All About Me... and Marshmallows!

The traditional ‘All About Me Day’ had come upon us. This has been an annual event for Catalyst since the very first team, seven years ago. It’s a routine in inaugurating the new team each year – and one that is spoken very highly of!

To start off the day, we were obliged to continue the ritual of carrying out the infamous team building ‘Marshmallow Challenge’. Simon explained the logistics of the challenge before we were split into three teams. The first team was Joe and Arjun, followed by Ore and I and our project manager Kelly was in a team with Meena. We were all given the same objects; spaghetti, tape, string, and one marshmallow. The challenge was simple, to build the tallest freestanding structure with the marshmallow on top in 18 minutes, solely with the objects that were given to us.

Ore and I were fairly confident for the first 16.5 minutes and worked well as a team. We managed to build a strong base that could stand… I was even thinking that this challenge was easy! But then came the last minute, where everything changed. Ore and I put the marshmallow on top and were ready to claim our victory. However, as soon as we let go of the marshmallow, our tower came crashing down. We frantically tried to resurrect our structure, but the clock ran out. The only team that was successful in having a standing marshmallow was Joe and Arjun, so inevitably, they were announced the winners.

Simon asked us to reflect on the challenge, and think about where we went wrong. Everyone, including the winning team, agreed that we left it too last minute to put the marshmallow on top. As mentioned in a previous blog by Catalyst team member Joe, Ted Talks have become a favourite at Sussex Innovation. We watched a Ted Talk from Tom Wujec who explained the learning curves of this task. It was intriguing to learn how a simple and fun challenge can explain and reveal so much about the concept of teamwork, collaboration and innovation.

Now it was time for the main part of the day, the presentations! The instructions that we had received beforehand advised us to make a presentation all about ourselves, hence the obvious name of ‘all about me day’. This could consist of our childhood, professional journey, hobbies, our aspirations, or anything else that we wished. My team mates and I had been talking non-stop about our presentations all week and showing snippets of the slides to each other but wanting to keep the whole presentation as a surprise for the day itself.

There was a total of 14 presentations, a blend of online and in person. The senior members consisted of those who will be working closely with us (or already are) throughout the year.

All presentations were extremely engaging and interesting to us. Most presentations included adorable baby photos and displays of families and friends. The Catalyst team focused on their experiences at University and what the future could potentially hold. It was very interesting to learn about the senior members coming from different departments, what they studied, the many jobs and experiences they have encountered before coming to SINC. Coming from an international background myself, it was compelling to learn more about people’s cultures and to discover how diverse SINC is, with members coming from Nigeria, India, Northern Ireland and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

To summarize the full packed day, it was a great way of getting to know my colleagues in a blend of a formal and informal environment. Although I have been part of the Catalyst team for a month, my peers presentations enabled me to find out a lot more about them, and the senior members too.

As cheesy as it sounds, one of the many takeaways I got from the day is how grateful I am to be part of the Catalyst team and the Sussex Innovation Centre. The day itself illustrates Sussex Innovation’s values in creating a community within the company, enabling days and opportunities for colleagues to get to know each other better. It truly made me feel like I was part of Sussex Innovation, and not just strictly a member of the Catalyst team. I look forward to more days like this one, meeting and connecting with more members of Sussex Innovation!

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