Innovators at Work - Andrew Tarver, Founder of Jigsaw XYZ

"We’re always striving to push our workplace culture into the future. Our priority during lockdown has been to keep everyone connected, and we think that the cohesion of our recent recruitment cohorts reflects that."

Introduce yourself, tell us a bit about you and your company

My name is Andrew Tarver, and I’m the founder of Jigsaw XYZ and Spoke Technologies. We set up the company in 2016 with the purpose of building technology to help banks personalise financial products around the needs of their customers, and to empower people to own their digital data.

We believe that everyone deserves access to the fairest financial products, so we’re building the technology to:

- understand the needs of the individual, based on consent-driven access to their data

- give every individual a full view of products available to them in the market

- help banks understand their needs, based on their risk, treasury and finance positions

We knew this would be a long journey, often down a winding road, but we’re committed to following it to kickstart change in the industry.

What are some of the innovations and approaches that have worked really well for your team?

We have three philosophies that we follow as a company:

1. We’re committed to building multiple products, but we know that this is an iterative journey. There won’t be a single product that will solve all the issues that exist in the industry. Some of these products will work and some will fail, and that’s fine.

2. We’re not afraid to change direction and pivot our products elsewhere. I like to use the analogy of the hedgehog and the fox – where the hedgehog has a single central vision, while the fox pursues many ends that often appear unconnected and contradictory. We want to combine the hedgehog’s sense of direction with the fox’s sensitivity to its surroundings, while retaining the ability to function as a company. Our objective remains the same – personalisation and data empowerment – but how we get there will change, depending on what we learn along the way.

3. What we do – the fox in us – will always be aligned to our clients’ needs. We will continue to build with our clients, and learn and adapt with them. Our role is to change the industry, and we need to change the participants in our industry to achieve that. It’s the harder path to take, but it’s the one that will make the most impact.

What are the values that are central to your company culture?

Over time, we’ve developed a set of core values that reflect us as a company and form the basis of how we support each other as a team.

- Take responsibility – It’s our company, our products, and our office. We each take ownership of all these things so that we can be proud of them as a team

- Think freely – We’re open to new ideas and experimenting with different perspectives. We don’t fear failure, instead, we embrace the challenge

- Care – We’re always there for each other. Everyone should feel comfortable and supported all the time

- Improve yourself – We aim to constantly educate ourselves and each other through regular feedback and knowledge exchanges

- Build for the future – We exist to help create a fairer world, and we build our technology to make a positive difference to people by helping them access fairer financial products

How are you re-defining the relationship between employer and employees?

We’re always striving to push our workplace culture into the future. Our priority during lockdown has been to keep everyone connected, and we think that the cohesion of our recent recruitment cohorts reflects that.

We’ve always understood the importance of peer recognition, and we’ve had a Slack channel for thanking colleagues since we started the company.

Last year we developed an app called Thank You Dip that helps to deepen our culture of thanking and rewarding each other by:

- Giving everyone the chance to win a prize with each thank you (Amazon vouchers, Juno points, experiences, etc.)

- Giving the option to select custom designed badges to award each other

- Adding video thank yous

- Limiting the number of thank yous available to make them more special

- Having special limited edition badges, ‘time in company’ awards, and CEO prizes

In terms of benefits, we’ve recently moved to Juno from a fairly standard benefits package. Our products are personalised to individuals because we know that the one-size-fits-all-approach is outdated, and we feel that the varied benefits offered through Juno reflect this ethos.

We’ve always told our employees that Jigsaw is their company, and that they have the power to decide how we run the company. What I’ve realised is that this is easy to say but a lot harder to enact.

As a company, and as a management team, we’re always looking for ways to really empower the team. This means training and mentoring, but it also means allowing everyone to step up and run the company themselves. It’s easy to say you’re empowered, but much harder to be truly empowered, and that’s what we’re always working towards.

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