Yay! I Failed!

So you may have seen we're helping promote Break Out conference. While working on it I realised how big an impact play has had on me personally. Here are a few things I learnt and try to live by everyday.

July 20, 2019

July 20, 2019

So you may have seen we're helping promote Break Out conference

While working on it I realised how big an impact play has had on me personally. Here are a few things I learnt and try to live by everyday.

Last year, I found myself at a crossroads in my career, feeling a little stuck, unchallenged and bored for the first time in a long while. That all started to change in August (Break Out) when I learnt the benefits of ‘Play’ and how important it is in driving innovation and creativity. It builds trust, empathy, optimism, flexibility, joy in movement, resilience and exploration of the impossible.

Stepping out of a normal routine, finding novelty, being open to serendipity, enjoying the unexpected, embracing a little risk, and finding pleasure in the heightened vividness of life. These are all qualities of a state of play.  Dr. Stuart Brown, National Institute of Play

I was intrigued. So I signed up to a Spontaneity course at Impro Melbourne that turned into four months of weekly meetups to play. It helped me kick start the next stage in my career, starting Harvey.

None of us really grow up. All we ever do is learn how to behave in public. - Keith Johnston

Embrace Failure

This experience taught me many things but the most impactful for me - was to embrace and celebrate 'failure' like it was a positive thing (especially coming from a ‘perfectionist’ background). Whether we realise it or not, education/ society/ culture has taught us to suppress spontaneity, I learnt how to bring it out.

Step out.

Signing up to improv, plus committing the time and money was way out of my comfort zone and I tried to rationalise if it was a good decision (like I often do), but then I thought, ‘screw it! I’ll just give it a go!’.  And before I knew it - I was on stage performing in front of friends, family and strangers and having a good time being silly.

In improv we'd play games or act out scenes where there is ZERO opportunity to plan or think ahead, which goes against everything of my natural (or perhaps conditioned) self. It gave me the courage to step out into the unknown - not knowing what my partner would say or do, but dealing with it when it comes and going with my gut.

Go with the flow. Make a mistake and be cool with it. Get out of your head. Talk less and do more.

I applied this to starting Harvey - rather than spending ages over thinking, over planning, or waiting for everything to be ‘perfect’ to start, I just started. I started with offering one pro bono project, then another, then my first paid project… and now Harvey is going better than I could've imagined.

Show up and be present

This was a big one for me - I was in a season with a lot of anxious thoughts, a lot of processing and confusion. Also, because my mind runs at a hundred miles an hour, I’d be thinking about anything from meal planning, to worrying if I'll look stupid in the next activity, to work, to what social post I’ll do about this very moment (guilty 😳).

Every week in my 3 hour session, I was forced to fully be there. Because if you miss an instruction or not actively listen to your partner - you’ll be lost (and not like that was an issue since we’re cool with messing up), but it was dishonouring to the people around me. When we commit to something, people deserve all of us.

At the end of every night of Improv - I loved the feeling of being totally absorbed and lost in what I just did and my anxious thoughts were calm.

Yes and…. make others look good.

We played activities to make us aware when we're blocking vs building on partner’s actions. The number 1 rule for improv is about making your partner look good, letting them have a good time. So avoid replying with ‘no’ or ‘but’. Instead, reply with positivity, open body language and 'yes and' to build on their ideas. Generally a good principal to live by… putting others before yourself.

I never really got sarcasm and I'd often shut my poor husband down by taking things literally. Now I build on his silliness mostly (well, maybe 50% of the time) ;)

Be ridiculous

I absolutely loved getting out of my bubble to meet new people I may never cross paths with otherwise. My class was made up of people from 18-70 years old and different walks of life from Spain to Wodonga from stay-at-home mums, disability care workers, ex-latin dance champions, artists and authors. Arguably, we had nothing in common, but that didn’t matter - we embraced spontaneity together and we laughed so hard until we cried.

We created a safe space for failure, looking ‘stupid’, saying accidental inappropriate things when the spontaneity took over and created some pretty wild stories with our imagination.

Big Innovation Lives Right On The Edge Of Ridiculous Ideas - Brendan Boyle, IDEO

This experience gave me the skills and confidence to step out and start Harvey...

  • Taking a risk and stepping out in the unknown
  • Embracing 'failure'
  • Approaching clients with empathy and my full self
  • Building on my business partner and making him look good ;)

It’s all still a work in progress to remember and apply these principles on a daily basis. But I hope reading this has encouraged you to embrace your inner child.

Stay Playful Dara Simkin, Project Play

Ps. Break Out (the conference that started it all for me) is back again this August. I'll be there for sure!

No items found.
No items found.
22 Bricks
ABCH
ATEC
Abundant Water
Anantaya Jewellery
B Lab ANZ
BZE
Bank Australia
Client Fabric
Clockwork Films
Compass Studio
Cyclion
Dog & Bone
Evee
Gewürzhaus
Goodtel
Green Collar
Hagens Organics
Hey Doodle
Jasper Coffee
Jaunt
KOSI
KingPump
LVLY
Lumen
MIIROKO
MK Local Foods
Marnie Hawson
Merry People
No Lights No Lycra
North West Guadalcanal Association (NWGA)
OBG
One Small Step
Parliament of Victoria
Peninsula Hot Springs
Portable
Possible
Prisma Legal
ReCo
Shadowboxer
Strongim Bisnis
Studio Schools Australia
Thankyou
The Sociable Weaver
Time
WIRE
Whole Kids
iDE
No items found.
22 Bricks
ABCH
ATEC
Abundant Water
Anantaya Jewellery
B Lab ANZ
BZE
Bank Australia
Client Fabric
Clockwork Films
Compass Studio
Cyclion
Dog & Bone
Evee
Gewürzhaus
Goodtel
Green Collar
Hagens Organics
Hey Doodle
Jasper Coffee
Jaunt
KOSI
KingPump
LVLY
Lumen
MIIROKO
MK Local Foods
Marnie Hawson
Merry People
No Lights No Lycra
North West Guadalcanal Association (NWGA)
OBG
One Small Step
Parliament of Victoria
Peninsula Hot Springs
Portable
Possible
Prisma Legal
ReCo
Shadowboxer
Strongim Bisnis
Studio Schools Australia
Thankyou
The Sociable Weaver
Time
WIRE
Whole Kids
iDE

