Let’s think outside the box

During the “think outside the box” work sessions, teams leave the offices, put their operational tasks aside for the day and set off to discover an unknown venue and take stock of their achievements and challenges. Leaving our “natural environment” and experiencing a new habitat together impacts the way we think, create and interact. The specific objectives of each “think outside the box” vary from one team to another but each one of these unusual days calls for putting things into perspective, questioning the established, brainstorming, having fun, devising action plans, sharing meals and post-its… 

How will you “think outside the box”?

Today, each team takes part in one or two “Think outside the box” sessions a year. And with the end of the summer holidays, it’s a great time to gather, take stock of the past months and set out on a fresh start. If every “Think outside the box” is an opportunity to pause daily tasks, each one has a specific objective.

Getting an overview from the Vertigo in Nantes

In April 2017, the Information Systems and Office Management teams joined forces to better think outside the box, on a common topic: how could they monitor their performance when their clients are their colleagues ? This brainstorming exercise enabled them to define an indicator based on the time it takes them to take a request into account and satisfaction. It is calculated thanks to a survey sent out every month.

The two teams brainstorming at Trempolino in Nantes

 

For Léa, Tim, Steph and Mylène, all designers, the aim of their “Think outside the box” was to work on our corporate illustrations. In September, they organised a work session to put their complementary creative talents in common. Illustrations are an important part of our brand identity, whether it be for the product (Léa and Mylène’s domain) or on our diverse communication mediums (Tim and Steph’s ground ). Tim, artistic director and organiser of this day told us about the programme: ” We met in the very nice offices of Vupar, an agency. Coffee to get started and we then agreed on what the objective of the day was. We talked about the role of illustrations for the company and the spirit they must embody. We each came along with a benchmark of illustrations that inspired us. This enabled us to find common ground in terms of taste and we defined a visual identity charter. During the afternoon, we split into two groups and got down to some drawing! We then showed each other our work and chose together, the elements that we wanted to keep. We will now continue to work on this topic “inside the box” ;-) “

Léa and Stephanie exploring the Vupar offices before they start drawing ;)

 

The R&D team is also a great disciple of thinking outside the box. The most recent one was last week. Simon, mobile developer, described the sequence of events:

“We went to an art gallery, really nice to discover a different environment! Fred (VP Engineering) and Florent (VP Product) started with a presentation that looked at our achievements over the past months. That was great as we could get an overview of all the topics that are progressing. The aim of the day was to work together on the definition of our OKRs, “Objectives & Key Results” for the last four months of 2017. The six big objectives of the team were already defined but we needed to identify the different solutions that would enable the team to reach them! Random groups gathered around different tables, each one with a big sheet. We turned around so that everyone brainstormed on three objectives. This process was great because we were thinking about topics that we were not necessarily working on otherwise and therefore bringing fresh blood. During the fourth round, we put all the post-its together to extract the key ideas. We then presented them to the entire team. A few days later, based on the work we’d done tother, Fred and Florent shared the detailed objectives with us. Voilà!” 

Post-its, post-its, post-its..at the Rez de Chaussée gallery, Nantes

 

Thinking outside the box can also be about questioning the way we work together and how we dispatch different missions. In September 2015, the Professional Services team, now called  Customer Success, gathered to rethink their internal organisation. Thanks to this valuable time spent together brainstorming, they came up with a new structure for the team that everyone had taken part in building.

“Here’s what we came up with! What do you think?”

Benefits

I asked my colleagues what they thought about these extra-box days.

” It’s a great opportunity to take a step back and get to know people you may not be working with on a daily basis. Changing environment is key when you need to be creative. On a daily basis, you’re often called upon and leaving the “box” makes it easier to get enter the flow state without being  “interrupted”. These sessions are great for launching new ideas, the intellectual process that then needs to be transformed into something durable pérenniser. It is key to end the day with an action plan.”  Timothée, Artistic Director

” Leaving our usual environment was really constructive: we were able to take a step back from our daily tasks to really put things into perspective and define our individual and team objectives for the end of the year. Gathering in a different place to work on a topic together strengthened team spirit and cohesion.Malika, Sales Administration

” You get into a different mindset. Instead of thinking as you normally do when faced with a task, you have to think differently. Going to a different place and getting into discovery mode also means that you think more openly. It stimulates creativity and exchange. ” Pierre Alexis, Chief Information Officer

“These special days strengthen the feeling of belonging to a team and channel our different strengths into a common topic. This gives us energy to work on new projects.” Caroline, Administrative and Financial Director

” Devs are not the best at taking a step back to take stock of all the work that’s been accomplished! I think that breaking the rhythm of daily habits and changing environment puts you in a good place to work as a team. ” Simon, Développeur Mobile

” This session was great because everyone took part in the different discussions, we all shared our expertise and aligned on the same vision. Also great to gather with the international team. And the weather ;-) !” Timothée, Growth Marketing

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Miranda is in charge of internal communications at iAdvize, where she started working 3 years ago, originally as communications officer for the UK market. She has a BA from UCL in languages and a masters degree in translation and communication from the ISIT school in Paris. Although her passport is British, she feels at home on the continent ;-) Intrigued by all things cross-cultural, disruptive and customer service-related.

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