The Working Group is the business for the new world. Over the past decade, the name has become synonymous with forward thinking, hard-working individuals who are looking to solve problems in new ways. PRODUCT Toronto sat down with the four heads of The Working Group, Dominic Bortolussi, Andrés Aquino, Jack Neto and Chris Eben, to get the inside scoop on how this Toronto-based company has built so much in such a short time.
11 years ago, Dominic Bortolussi saw his opportunity. He wanted to build a “collaboration tool” for the academic and research world but was having trouble getting noticed by those communities. He started his own company, freelancing in Toronto. “One day we realized we could probably do this a lot better than the people we were working for.” The Working Group was chosen to help build recognition in the academic world.
Working groups are academic committees focused on studying and making recommendations on a specific problem. Over the last decade, The Working Group has become more than a name recognized in the academic world. Andrés was originally attracted to the name because of the implication that it was a “roll up your sleeves and get stuff done group of people.” He believes that this attitude is a big part of The Working Group’s prosperity. “We earned our reputation in the market. We were people that delivered.”
The Working Group does not sell packages; they create tailor-made solutions for their clients. “We are not in the business of selling code. We are in the business of solving problems for people using software,” says Andrés. The business is primarily built on referrals and The Working Group establishes a close connection with their clients right from the beginning, to find out exactly what they want and how to make it happen. “We do a lot more than mobile and web projects. We actually do the strategy with them. We figure out what they should build and why they should build it,” says Chris.
Although the company name has helped put a spotlight on The Working Group, all four agree that their culture is what has brought them success. “We’ve built [our culture] from the beginning and will maintain it in the future,” says Jack. The Working Group’s culture is based on three pillars: craftsmanship, learning and teaching, and problem solving. Keeping focused on these pillars means that The Working Group is a very open working environment; employees are encouraged to solve problems in new ways and are expected to learn and share from their experiences. “Everybody comes together…shares information and learns, and everything is up for debate,” says Jack. The Working Group has even brought their culture to the community. They have opened their doors, hosting an abundance of events for the public, focused on bringing people together, teaching, learning, and tackling problems in new ways.
The Working Group has changed the rules. They are fresh thinkers and hard workers, driven toward success. They are looking forward to what the world will be and are positioned to take their place in it. The Working Group is undoubtedly a name you will see more of in the future.
WORDS: TIM LUTHER
PHOTOS: TARA NOELLE
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