2012 – Lable is an organization where young talent can shape and where youngsters can commit for meaningful social goals. That was the idea when two teachers and two students from the department Communication and Multimedia Design at the NHL University in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands started Lable. Five years later, there is an organisation where 13 people work and that is different from the usual business in almost everything. “Talent can only develop if given the space."
“We talked about the training," remembers Michael Wijgmans, “and concluded that where a lot of talent hardly comes into its own on the training, it really goes wrong after school. You will be working for an advertising agency and are busy all day to get a website higher in the rankings of the search engines. Or you build a websites for the bakery on the corner sitting all alone on your garret, but this doesn’t put you anywhere."
“How can you combine that talent so you can really add something of value to society? Young people want to do something useful, do something for a better world, how can you facilitate that? So we came up with the idea of lable, a record label for talent."
That was in 2007. Then it took the four new entrepreneurs a few years to find out how such an organization should look like and what purpose it would serve. “If you develop a product or service that you then put on the market, it is relatively simple: you subscribe in the Chamber of Commerce and go to work. But we wanted to establish an organization in which people can use their talents for a social purpose. That is a more complicated mission. How do you organize that? “
Workplace innovation, ‘Inuit ‘
One of the things the promotors knew for sure, was that there was no place for bosses: “You just can use your talent, if you get the room to do that. I’m not gonne tell a programmer how to do his job, he knows better himself. Of course you have to stay connected with each other, but that may be fine for lunch or a cup of coffee. Keep it simple." Instead of supervisors Lable practices situational leadership. “We have learned that of the Inuit Indians: if you do ask who’s in charge, you get a different answer depending of the situation." At Lable all important decisions are taken on the basis of consent; that is: a proposal will only be adopted when there are no objections. “That is to keep up the momentum. If you do everything on the basis of consensus, discussions could drag endlessly and there is a risk that people will dig. With consent the risk is less." To prevent that bosses emerge again, the property of Lable is distributed among the staff. “Lable is a private company, of which we have placed the shares in a holding company. The shares of the holding are in the hands of a foundation and thus own by everyone."
Another question which showed up to the four founders of Lable was what societal challenge the organization could serve. “We soon found out that talent just develops, when there is a goal. You cannot say: come with us and we will figure it out. Only when you know what you’re doing it for, you can give one hundred percent." Fortunately, those goals came almost as naturally. For example, a different approach to care for the elderly." Starting from independency and adapting care to the way elderly were accustomed to live, create a new dialogue between healthcare professionals and the nursing home residents. With Lable Care we make it possible to connect individual needs for care with the supply of care. And at the same time it becomes transparent what the available time and money are. Soon we discovered that Lable Care also enables to avoid piles of protocols on paper by offering the right information on the right spot. So we could reduce a protocol of forty A4 pages to one page. If you knew how much is recorded double in health care! Therefore our motto is that you never have to enter the same information twice. That is for us the essence of simplicity.”
Wijgmans does not preclude that Lable will involve in other social goals in the coming years. “We ‘re exploring in education. And lately we have done a job in Youth care."
Lable grew from 4 to 13 employees. The ownership is shared. They have realized innovations with social impact. The company was called one of the ‘smartest Company’s of the Netherlands’ in the Syntens competition of 2012.
Interview Syntens / Ben Kuiken: https://www.syntens.nl/socialeinnovatie/inspiratie/Lable-broedplaats-voor-talent.aspx
The company’s website: www.lable.nl
Video interview: https://vimeo.com/54227704