No items found.
No items found.
22 Bricks
ABCH
ATEC
Abundant Water
Anantaya Jewellery
B Lab ANZ
BZE
Bank Australia
Client Fabric
Clockwork Films
Compass Studio
Cyclion
Dog & Bone
Evee
Gewürzhaus
Goodtel
Green Collar
Hagens Organics
Hey Doodle
Jasper Coffee
Jaunt
KOSI
KingPump
LVLY
Lumen
MIIROKO
MK Local Foods
Marnie Hawson
Merry People
No Lights No Lycra
North West Guadalcanal Association (NWGA)
OBG
One Small Step
Parliament of Victoria
Peninsula Hot Springs
Portable
Possible
Prisma Legal
ReCo
Shadowboxer
Strongim Bisnis
Studio Schools Australia
Thankyou
The Sociable Weaver
Time
WIRE
Whole Kids
iDE

Targets

Results

Clients | Help conscious business grow

No destructive clients. Revenue breakdown: 15% Good, 60% Great, 25% Amazing (Here’s what the classifications mean)

🟢
  • No destructive clients.
  • Revenue breakdown: 10% Good, 66% Great, 25% Amazing

Client survey metrics

  • 3 /5 value for money
  • 8 / 10 likely to recommend
🟢
  • 3.4 / 5 value for money
  • 8.8 / 10 likely to recommend

Maintain current revenue

🟠
  • Revenue down 16% YoY

Team | Be the best versions of us

  • All staff spend 70%+ of their time on clients
🟢
  • Spent 71% of our time on clients (over by only 76 hours).
  • Regular, honest check-ins about how we feel
🟢
  • Stand ups, development sessions, watercooler chats, impact updates and more.
  • Targeted and clear personal growth, if we are better our clients will be
🟢
  • Lots of on-the-tools growth, structured learning through weekly Lunch ‘n Learns and Intro to Programming at RMIT.
  • Improve and increase capability across team
🟢
  • Elevated our tool nerd level. See here.
  • Expanding output skills: Market research, Web design, strategy & development, video editing, and automation strategy.
  • 9 day fortnights, with option for 4 day weeks
🟠
  • 40% work 9 day fortnights, 40% part-time hours, 20% standard working hours.

Community | Lift the communities we’re part of

  • Protest and boycott important issues (Australia Day, Melbourne Cup)
🟢
  • Buy with intention from local and discriminated groups
🟢
  • We continue to be intentional about our suppliers as outlined in our policy and report the details in the Community chapter of our report. We took it one step further this year with a public call to pledge to audit suppliers in this campaign www.supplier-impact.com
  • Invest $20k in impact businesses plus $20k of 100% pro bono time
🟠
  • We delivered some pro bono time but dropped the ball and had no official measurements in place. We also did not invest $20k in impact businesses because of the reduced revenue with Becky on maternity leave.
  • Sarah personally donated her photography equipment valued at around $7,500 to empower a content and brand producer in the Solomon Islands.
  • Have a RAP, engaged stakeholders and implemented more change
🔴
  • Due to competing priorities and limited time (no lack in desire) we de-prioritised our Reconciliation Action Plan as we want to do it meaningfully and have the capacity to follow through. However, we took a few first steps outlined here.

Environment | Crank up the action on climate and environment

  • Be climate positive at work and at home
🟠
  • We don’t track our CO2 emissions, rather we take a much more general and high emissions view. However, this year, we didn’t donate to the environment (see above) so we can’t say we countered our CO2.
  • Donate 5% to the environment
🔴
  • We fell short here, we didn't make the donation. More details here.
  • Re-use, recycle and manage dangerous waste
🟢
  • We continue to implement our hazardous waste policy and are on a continuous learning and improvement journey.
  • We repair damaged hardware and minimise purchasing of new equipment.
  • Personally we're all Facebook Marketplace fans.
  • Advocate for climate change / inspire sustainable living
🟢

Governance | Operate fairly and squarely as an impact business

  • Maintain current ownership and governance
🟢
  • Harvey is 100% owned by the Smallchua Family Trust and Rebecca Smallchua is our sole Director.
  • Share templates, documents, insight into business for good
🟠
  • We haven’t actively done this publicly, but when people have asked, we have shared. And we’re sharing a series of things as part of this impact report.
  • Re-use, recycle and manage dangerous waste
🟢
  • We continue to implement our hazardous waste policy and are on a continuous learning and improvement journey.
  • We repair damaged hardware and minimise purchasing of new equipment.
  • Personally we're all Facebook Marketplace fans.
  • Maintain B Corp score from 134.1 with workers included
🟢
  • We applied for our B Corp re-certification at the end of this financial year and are pleased to report we achieved the same score (to the decimal point). Wild!
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