2 October 2020
Going digital instead of going to the airport: One of our most cherished traditions at SparkOptimus is the SparkOptiWeekend. Each year, the full team meets abroad for a moment of pause. Together, we reflect on the past year, celebrate successes, and work out ideas and initiatives to improve even more. Usually, the destination would have been kept secret until the last minute. In the year 2020, however, just like most plans, this tradition needed to be adapted due to the pandemic. While the relaxation of restrictions during the summer had given us hope to be able to meet in person at a venue close to Amsterdam, the latest developments required another change of plans.
FULLY DIGITAL CONFERENCE
With a physical meeting being impossible, we overhauled the program completely and set up a fully digital conference in lieu of prepping a venue. Instead of a plane ticket to a foreign country, every Sparkie received links to multiple-hour meetings on Microsoft Teams. Next to following various presentations, we split the group in several shorter break-out groups. In each workgroup, a handful of colleagues brainstormed and discussed ideas to improve further, covering topics including training and expertise, internal values and culture, as well as internal and external communications. Afterwards everyone reported back to the group, sharing the best ideas. The second day included a round of completely new workshops, hosted by Sparkies themselves. In one-hour sessions, the facilitators taught their peers lessons learned during recent projects, covering topics like venture building, data-driven marketing or how to build a recommendation engine.
MAKING IT FUN
One important aspect of the traditional weekend is getting to know each other and to bond with colleagues beyond the day-to-day tasks. Spontaneous conversations about hobbies or experiences don’t happen easily via screens. On the flip side, virtual calls make it possible to meet our colleagues’ furry friends that would otherwise not have been able to join the outing. To keep energy levels up, the facilitating team had prepared a special version of Bingo and included little secrets about every colleague. Several project teams provided further diversion paired with valuable learnings by showcasing their recent project work (and video editing skills) in the form of fun video clips.
DIGITAL DRINKS & PROMOTIONS
A round of virtual drinks marked the festive finale of this year’s all-digital SparkOptiWeekend. From their own desks, all colleagues raised their glasses to celebrate the promotions of 19 Sparkies â€“ breaking a promotion record. Congratulations to Alexander GullÃ³n, Aron Hartveld, Amy Tuk, Barbara Linssen, Coen van der Linden, Daan Alberdingk Thijm, Denise Klop, Emile RÃ¶ell, Fabian KÃ¶sters, Frank van Wingerden, HenriÃ«tte Hoving, Jochem Knuttel, Jantijn Kromwijk, Justus Poldermans, Lucas Hermsen, Philip van der Ven, Vincent Vollebregt, Wiemer van der Veur, and Wouter van Haaften!