Digital Science Retreat 2017: Romanian Palaces, Meeting Colleagues and the Science of Superheroes
A short selection of retreat highlights
Each year, staff at Digital Science and our portfolio companies come together in one location for a company-wide retreat. We’re a global organisation, therefore, it’s not often we’re all able to sit down with each other and discuss the challenges we face as a business – our annual retreat provides the perfect opportunity to do this. You can find our post about last year’s retreat held in Manchester, UK here. This year’s retreat took place in the historic city of Iași, Romania.
Amarjit Myers, the organiser of the event, explains:
“The annual Digital Science Retreat is a unique opportunity for our growing global team to gather in one place to share ideas and experiences. People come together from very different teams and disciplines to meet and learn from old and new colleagues, but also to get an update on Digital Science priorities and strategy for the coming year. We change the location each year, and after Manchester UK in 2016, this year the retreat took place in Iași, Romania – where the second largest Digital Science office is located.”
Upon arriving at the retreat location, Digital Science employees were met with outstanding hospitality by our colleagues based in Iași, who were eager to have the group taste and drink all that their country had to offer. The three-day event kicked off with a set of presentations with business highlights from CEO Daniel Hook and Holtzbrinck Digital CEO Markus Schunk. After this, everyone headed to a Romanian rooftop bar for a challenging pub quiz!
For those of you who missed the retreat, here are a couple of quiz questions that had retreaters scratching their heads:
- Who made the first telephone call to the moon?
- Which planet has an orbital period of 687 days?
Operations Manager Cristina Danilov commented on the retreat:
“Our team in Iași were very excited to be the hosts of Digital Science’s fifth company retreat! We used this visit as a valuable opportunity to make new partnerships, showcase the new DS office in Iași, and to take our colleagues around our hometown. We hope everyone enjoyed their time here and we look forward to seeing them all again very soon.”
The following two days were then spent learning, listening and communicating various ideas and technical issues staff have encountered over the past year. Formal sessions were mixed with ‘unconference’ type sessions, breaking up into smaller groups and allowing plenty of time for discussion and debate. With five session rooms available throughout the day, everyone had the option to present and put their ideas forward! Needless to say, the conversations that were shared have inspired new partnerships and plans for 2017.
A highlight of this year’s retreat were Tuesday morning’s ‘ignite’ presentations. Presenters got 20 slides, which automatically advanced every 15 seconds – the result was fast and fun presentations lasting just five minutes. This style of presentation proved to be a brilliant way of conveying a lot of information from Digital Science and its portfolio companies in a very short period time!
After Tuesday’s activities had come to an end, the retreaters were given a tour through the halls of one of Iași’s most famous palaces. In a palace chamber steeped in history, scientist and orator extraordinaire Dr Suze Kundu took to the stage as our guest dinner speaker. She delved into the ‘real world’ of superheroes drawing on examples of cutting edge research that blurs the line between fantasy and fiction. The audience were captivated from start to finish – and it helps that the majority of us are die-hard comic fans!
A Digital Science retreat would not be complete without the Digital Science Retreat film competition. Michael Metcalf, Marketing Manager at Symplectic won the coveted first prize. This year’s theme was ‘A Day in the Life of a Digital Science Retreater’ and the judges felt Mike showed ingenuity, creativity and skill in his video titled, Symplectrickery!
To finish an informative and fun retreat, we took to the streets for a walking tour focused on Romania’s rich history!
— Digital Science (@digitalsci) June 21, 2017
Digital Science CEO Daniel Hook commented on the success of the retreat:
‘The yearly retreat offers a rare opportunity for staff from across Digital Science and the Digital Science portfolio companies to come together, celebrate our achievements, team build and spend time with our colleagues from around the world. It also provides the perfect opportunity to reflect and discuss what lies ahead. I was struck by the amazing intellectual generosity and curiosity of colleagues at this year’s retreat. Digital Science remains a wonderful place to work with great colleagues and the retreat makes this really clear.’