innocent Drinks are reknowned for great culture and a great workspace to support it. The secret of this success is their focus on their values, their culture and their people. When they sought a company to help them allow their culture to thrive and enhance the way they work, they looked for a company who thought the same way, who listened and made things happen. But they also wanted something they didn’t have; a team of creative change management and design specialists who question, not tell, who visualise freedoms, not state constraints, and who challenge because they, like innocent Drinks, take time and interest to properly understand, then act dynamically.
After its inception in 1999, innocent Drinks quickly and affectionately became known as ‘Britain’s favourite little drinks company’. No longer so little, its appeal has spread far and wide, with offices now putting down roots as far afield as Hong Kong. … But it’s at their HQ in London where our story begins...
‘Fruit Towers’ in Kensal Green became the 3rd home of innocent Drinks 7 years ago. Major refurbishments ensued; walls were knocked down, the signature artificial grass went in, the ping pong table was positioned and its reputation as one of the coolest places to work in London was quickly established, winning them accolades such as the ‘4th coolest office in London’ (Glassdoor, 2017)
But, after 7 years of calling ‘Fruit Towers’ home, it was time for a re vamp.
It would be impossible to separate the physical bricks and mortar of ‘Fruit Towers’ from the passionately and diligently cultivated company culture that forms the very foundations of life at innocent Drinks. In order for any related project to succeed, it was quickly clear to all that the bricks and the culture must remain the firmest of friends and an upgrade to the space must permit this union to flourish, and the inhabitants to thrive within it.
‘Culture and environment are key to how the business has been run since day 1.’ Tim Dorsett … ‘The more comfortable they (employees) are, the harder they work.’
‘Evolve Fruit Towers to allow our culture to thrive and enhance the way we work’
CEO’s vision: ‘To refresh Fruit Towers and maintain the ‘heartbeat’ of the building. Rebalancing with a twist of WOW!’
SJ: ‘How do we make it feel like home, but a better home than we had before?’
The 3 Key Challenges:
At their first meeting, MONTROC immediately connected with the culture of innocent Drinks and as MONTROC asked the questions necessary to fully understand the brief and budget, confidence in them grew. innocent Drinks were seeking a ‘dynamic’ approach and a ‘pragmatic and interesting person’ to work with which they found at MONTROC, a company that was open to projects big or small. MONTROC were excited by the prospect of working specifically with innocent Drinks with a strong desire to tailor a human-focused project to them. Importantly, the connection between companies was not about past successes, but more about truly understanding each other and seeing shared values and a common approach. MONTROC didn’t digress from the relevant conversation but spent time getting to know innocent Drinks as a company. A team of specialists from different companies was then selected by MONTROC to deliver the required outcomes. Key here was the great relationship between MONTROC as Programme and Change Managers and WyldeIA as Designers.
‘A pragmatic, interesting person… more powerful in his connection with us.’
‘Tired of the big company refurb we wanted to do it in a more dynamic way, so Chris came to talk to us about it in that sense.’
‘We felt that it would be more tailored to us.’
‘Chris was really good at adapting as we went… another reminder that we picked the right person to work with.’ SJ
‘It was almost like some companies didn’t want to come near us unless the budget was a certain size & template.’
WyldeIA were chosen by MONTROC because they understand how to translate a human-focused brief into space that works, and quickly provide 2D and 3D visuals that reflect the brief and excite people. With MONTROC at the helm, WyldeIA were able to focus on the flow and design of spaces to support the requirements discovered in the Change programme.
Wylde IA - ‘A great balance of what we wanted and pushing us to be bold’.
Soon into the project 20 Change Champions were selected by innocent Drinks based on a broad set of people to represent the company as a whole and the different character profiles within it. The job of the Change Champions was to engage with the project and play a vital role in discussions around the development of the new ways of working, supported by space, furniture and technology. Crucially, they fed back to their peers to ensure good communication throughout the project and ultimately to get them excited and on board with the project. The experience was valued by the chosen group who enjoyed being part of the process and being the ‘go-to’ people for information. They fed back that there were times when the process of embedding was repetitive and at other times, there was a lack of clarity regarding when they could or should communicate decisions with colleagues. Welcome feedback for MONTROC who, aware of the importance of reinforcement and communication, will consider how this is delivered in the future. Opportunities for continual development and improvement are always welcome.
‘One woman who had the best spot in the office… she was most resistant to the change…. She really likes it now. She’s done a complete 180!’ - Change Champion
‘Being a change champion made a huge difference, it was helpful to understand the thought process… I felt embedded in the process.’ - Change Champion
‘Chris from MONTROC did a great job of explaining the process and how people would respond to the changes and the change curve etc. I understood very clearly.’ - Change Champion
With the project now finished, its success is clear from feedback from innocent Drinks… the creative energy of the space, and the happiness and productivity of the people working within it. It’s clear to see how the integrity of innocent Drinks and their absolute refusal to compromise or stray from their values enriched the Change Management process with MONTROC and inspired the Design process with WyldeIA. SJ spoke of ‘creative friction’, the meeting of creative minds with the odd necessary battle to get the best possible outcome, which everyone believes has been achieved.
‘Values, culture and space are all working well together now, making the management of the change easy’. SD
‘What makes me happy is that people are using it. It now matches the way we were working… or trying to work.’ SJ
Challenges may include ensuring employees don’t revert to old habits – allowing spaces to become cluttered, or leaving coats and bags at a desk to signal ownership. But I sensed no fear of this and it comes back to the dearly held values, coupled with innocent Drinks being a flat organisation yet with strong leadership… there’s a sense of ‘we’re all in it together’ and one of shared responsibility;
‘We’ve got this etiquette in place and we need everyone to live it and everyone to call each other out on it. Most people are doing it, which is really good. And it relates back to our values - ‘leave things better than you find them’. SD
‘It now becomes part of our culture, the environment. When people join, they too need to understand the etiquette and embed it. If we hire people against the values, we will enhance the culture. We need to get people to embed this into the culture.’ SD