Last weekend we had the pleasure of attending our first ever FutuCamp. Considering we are both new interns at Futurice, we were overjoyed to be going to Prague. For those of you who are wondering what FutuCamp is, we will fill the void. FutuCamp is a yearly trip, where all members of Futurice hop on a plane, train, boat, bike or car to spend a weekend learning, bonding and enjoying each other’s company. The weekend is usually filled with a day of inspirational sessions, sightseeing, and a party. The aim of the trip is to unify our company and bring everybody together to share ideas, thoughts and to extend our Futurice community. You can read more about this year’s theme for FutuCamp in our earlier blog post.
After weeks of anticipation, we are finally waking up to go to Prague! The alarm clock reverberates in our ears as the sun rises, at 4am on the dot. No time to waste, bags packed, shoes on, out the door we go! To be honest, we couldn’t really believe our luck, two interns from North London, going on our very first business trip to Prague in our second week of being at Futurice.
After spending ages going through airport security at Stansted, we realised how useful facial recognition in airports would be in the UK - like our recent project with Finnair! Let’s hope we can work on introducing new tech to UK airports soon and remove the pain points of air travel. We boarded the plane full of excitement, enthusiasm and energy for the adventure we were about to take on. We flew across the English Channel and past the Netherlands and Germany, to then see endless green land of suburbian Prague. We had arrived! As we hopped off the plane we felt like we were in a Hollywood movie, wind flowing through our hair, hot sunshine illuminating the ground, and our luggage in hand, we skipped through the airport ready for our Prague adventure to unwind.
To our delight, we arrived at the exquisite Hilton hotel, where we soon discovered that the #FutuBohemia artwork had been emblazoned across the revolving doors and walls. Our first port of call was the goodie bag factory, where we were worked alongside the other ‘factory workers’ Marju and Eemeli packing goodie bags for the arrival of 340 Futuriceans.
We grabbed lunch then wandered down the enchanting streets of Old Town Prague, admiring the picturesque scenery that we were immersed in. Our first day in Prague had been truly magical, we couldn't wait to see what more the city had to offer!
What better way to start your day than indulging in seemingly endless breakfast buffet, including omelettes, fresh waffles and pancakes, forget that summer body, at the Hilton you can let loose! After a great start to the day we headed over to our next destination, La Fabrika! The stylish venue was covered in emerald green ivy, creating an enchanting aesthetic. We entered the building to find more delicious food, drinks and a tropical rooftop garden, buzzing with Futuriceans excited to learn and let #FutuCamp begin.
The seats in the venue quickly filled up, and the apprehensive hum of noise was reduced to silence as Mark Gallagher stepped onto the stage. Sorry to disappoint, but Mark isn’t a third member of Oasis, and he says that he has never met Liam or Noel Gallagher… however he is a senior manager at Formula One, and has recently dedicated his career to motivational speaking. His keynote emphasised the importance of teamwork and unity and the audience was totally absorbed during his one-hour insightful, inspiring and humorous presentation , he left the audience feeling in awe of his knowledge and experience. The keynote was followed by a series of fascinating Futurice case studies, celebrating the great work that all of our sites have been doing over the past 12 months.
We finished off the learning part of FutuCamp with a presentation from Futurice Founder, Hanno Nevanlinna and Senior Service Designer and Social Psychologist, Dr. Eeva Raita around Lean Service Creation. Hanno and Eeva shared impressive numbers around the universities and companies applying the LSC methodology to their work.
After a wonderful afternoon of inspiration, we went out with the London team to a Czech tavern for traditional food, including potato soup, pork dumplings, sauerkraut and of course Czech beer!
You may have guessed but we both love food and it was sad to have our last breakfast at the Hilton.
The third day was packed with sightseeing and travelling around the winding streets of the Old Town, where the true heart of Prague beats. We shall now amaze you with some of the gems of knowledge that our tour guide bestowed upon us.
The Old Town was built in the 14th Century, under the rule of one of the most famous Czech kings, King Charles IV. King Charles was educated in Paris in his youth, one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Europe at the time. Prague on the other hand had a problem with poverty and a lack of sophistication. When Charles’ father John of Luxembourg died, he suddenly inherited the Czech Republic - fortunately for Charles an extensive silver mine was discovered and Charles invested it into the arts and sciences. King Charles was inspired by his Parisian upbringing to build ornate gothic architecture, that you will see across Prague.
As we continued our walk around the Old Town, we were confused about the pink balloons that were scattered across the city horizon. We soon discovered that there was a fundraising event being held for Cancer Research, which we would have joined, yet we had the whole city still to explore!
We carried on with our adventure, and climbed up 1,500 steps. This was a struggle, we can assure you, yet once we reached the top, we were faced with the most magnificent panoramic view of Prague. It was worth the pain, the struggle and the sunburn - we had reached the top of the hill.
Words cannot describe how beautiful the view was… take a look for yourself!
We then had some free time to explore the city for ourselves, we decided what better place to walk than along the famous Charles Bridge to see Prague’s most popular sights. Whilst we were taking photos we were approached by a friendly Czech couple who asked for a photograph. After an exchange of names and a few ice creams, they offered to give us a personal tour of the city, where we discovered all of the hidden gems and fascinating local spots.
After exploring Prague’s most enticing sights we headed back to the hotel to prepare ourselves for the night ahead. The one and only FutuBohemia summer party.
After grabbing our cameras we hopped off to the venue, Mánes, situated on the riverside with the most gorgeous bohemian interior.
Futuriceans from across Europe turned up in a collection of different outfits for the Le Belle Époque theme, it was incredible to see everyone go to such an effort with their attire!
Soon after there were the awards where we saw an individual and a team collect their accolades, which had been nominated and judged by their peers.The awards celebrated the hard working individuals and there was a clear family spirit that filled the room, as the company congratulated each other.
The preparation for the Futurice Hobby Horse Championships 2017 (check out this link if you’re not familiar with the Hobby Horse competitions) was one of the highlights of the night from Tampere Tomi’s introductory video and Tino from London's elegant galloping across the dance floor as he rode his Hobby Horse with style and poise. Munich had two people aboard their horse, Berlin almost didn’t take part as they lost their horse the previous day, however London were happy for them to use their horse and Stockholm pulled out of this year’s competition. Tomi was crowned champion and his training paid off as he blew everyone away with his technique and accuracy - congratulations Tomi!
The joy of the Hobby Horse competition continued as people from Futurice got to know each other a little better over singing, dancing, chatting and photo boothing!
The photo booth was a real highlight where people posed like celebrities and let their inhibitions loose. As you can see from the photos below, there were lots of Futuriceans having lots of fun.
The night was a success overall, judging by the fact that most people came home at around 5am (apparently). Sadly, we had to leave at 11pm, unable to participate in the celebrations any longer, as we had a flight to catch at 6am. We got a mere two hours of beauty sleep and had to wake up again at 3am.
Overall, our weekend was a mixture of meeting wonderful people, discovering a beautiful city, and embracing the Futurice spirit, it was a weekend to remember. A massive thank you to everyone who helped organise the weekend including Maiju and Kristina for organising the event and Merituuli for her wonderful FutuBohemia brand design! They were the three stars of the event.
Also thank you to Kat for inviting us to be part of FutuCamp 2017 we will continue to be Kat’s marketing angels over the summer, working hard and granting her wishes.
It’s over and out from us, it’s time to Czech out!