By Lise Wurmser-Ott
222 Wecitizens kit themselves out with heavy backpacks and hit the road towards an adventurous weekend. Be glad and rejoice, folks! After one long year, the 3rd edition of the Open Wenation Weekend is finally here: our 222 cooperators will enjoy a crazy team-meeting in the exotic city of Knokke-Heist, Belgium. (Not kidding, the weather has been really AWESOME! ).
Once a year, the Open Wenation Weekend (also known as the famous & mysterious OWW) brings the international teams together for 2 days of sharing and celebrating all together. Deeply inspired by our values, a successful OWW is based on a 3-ingredients recipe:
- The magic word: have fun, still fun, and always fun
- Be disruptive and creative: dare, still dare, and always dare
- Co-create the experience: share, still share, and always share
Work is not a job – especially during the weekend!
This weekend is particularly important for all of us: we meet the newcomers of the previous year, meet up with good old friends, and catch up with everyone’s lives. It’s also the perfect way to thank all of our cooperators for their continuous involvement during the year. That’s why we take to heart to involve every Wecitizen who would like to take part in the organization of this weekend. It’s not a weekend organized for the cooperators, but by our cooperators! Although we’re all working together to reach our ambition, this weekend is not about our jobs. It’s all about having a great time as a team, as a family.
And what do you usually do with your family? Once in a while (be honest, usually at Christmas), you sit around a table to share an awesome meal made of fine delights and enjoy a great talk. The Open Wenation Weekend is our Christmas: our family gathers and feasts. As in many family events, ours ends on the dancefloor, where everyone can demonstrate his/her artistic talents and show his/her creativity: On Saturday evening, slowly, but surely, the usual crowd was replaced by a heterogeneous cast coming straight out of various TV shows. The cherry on the cake, our CEO, Jean-Christophe Conticello, has always been a big fan of electronic music and a great improvised DJ! Whether it’s during the OWW or during the after work, we all know one thing: when JC is around, you can be sure the official DJ won’t have to work late!
‘You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.’
We do agree with this and grabbed the opportunity of the OWW to tickle our cooperators’ creativity. Every day at Wenation, we challenge inertia and status-quo. We never choose the easy way over the best way. So why would we opt for classicism when trying to fill our teams’ creative batteries?
You all knew Cannes Film Festival, but did you know Knokke-Heist Wenation Film Festival? I bet you didn’t. The assessment is quite simple: we are a vast and complex ecosystem, we all deal with technical subjects and wordings. Sometimes, we get lost in the various refinements of Agile and Digital Transformation. That’s why we’ve deployed the red carpet and the Wecitizens were asked to make their very own trailer about how they contribute to changing the world of work. But not without an extra challenge of course. They had to make a trailer in a particular movie theme. For instance, horror, Bollywood or unicorns!
Each Wecitizen got the chance to demonstrate his/her immense acting talents (well, we’ve also learned a lot about the secret life of unicorns, anarchist students, and bandits). A disruptive way to trigger creativity around our team, bring people from different countries together and make them reflects on Agile subjects. How to combine business and pleasure! And that’s everything we want at Wenation: we encourage our cooperators to let their imagination go free and initiate projects they believe in.
But being disruptive is not only about activities, but it’s also a whole mindset that gets into every single little detail. Take the means of transportation for example: it would have been easy to bring people from point A to point B thanks to giant travel buses. Considering the fact that Knokke is quite a small town (37.72 km² exactly), it would have been even easier to let people walk from one place to another. We do not love the easy way. We hate the easiest way. We love originality and fun. So we booked 222 bikes and let our Wecitizens wander around Knokke (while praying for everyone to stay safe and all the bikes to come back!). We bet Knokke residents have been quite surprised to see -and hear- our joyful hord coming and going in their peaceful town. In a nutshell, the equation we came out with is quite simple: seaside + sunny weather + personal bikes = happy people!
‘If you can laugh together, you can work together.’
Together is something we truly believe in. The “make it together” and “share your knowledge” are at the root of all our projects. So it’s no surprise that cooperation and sharing also are cornerstones of our annual gathering. For better or for worse, we act as one team and no one should be left behind. Therefore, when an unexpected battle arose, teams gathered and join forces: put your cap on, grab your (water)pistol, and defend your team/POD/friends/honor!
During this ruthless fight, some of us should have kept their energy, but we were naive and we didn’t know what we were about to go a few minutes later… While everyone was trying to soak as many civilian casualties as possible (ok, maybe this time we allowed ourselves to forget about caring for others), something even more serious was about to start further on the downward beach. 😉
Soon, there were no more PODs, no more friends. There were only 12 color-teams fighting against each other to win the Wenation Koh-Lanta. All Wecitizens were gathered in random teams and cooperated to defend their colors: tug-of-war, obstacle course, puzzles, insect tastings… There was something for every taste! But most of all, every challenge had a common point: just as in our day to day work, you couldn’t succeed without your team’s help and support. To win the game, you had to get to know your teammates, start thinking together, and learn to act like one. An awesome opportunity to meet people from various countries we didn’t know, and notice that no matter what job we’re doing or where we come from, we all share the same value in our Wenation family. A victory for our mindset: if you cooperate, share, and have fun, you’ll move mountains! (or win a wooden figurine). In some way, we’ve all won this game .
We’re convinced you can’t succeed alone, whether you are an individual or even a company. To go further than a market strategy, we’ve developed an ecosystem strategy: Wenation, an innovative ecosystem that includes the entire business transformation value chain to turn major companies into corpups, a new type of company in which corporates and startups join their forces to become stronger. Every entity in our ecosystem has its own way of working, its own cultural specificities, and its own tools to reach a common goal: help corporates become future-proof. Far from being a problem, our differences make us complimentary and stronger. Therefore, we love to mark our milestones all together as a family. This OWW was the opportunity to gather around an awesome “3-floors cake” and celebrate Wemanity’s 5 years, WeDigitalGarden’s 2 years, and WeCanopy’s 1 year birthdays. That’s exactly what we believe in: making successes the whole team’s successes, and not only a matter of profit and ROI. Anyway, nothing would have been possible during these last years without our people, their trust and loyalty.
We bet you understood the core of the Open Wenation Weekend: disruption, creativity, cooperation, and sharing, with having fun as our golden thread. It takes a whole team to change the world of work, that’s why these values are so important to us.
Nothing could better summarize this experience than the feedback from our cooperators: “Loved the energy, what a great community of people, feels like a family, together ready to change the world together, Can’t wait for next year.”
And that was only the second edition! The organizing team set a very high standard, and therefore very high expectations for next year. What will they put together next year to surprise us and make each Wecitizen leave the whole Wenation experience? Stay tuned!