2022 - A year in review. Interview with motus CEO Josh Erickson
To say that 2022 was a pivotal year for motus design group is an understatement. Having weathered through the covid pandemic, the company has emerged not only unscathed, but has also blossomed into a company of 24 employees and a brand-new location. We sat down with Josh to reflect on the year and to take stock on the upward trajectory that motus design group has experienced over the last 12 months.
Given a moment of reflection, are you satisfied with the progress that motus has made over the past year? Is there a key moment that stands out for you that you are open to share?
I’ve had a vision for motus since we started it in 2013 of creating a team capable of operating as far more than the sum of its parts, solving complex technological problems in creative and innovative ways. It’s been a year of watching that vision for motus really start to come to life. We moved motus into a new downtown office, full of light, character and history. All of a sudden the vision, and the group’s creative inspiration got to manifest into something physical. We found our home.
What has been the biggest challenge for motus this year? How did the company overcome this challenge?
Growing without imploding is always the trick. Communication, leadership, systems all need to scale as you grow. This can definitely get messy at times. Folks here really are exceptional at always assuming the best and treating each other with respect and patience as we try to navigate through any friction that comes up.
I’m proud personally that we have managed to maintain a culture of in-person human connection. I think that aspect of a team is getting lost in many companies as groups of atomized individuals work remotely. I think the best innovation occurs in teams of people that know and trust each other on a personal level….when they go out for lunch or coffee together, chat in the office. We don’t hire full time remote positions for this reason. We went out of our way to find an inspiring place to come to work for this reason. Everyone works from the office at least half the time, and manages their own schedule working from home vs the office.
How would you define the culture of motus? Has it changed in the past year?
Positive, supportive, really freakin’ smart group of people. I don’t think that’s changed a lot in the last year, it’s been with us from the start. Mostly, it’s grown with us in the last year. My favorite part of the culture here is the collective confidence in ourselves and our abilities as a team to take on and solve whatever design or technological challenges are brought to us.
Question 4 - What are some key leadership lessons that you have learned?
Authenticity. People see through personas. Know yourself. Be yourself. Let your genuine excitement and enthusiasm come through. There is no one size fits all method of leadership. Some people lead from the front, some people lead from the back.
For me real leadership is about empowering others to lead. Everybody on a team has a unique expertise, skills and abilities, and situations where they are the best person for the job at hand. If everyone on my team feels motivated, empowered, and supported to step up and lead others when they are the best person for the job at hand, then I feel like I’m doing my job as CEO.
What is next for motus? Where do you see the company in 5 years?
Increasingly, we’ve been able to focus on clean energy and developing technologies that utilize or support it in meaningful ways, such as fusion and hydrogen transportation applications. That’s fun for me. Technologies like those are the reason I went to engineering school in the first place.
I’ve been convinced of late by some other visionary leaders of companies in the Victoria tech scene that strategic collaboration is our best way forward to attract larger, more meaningful projects to the local tech industry so it can grow. 5 years from now I see motus as a leader in a thriving Vancouver Island based group of tech companies that work together to compete on the world stage, bring tech jobs to the local economy, and bring meaningful improvement to human lives through innovation and technology.