Starting today, we put regular work on hold for our first ever ‘Innovation Week’ at SwiftKey HQ – a five-day ‘hack’ opportunity during which the entire company stop their normal jobs and build things together, learning new skills and with a bit of luck, producing some cool new features and innovations. Find out why we’re doing this on the blog.
Read on to get to know the Innovation Commandos who are making this happen.
Precious (co-leader) – Creative Comms Lead
I’ve been involved in organizing Innovation Days for the last couple of years since my early days at SwiftKey. As Creative Comms Lead, I was passionate about being involved in an event that helps the whole of SwiftKey break out of everyday work and harness our creativity. I’m really excited to be working alongside a new team of awesome ‘Commandos’ to attempt our first ever five day Innovation Week! We’ve thrown ourselves into organizing this inaugural event, and I’m personally really excited to see what comes out of it, and lives beyond it!
Adam (co-leader) – Software Engineer
I love to put on a show; to put together a finely crafted piece of entertainment and as an engineer I also love to build, so I jumped at the chance to help out with innovation at SwiftKey!
I’ve particularly enjoyed fleshing out our framework for the upcoming Innovation Week and planning how we communicate it to the rest of the company. In terms of the week itself, I’m most looking forward to the multitude of events we’re putting on (including an improv comedy show and a gameshow!) to help break up the week and inspire our innovators.
Now I just need to find time to work on my own Innovation Week project!
As a Commando I get to combine my love of planning with my love of shopping; and we really have gone all out on this one. Trying to keep our ideas a surprise has been a real challenge, as there really is nowhere to hide 4000 ball pit balls and a 4 metre roll of fake grass in this place!
I’m looking forward to unveiling our new-and-improved Innovation space and hope it will help inspire some extra creative projects. Failing that, the sugar from all the tuck shop sweets should keep you all going for a while…
Tom – iOS Team Lead
Dedicated days for innovation are one of the most special things about SwiftKey, a chance to bring to life all of those little ideas you have throughout the day that there isn’t time for in normal day-to-day work. So understandably I was thrilled to have the opportunity to be involved with the planning and organisation of the most ambitious one yet… an entire week of innovation! I’ve been mostly involved with the planning of how to turn our office into a non-office to help everyone get out of the regular work mindset. This includes the overhaul of the office space, arranging plenty of surprises to keep everyone inspired and planning events to run each evening. It’s going to be an amazing week!
Lachie – Software Engineer
Having been a big fan of innovation days ever since I first joined SwiftKey, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to help organise the first week-long version. I find the freedom to work on whatever I want, however I want, with whoever I want, incredibly stimulating. However, in their previous format (2 days every 2 months), I was sometimes frustrated by the fact that promising ideas weren’t always pursued further outside of innovation days. My main involvement in organising this week’s event has been to help people form teams and generate ideas. I’m hopeful that the new week-long format will allow more of these ideas to be developed further outside of the week.
Monique – Executive Assistant
Well, I never thought I would see the day that I would be invited to be a Commando of any description, but hey, why not give it a go. Having never been to a SwiftKey Innovation Day since I joined (always something happening here in the office) I was excited to hear that not only would it be in the London HQ (we usually go off-site), but that it would be for a whole week! How lucky are we? Perfect time for me to become very involved and offer my perspective on what we can do to make this a week to remember – so, it was a no-brainer really – I’m in! I also enjoyed playing a practical joke on the team by inviting everyone to get a chip implant under their skin instead of a door pass for the week…
Doug – Software Engineer
I’m glad to have worked with many people and on various things while here at SwiftKey, from language models that predict your next word to hush-hush prototypes and research. But innovation time has produced some real highlights, from our first innovation day, through consecutive pairs of days and now looking forward to a whole week – there are a handful of people at SwiftKey with whom I’ve only ever worked on innovation days. Therefore I was especially keen to try to help teams form around interesting ideas running up to the week; now looking at what is on the list makes me very excited about what is to come!
Stay tuned for Innovation Week updates throughout the week!
The Innovation Commandos