In Good Company… with Draw & Code. As part of our ongoing series we catch up with business across the City Region to ask them the big question: what makes a ‘good’ business?
Draw & Code is one of Liverpool’s most innovative businesses. It creates immersive experiences and products using technology like virtual and augmented reality – which put the user at the heart of a new experience.
It follows a proud tradition of Liverpool-based digital companies, which trace a lineage back through Meccano and PlayStation Europe. “We’re a city that has periodically played a part in revolutionising the way the world plays and interacts with each other,” says creative director Andy. “We have the potential to do that again with immersive technology.”
And Draw & Code is using its skills to better engage audiences – whether that’s a customer base or its own team. “Immersive technology is about engagement – it grabs your attention,” Andy says. “It’s about connecting people with each other and with their environment; immersive experiences are always incomplete without the audience.
It follows that as a business we should make efforts to ensure that we are connecting with our own team, taking on board their wants and needs. Employee wellness and a push for greater diversity has been a big focus for us in recent months. We are lucky to have such passionate and talented people working with us, they are our number one priority.”
The ‘people’ focus at Draw & Code flows naturally into the question of what makes a ‘good’ business? “Being a good business means making decisions with more than yourself in mind. Without considering wider society and your immediate colleagues and partners, you’re not truly doing ‘good business’,” says Andy. “As an immersive technology-focused business, we’re keen to explore ways that this tech can bring the world together and better the human experience. That may be a grandiose statement, but it underpins so much of our work, whether at the forefront of our approach to a project or in the background.”
The impact of the pandemic appears high on the minds of business leaders. Its impact is everywhere. Andy says: “The pandemic has made us reevaluate many things, not least looking at our own wellness. We enjoy what we do, which – combined with less of a barrier between home and work during lockdown – makes it even easier to slip into burning out. For the first time we have working groups within the company looking at these issues and proactively addressing them.”
The implications of those changes in the workplace loom large – but should be bread and butter for a company skilled in virtual reality? “Remote and hybrid working are the biggest practical changes to the business,” says Andy. “Shaking up our working practices in this manner led us to take a different approach to company wellbeing and communications. We’ve been consulting with wellbeing experts to form new policies to help out our team during these challenging times and we have put an employee assistance programme in place. This awareness of wellbeing is something that we’ll keep on building upon from now on – it’s a positive for us that has come from a very negative situation.”
And, of course, a novel approach to a remote team. Andy smiles: “Being VR aficionados, we’ve also issued all Draw & Coders with Oculus Quest 2 headsets,” he admits. “For some it is a vital piece of kit to work with on client projects… but it’s also allowed us to have team meetings and after-work games sessions together. It beats the Zoom wall of doom!”
Those changes prompted by covid will continue to have an impact – good businesses aren’t afraid to recognise issues and areas for improvement, either. “As for diversity, we have to admit that, like most organisations in our sector, we have a long way to go on this issue. We see diversity as a pressing issue as it is the key to widening the talent pool available to us – it’s a perennial issue for the technology sector,” admits Andy. “Put simply, a diverse talent pool means raising the bar for all.”
Head to drawandcode.com to find out more about the team and its work.
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Rob Bremner is a British documentary and editorial photographer, studying at Wallasey College of Art and the School of Documentary Photography at Newport.
He spent summer 2021 capturing good businesses across Liverpool City Region, for the Good Business Festival’s #InGoodCompany series.
Follow Rob Bremner on instagram.
The Good Business Festival is passionately non-exclusive. It’s not about what you do or who you know. It’s not about agreeing on everything all of the time. It’s about everyone working towards a better world – no matter where you’re starting from.