My-father-plays-dominos-better-than-your-father-plays-dominos

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Paul Fairweather 2020

Except for Carpe Diem, My-father-plays-dominos-better-than-your-father-plays-dominos (said very quickly in a monotone), is all of the Latin that I thought I knew.

But it turns out there is another Latin phrase that I know: Vice versa, but now a common English phrase. Curiously while vice is a word in its own right, versa is not a word in English. It is, however, the name of a Digital Agency in Melbourne, specialising in Ai.

Kath Blackham, the founder of Versa, explains that the name is derived from the word conversation, literally the middle bit a discussion.

Kath had come to my attention after she featured in an ABC article about her decision to close her agency on a Wednesday to allow her team to explore their own interests.

I was curious. This was not a new concept and been famously adopted, and then discontinued by Google and others. I had had not expected any further insight into the idea but was more than pleasantly surprised. Kath had a totally different approach to what I was expecting. For her, it was all about an issue she is most passionate about, Mental Health in the workplace.

I have had a lifelong interest in creativity in the workplace, but Kath has drilled down to a deeper level and has approached the subject of creativity from a different angle. First and foremost, people have to be mentally well. The closing of the office on a Wednesday is not designated for any particularly creative project, but for her staff to do whatever it is that they need to nourish themselves. Sleep, play music, garden, read, run errands or pursue a creative project or hobby. Kath is not just thinking and talking about mental health, but she is making space for it in the lives of her team.

Kath was at pains to explain to me that the staff still do a 37 1/2 hour minimum working week. Most often they do more than that, but before closing on a Wednesday, like a lot of companies, creative or not, the staff were doing 60 plus hours a week.

I love this idea of a day in the middle of the week to stop and recharge. Wednesday is a pivot point. An opportunity to look back at the wake of progress or otherwise in the first two days of the week, and see what ripples are on the radar for the final two days of the week. To take stock of what has past and to think about what is coming up.

While not everyone company can close their office on a Wednesday, everyone can take the opportunity to dedicate even a small amount of time during the middle of the week.

But what about the bottom line? The strategy has a domino effect. Kath reports that the team seem more creative, they are more productive, and there has been a substantial increase in both turnover and profitability.

Forget Carpe Diem. For me, it is now Carpe Mercurii.

For more insights into Versa and Kath’s approach to creativity in business, check out Episode 13 of The Common Creative Podcast; There’s No Ai in Creativity. HERE

Drop me a line if you are interested in continuing the discussion. paul@paulfairweather.com

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Writer Speaker Husband Dad Architect Artist, www.paulfairweather.com https://www.paulfairweather.com/subscribe

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