Maze X startup accelerator - Week 3 - MAZE - Decoding Impact

Maze X startup accelerator – Week 3

aze X sunsets are part of the startup accelerator community events.

Goals: learn how to attract & retain talent, manage and measure impact and dance the sprints away.

At the exhibition ‘Brain wider than the sky‘ at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, one of Maze X founding partners, one can visualise the complexity of the neurologic journey humans undertake to respond to a simple stimulus like temperature or pressure. Can you imagine the journey of complex decisions entrepreneurs have to take every day? Hiring people or letting them go people is just one of them. Managing impact is another. On week 3 of Maze X, we had two sessions with experts to talk about recruitment and culture, one of the crucial startups’ success factors and one of the most difficult to get right. Finally, we learn the best way to address impact management with Amanda Feldman.

Finding talent is much more than mastering the right pitch

One of the biggest challenges of the founders at Maze X is to hire developers. Hélio Costa, Recruitment Manager at DAMIA group, shared some golden rules on ‘How to attract tech talent’:

  1. Developers care about your tech challenges, not your business challenges
    Let the candidates know the tech challenges they will be tackling. It’s what motivates them.
  2. Ensure alignment of your company’s mission and theirs
    Companies are preferring near-shore talent recruitment to be able to monitor quality and wellbeing. It also increases the probability of a culture match between the developer in terms of management style and moral.
  3. Attract better people by giving them the freedom to perform their work
    Developers value the freedom to work remotely and with flexible schedules.

And two hints on ‘How to find the right people’

  1. Invest your recruitment efforts when companies are doing their appraisals, like Christmas time since people are more willing to change.
  2. Test the fit of the best candidates by working with them for one or two days before you decide to hire.

Companies with purpose have a competitive advantage

Retaining talent is also a challenge in the fast-paced world of startups. Fortunately, impact startups have an unfair advantage: purpose is at the core of their business. What does this mean?

  • They can attract better talent at a lower price
  • Customers are more loyal if they feel they are consuming the right and fairer thing
  • They are more transparent which benefits all stakeholders

João Almeida, Managing Partner at pur’ple, has been helping companies find the purpose in their business. On week 3, he came to Maze X to talk about the typical employee lifecycle from recruitment to offboarding.

Additionally, João shared the cumulative conditions that enable high-performing teams.

  1. Trust one another by promoting vulnerability-based trust
  2. Engage in conflict around unfiltered and constructive ideas
  3. Commit to decisions
  4. Hold one another accountable
  5. Focus on achieving collective results

Research also shows that high-performing teams ensure a lower turnover, more growth and profitability.

Navigating the impact maze

Finally, the startups of Maze X had a workshop with Amanda Feldman from Impact Management Project (IMP). Amanda has been dedicating the last decade to help organisations build consensus around how to measure and manage impact.

Thanks to her efforts, today consensus around impact can be built around five elements. First, analyse the five dimensions of impact performance (what, who, how much, contribution and risk). Then, define the data categories for each dimension. With this data, assess the impact of each dimension. Consider the investor’s strategy that can go from just signalling the market to providing flexible capital to impact. Aggregate all this information and classify the impact of each investment.

The impact management workshop by Amanda helped us to get an idea, how we can express the effects that SitEinander creates for families, e.g. “less exhaustion and stress” in data, so it is easier to communicate with stakeholders, even though they might have a different idea about what impact means.” – Anna-Lena Gerber, founder of SitEinander.

Dance the sprints away

There is nothing like a little dance move to relax the hard-work of the weekly sprints our founders have been making. With the sound of Dance Dance Dance (DDD), we hosted the second sunset of Maze X, where the founders got to connect with new people in and out of the ecosystem at the rooftop of Casa do Impacto.

Here’s what happened.

DDD is an international party family throwing ‘house parties that outgrew their houses’ in Lisboa and London. MAZE and the DDD crew are bound together by the common belief that Impact is imagining radical ways to reshape society and DOING IT!

The ‘Brain wider than the sky‘ proves how we are complex creatures capable of the most extraordinary endeavours. Maze X entrepreneurs are living proof of this continuous realized potential. We realize our potential in helping them thrive.

Maze X was conceived and initiated by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the Edmond de Rothschild Foundations and MAZE, with the law firm PLMJ joining as a founding corporate member and BNP Paribas and Casa do Impacto as partners.

Featured photo: Maze X Sunset #2 with DJ Black Pomade from the DDD crew.

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