1904labs is always harnessing technology in the smartest and most innovative ways possible. So, then, what better day to reflect on our company and its culture than National Technology Day?

Since 2016, we have been helping our clients build the right thing the right way. In other words, we strive to fully understand the complexity and nuance of our clients’ challenges before diving in to build solutions.  Taking a human-centered design approach and integrating it with proven agile methodologies, is one of the many distinctive aspects of our company. We refer to this as HCD Agile.

In 2019, I look forward to broadening and deepening our commitment to HCD Agile and continuing to share our findings with the rest of the industry.

What else am I looking forward to in 2019?

If I had to narrow it down, I am most excited to focus on three main things:

Expanding Decision Science Practice

In 2019, we plan to continue expanding our Decision Science practice, helping organizations derive meaningful insights from their data. Almost every company, no matter the size, can draw on a significant amount data — often from disparate sources — within their organization to draw conclusions and inform business decisions. Services like our Data Engineering practice can help to organize, clean, and understand their data, but merely having that information doesn’t necessarily tell companies what they should do with it.

That’s where Decision Science comes in. By applying analytic and machine learning techniques to data through a human-centered approach, we’re able to help our clients make important decisions that will shape the future of their business. Our Decision Science practice helps clients improve efficiency, reduce cost, tailor interfaces, increase customer retention, and become predictive instead of responsive.

I am looking so forward to growing our Decision Science Practice and further incorporating it into a collaborative ecosystem with our Cloud Development and Data Engineering practices to enable us to deliver the greatest value from of our suite of services to our clients.

Courageous and Community-Minded

1904labs has been steadily growing since 2016. As we grow, we’re striving to create an environment for our people that’s both nurturing, challenging and community-minded, one that pushes us to explore the boundaries of our capabilities. In order to create this kind of growth culture, we’ve taken a careful look at what’s worked best for us, as well as some of the most successful companies in the industry.

Drawing on leading research in organizational leadership, including Radical Candor, we are laser focused on creating a culture of open and direct feedback and I look forward to continuing this in the year ahead. Our idea, which we believe in wholeheartedly, is that companies benefit most when they cultivate a culture of feedback that values honest, direct feedback while also being focused on building healthy interpersonal relationships.

For any of these best practices to work, we need to hire the best possible talent. That’s why we’re always looking for startup-minded individuals who are innovative, intensely curious and focused on continuous learning. And, because we believe that creating a growth culture starts within individuals, we also place a high value on courageousness—without it, innovation simply can’t happen.

Central to our work and retaining the best talent is our commitment to continue to expand our contributions to the local community.

The 1904labs team is involved in multiple community projects in St. Louis, including teaching students the basics of coding in our 1904coders program, helping neighbors in need through Places for People, and our continued collaboration with Lift for Life Academy (LFLA), the first independent charter school in the city of St. Louis. In 2018 alone, 1904labs mentored over 30 students at LFLA through the 1904coders and 1904rockets programs, with more than 200 volunteer hours spent with LFLA.

Solidifying our Culture

Organizations often have a difficult time maintaining the essence of their cultures as they expand. The problem is simple: with growth comes complexity, and without a strong cultural foundation the companies can undergo some rapid transformations, sometimes for the worse.  This excellent article discussing the “Magic Dunbar Number” indicates that by the time an organization get to 150 people things start to change. We are over half way to that number now. By the time we get there our culture needs to be strongly established to help us weather the needed changes.

At 1904labs, we’ve focused on building a strong cultural foundation since day one. One fundamental aspect of that foundation has been the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, which has helped us create a workplace where we share a common language and a set of principled based habits that help guide the way we interact and collaborate with each other and our clients that encourages both productivity and strong relationships.

Most importantly, we’re always striving to foster a culture where our employees can bring their full selves to work, and where the ability to achieve a healthy work-life balance is paramount. By doing so, our teams are able to bring unmatched value to our clients, leave a positive impact on our community and continue to evolve with a solid sense of identity.

On National Technology Day, it’s impossible to overstate how much technology has played a role in my life personally and professionally and specifically at 1904labs. As we enter the new year, I look forward to continuing to leverage the power of technology, thoughtfully expand our services and solidify the culture that makes 1904labs the exceptional company it has become.