smartweek 2020: Knowledge Exchange Takes Centre Stage

Image of a man on a digital video conference call.

The combination of internal and external training opportunities is essential to offering the most effective professional development initiatives to employees. While external specialist training (such as our Udacity training programmes) is definitely important, we also believe in the unique potential that internal knowledge transfer offers. The vast expertise among our existing staff is a valuable resource, and no one knows our company, challenges, and successes as profoundly as our own teams.

This is why we invented smartweek: a week-long, company-wide knowledge exchange across all markets and divisions of smartclip. smartweek involves a mix of company strategy updates, project-oriented focus sessions, and internal training workshops.

A new space for knowledge exchange is born

The first edition of smartweek, in early 2020, was designed for senior management and directors, who were invited to our Hamburg headquarters for a full week of training sessions, workshops, and lectures given by internal and external speakers.

The main goal was to leverage our internal knowledge to train colleagues on topics spanning business-related topics (such as Finance, Developments in the programmatic ecosystem, DSP synching, and more) as well as interdisciplinary topics (such as Effective Negotiation, Leadership Skills, Intercultural Communication, Media Training, and more). After a successful meetup, we decided to make smartweek an annual event and extend participation to the entire company.

Moving a corporate event from physical to virtual

As we began planning our first, company-wide smartweek event, we were met with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. In early February 2020, our upper management made an important decision to protect employees by announcing the suspension of all business travel and mandating employees to work from home. Rather than cancelling smartweek, and other planned employee events, we decided to take it online. So, from September 14th to the 18th, we invited more than 200 smartclip employees, based in 10 different countries, to choose from a full agenda of more than 35 virtual sessions over the course of the week.

Let’s talk strategy

Co-CEOs, Thomas Servatius and Dr Oliver Vesper, kicked off smartweek with strategic company updates. 

They were joined by Managing Directors Giuseppe Bronzino (smartclip Italy), Marco Ruivenkamp (smartclip Benelux), and Jonas Rundgren (smartclip Nordics), who provided in-depth insights on individual markets, including the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on local markets and the strategic initiatives taken to protect local teams and business. 

As part of the strategic updates, we were also fortunate to welcome a wide range of high-profile guest speakers. Stefan Kramer from RTL Group, Matthias Dang of Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland, Jonas Engwall of Bedrock, as well as Stéphane Coruble and Franck Litewka from RTLAdConnect, all shared insights into their work and collaborations across the RTL family. Furthermore, our partners Paul Mudter of AdAlliance, Maria Flores-Portillo of Amobee, and Arturo Larrainzar Garijo of Atresmedia provided background information on joint projects with smartclip in several informative and, not to mention, very entertaining presentations (kudos to Arturo for outvying our company push-up competition with a human flag).

Knowledge sharing is caring

The remainder of smartweek was dedicated to peer-to-peer knowledge exchange. Employees were able to enrol in 25 different workshops delivered by their expert peers, including Change Management, Data Visualisation, Balance Sheet Analysis, and more. 

For example, Mirjam Naves, Senior Director Process Management, hosted a course on skills, tools, and tricks for Project Management. After an insightful 90-minutes training, Mirjam surprised the course attendees with personalised “certificates” that were proudly shown off in the company-wide smartweek Slack-channel.

Sebastian Busse will never LEGO of what he learned in this training

Other peer-to-peer training included deep-dives into market-specific initiatives such as IDFree targeting, Addressable TV, and local hero projects, as well as focused training on the latest smartx platform features.

For instance, Nadine Wagner, Director Data Products, held a session on the new data platform tech stack within smartx in her seminar “From Adserver to Reporting”. In this seminar, participants were offered the opportunity to get detailed explanations on the processes involved, including log formats, aggregation types, data cubes, and any related questions they had.

“A fantastic opportunity to go into detail on the dimensionality of our adserver data and how different sources are linked. Thank you, Nadine, for giving an overview of the whole data flow involved with the latest reporting capabilities of smartx. This deep understanding of the processes is helping me a lot in my day-to-day work.”

Olivia Loeves, Senior Programmatic Operations Manager, smartclip Nordics

What’s a company-wide event without an epic party?

Of course, it wouldn’t be a smartclip event without a social get-together. That’s why we invited renowned actress, Tania Carlin, to host our closing event, which is now known as the legendary smartclip team challenge.

But of course smartweek wasn’t only about seeing our colleagues moonwalk backwards while imitating a horse’s neigh (we love extraordinary talents!). It was clearly about offering employees an opportunity to identify and tap into various kinds of expertise within our organisation and see how our internal knowledge can enable valuable collaboration. Our Co-CEO, Dr Oliver Vesper, is convinced that smartweek is another important step to further promote cross-market and cross-functional exchange that the whole company benefits from:

“An entire week dedicated to exchanging knowledge, insights, and experience, encourages collaboration across the entire organisation. Collaboration is in the DNA of our company. By creating transparency and sharing insights with each other, we foster a positive, rewarding working environment that enables us to do so much more.”

Thanks to smartweek, colleagues become trainers, and their knowledge and insights multiplied opportunities for professional development and growth across our organisation. We are very happy to have found another space for knowledge exchange as our company continues to grow internationally, and look forward to planning our next event.

Sonja Schuster

Sonja Schuster is Head of Training and Development for the Human Resources team responsible for defining and implementing smartclip’s learning strategy to further develop smartclip employees. With more than ten years of experience and her M.A. in Sociology and Psychology, she supports smartclip as a consultant, coach, trainer, and change manager. Sonja is guided by the principles of systemic coaching — a holistic approach towards the development of people on the basis of humanistic psychology.

Sonja Schuster
Head of Training & Development smartclip Europe

Image of Andreas Meier

Andreas Meier is Senior Director Employee Advocacy & Outreach in the smartclip Europe Marketing team and is responsible for communication geared towards employees, customers and partners. Before joining smartclip in 2019, Andreas worked in various positions at RTL Group in Luxembourg and has more than 14 years of experience in the international media business.

Andreas Meier
Senior Director Employee Advocacy & Outreach

Lisa-Theresia Rischke is the Head of Brand at smartclip Europe and responsible for the smartclip brand. She leads the design team and oversees collateral, social media, and strategic content marketing initiatives across Europe. 

Lisa Rischke
Head of Brand