Crowdfunding, Sustainability, New Work back

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Photo: © Studio Für Morgen

The cultural and creative industries are considered to be highly value-based. Anna Theil, for years the face of the crowdfunding platform Startnext, is now the head of Studio Für Morgen. Together with her colleague Nicolas Greiff, she gives so-called 'value workshops' and has developed the Purpose Cards, a kind of card game for finding needs in companies. What is it about? What exactly is conveyed? A conversation about the past, the future and the perfect company in the present.


Interview Jens Thomas  


CCB Magazine: Hello Anna, your face stood for the crowdfunding platform Startnext for a decade. For me, Startnext without Anna Theil is like SC Freiburg without Christian Streich. Now you are one of the faces of Studio Für Morgen. What were the reasons for the change? How difficult was this step?

Anna Theil: Hello Jens, nice comparison with Christian Streich, especially since I really do come from Freiburg. But the step didn't necessarily come as a surprise, even if it wasn't easy. I had already reduced my working hours at Startnext three years ago. I wanted to work more on a few ideas and topics of my own that I'd had in mind for a while. Together with Nicolas Greiff, a good school friend and formerly almost a neighbor of mine, I then founded Studio Für Morgen. In the beginning I did this parallel to Startnext, since spring of last year I've been completely dedicated to self-employment. That was a good decision.  

CCB Magazine:What exactly is Studio Für Morgen

Anna Theil:We develop ideas and products that support people in small and large companies to make a difference 'tomorrow'. To this end, we advise companies. We work on the reflection of values and strengths. My co-founder Nico is a designer and I come from the field of communication or strategy, we combine both assets for Studio Für Morgen. So far, our focus has been mainly on developing Purpose Cards - a tool to reflect on values and strengths. But we also give value workshops for teams, which can be helpful for collaboration and organizational alignment.    

CCB Magazine:What exactly is a value workshop? And what are the Purpose Cards?

Anna Theil:The value workshops focus on the questions: Which values are important to you? How can we work well together as a team? From my time at Startnext, I have learned from working with many founders and creatives that it's often easy for them to develop good ideas or products. However, building an organization and models of collaboration are challenges that people don't ponder enough. This often leads to conflicts that can be avoided or should be solved early on. This is where we step in: It's about asking questions about values and strengths as early as possible. That sounds a bit banal at first. To break this down in a playful way, we have developed the Purpose Cards, a tool as a communication aid to conduct more personal conversations.

Real values - that's what it's all about in the value workshops of Anna Theil and  Nicolas Greiff. Picture: Studio Für Morgen.

CCB Magazine:How does this work? Do you sit cross-legged in a circle and play Mau Mau?

Anna Theil:Not quite. You can use the cards in very different ways - for yourself individually, but also in a team. Our clients include startups, agencies, creative companies, and even large corporations like Deutsche Bahn or Ikea. Often, the cards are used by coaches or managers as well. The participants draw cards and define what is important to them. It's about clarity for work and life, the development of one's own potential, but also about mutual appreciation and better cooperation in the team. In my view, this is extremely important for organizational development. And many founders and creative professionals in particular still talk about it too little.  

For many people, talking about their own needs seems to be much more difficult than developing a good product. That's exactly why we developed the Purpose Cards - to create a playful approach

CCB Magazine:So what are the reasons? The cultural and creative industries are considered to be highly value-based. Ecological and social issues are becoming increasingly important. Creative professionals are seen as visionaries and do-gooders. Are cultural actors primarily concerned with social problems and the external world, but don't manage to start with themselves?

Anna Theil:I wouldn't say that across the board, but yes, talking about one's own needs seems to be much more difficult for many than developing a good product. That's exactly why we developed the Purpose Cards, to create a playful approach. Talking about personal topics is easier when the situation is relaxed - that's exactly what the Purpose Cards make possible.

It's more than a game. With the Purpose Cards, the cards are reshuffled: What is important to you? What are your goals? Picture: Studio Für Morgen. 

CCB Magazine:To what extent does the game also address the dark side of an increasingly value-based working world? For years, sociologists of work have been pointing out that companies deliberately prioritize or use values in order to increase efficiency. At the same time, creative professionals often work in precarious conditions. It's precisely the high sense-based values that can lead to social risks such as poor pay being masked by the high degree of identification with one's own work. Are you addressing these issues as well?

Anna Theil:These are important topics that I have often encountered at Startnext. However, we don't specifically address the issue of fair pay with the Purpose Cards or in the workshops. We are first and foremost interested in teaching people to take time for reflection or discussion in order to better understand what drives them, but also where their own limits lie. This can include remuneration. But it's about more than that: it's about managing yourself well, which also includes working and rest times. We are specifically concerned with the so-called soft factors of togetherness and team building - ultimately a healthy balance.

CCB Magazine:Around half of all cultural and creative companies are solo self-employed, and often have no other employees. Team-building processes etc. don't play any role here, do they?

Anna Theil:Partly partly. The focus is, of course, different - here it's primarily about personal reflection and clarity, which in turn can be helpful when working with customers or partners. Here, too, the question is: How can I make my values visible and externalize what is important to me? For many creative professionals in particular, it's important to take time for reflection or for conversations on these topics in order to better understand what drives them.

CCB Magazine:Anna, last question: You'll be giving a digital workshop on crowdfunding and communication on March 11. What will that be about?

Anna Theil: It's about the question: How can I build a community and how do I reach my crowd? We talk about the fact that crowdfunding is not just about financing ideas, but that crowdfunding can also be an exciting networking and communication tool. How exactly that works, which communication channels are important for this, and what role storytelling plays - we'll talk about all that.

Category: New Player


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