How to share knowledge at work - inspiring examples.
"When one teaches, two learn". These words of the American writer Robert A. Heinlein became the informal motto of our cyclical "Let's talk and have a beer" meetings, which take place every two months. Why? Due to the fact that at Synerise we focus very much on sharing knowledge. In our opinion, this idea is relatively simple and worth considering, because it not only affects team integration, but also increases the intellectual wealth of the entire organization. See how it works in our office.
Why is sharing knowledge worth it?
According to the Panopto Workplace Knowledge and Productivity Report, 85% of employees admit that sharing unique knowledge in the workplace is critical to increasing productivity. Therefore, we must look at the crux of the matter.
There are two proven ways to learn effectively.
First is the practical approach, which means learning from examples, your own work, including making mistakes and drawing conclusions.
Theoretically, you can learn guitar tricks from YouTube videos, but in practice you don't have the chance to be the next Jimi Hendrix if you've never had a guitar in your hands.
The second way is to work with someone who can share their knowledge with you, explain how you should work on the matter and cleverly cope with problems.
Here are the most important benefits that you can achieve by sharing knowledge with colleagues:
- You develop and constantly test yourself. None of us are alpha and omega, and confronting other points of view and fresh concepts causes a change in perception. Perhaps it will bring you some new, innovative ideas.
- You influence the knowledge of the whole team and the sector. The learning process should not be based solely on the push-down approach, which means acquiring knowledge only through formal lectures and classroom training. Instead, specialists recommend using a learning framework called 70:20:10. This is a method that combines formal, social and empirical educational activities in specific proportions: 70% empirical, 20% social and 10% formal.
- You are grounding your position in the company as a person who not only knows their field, but also eagerly talks about their work and wants to help their co-workers. This certainly increases the efficiency of teamwork and the atmosphere, but it is also another way to build your image as an expert.
- Sharing knowledge inspires proactive, self-led exploration of content, not only by the speaker, but also by the audience. This reduces the skill gap and expands the talent pool in the organization.
Let’s Talk and Have a Beer
Beginning in May of 2019, we periodically gathered the entire team in our offices in Warsaw and Krakow to discuss things as part of the "Let's talk and have a beer" format.
Good fun and integration with pizza and a drink is preceded by presentations and speeches by employees who have the opportunity to share knowledge and information on interesting or important topics.
We usually talk about issues related to the areas of our work and activities, including examples of projects carried out in Synerise, challenges and jointly implemented tasks, but also about our passions and experiences.
During our last meeting, which took place on the last day of February, there were seven speakers from different departments and Synerise offices. Let’s see what were they were talking about!
Krakow Team: Australian market, IT & Design
The grand opening for the meeting of our Krakow team was delivered by Szymon Łukasik (AI Team Lead).
Szymon's talk summarized our experiences from his business trip to Australia, associated with the first steps of Synerise on the Australian market. We discussed contacts already established with various representatives of AI-related R&D sector as well as the unique demands of the local business landscape. Some remarks on the recent advances in Automated Machine Learning and Genetic Programming stemming from this visit were also given.
After that, we turned our attention to Jacek Chmiel (Software Developer, whom you could meet in our post about creating the Kanappka application), who presented "What is this Rust For?". He explained to us what the Rust programming language is and compared it with widely known languages like C ++, Java and Python. He also drew attention to its strengths and to what kind of projects it is worth applying to.
The next speaker was Kosma Lenar (Senior Product Designer). His presentation concerned the Synerise Design System. Kosma discussed the benefits of having a design system on many levels of the company's operations. He explained what the Design System implementation process in Synerise looked like, starting from the selection of tools, application analysis, component development, to the introduction of a new Design System Team workflow. He ended his speech by presenting the Design team's plans for 2020.
The last speaker in Krakow that day was Wojciech Rozbicki (Lead of IT System Engineers), who told us about the rules that should be followed in the context of support and maintenance of IT systems. His presentation drew attention to customer requirements regarding service, areas in which we have improved support and highlighted what else should be worked on to further adapt to the needs of our clients.
Warsaw Squad: Raft, PhD program & MarTech Market
Meanwhile, a team meeting was also held at the Synerise Warsaw office. The presenters were Grzegorz, Barbara and Małgorzata.
Grzegorz Łuczyna (Software Designer & Researcher) presented the Raft algorithm in a way that was understandable to non-technical people, based on the metaphor of gossiping. Then he discussed solutions to the problems of leader election and consensus in accordance with the assumptions of the Raft algorithm. At the end he presented examples of using the Raft algorithm in distributed systems.
Barbara Rychalska (AI/NLP Researcher) presented the industrial PhD program for all employees interested in joining the program with Synerise as the industry partner. She also told us about her PhD topic, focusing on so-called adversarial examples and methods of making natural language processing (NLP) algorithms robust against input perturbations.
And last, but not least, Małgorzata Marcinkowska (Chief Customer Officer) told us what global expansion looks like on the MarTech market. We had an opportunity to learn, among other things, how digitally mature players understand, build and change their marketing stacks.
Synerise pro-learning mindset
We agree that knowledge sharing is one of the biggest success factors for digital businesses.
Synerise promotes the organization of informal meetings to exchange social, technical and business knowledge in which all employees can participate, as well as comment on the practices and ideas of their colleagues.
“If you’re the smartest person in the room, then you’re in the wrong room”, the saying goes. When our teams meet and share ideas, they begin to feel that they are pursuing a common goal.
At the end of the day, each of our employees feels as if they have helped to solve a problem and added their contribution to enriching the organization. That is the mindset of Synerise People.
Last but not least, who is behind all this?
As usual, nothing could be done at Synerise without the participation and involvement of Synerise People.
- Anna Zaniewska – HR Manager, responsible for organizing the event and providing all necessary elements for our meetings
- Szymon Łukasik - AI Team Lead, presenter: AI upside down - the first steps towards Synerise Australia
- Jacek Chmiel - Software Developer, presenter: What is this Rust For?
- Kosma Lenar - Senior Product Designer, presenter: Synerise Design System
- Wojciech Rozbicki - Lead of IT System Engineers, presenter: Support - it's good, but it can always be better!
- Grzegorz Łuczyna - Software Designer & Researcher, presenter: Raft - a consensus algorithm that can be understood
- Barbara Rychalska – AI/NLP Researcher, presenter: Basia's PhD - NLP systems
- Małgorzata Marcinkowska – Chief Customer Officer, presenter: Global expansion on the MarTech market: how digitally mature players understand, build and change their marketing stacks