoshops we made of each other.
  39. It’s like a little love letter, and you cant be too serious or sad when you see a funny photo of yourself or your friends. Here is Marcus, the Director of the Malmø Studio.
  40. And here is me scratching my ass.
  41. WELCOME When we have new starters, we all send them a welcome mail. This means 150 hello emails from strangers, often with a gif or a funny photo attached.
  42. And then we have something truly unique. Something you cant buy or hire. It is Mills. Even though culture is achievable for any company, it has to come from the heart of the organization. It floats through. And Mills is definitely a promotor of fun.
  43. And then we have a process we use, I can recommend anyone to use. its called JFDI it means just fucking do it , and what it really means is that if you want to do something. Just DO it.
  44. I want to share some of our own projects with you. We invest in our own IP. This makes us happy. It’s a playground for experiments, learning and fun and it gives us an identity as a design studio. Until monument valley we did not make that many money on these projects, but we manifested ourselves and we are all super proud of this work.
  45. MAKE FUN Some of them are very silly - yet silly is sometimes very necessary. It enables fun for others. Don’t keep all the fun for yourself, make fun products too. Oh Hai is an app where you take a photo of yourself or your friends, and then you can make the eyes larger and the mouth too, and the it’s fun.
  46. With Mouthoff you take the phone up to your mouth and talk, the animated mouths will animate to the sound of your voice.
  47. Like this, it gave us some press. So maybe not directly a big pool of money short term, more longterm.
  48. Honk! was a chat app we created and released a couple of years ago.
  49. We made Honk! because we realized that we are the only planet in the entire universe with the entire internet. We had to make something extraordinary.
  50. The internet is also a place with a lot of extraordinary good stuff.
  51. At the same time we thought personal communication was too boring, it hadn't evolved at all. So we combined fun from the internet and personal chatting.
  52. Honk! was not a big audience success, but we embrace mistakes. We are not afraid to fail. We learned a lot, at least we had a lot of fun in the making. If we hadn’t had fun it would have been a complete waste.
  53. Luckily we released Rando right after…
  54. Which is an anti social photosharing app where you share photos with random strangers across the world. You cant friends with anyone or like their photos. Just share photos.
  55. 25.213.012 Rando’s sent since launch It was a massive success, It was a lot of fun for a lot of people, and gave us even more press then we ever tried before. We had great feedback from users who really enjoyed it.
  56. We even had some nice billboards up in London. I can give you some billboard insight: downloads did not go up.
  57. Unfortunately it was hacked so we closed it last spring.
  58. So why do culture, why have fun, why even happiness?
  59. Here is why: great people, in a great culture and a great environment creates great stuff.
  60. And great stuff is profitable..we are a successful design studio now - 200 people
  61. So fun suddenly turned into serious business.
  62. This one is for the CEO’s and finance directors in here, I will bend it in neon for you: The more happy and fun the more money you’ll make
  63. And the more money the more you can invest back in to having fun and be happy - it’s a loop that will take you out into the universe.
  64. Do take a note - your happy might not be the same as ours, and we might not be 100% happy, but we’re working on it.
  65. And remember one important thing: you are ALL culture. (this is a photo of the next speaker Ken Wong from Monument Valley games team.) THANK YOU.

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