BizDojo tips: digging deep in stressful times

How the BizDojo team tackled the challenge of building the largest coworking community in New Zealand and the tech hub for Wellington, Collider, all at the same time ... 

As the BizDojo Wellington becomes a tech hub, a home of innovation and a neutral space for fast growing ideas and companies to collide and collaborate, the team have been on overdrive getting the space ready for the Collider launch.

It’s not been easy.  A new team and a doubling of our floor space at the same time as developing our tech and digital programmes and ramping up our community activations and events. We’re knackered.

Like most high growth companies, the expansion has come with it’s growing pains.

With the majority of us being newbies we’ve been in the ‘forming’ team phase, understanding each others work styles and motivators, trying to build trusting relationships with each other.

With no time for offsites or training sessions we’ve been forced to find our own way (or the relevant Trello board).  And we’ve made a bunch of mistakes but where possible we’re learning and failing forward.  

With moving deadlines and surprise works happening on a daily basis, the most challenging thing was keeping our communications frequent and correct.  So often we felt like we were two steps behind, which made getting the right communications out very difficult. Sorry team.

But it wasn’t all bad. Thankfully we had some pros to lead the way and the results have been better than we could have imagined.

Our Co-Founder and Chief Entrepreneur Nick Shewring led the design with our partners Europlan and resident designers Spaceworks. Nick’s learnings from the design and use of each of our spaces nationwide has fed into this project, accompanying of course the feedback from the peope that matter most - our residents! 

With social, active, and focussed zones, an expanded café and bar area plus (my personal favourite) the new soft seated area that up to 30 people can work from, it’s both beautiful and functional. We love it and hope you do too!

Being the new tech hub for Wellington is a big deal. For our residents it’s going to mean a bunch of great programmes, events and people focussed on helping each other grow... which is a pretty good payoff for all the drilling and dust.

If you are your team are going through a big build, be it digital or spatial, here’s our top tips.

Ask for help:
We’ve had Pat from One Percent Collective working on our artwork. Neville has been doing PPC Adword campaigns, Kate from Dakai has been vacuuming during her weekends, while our project manager Kerry has been spending nights with the team laying down carpet.  Swifty from Europlan has been sorting furniture and the Point Zero team helped us suss out the cool maps for our launch.  We truly believe in collaboration and this build is a tribute to that.

Be kind:
There’s been a few meltdowns in the house (me included), so don’t forget to support each other with regular check-in’s (wine and chocolate also helps). Be kind to each other and yourself.

Take ownerships:
When stuff goes wrong put your hand up and suggest a solution. Blame or denial doesn’t get us anywhere. The people I admire the most are those that take ownership of issues and offer up actions.

Say No:
Prioritise what is important and put anything else on the back burner.  As a people pleaser I’m not the best at doing this so it’s something I’m working on. We ended up turning down a few events and said no to some tours and talks. There just aren't enough hours in the day to do it all.

Surround Yourself with Supportive People:
When I took on this job I started a lean-in circle with female leaders I admired in Wellington. We meet monthly and help each other out on a range of topics. It’s been beyond helpful to share and learn from peers that I admire.

 Prime Minister of New Zealand John Key takes time to check out the work of Dojo Wellington residents Genulin.

Prime Minister of New Zealand John Key takes time to check out the work of Dojo Wellington residents Genulin.

We got there. On November 11th Prime Minister John Key and the wider Wellington tech and digital ecosystem celebrated the opening of the new space and Collider programmes.

It was an epic night and we were stoked to have so many people from our community involved in making this happen.  You know who you are: thank you.