Last Friday evening, o2 Media was thrilled to have been “highly commended” in the Innovation section of Powercor Warrnambool Business Excellence Awards.

I’ve since had several people ask what could we possibly be doing that’s so innovative?

In our industry, there are generally accepted ways of doing things. That usually involves terrifyingly long hours to meet impossible deadlines, design teams that are rewarded for churning work out and account managers whose success is measured according to their sales figures.

But for o2 Media, innovation is about letting go of a lot of that.

It’s about chucking out the rule book to write it our way.

Each Monday, our team spends the first hour of their working week in what we call our “Innovation Hour”.

It’s essentially 60 minutes to play. To research. Write. Draw. Paint. Think.

The results of that hour are then shared among our team at our weekly Work In Progress meeting which follows immediately after.

Sometimes there are revelations to share. Sometimes there’s nothing other than some stimulating discussion.

In describing this process to others, I am often met by raised eyebrows and questions around lost productivity.

But Google thought highly enough of this concept that it used to encourage all its staff to spend 20 per cent of their time “playing and innovating”.

The other innovative aspect to our business is our unwaivering focus on our people.

Yes, the bottom line matters. But not so much as having an engaged, happy and productive team.

How do we do that?

o2 Media’s queen of workplace wellbeing is our marketing guru, Liz Fowler. Each week, Liz ensures our office fruit bowl is stocked with nourishing goodies. She organizes lunchtime yoga and other activities aimed at getting us all moving.

Beyond that, we have a concerted focus on having fun.

We have a “Traditions Manual” that describes how we do things like celebrating birthdays and milestones.

And we foster the kind of workplace where our working parents feel perfectly comfortable bringing their children during those pesky curriculum-free days!

I get to go to work every day with eight other professionals who are not only freakishly good at what they do – they are also the kind of people I would choose to spend time with.

Each and every one of them embraces the values that we have developed together as a team.

And each of them is entirely present.

How lucky am I?
P.S. Here’s our Oscar-style selfie at the awards after party, an example of the o2 team having great fun together!