The story behind Knack
Arosha Brouwer, founder of Knack, has spent the majority of her professional life researching and working on projects relating to corporate innovation, new business models and what needs to change in the modus operandi of traditional organizations.
Three years ago, Arosha commenced a research study to better understand why tech companies were famous for their ability to achieve high(er) levels of innovation, speed, and growth. She wanted to look behind the glamorous office spaces of tech unicorns, and delve into the values and structures which were ultimately responsible for setting the pace in Silicon Valley.
She explored some of the core values shared by these companies, from inception through to post-IPO/acquisition in her 2017 article, “Us vs Them”. Her 10-day trip throughout Silicon Valley, which inspired her to write the article, saw her spending time watching and listening to founders and discovering more about what these organizations were doing so differently from established corporations outside the tech industry.
One of her main findings was that “when you visit their offices and talk to the people, it’s not the fancy aesthetics which set these workplaces apart. Instead, it is a clear mission and the ability to harness the collective genius of people that is inspirational”. It was there that she realized that tech companies were using behavioral science and psychology not only to better understand customers and create great products – they were using similar approaches to better understand their employees and design better workplaces.
It was this research and understanding into the productivity behind these tech companies which led to Arosha founding Knack. ‘Knack’ means an “acquired or natural skill”, and the organization is built on the premise that the future of work will be driven by people contributing their talents to causes they find meaningful.
Knack is a network consultancy based on an eco-system of experts.
For the past 3 years, Knack has been consulting different organizations with the primary aim of improving well-being and performance of individuals and teams. The core team behind Knack consist of Loeke Ruijter, a designer with a penchant for behavioral science, Katya Stepanova, a facilitator and well-being advisor with 6 university degrees and a deep interest in workspaces and the way work is done and Emile Jeuken, an organizational psychologist with a PhD in leadership. The team collaborate with a range of experts including strategists, technologists, and various types of coaches and therapists.
You cannot have (long-lasting) performance without well-being.
Since the initial research into high-performance tech companies, it has become apparent that many are also battling a high level of employee burn-out and stress-related issues. It seems, however, that these issues are rampant across all industries. Global research indicates that 76% of employees experience burn-out on the job at least sometimes and that by 2030, depression will have overtaken heart disease as number 1 health problem.
It was a realisation that you cannot have long-lasting performance without a certain level of well-being and the onset of Covid-19, that pushed the team at Knack to pivot. The recent focus of the team is on better understanding the concept of well-being and what can be done by individuals, teams, and organizations to improve self-awareness and self-care. Read about our new venture here.