We are both philosophers at heart. Despite our best efforts otherwise, and sometimes much to the exasperation of our colleagues, we tend to veer off into long discourses about abstract principles underlying visible phenomena. Other times we’ve agonised & debated over the meaning of every word used in our designs for hours at a stretch, before finally laughing about the absurdity of the over-analytical mind. More often than we care to admit, we’ve ended up analysing the collective human condition in what are supposed to be time bound design meetings with clear objectives & deadlines to consider! We’ve even been told off by our newest team member one time, who exercised enormous self control for about 30 minutes, and then just couldn’t take it anymore! True story!

And so, on one such especially philosophical afternoon, as we pored over the myriad nuances of the design & content of our new onboarding program (called Immersion), the idea of Our Culture Cafe was born. As we argued & fussed over every tiny detail, we found ourselves in awe of just how rich, complex & dynamic the landscape of ThoughtWorks culture is. We were also reminded of how deeply we value this culture and that we are privileged to be a part of it.

Over the past few years now, we’ve worked in the space of Organisational Culture Building & Change Leadership. We’ve thought & learnt a lot about what organisational culture is, how it’s built, how it can change & evolve. And most importantly, how we can keep this incredible culture alive, while continuously shaping it for the future. And we will continue on this journey for a while to come. But on this particular afternoon, we felt that we wanted to bring some fellow travellers along & share what we know more widely.

Besides our love & fascination for good writing, we were seeing its power in our work as we began to communicate widely about our culture programs. In the process of articulating & recording something for our readers, we had so often ended up with a deeper, clearer, sharper understanding of what we thought we already knew. So we naturally chose the written word as our primary way of sharing our insights. When Flannery O'Connor said "I write to discover what I know."  she was onto something!

While we wanted to reach more existing & future ThoughtWorkers, we also wanted to share these ideas more broadly with the hope that other like minded communities will also benefit. So while most of what we share will be based on our personal experiences of the ThoughtWorks culture, we believe it will hold useful insights & lessons beyond the ThoughtWorks context as well.

In a nutshell, at Our Culture Cafe, our mission is to:

Share compelling ideas and reflections from our experiences that help existing & future ThoughtWorkers understand, live, contribute to & shape ThoughtWorks culture.

Share these ideas widely with leaders & practitioners from the industry for use & application to their context.

Here is the kind of content you will find here:

I. Philosophical Perspectives
Our reflections on the philosophical underpinnings of ThoughtWorks Culture.

II. Concrete Examples and Stories
Sharing what a culture like our's looks like in action.

III. Ideas for Action
Tips and suggestions on how teams & individuals can strengthen the most important parts of a culture.

IV. Reflections on cultural change leadership
Sharing frameworks, models & theories that we have applied and found useful in our work.

We truly believe that ThoughtWorks culture is built on simple yet powerful ideas and we’ve seen it have a transformative impact on thousands of ThoughtWorkers in the time we’ve been here. Not only do we wish for this culture to flourish in all it’s vibrance at ThoughtWorks, we also wish for more organisations to build human centered cultures so that work can be more meaningful & satisfying for the larger collective. Our Culture Cafe is our little contribution to this larger vision.

Important Note: What we write & share on Our Culture Cafe, are our personal and subjective opinions.

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