We interview our CEO Tobias Bard about leadership and scaling thriving teams
Prototyp’s current CEO Tobias Bard joined the company about six years ago. Back then, Prototyp was a small agency with under ten employees and a motley office was more ”tech” than ”design”. We asked Tobias to reflect on the years that have passed, but also the future. Hint: It’s been a ride!
Tobias: When I joined the company, one of the first things I did was to interview all employees to hear their view on Prototyp. It soon became clear that they were all very proud of what we do and who we are, but felt ready to take Prototyp to the next level. As we passed ten employees it became clear that we needed to develop our identity, office and brand to match the level and quality of our work. We hired Maria Sarhammar at Sparrow & Weston to redesign our office into a more ”analogue” and homely space, to contrast our highly digital projects. Nature, cork, paper and other materials were key factors in shaping the right environment and atmosphere.
When it comes to the logo and visual identity, we were initially inspired by the machines and innovations in the Croatian children’s TV show ’Professor Baltazar' but took the concept in a more industrial direction.
What about the team? What were the next steps when it comes to competences and the organization?
Well, we have grown fast these six years. From nine employees to 36, and have hired our first business developers and sales managers. But Prototyp is still the same flat organization. We still don’t have an official management team. I still take walks with my employees on a regular basis to talk about their work situation and goals. We still make sure that our tech managers main focus is to make their developers thrive, and to keep coding to stay in touch with the craft of coding. They are not supervisors. Our general focus is to make people feel good, develop and want to stay as long as possible. They all get 1,5 h of workout time per week and we provide workout apparel. We don’t work overtime. But we also want our employees to feel involved in the growth and improvement of Prototyp and the company culture. They all have the mandate to host brownbags, developer fikas and other activities. We constantly prototype Prototyp. :D
So what’s in the pipeline?
The next year will be all about catching up with what has been lost in the pandemic. I think the whole industry is dealing with a ”cultural debt”. We hired eight people in a very short time and it is much harder to onboard people remotely. In addition, we’ll continue developing our satellite offices in Barcelona and Uppsala; and keep pushing our work with making both Prototyp and our projects even more purposeful and sustainable. We want all of our projects to contribute to a better world.