IW’s Culture – From the Perspective of a Newcomer

My first week at IW NY was spent in London, with the IW London team. It was a whirlwind and a joy.

While I could fill many pages reflecting on the past week – truly, my friends and family can attest to the accounts that ensued upon my arrival back to the US – I’ll keep my reflection brief.

IW’s Culture

The culture here is a special one. And it’s not special because it can’t be done elsewhere – it certainly can – but it’s special because whether you’re a newcomer like me, or someone who has been here awhile, it is genuinely exciting and engaging to be a part of.

What’s so exciting and engaging, you might ask. Well, here are a couple of themes I noticed from IW’s culture this week.


IW knows how to play! This week, we played, both formally and informally. There was the shuffleboard tournament at our team event on Wednesday and the game of Wavelength (courtesy of Reuben) at our courtyard lunch on Tuesday. There were also the moments of lighthearted joking and preposterously quirky ideas to make us all laugh in between our work.

While you might be thinking, “why does this matter?”, the research on play in the workplace is telling. Having fun and playing at work are associated with increasing levels of creativity and collaboration. Further, from a learning and development standpoint, play helps us to practice, envision new possibilities, connect to others; the list goes on.

Which brings me to my favorite example of playfulness this week: Sam facilitated a session for the IW crew on video content creation. However, Sam didn’t just spend time teaching us about what he can create, he challenged (and equipped) us to create our own content! Below is David’s and my attempt at such:

High Challenge High Support

Playfulness, however, did not come at the expense of the work. It fueled the work. Providing inspiration for our creative tasks and a boost of energy and joy for our more administrative tasks.

As a new employee this environment was fun and challenging. I was meeting clients, contributing to workshop proposals and content architectures, navigating new tools, and so much more. However, I never felt worried about my moments of confusion or being overwhelmed.

The IW team would consistently pop over to say:

  • I know you’ve been inundated with new information this week. How are you feeling?
  • Can I answer any questions you have? I promise I had so many when I was in your shoes – you’re not alone.
  • What’s not making sense? What’s been a highlight for you?

One instance I really appreciated is when Niki, IW’s Studio Lead, saw Cody and I working late on Tuesday. She came over to check in and then offered, “Is there anything I can do for you two to get you out of here faster?” While we decided to simply stop for the day, the offer was a testament to the sincere and persistent support of the team.

As you can imagine, I’m leaving IW impressed and grateful. Cheers to contributing to this energizing, playful, and supportive culture!