Some companies just somehow seem different…

I had a meeting this morning with a company based in central London who go by the name of Hive.

Hive approached The IT Service to talk about whether we could help with making their staff more efficient through analysing what they do, how they do it, and finding a better way if possible. I thought the meeting went well, and I’m hopeful that we may be able to do business together.

However, that’s not really what this post is about. We meet with, and talk to, a lot of organisations, and we don’t always blog about it.

But once in a while, you come across an organisation that seems to stand out. And maybe, just once in a blue moon, you come across a company about which you think “If I didn’t have my own company, I wouldn’t mind working here…” So it was at Hive.

A nice, bright, airy office, with nice, bright furniture and lots of primary colours throughout. Instead of a plaque or poster detailing a mission statement, it seems to be written in foot-high letters all around the walls – vertically, horizontally, around corners. I didn’t get around to reading the whole thing, because I got distracted by the slew of awards gathered on one side of the office.

But for all its funkiness and fun, its sense of theatre and energy, the appeal wasn’t really about the decor either.

Talking to Tim – one of Hive’s founders – it became clear that it was not the appearance. It was the ethos, the driving force that had led to these splurges of colour and creativity. The appearance was, as with all the best design, simply an expression of the substance.

Hive are a company founded on, and driven by, the principle of doing things differently. Better. More creatively. More openly. You can see it in the way they communicate on their website, and it’s reflected in the success that they’re having. In a tough economy, Tim told me, they’ve not lost a single customer. That’s pretty remarkable in anyone’s book.

That’s why I’m excited about the chance to work with them. Their passion for doing things brilliantly, every time, mirrors the way I feel about “training” (for want of a better word for what we do). We discovered that one of the major battles we both face is in convincing people (who have yet to experience what we do) that things can be so much better than they have seen before. There’s almost a need to invent a new vocabulary to describe the possibilities. It’s why I have to put “training” in quotes, and why we both exist as companies.

If we end up working together – great. But if not, it’s been good to meet a like-minded company, and see it being successful.