By Félix Lozano, co-founder and CEO of TeamLabs/.
A space in which we have invested over 20,000 hours in which we have been training as a team, to reformulate, time and again, in hammer-pilot mode, higher education beyond university, the way of learning throughout life, with two fundamental methods:
learning by doing: common to an action focused university
and doing by learning: common to the learning company.
We have broken the walls between a strictly study environment at university and a strictly work environment in a company
What have we learned in the last 10 years? That when a team trains its ability to learn as a team every day, it ends up acquiring a certain mentality, a different way of being on the playing field, of understanding work and of being in the world; an extraordinary capacity to face the next big thing, the next strategy, whatever life throws at us, whatever it may be.
So what is TeamLabs today? A simple and repetitive practice, sustained over time, with rituals and tools which allow us to build a discipline of teams that learn while doing projects that interest them.
The ecotone and the partnership model.
This is what we have done in our first decade. We have achieved this by finding the two best partners in the world with whom to embark on this exciting adventure: a very hands on, action driven university and a company with high learning demands.
Without a doubt. There was no better academic partner to do it with: the University of Mondragon. A university, unique in the world, a cooperative, partners since its foundation in the 1950s. The partnership model of higher education, as you know, is a cutting-edge system nowadays, in which 50% of the curricular takes place at the university and the other 50% in a company. That vocational school that was created 70 years ago gradually became a polytechnic institution and then what we know today as Mondragon University. At the same time, the cooperative industrial group of over 300 companies and 80,000 professionals, many of whom are graduates of this university, and today the group has a turnover of 11,400 million euros.
A university built on Arizmendiarrieta’s founding thought: “The sign of vitality is not to last but to be reborn and adapted”. Consequently, TeamLabs has been encouraged from the start to be an institution where one can reinterpret this concept, turning it into one of our mantras that have accompanied us until today: Look Again, Think Again, Do Again. We call this ongoing practice the Radical Learning Lab.
And there was no better advanced company with which to build this partnership than SNGULAR. An organisation with which to rethink everything, including digital advances and technology. A cutting-edge technology company, where talent is valued above all else, which is growing at a rapid pace, by over 50%, on the 1st of December last year we were 900 people, today we are 1,435, and I am sure that by now there are a few more.
SNGULAR is an unusual company with high learning demands, it has become a technical talent development organisation that seeks to be the best place for people to grow and with whom, as its founding philosophy states: “we don’t know where we will be in 10 years but we do know what we will be like”: The Best Place to Grow.
Where did the name TeamLabs come from?
In 2011, when we asked Johannen Partanen, founder of Team Academy in 1993, the entrepreneurship unit of the Finnish public university with which Mondragón established the Mondragón Team Academy strategic alliance, how to do Team Academy well in Madrid, he gave us the key: dare to reinvent it. That’s how we came up with our name, instead of Team Academy: TeamLabs. A place where we could reinterpret the concept of university as a space to experiment in, for trial and error, a place where we could explore the unknown. A name that represents the team culture (Team) and the laboratory culture (Labs), that move us.
What has been the purpose of all this effort and commitment?
To make the world a Radical Learning Lab where teams are trained to learn how to face the challenges that matter and navigate the incrementing uncertainty of today’s society.
What do we think the next decade of TL/ will look like?
We will keep evolving with this practice that has brought us this far: teams learning throughout life in a lab culture. So we will be more TeamLabs than ever. More skilled and trained to take on whatever comes our way. We will relentlessly keep pushing forward.
An attitude to life that we call: Face the Next.
NOTA: Discurso pronunciado en el evento de presentación de la nueva era y la nueva marca TeamLabs/ Face the Next. (19 octubre 2022)