Nutmeg's CEO explains why co-creation is his secret work weapon

Martin Stead reveals why sharing ideas as a group is the secret weapon that keeps Nutmeg's start-up culture alive.

You often hear that successful leadership is all about effective teamwork or delegating. That’s true, but I don’t think those terms capture the whole truth – one is vague, while the other suggests hierarchy and command.

Instead, I’d say that my secret work weapon is knowing how to facilitate or, perhaps, co-create. Co-creation is a specific way of doing teamwork – it’s not just about building the right team dynamic, for instance. Instead, it’s about creating a sense of ownership. And it’s more two-way than "delegation" might suggest.

When I lead a team, the team shares joint ownership of the problem it faces, as well as the solutions. Key people are "on the hook" for individual parts of the question (such as acquisition, retention or content), but the team collectively owns the problem and is responsible for the solution.

That means working together, regularly, with a good dynamic. Importantly, though, it also means leveraging the diversity of the group – making sure that non-expert, fresh voices within the team share their perspectives and solutions alongside the group’s "on-thehook" experts.

In our group meetings, we think and talk through solutions together: the meetings are conversations, and we record our thoughts across the walls of the meeting rooms.

As Nutmeg gears up for the launch of several new innovations, we’ll be making use of our new offices to try out some "co-location". People will be moving around the office, fitting into new groups that cut across our existing teams as the work requires.

Co-creating solutions – by talking as a group, sharing ideas as a group – isn’t just my secret work weapon: it’s also how we keep our start-up culture alive.

We have 80 staff now but still meet, think and work as a group. Continuing to co-create will be indispensable for us as we keep on growing.

Martin Stead is Nutmeg's chief executive

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