The Speechmatics team recently held an offsite event at the Varsity Hotel in Cambridge to get together in an informal environment to align on the company strategy. The theme of the event was ‘stronger together’ and that sentiment was echoed throughout the entirety of the day.
The event was split into several talks, informal chats, food, games as well as a unique Leadership Team quick-fire question round. It was a motivational day out of the office and an exciting opportunity to align on a clear vision. Here’s what happened.
Tom Ash delivered a presentation about the background of Speechmatics, diving into our journey from conception in 2005 through to commercialisation in 2014, and the success we’ve seen since. It was enjoyable to hear about the ‘dark ages’ of Speechmatics where Founder, Dr Tony Robinson was working on the speech engine by himself in his attic. Tom did a great job in communicating Speechmatics’ journey from Tony working by himself to a company of over 70.
Next up was a presentation from CEO, John Milliken. John addressed the importance of aligning the company’s growth, success, vision, mission and values. He unified our strategy to ensure everyone was pulling in the same direction to ultimately delight our customers.
We were delighted to welcome our first guest speaker of the day just before lunch. Chris Sheldrick, Co-Founder and CEO of what3words discussed the exciting use case for our speech recognition technology with their company. What3words is the simplest way to talk about location. They have divided the world into a grid of 3m x 3m squares and assigned each one a unique 3 word address.
It’s a use case which has a range of applications for both developed and developing countries to provide an accurate location for uses like emergency services and postal deliveries. We’re excited to see how this partnership will come to fruition in the future.
Next, lunch was served, and tables were organised by conversation topics. Each table had different business areas that were undergoing significant change. The goal was to spark conversation and give people the opportunity to ask questions about upcoming changes. From new office spaces and company values to investment and internal communications, attendees were free to roam from table to table asking questions about the impact of the changes.
After lunch, we welcomed our second guest speaker, David Jones of Travis Perkins. David delivered an engaging presentation on delivery and taking action. He expressed the importance of making a start, being committed, focussing on your ‘why’ and taking action.
David spoke about the need for change and how by embracing it, it can be as good as rest. A notable quote which had the room in hysterics was:
“Apprehensive about change? A bit nervous? We all are, it’s normal. You’re a human being not a baked bean.”
Jokes aside, it was an important message to take away.
The Leadership Team spoke about coming together as business functions to achieve unified goals. The VP from each department clarified their team’s objectives and explained how we were going to work together to achieve them. It was hugely motivating and inspiring to see how we’ll work together in the coming months.
Next up was a quick-fire question round with the Leadership Team. In groups, people took turns to ask the Leadership Team some prepared questions of their choosing. Topics included what challenges the business is facing, what the biggest changes are, challenges the Leadership Team, amongst other interesting questions.
Lastly, but by no means least was an inspiring talk from People Manager, Ben Faulkner. Ben spoke about the importance of people, and how imperative we are as a collective unit. He addressed how we’re aiming to align our personal successes and aspirations with the company’s, in order to achieve job fulfilment and company success.
The day was rounded off with a party which consisted of a Scalextric competition, a crazy golf course, copious desserts, informal chatting and Speechmatics very own cocktails.
Take a look at the highlights from Flock 2019.
Speaking after the event, Engineering Manager, Brad Phipps said: “Flock was a great reminder of just how far we’ve come in the 4 short years since I joined. After the presentation about what we would like to achieve in the coming years, I’m confident we can do it again. Here’s to the next chapter of this adventure!”
It was a really well put together event that brought each function together and helped to break down barriers between teams. Often, it’s easy to get so engrossed in our day-to-day tasks that we lose sight of the objectives. Flock showed us the importance of taking a step back now and again to see the bigger picture, and it was rewarding to see how our technology is being used to impact real-world scenarios. Seeing the collaboration between everyone in the organisation, no matter the job title, was truly inspiring and the energy in the room was spectacular.
We’re looking forward to seeing what the next Flock has in store for us!
Kathryn Lye, Speechmatics
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