August 31, 2023

What we learned from our “exploratory” team retreat in Ghana

Last month we did our first team retreat outside of Senegal. We regrouped our Anglophone crew in Accra along with the founders. Not an easy one to prepare but the team was impressive in creativity and efficiency and in the end, it was one of the most inspiring moment I had as a founder this year.
Let me tell you what we did and learned from it.
· A long in-person, 360 feedback session - it's one of the best management practices we implemented this year - a game changer, especially in cultures where feedback is not natural or direct). I was surprised to see this “imported” management practice work so well in our context. See more here  https://www.businessinsider.com/netflix-360-feedback-dinners-2018-10

· An in-depth review of all our client's projects, with points of improvement and learnings - very useful for our team leads, who are generally young and expressed the need to share their challenges with the rest of the group, notably on how to deal with difficult clients or highly technical research projects.

· An update on the ambitious YUX Academy Roadmap, which comes back in Q3 and Q4 with Kids' Training, a UX research cohort dedicated to women, a huge list of internal training sessions and alumni events!
· A discussion about growth and career development – i.e on the roles can you grow into after 2 or 3 years at YUX, thus touching on the mid-term structure of the company. For instance, will we have regional leads, sectors lead or leads based on the cultural groups and communities we work with... super enriching conversation as we are intentional about building a structure very differently from traditional / global consulting firms.
· An amazing meetup with the UXGhana community where we shared a case study on product localization, a talk about building a product culture and a panel on the mariage between business and design.
· A day trip to a safari parc 4 hours away from Accra... not much to see to be frank, but beautiful nature, good food and good chats in the bus!
· An workshop facilitation training for Oluchi and Azeezah who were running a design workshop with teenage girls in Northern Nigeria for UNICEF the following week. They rocked it!
· A long work session between Elizabeth & I to finalize a research report for Google and extract the key takeaways from 25,000 diary study responses…
· Several great clients meeting with MTN, Affinity, UNICEF and others
· Many, many informal chats about life, work, families, couples, kids, side gigs…
· Quite a lot of dancing and partying! Not sure where we found the energy but we did it!

The explorers!

The explorers!

In the end, it was a big investment (around $10,000), but super worth it for us as founders and for our team of UX Researchers and designers who work remotely from Accra, Abuja, Kigali, Nairobi, Dakar, Cotonou, Abidjan and Canada. Definitely a thing to do as an agency or startup if you’re working across several countries.
It’s in this moment that you realize what you’ve built so far in terms of talents and culture… and that you feel stronger than ever to tackle the challenges to come as a team!
Onto the next one…

Our cofounder Daniel and our host in Ghana, UX researcher and Agritech Lead SashaOur cofounder Daniel and our host in Ghana, UX researcher and Agritech Lead Sasha