At Voxbone, we like to shake things up.

Coming up with innovative ideas and new ways to use the latest in VoIP technology isn’t easy. That’s why we use a variety of methods to keep the creativity flowing and provide us with inspiration. One of these is something that we’ve dubbed ‘GWeek’. This is a week where we take our technical teams out of the office, bring them to a new environment and discuss new ideas.

Why do we call it ‘GWeek’? Well, the answer is…*drumroll*…nobody really knows! Someone in the team just came up with it, and the name just stuck!

Now, on to the good stuff…

So, why do we do this?

Our mission to simplify communications is constantly being influenced by new technology, architecture evolutions and ways of working. Our industry is in constant evolution and all of this innovation enables new services, better performance, scalability, and maintainability. Over the last couple of years, we’ve also seen a definite move away from the traditional siloed workflow. These days, it’s all about being agile and that means bringing business and IT around the table.

Developed to improve efficiency, Kanban, a scheduling system, uses lean manufacturing ideas to reduce handoff points where work is thrown ‘over the wall’ from one team to the next and the whole Dev-Ops movement aims to strengthen collaboration between development and operations teams. Recent Forbes articles are rightfully claiming that in order to make a real impact, companies no longer ‘just need to have the right experts’, but that true competitive advantage will be gained by those able to join forces from different domains.

You might also wonder why we go out of the office for the week. First of all, a change of scenery is great to get some creativity pumping and to organically mix people from different teams. Secondly, all of the people in our tech teams have an operational responsibility to take care of incidents, which are often urgent, high priority and can interrupt any brainstorms that the teams arrange. Interruptions kill creativity and make people lose focus and momentum. So we look after this by splitting the teams across two weeks in the year where roughly half the people work in a bubble of creativity and focus, while their colleagues are back at the office taking care of business.

What are the results?

Obviously, we can’t give away all of the brilliant ideas that we come up with during these meetings but trust us: this is where the magic happens.

The ideas that really make the difference are those that are brilliant, innovative and that could have a significant business impact. The week is also a great opportunity to plan for the year ahead. In these sessions, we figure out what new issues need to be addressed and we also plan out what Voxbone should do next. This can lead to not only new project candidates on the list for 2017 project list but also a list of new ways for tackling them.

Though we can’t talk about this year’s cluster of ideas (you’ll have to wait and see), there are some things we can reveal!

During our very first GWeek back in December 2014, we cooked up some fantastic concepts that lead to some very concrete releases that are live today:

  • The entire technology and architecture set for our brand new web portal were decided there
  • We seriously beefed up our continuous integration and continuous delivery setup, allowing us to release at a much higher pace than before, for a fraction of the cost.
  • Our new internal real-time monitoring and alerting capabilities have enabled us to give a much more comprehensive view on the state of our calls, portal, and API traffic.

I hope this gave you a satisfying sneak peek into how we keep things fresh and inspirational at Voxbone and we can’t wait to show you some of the innovations we have in store for next year!

Check out all of the products and services we’ve already released here.