Astrolab and Knowmads merge to transform the experience of work

By: Andrés Oliveros

Transforming the experience of work and how the merger came to be

When Astrolab started, I approached Pedro, my godfather, to tell him about our project. Pedro, owner of Expomex, told me about how he refused to enter the consulting world. His argument?

-“Consulting is not a scalable business”

I told Oscar about this conversation and we decided that out main intention was not to create a scalable business, but to solve problems that requiere human talent and time.

As years went by, we began to close projects with big corporations,  -such as FEMSA, Cemex, Banorte, Novartis, Soriana, Sigma, among others-, and facing the challenges that ubiquity represents: how could we represent our solutions in a tangible and sustainable way? how could we measure the results of our work a few months down the road?

Everything we do at Astrolab has the purpose of helping transform the experience of work for the better, but to do so entirely in an offline way would take us a lifetime.

We needed to find ways to reach more people and more organizations… faster.

Bringing technology closer to L&D, the origin of Knowmads

From the last months of 2018 and especially in the beginning of 2019, Gerardo, Óscar and I began to have conversations about what it would mean to incorporate technology into our services, perhaps a first step on the road to scalability.

Then something unexpected happened that would change our future forever. On March 14, 2019 -almost exactly a year ago- I have an interesting record in my Google Calendar titled:

“Jonathan Moreno WeWork”

That day I went to the WeWork Downtown offices, and we locked ourselves in a small room to talk. Then Jon, Dylan and Ricardo – the founders – began to explain to me what was behind Knowmads. I knew Jon and Dylan, but had never heard their company’s pitch:

-“The purpose of Knowmads is to bring technology closer to the areas of learning and development (L&D). We have been designing digital learning experiences for years, and we want to reinvent this industry.”

For me, that talk was like taking the red pill in the Matrix. While waiting for my car in the parking lot, I sent a message to Óscar and Gerardo:

-“Hey, we have to sit down with Knowmads. They believe in the same things we do, and I believe we can complement each other to solve complex corporate problems.”

First experiments together

From that meeting on, we began to explore the possibility of collaborating on projects where Astrolab could contribute to Knowmads, and vice versa.

For example, a leading transportation company asked us for our Inspira: Business Storytelling program, but delivered digitally.

Around this time, Astrolab finished a project with Whirlpool. At the closing meeting, I told our clients that we had met a group of guys with great passion for EdTech, and they immediately told us they were interested in meeting them.

A few weeks later we started our first project together: they wanted a learning program related to soft skills (Astrolab) and delivered digitally (Knowmads).

Around that time I invited Jon to come with me to some sales meetings in Mexico City, and we took the opportunity to give a talk at a WeWork. As I heard Jon deliver his part of the talk, it became even clearer to me that Knowmads’ and Astrolab’s work had the same goal: to transform the work experience.

Team 2.0

How to make sure that the whole is more than the sum of the parts

On October 2019 we decided to officially join forces. There was a lot of uncertainty about how we would work together, but we were convinced that we could complement each other in a very interesting way.

I moved to Mexico City on August of last year to start Astrolab operations there, but I remember how excited I was to see the pictures of a costume Halloween party, the first with both teams together.

By December, both teams started sharing an office; we found a big house Downtown and decided to move there together. Also, we decided that we would, from now on, all be part of Astrolab, and decided to keep the name Knowmads for a strategic project we are working and hoping to launch soon.

On December 19, we had our office Christmas party (called a posada, in Spanish). We hired a regional music trio and a troubadour. I remember approaching Oscar at a moment during the party and saying: “when did we grow become this awesome 20-people consulting firm?!”

Since then, we have invested hundreds of hours to thinking how we can work together in the best way. Azul joined our team to help ease the merging process and design our strategy for the next few years.

Our Big Opportunity to transform the experience of work

We decided to group all of our services in two big categories: consulting and learning.

  • With our consulting services we hope to help organizations redesign communication, collaboration and learning processes.
  • With our learning services, we want to create innovative learning experiences sustained in top notch technology. This way both business lines would help transform the experience of work

We are also designing a digital content strategy where we cover the topics that interest us all. An example of this is a podcast Jon and I are preparing: we already have five episodes in production. Coming soon!

As a result of this situation we are going through, the marketing team decided to revamp the Astrolab brand. We wanted a design that represented the history and purpose of both Astrolab and Knowmads, so we entered into a long process with the graphic design agency we have worked with for years.

Today, we are super happy to launch this new image.

We changed the emblem, the logo, the typography and the colors, but we went further: the agency helped us to represent the type of work we do with very modern illustrations. This symbolism represents everything that we are and what we want to become.

Now, we are more than ready to transform the experience of work, and we want to do it hand in hand with leaders and agents of change like you, who – more than frustrated – are excited to create better organizations and better communities.

Last year we worked with 5% of Expansión 500 companies: this year we want to collaborate with 10% of that list. Eventually we want to become a trusted advisor for all the teams that want to redesign their organizations.

Our purpose is massive and infinite, but we have the perfect mix of talent, tools, and passion to make a visible impact on workplace culture.

Follow us on networks to learn more about our work and find us if you want allies who will leave everything on the pitch to make work extraordinary.

About the author

Andrés Oliveros

Cofundador & RP

Andrés es testigo de cómo se desperdicia muchísimo tiempo, talento y energía en las organizaciones por operar como lo hacían en el siglo pasado. Desde el 2012 se dedica a ayudarle a líderes y a equipos en empresas globales a mejorar cómo aprenden, se comunican y colaboran para destrabar el potencial de sus colaboradores y así ayudar a crear comunidades más humanas. 💬

08 de March de 2020

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