Could NFTs and DAOs be the future of employee-led innovation? Plus Company thinks so. A global network of 25 creative agencies, the organisation is turning to NFTs to encourage cross-company collaboration and build the foundations for an innovation DAO, led by the network's most engaged employees.
It makes sense that Plus Company is an enthusiastic adopter of web3. After all, the creative agency network was born in the year of NFTs. But it’s the way in which Plus Company is approaching web3 that is most intriguing.
An unmistakable calling card of 2021’s NFT euphoria was the sheer number of global brands rushing into the space, looking for ways to capitalise. In fact, to hear an NFT purist tell it, the current bear market could be perceived as a just reward for those who entered the space in the last year with the intention of profiting from the space and little else.
Fortunately, with global markets in dire straits and the NFT space not excluded from that, there is more space for the builders to shine, freed, somewhat, from the distractions of price speculation. Included in this are companies entering the web3 not in an attempt to make a quick profit, but to leverage it to bring genuine improvements to how their business works.
Plus Company appears to be one such outfit, and it hopes that its recently launched NFT staff collection, PlusConnect, will unlock a new age of employee empowerment and creativity for its network of agencies. A network of 25 creative agencies, Plus Company is labelling its Connect collection a “gamified experience” for its over 3,000 employees.
That comes through via the dynamic, generative artwork at the heart of the NFTs. With 25 base designs, each one reflecting the brand DNA of one of the agencies that make up the Plus Company network, these NFTs start off as simple 3D shapes, but how they change is where things get interesting.
Every time two employees interact with one another, their NFTs will evolve, turning their basic 3D shapes into entirely unique generative artworks. The more connections employees make, the more intricate these complex and colorful structures become.
This clever way of evolving NFT artwork reflects some of PlusCompany’s goals in launching the collection. Of course, it introduces its employees to NFTs and the blockchain who might not otherwise be familiar, but it goes much deeper than that.
With thousands of creatives split across five continents, Plus Company is a network built upon collaboration between its member agencies. These NFTs become a tangible representation of that inter-agency collaboration in real-time and are an early example of how companies might use Personal (or Soulbound) Tokens to bring accreditations on-chain.
At the time of writing, 736 Plus Company employees have minted NFTs, which will can be evolved over a period of three months, at which point the collection will be locked and preserved on the Polygon network.
There’s one last element to the PlusConnect NFTs and it might just be the most intriguing innovation on Plus Company’s part, and that’s their Innovation DAO.
We’ve seen a range of different communities experiment with DAOs as a fresh, blockchain-enabled way of organising. Plus Company, for whom success as a network is heavily dependent on both the strength of its inter-agency collaboration, is pursuing similar ideas as one of the first corporate organisations to experiment with the non-hierarchal structure.
Much like in other web3 communities, Plus Company emphasises that the first members of the DAO – which will manage the company’s first employee-directed innovation fund – will comprise employees from each agency, selected based not on seniority but on engagement with the PlusConnect collection.
“Traditional agency networks tend to be top-down, heavy-handed, and bureaucratic. Fresh, original thinking doesn’t easily flourish under those conditions, so we’re taking a contrarian approach,” says Brett Marchand, Plus Company’s CEO.
By doubling as the launch of the Innovation DAO, the PlusConnect NFTs are the beginning of a radical new experiment for Plus Company. One that could become a model for future creative agencies to follow. “We’re handing this project over to our most engaged employees – no matter the level – to lead the way for what is next for Plus Company and our clients in the web3 space.”
PlusConnect bodes well as a promising, pioneering use case for NFTs to foster inter-company collaboration that lives beyond market speculation. Expect to see many more companies forming their own DAOs and experimenting with internal collections in the future.
Ola is a US–based writer and digital nomad. He loves thinking, learning, and writing about all things web3, particularly its impact on major creative industries like film and art.
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