Digital Teamwork at Start4Chem
In the last weeks and months, our Start4Chem team has grown steadily from three to ten people, which we are very happy about. Currently, our main form of interaction takes place digitally, which means that a collegial exchange over a cup of coffee in the office is unfortunately not possible – a fate shared by many at the moment. Keeping the team engaged and motivated under these circumstances can be a challenge. This is not only true for us, but also in the context of start-ups, the team factor is an important success driver that should not be underestimated. A study by the Joachim Herz Foundation showed that especially for founding teams from the university and research context, not only the development of a common narrative and goal is important, but also the goal-oriented exchange within the team and effective decision-making must be actively supported (cf. Joachim Herz Foundation, 2021).
In order for us to be able to support our teams interested in founding in the best possible way, it is particularly important for us as an incubator to actively address the team factor in order to make our work results usable for the entire team and to develop a common vision. Therefore, last Thursday we took the time to talk about what we have worked on as a team so far, what each of us has worked on individually in the context of Start4Chem, where we want to go, what motivates us and how we like to work. At the same time, we also gave ourselves the space to critically reflect on which aspects of our work have not brought us the desired added value and what we would like to change so that we can work together even more efficiently.
Admittedly, in the beginning the team was a bit cautious about Anna Oelbermann’s (the incubator manager) suggestion and did not know what to expect from the four-hour meeting, which also included some preparation in the form of self-reflection. In retrospect, however, this meeting was one of the most valuable ones of the last few months, as everyone was given individual time and space to speak openly and honestly from the soul, to situate themselves and their work in the team structure and at the same time to position their work achievements in a way that was perceived as valuable for the whole team. Within the four hours, a very valuable and, above all, appreciative exchange took place in the entire team.
In the current situation, it is more important than ever to take time for the team, a realisation that seems so simple, but which we nevertheless want to push more in the future and thus also pass on to our teams interested in founding. Of course, this always involves a certain amount of effort, but this effort is always worth it and we are now looking forward to the upcoming team meetings!