Everything Old Needs New Again

An image of a storefront, with Digital Echidna in the window.

On a day where we welcome students from Fanshawe College for a tour of our facilities and a little chatting about the future, it's the ideal time to revisit a foundational concept of building a strong team -- how everything old needs a little new, now and again.

Today we welcome students from the School of Contemporary Media - Interactive Media Programs, throughout the day. They get to check out our workspace, learn about what we do at Echidna, and, hopefully, take a couple more steps along their career path. And with the start of the school year, we welcome back a couple of our co-op students for a second term.

It's always exciting to add new and diverse faces to a team -- and diversity can take shape in a number of different forms. We've recently discussed cultural, sexual, and gender diversity benefits, but it's also important to remember the benefits that come from age diversity.

Having a team of all old heads has its limitations. So too does having an all-young team. But mixing and matching different ages, races, cultures, sexes, and genders can bring in different perspectives, challenge assumptions, and result in better solutions. That's the key to team building -- fostering an environment where everyone complements each other, not competes.

There's an old adage that states, "Because that's the way we've always done it is never a good reason." Some say those are the most expensive words in business. But that statement can be just as limiting as a pithy motivational poster because it's too absolute -- it misses out on the real-world nuance and context.

There are no black and whites -- just grey areas. Just as it's not enough to say, "We've always done it this way," it's equally as naive to say, "We're new and have new ideas -- they must be tried."

You need balance. You need that Yin and Yang. You need an infusion of new ideas, talent, and technology, but it must be tempered by experience, contextual understanding, and an appreciation for bigger pictures. Conversely, you need to not be set in your way and assume you know everything, and be unwilling to explore new ideas or opportunities. It's not enough to say, "We've already tried that and it didn't work." It's far better to say, "We've already tried that and it didn't work. And here's why... Now let's see how we could adjust, change, or bring in a new idea and try to improve it again."

What' s bad is when either side becomes obstinate and refuses to listen. In my experience, if someone dismisses people simply based upon their age -- either old or young -- you can summarily dismiss anything that comes out of their mouths.

And that's what's exciting about having students come in, join the team, and bring their experience to the environment. Many of these students will be conversant in technologies and techniques that some of us are unfamiliar with. That's exciting -- that's an opportunity for us to learn. And it's an opportunity to share knowledge, teach, and provide any benefit from any wisdom we've gained through experience.

We're proud to be able to support both of our amazing post-secondary institutions in London. We've benefitted from having Fanshawe and Western here, and many of our co-ops and interns have gone on to full employment at Echidna. And we do our best to give back to the community wherever and whenever we can, so that we can continue to support the growth of the incredible technology sector here in London. 

We truly hope the students enjoy their tours of all the amazing companies in London and we look forward to working with them in the not-too-distant future!


Questions Answered

How do you build a team?

Should you have just older people working?

Should you have an all young team?

What's the value of age diversity?