DodoWorkPlay is one of Turbine’s first incubated start-up. We both started our respective journey in developing the entrepreneurial ecosystem nearly together. We are happy to see how they have grown in the past year. Below we bring you an exclusive interview of Joe and Coralie, the founders of DodoWorkPlay.

Tell us about DodoWorkPlay?

DodoWorkPlay is a training company that delivers growth-oriented learning experiences to develop soft skills and entrepreneurial behavior.

Before moving to Mauritius we both worked as business consultants in London in the IT transformation and TV advertising industries respectively.

That’s when we realized that the world of work was undergoing exciting changes, like the shift from top-down execution-focused organisations towards more flexible, agile and entrepreneurial organisations. With the rise of automation and technology, people are adopting a more creative role and given the agency to identify, develop and contribute their talents where these are most needed. We wanted to be part of that change here in Mauritius where Coralie’s family is from.

Why choose to launch this start-up?

There is a real and urgent need for companies to empower their people to go beyond competence and compliance in areas like customer service. Why? As the global market becomes more demanding, delivering exceptional experiences is crucial. Most importantly, millennials are coming into organisations with a new mindset and approach to work – they want to have impact, they want to be valued and they want freedom and resources to grow. Companies who have understood this benefit from unleashed potential in the long term, and can better retain their talents.

Our objective is to help companies’ develop the soft-skills and entrepreneurial skills they need to thrive. By entrepreneurial in this context we mean:

  • The ability to identify problems and propose effective solutions
  • Awareness of the big picture, for example the market landscape in which they are operating
  • Understanding where they fit into the business model and vision of the organisation.

In this way, we help employees reach their highest potential through a growth mindset.

How it started?

DodoWorkPlay started out quite differently. We had wanted to promote entrepreneurship in Mauritius by creating a hub that would attract entrepreneurs and location-independent intrapreneurs from all over the world. Whilst engaging with and promoting the local entrepreneurial community we realized there is a strong appetite for entrepreneurial and soft-skills training, from both employees and employers alike. We tested the market out with interactive, practical workshops and from participants’ feedback we discovered that our format—based on deep collaboration, games and practical activities—was not only having impact but it could be adapted to a broader picture of entrepreneurial skills, and in particular those sought after by companies here.

Why the name DodoWorkPlay?

DodoWorkPlay is the combination of three elements: the dodo symbol of Mauritius, which we chose with the aim to export our services, and work and play which is what we do during our training sessions.

Tell us about your achievements so far.

One of our biggest achievements to date is to have gained the trust of our clients and been able to truly collaborate with them to tackle their needs—we love what we do because we have the good fortune to work with employers and managers who have a strong vision and who care deeply about their teams’ happiness and growth.

Our biggest gratification comes from the small moments during training sessions when we see a change in action. For example someone who suddenly realizes how much value they are bringing or are capable of bringing to others. Perhaps someone is motivated to break silos to improve the organisations’ service levels, or the director conveys their pride of having—and being part of—a team in all the meanings of the word. That’s what motivates us every day.

What are your biggest challenges?

Our biggest challenge is that we’re new in the market. This means we have to make extra effort to prove ourselves and that every obstacle and challenge we face is new to us. For example, to begin with we were focused so intently on understanding directors’ needs that we didn’t realize the extent to which these might be misaligned with those of their employees. As we build our experience we become better equipped to adapt and fully manage participants’ expectations whilst continuing to achieve directors’ goals.

What are your upcoming goals and milestones?

We’re currently focused on growth, aiming to deliver more training whilst maintaining the quality and creativity that our customers have come to expect. We also want to focus on developing long-term working relationships with our customers by helping them to develop ongoing training. Mindset and behavioral shifts take time to obtain and require continuous attention. Mostly they must be embedded within the company’s culture—that’s what we’re working on right now.

Companies don’t operate in a vacuum and we’re committed to advancing the entrepreneurial behaviour of not only our customers but also of the wider community. To this end, we’re building a network of growth-minded entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs, for example with our monthly Entrepreneurs’ Brunch—a casual and interactive networking event where current and future entrepreneurs are invited to learn from each other, hear from and engage with a guest speaker and share a meal together. You can find out the next events on our Facebook page or our website.

Tell us about your experience with Turbine.

Turbine provided great coaching which helped us identify what we, as individuals, were good at and motivated by. Knowing and aligning with one’s strengths is critical for any entrepreneur and we realised we were not leveraging ours enough. By challenging us and asking us the right questions, our coach Diane encouraged us to build and test our first workshops, which unlocked all sorts of possibilities for us.

Had we joined the Turbine later we would have benefited from a more developed incubation programme which now includes expert sessions on topics such as sales and marketing, as well as more public exposure and networking. We were one of the first incubatees and as is the case for any early customer, we helped Turbine fine-tune their offer.

What are your future plans.

  • Our next brunch is coming up on 26th May at Farmcity (see our Facebook page for details)
  • We’ve refreshed our website to better explain our training services
  • We will soon launch a series of blog posts on LinkedIn to bring our learnings and insights to help directors and senior managers improve their training programmes.