Fresh ideas about design
Culture is a constant conversation around our office, and if you ask a Stradista what makes our firm special you’re likely to hear some iteration of “firm culture” spill out of our mouths in tandem. But what does that mean?
Sure, our weekly happy hour – “Beer-Thirty” – is a nice perk, but it’s about more than the beer and snacks to end the week, it’s reflective of a familial culture. Every Friday, during “Beer-Thirty,” we celebrate learning together, we toast to having conquered the challenges of another week, and we share our thoughts about striving for excellence in our work.
Having a great culture is critical to attracting and retaining talented employees, and building future generations of leadership in a company. It’s the difference between being built to succeed in a moment, and being built to sustain long-term prosperity. It is also essential to delivering great products and services.
There are countless ways to cultivate a great office culture and we recognize that this is not a one size fits all concept. We strive to maintain our culture and position Strada for long-term success by focusing on what makes us, collectively, great.
Since the beginning, Strada has been all about the team. We build teams across disciplines to attack and solve complex challenges, and bring a rich array of expertise to projects. Striking the right balance of collaboration, tension, order and chaos is the recipe for our creative success.
Everyone at Strada, at every level, loves learning new things. We enjoy exploring what’s going on outside of our walls and sharing new ideas. We also like to learn about the people and places that are essential to our projects. That inquisitive passion is evident in our work as we strive to surpass limitations and expectations, and improve upon each project we do.
It doesn’t take long in our office to notice that people like to have a good time. We take plenty of opportunities every day to engage in a good laugh. A Pennsylvania State University study (2011) discovered that a good laugh activates the same regions of the brain that light up over a big bonus check! We certainly believe a great sense of humor is essential to creating a great culture and doing serious work.
Great results require an appetite for calculated risks, coupled with a willingness to accept the results and the agility to quickly respond when something doesn’t go as planned. Innovation is an incremental process that involves constantly pushing the needle, making mistakes and learning from them to achieve unanticipated results.
For our team, successes are sweet, but the anticipation of the next challenge is what drives us the most. Past successes serve as inspiration, especially when a project continues to positively influence the people who use it. Stradistas are passionate about what we do because we get to solve new problems and take on new challenges every day.
At the end of the day, there is no “secret sauce” to office culture. It’s about having a set of core values that you collectively subscribe to, and aspire towards, and building a group of collaborators who buy into that vision. Those variables can create a unique corporate culture and extraordinary places to work, and that’s what makes people excited about going to work every day – It’s more than just a “job”… it’s a “lifestyle”!
It is impossible to build a meaningful place for people based solely on expertise in a specific project typology or based on current trends.
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At Strada, we “Design with People in Mind®,” as we recently gave name to a practice we continually partake in. It emphasizes how the people we design for are the backbone of our creations; they are the faces and the stories responsible for the transformation.
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