Nobody likes team building days. This is a known fact that has plagued businesses for years.
Everyone piles into a room, wears a sticker with their name on it and then spends the next seven hours wishing they were literally anywhere other than in a beige room next to a motorway waiting for the free sandwiches to turn up.
You’ll be jealous to hear then, that Dyson takes a rather different approach to team building.
Every year, Dyson lets its engineers form teams and then gives them just 24 hours to create literally anything.
This year the Rapid Development Challenge asked them to create an intelligent machine that fell into one of these three categories: The Connected Home, Gamifying Dyson Products and Accessibility Through Usability.
The winning team (from the UK) were able to take one of Dyson’s beautiful but extremely expensive CSYS lamps and in the space of just 24 hours turn it into a robotic Leonardo Da Vinci.
Incredibly over 203 people consisting of software and hardware engineers took part in the massive hackathon.
Within the 24 hour period participants had an average of just 2 hours sleep. While awake the teams wrote a grand total of over 6,200 lines of code, spent over 500 hours coding and consumed over 512 energy drinks.
It’s easy to consider this with a cynical pair of eyes and see the exercise as nothing more than a flag-waiving endeavour for the company, but in response to that we will just point this out: Do you see a single sandwich or name sticker?
Dyson aren’t the only company to find new ways of motivating its staff. Google’s famous 20% time which let its employees spend 20% of their time working on a project of their choosing became something of a global phenomenon.
It paid off too. Gmail, Google Maps, Adsense and Google Now are all creations that were first invented by Google’s employees in their spare time.
So not only do tasks like this make employees happy, it can also work out being pretty lucrative for the company too.