Hack your business to reinvent it forever

Written by Cassandre Verriest, on 03 April 2019

In 2003, after filing for bankruptcy of his first company and witnessing the daily exodus of talent in Malaysia, Vishen Lakhiani, CEO of Mindvalley, decided to create a whole new model that would attract talents from around the world to Malaysia.

This new model is built on solid values, notably that of abundance, which is seen as a pillar of their managerial culture, recognizing every human being's need to thrive in their professional life and feel rich and happy in their way of life, where they are acknowledged for their place.

To achieve this, during the annual weekend retreat where all employees gather away from the headquarters, hackathons are organized to allow all employees to hack the company. By hacking, Mindvalley means deeply and precisely dissecting a method, a structure, to identify and subsequently solve problems with innovative techniques.

When faced with an intractable problem, don’t try to solve it, rather create a vision that renders that problem obsolete. - Buckminster Fuller

Thus, these retreats are divided into two parts:

DAY 1 - On the first day, all Mindvalley employees hack their department. Employees form informal teams within their working department to completely rethink current methods to make them more productive or effective. At the end of the day, each team must present their most revolutionary idea. A vote then takes place, and the team with the most votes can implement its idea within the company.

DAY 2 - On the second day, all employees form teams based on their common interests and aptitudes and hack, not their department, but the company as a whole. The goal this time is to rethink methods, the work environment, the place of learning, or even the company's future projects itself.

This perpetual questioning stimulates employees' creativity, and they become actors of the major transformations that occur in the company. Again, teams come together with a revolutionary idea in mind, and the one that receives the most votes is implemented in the company.

Employees are also paid during these two occasional days. Vishen Lakhiani, the CEO, sincerely believes that these two days are essential to ensure the sustainable evolution of the company.

For example, 4 years ago, after a hackathon on Pangkor Island, the 1up platform was created: it is a platform for recognition among employees. Each one can send, after completing a common project, a digital superhero badge. Our interlocutor explains that recently she received a Flash badge, synonymous with speed and efficiency in executing her work. When the digital badge is received, other employees quickly become aware of the news since the person who received the badge displays it on their desk in real life (Mindvalley has two copies of each badge that can be given) until someone else awards it to another employee. Through this method, employees are immersed in a playful yet professional atmosphere. They acknowledge giving numerous feedback and exchanging on them during after-work events and sharing moments organized by the company.

This way of doing things is a real means of giving confidence to employees by giving them the means to act for the future of the company. Employees are the drivers of change always seen from the perspective of co-creativity and intuition. Being able to influence the directions, choices, methods, and structures of a company is what creates a true sense of abundance among Mindvalley employees.