The Value of a Pause: Reflections on Quicksand’s 2016 Offsite
Amey Bansod & Tom Foster
Keywords: Design, Design Thinking, Off-Site, Team Building, Reflection
Once a year, our studios in Delhi and Bangalore get together for a few days of fun, games and a short reflection on the year gone by.
In many ways, our off-site – to Coorg this year – was a pause from the strenuous, at times overwhelming, pace of our work. Rarely in today’s culture do we take the time to simply pause from the frantic pace of our daily realities to spend time with each other in a way that is fun, relaxed, and reflective.
The team enjoying some down time at the river
Quicksand is committed to seeking out creative stimulus outside of work. The off-site served as a great way for the team to simply be, and hang out with each other in different contexts. As a group, we feel this is important to nurture our sense of unity and inspiration.
Over the years, as Quicksand’s practice has expanded to new contexts; so has the team learnt to accommodate new team members – each with their own set of skills and perspectives. There is always a need to welcome the new hires into the culture of the studio, and the off-site provides a means for them to relate to each other beyond work.
Apart from taking a macro view of the studio through the lens of financials and business development goals, another agenda for the off-site was to harness ideas and strategies from each team member.
Brainstorming on future opportunities for the studio.
Quicksand is committed to seeking out creative stimulus outside of work.
The communications team – Sara, Tom and Kevin – tailored light brainstorms to develop ideas around our internal and external communications. The idea was to use personal interests to identify new audiences, and to begin to think critically about how to reach them. Scripting the off-site in this manner is an example of how we approach planning workshops and activity-driven conversations in our professional practice.
Sometimes our personal interests find ways to enter into the larger stream of our work – often revealing a new perspective on our designs and strategies. Drawing on this idea, Avinash – one of Quicksand’s partners – led an exercise to outline a learning and development roadmap for each studio member.
Sara leading a discussion around Quicksand’s communications strategy.
Sometimes our personal interests find ways to enter into the larger stream of our work – often revealing a new perspective on our designs and strategies.
The insight which emerged was an important reiteration of belief in our founding principles: that each person in the studio should take their work, and reconfigure it to align with their own talents and interests. In doing so, it is possible to craft a more meaningful role in work, and in life..
Quicksand has always encouraged it’s team to express a vision for their work, and to embrace a dialogue within themselves. Avinash summed it up perfectly with a summarised quote from MIT Media Lab:
“While people perceive this as a place where great collisions happen and ideas come together, without the people who have these collisions already happening within themselves, we wouldn’t have got to where we are today.”
Babitha taking a moment to herself to read and reflect.
Much of Quicksand’s growth and success can be attributed to the unique in studio culture. We feel that as the studio continues to grow, the overlaps between each individual’s skills and beliefs will shape the collective and the culture within. The off-site to Coorg was a great way of realising this.