“As important as the team collaboration is, the execution is tops,” says Medici’s Chief Product Strategist Kristian Ribberström, also Johansson’s childhood friend. “Most people love brainstorming ideas,” he says. “They will agree with us for three days and then immediately go back to what they were doing before.” Geyer, however, found tremendous value in the execution process. “The Medici team doesn’t focus on PowerPoint documents and market research,” says Geyer. “It’s about prototyping and testing and getting real reaction. The coaching is ‘put something together, get out and talk to customers, test ideas, see if you can get a product into the market or introduce a simple change in the process, and test the results,’ so that when you come back after the 100 days, you want more than a six-point PowerPoint presentation. You actually want something you can sell.”
Do as I Do
The Medici Group practices what it preaches. For its staff, there are no separate offices or individual cubicles at the company’s headquarters in lower Manhattan, not even for the leadership team, including Johansson. Even the reception area is empty. All team members sit in a central space, constantly engaged, exchanging ideas, or butting into conversations to offer input.
“If we’re developing a new idea for a company, we try to bring in team members who don’t work on that assignment at all to get different voices—senior and junior,” says Medici’s Chief of Strategy Pamela Carlton. Says Tang, “Sometimes it’s noisy, sometimes it’s quiet, sometimes there’s music playing and dancing, with the boards displaying a hodgepodge of notes, index cards, newspaper clippings.”
“The freedom to fail is the thing I like most,” says Eric Gardner, a former intern who is now a consultant. “The concern is ‘What did you learn from this and how can we take what you learned to the next thing.’”
Johansson believes that it’s imperative for business owners to be a living example of their mission.
“For us it comes back to intersectional thinking, diversity, and being open to different perspectives. My core job is to up everyone’s game. We try a lot of things and when we find something that works, we hone in on it. Part of intersectional thinking is the willingness to experiment, to not always go for the solution that always worked.”