Getting to know IXDS offline and offsite

A new recruit’s reflections on the IXDS mountain offsite 2016.
The so called third technological revolution, also known as the digital revolution, enabled immense new forms of communication provided by computers, cellular phones and the internet. But still nothing beats the kind of connections you can make IRL (In Real Life). 
Who is IXDS?

We have become very familiar with exchanging information via these digital channels, absorbing (and sharing) all the necessary details that make sure we remember precious experiences throughout our entire life. 

During my first weeks at IXDS, I got to know all of my colleagues in some way, partly through using these miraculous digital channels. However, meeting people via screens is still abstract to me. I see faces (if technology works smoothly) and hear voices that I can’t really allocate and connect to real people. In my eyes this feels a bit like the missing link in interpersonal communication. Maybe you know this feeling, too?

As a newbie, I spent my first weeks getting to know people, trying to keep up with all the names and grasping the overall working routines, which was indeed a challenge for me in addition to the day-to-day business. But then came the offsite; our yearly team event, where all colleagues come together and spend a few days discussing company relevant topics and, of course, having a good time together in the process. Always taking place in a different location, this time around we spent three days in Bayrischzell, situated in the picturesque and snow-covered landscape of the Bavarian Alps. Luckily this year’s offsite took place during my first weeks at IXDS.

I already had a certain image and understanding of the environment I had started working in, as IXDS has a clear philosophy and openly communicates this across all channels. But actually being among a team fascinated with interactions and experiences, such as nonverbal communication between people, I was sure that a single handshake or gesture was going to reveal so much more than one might expect. And therefore taking these interactions “offsite” was bound to introduce me to a whole new impression of IXDS.

If we look at the term offsite, what does it actually mean? When looking again at our habit to constantly communicate by means of technology, to me this kind of contact often feels a bit »off-site«. Offsite in the sense of not really being present. Maybe it’s the actual absence of physicalness that makes me experience it like that? Or the nonappearance of all the details that come with body language?

Of course one could prompt a discussion about the advantages of meeting people in personal vs. getting to know people via digital channels. But actually it’s not about juxtaposing good or bad and right or wrong. What I want to say is that our event in the Alps proved that experiencing real people in the tangible world was that missing link. The intensity of these two and a half days literally blew my mind.

The »on-site« activities were straightforward and analog. All of my senses were filled with manifold impressions. I could experience all of my colleagues in a direct and more complementary, fulfilling way. Even now I can still hear, see, smell, taste and feel the vibes of these delightful days: hiking up the mountain in the dark; building objects in the astonishing landscape; solving challenges in the woods; intensely discussing topics and courses of action; constantly negotiating plans; having breakfast/dinner together; dancing or simply joking around made me indeed feel as though I was truly a part of this unique collective of inspiring individuals. I do hope that I also contributed to that in one way or another.

Finally, this experience was so important for me, especially as a newbie, not only because it gave me the chance to meet all the inspiring individuals, but also absorb the entire team spirit. Not to mention the fatigue and exhaustion that resulted from the vibrant intensity; something that will always remain in my memory and surely provide an enduring positive image of IXDS in my mind. I was exhausted – from creative and emotional intensity – but happy about being a part of this unique collective. And I still am.

Lots of love / Anja