This summer, working with No Bad Apple has been an amazing way for me to combine my own interests of community organizing and food justice with entrepreneurship and creative development. The culture at NBA is certainly very inwardly and community focused. Each week during our team meetings, the discussion constantly focuses on how our customers are perceiving our efforts and whether or not they are getting the most out of our services. As a company with a business model dependent on convenience, our team is always discussing what we could change, what should be implemented, and what we should stop doing. These questions are typically introduced by Jake, the owner of the company, in our weekly meetings based on observations he has made or feedback he has heard from our customers. Then, Moriah and I offer our thoughts individually and a group discussion follows. Initially, I was a little unsure about how much I was able to contribute to these conversations. Based only on the number of hours put into NBA each week, one could say that I fall at the bottom of the totem pole. Knowing this, I often felt that I was not involved in enough of the process to have any real idea about what should change or what was possible. Fortunately, Jake intentionally sought out my opinion on many occasions. Sometimes he would ask me a question and want my opinion from the perspective of a customer. Other times, he would utilize my observation of the work that he and Moriah were doing to help formulate his own opinion. The end result of this was a general atmosphere in which each member of the team had an equal say in each discussion while simultaneously recognizing and respecting the unique perspective that we each bring to the table.
In addition to our group discussions, each member of our team relies on the other two in order to complete their work each week. While we work separately to complete our reports and paperwork, there are many instances in which I need information from Moriah’s report to do my own. This dependence on one another helps motivate us to complete our work on time. It also has allowed for many improvements on the ways in which we do our work. For example, the way I was organizing one of the tables on my report made sense to me, but Jake noted that he struggled to follow the information. Based on feedback such as this, we have all been able to improve the quality of our work from week to week.