“What is a ‘company’? I don’t know what this thing, a ‘company’ is, but at harmon.ie, what I see is a network of individuals, working together towards a common goal. For me, this idea of us as a network of people is very important.” So began Yaacov Cohen, CEO and co-founder of harmon.ie as he outlined his vision for the business in 2017.
Yaacov’s talk, coming on day two of harmon.ie’s annual getaway, set the tone for the week, but also epitomized what we’re about as a company—or to use his words—as a network of individuals. Key to everything we do, is our idea that people are at their happiest, most productive and most creative, when they can work together in a natural, ‘human’ way. Rather than being made to fit around arbitrary structures—be they organizational or technological—we believe that humans achieve their potential most effectively when they work in the way that is most natural to them. This is the major motivation behind our products, which aim to make technology fit around the user (rather than making users change their natural behavior to fit around the technology’s demands). It is also key to how we work as a company.
So, how exactly do we turn this rather nice-sounding concept into reality? Take a journey with us from sunny Tel Aviv to the foothills of northern Israel…
Day 1: Be bold!
With offices in Israel, and across Europe and North America, our company is a pretty dispersed group. Hence, our annual company trip gives us a highly valuable opportunity to get together, see old faces and meet new colleagues who’ve joined in the last 12 months. While we have a lot of fun, it’s also important for us to come together and get to know one another beyond business phone calls and emails. Our two days traveling across the north of the country was therefore about more than recreation, but about tightening up that network and getting to know the people behind the email address.
We kicked off our first morning with an awesome breakfast at the Ramat HaNadiv Botanical Garden in Zichron Ya'akov before launching our first session. Following a unique opening session that outlined the theme of the week, “Being Bold”, we got down to business. Being bold is all about being ready to put ourselves in uncomfortable situations, helping each of us work out what ‘ingredient’ would help us as individuals overcome those personal obstacles, and going that little bit further.
The day began with powerful testimonials from colleagues across the company who shared their experiences of stepping out of their comfort zones and making bold moves in their personal and professional lives. It was inspiring to listen to our colleagues open up about quite personal experiences - issues they struggled with - and hear them talk about how stepping up to those challenges had helped them get a richer experience in their professional lives. It was an emotional rollercoaster, and it wasn’t even 10AM!
Next, we were divided into four teams and given a series of team-building tasks:
- Bridge building:
First off, our teams had to build a bridge holding logs to support other team members as they clambered across, before completing a puzzle.
Throughout the day we continued in our teams to navigate a 4x4 around dirt tracks to the locations of the next challenge.
- Polystyrene path:
Next up, we found ourselves in a pine forest using a collection of styrofoam boxes to build a path across the forest floor. Once we’d reached our destination, we built a wall out of our boxes and climbed up a tree. Maybe you had to be there.
- Harness hazard:
After that, a colleague from each team, was strapped into a harness attached by four corners to surrounding trees, then guided by other team members to pick up a range of cookery items from the forest floor.
- A culinary accomplishment:
The final task of the day was a group cook-off using our recently acquired pots and pans. The whole of harmon.ie got together to cook up a feast. Gastronomic highlights included: homemade hummus; flatbreads; shakshuka; crepes; rice and many more…
- Dinner then bed:
After yet another feast for dinner, we spent the night at a hotel in the Kabbalistic city of Safed.
Day 2: Of boldness and boulders
After an energetic 24 hours, most of us were ready for a slightly more relaxed day. The journey, however, was about being bold, so after a wonderful speech from CEO Yaacov Cohen presenting the company vision of “Humanizing the Digital Experience”, we got back out on the road for some more ‘full-throttle’ boldness. We embarked on a four hour all-terrain vehicle trip through challenging terrain.
- We started out in the Dishon Valley splashing through mud and rivers.
- Then drove up through boulder strewn paths to ruins of an ancient Israelite synagogue.
- Had a run in with a herd of cows and a wild horse.
- And ended up visiting the historic Alma Cave.
Day two was then wrapped up with another awesome meal before heading back to Tel Aviv.
Practicing what we preach
Key to everything we do at harmon.ie, is focusing on the human by putting them at the center of technology and our business. In our products, that means we think about technology in a different way: designing products that enhance the way people already think and behave, rather than forcing them to adapt to new ways of doing things. We are building harmon.ie around the way humans work - as networks of individuals, and people who want to get to know one another on a personal level and have real experiences together. It’s about relationships and networks—and being bold. It’s about excelling at everything we do and focusing on helping business people excel at their jobs by putting them front and center. It’s about designing technology that augments the way they already think.
Want to find out more about our vision for technology, about our values as a team, or how harmon.ie can help your employees get the most out of your enterprise tools? Contact us today.