1 min read

Crafting a Creative Culture

Jeff Veen of True Ventures, is using a word that’s fallen out of use. It’s a beautiful word with beautiful meaning. Equanimity, meaning grace under pressure.

Using an example of a crazy 4 day deadline for a project, the team needed equanimity.To do that, they also had to quickly go through three stages: identify, build, and integrate

A key element of this – as found out in Google project Aristotle –  is psychological safety. This means people feeling that they can speak up without others shaming or embarrassing them.

Director Steven Soderbergh also uses something similar, as he explained in a Vulture interview:

I’m looking to amplify and showcase whatever it is about [the actors] that I find compelling … [by keeping] the environment pretty relaxed — relaxed but focused.

Other key elements Veen mentioned are shared values, safety, camaraderie, and trust.

If you’re running a product meeting (not design) – know if it is diverging or converging and set ground rules. Also understand what needs to be done to know something:

  • Exposure to testing – know needs
  • design – know vocabulary
  • diversity, angles – good taste

Post-mortem meetings are helpful, as are using Sakichi Toyoda’s 5 Whys: Veen gave a story of how accidents on the Amazon factory floor drilled down to people not having personal lockers. He had similar stories from Typekit.

Think about the anti-meeting – act distributed, even if you aren’t, with communication compression e.g. Slack with automation etc can allow for ambient accountability (micro-appreciations with emoji and animated gifs)

Create cadence to measure:

  • momentum in days
  • priorities in months
  • vision in years
  • purpose is timeless


Other notes are captured from Scriberia’s sketchnotes: