Aequilibrium Blog

By Karen Pambrun • January 24, 2018

Exploration Week at Aequilibrium

 

“We hustle.

We drive change.

We’re hungry to learn.”

These are the values that we live by at Aequilibrium. We work fast to come up with innovative ideas, put them into action, and build something that’s different and meaningful.

Even though we do this in our day-to-day, we wanted to give our teams an opportunity to tap into their creativity and go beyond their everyday projects. We wanted them to push past their comfort zones and work on something completely different to see what they came up with and what they learned.

After a brainstorming session with my husband on how to create something like this at Aequilibrium, Exploration Week was born.

Throughout the week, we learned a lot and saw some magical creations come to life. Here are the highlights and hindsights from Aequilibrium’s inaugural Exploration Week:

Highlights

New and innovative ideas

Truth is, I didn’t know how Exploration Week would be received by our teams or how far they would go with their ideas and innovation. I was completely blown away. In less than five days, our teams worked across departments and turned their ideas into working prototypes. Gamification for youth banking apps, office maps powered by virtual reality, blockchain tools, and a renewed company manifesto, to name a few. I was expecting mainly frameworks of ideas or concepts, but what we got were products and solutions.

Self organizing teams

It was amazing to see how teams formed and started taking action immediately with very little direction given. We were purposefully vague when sharing with the teams what Exploration Week was so everyone had the freedom to focus on the initiatives that were interesting to them. I’m glad we did because without tight guidelines, our teams came up with a handful of innovative projects.

Team excitement and participation

A memorable moment for me during Exploration Week was seeing how excited, involved, and collaborative our teams were within their projects. Post-its were everywhere, sprints were being held, whiteboards were covered with diagrams and flowcharts, and the energetic atmosphere was clearly evident in all of it. Watching the teams move so fast and and turn ideation into an actual creation was pretty spectacular.  

Hindsights

Balancing encouragement and self organization

Even though our teams were very self organizing, next time we’re going to encourage even more cross collaboration between departments and people who don’t regularly work together. We want Exploration Week to have an organic element to it while still capturing the cross-collaboration element we’d like to see going forward. That’s something we’re still figuring out.

Bringing in the remote team from Kamloops

We have a few team members who work remotely about a five hour drive away from Vancouver. They participated virtually during Exploration Week and an idea they shared was to come into the office for any future events similar to this one. Our culture here at Aequilibrium wouldn’t be what it is without them—they even built a weather app with Slack integration that reports the current weather conditions of the highway that leads them to our Vancouver office! They’re very proactive in connecting with the teams and Exploration Week would be that much more special with them in the office.

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All in all, the week was a hit.

Our teams came up with some astounding projects and we were blown away by the comradery and innovative thought processes that went into them. Some projects are even continuing beyond the week! As a company, we’re still reflecting on where to go from here with Exploration Week but there’s no doubt that this will be a part of our future. It was a week where our values of being hungry, humble, and happy presented themselves in every initiative that the team took on. Ultimately, the week itself turned into its own Exploration Week project and we’re so excited to see where and how it grows.

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