In-person business conferences are back! From regular fixtures on many of our calendars to being completely disrupted in 2020 to going all-remote in 2021, these major gatherings seem to be returning to normal this year. So here at Nansen, we figured we should get in on the fun, albeit in our own unique way.
Fortunately for those in charge of planning our event, we had a great framework in place already: the Nansen Awesome Premium Conference (NAPC). Several years and a much larger Nansen team ago, the whole staff would gather once a year for an internal meeting of the minds focused on innovation and inspiration, the NAPC. (Yes, it was both awesome and premium to us!)
In its original form, NAPC included developer- and business-specific tracks and lots of outside speakers, in addition to educational and fun presentations by Nansen staff.
Fast-forward to 2022. Our team is growing, with four new team members joining us in the last month alone. We’re just starting to come out of a sustained remote-work model that kept most of us separated for the last two years. So, in some notable ways, the Nansen of today looks different from the Nansen of six or seven years ago. But the most important aspect of Nansen remains unchanged, and that’s our commitment to our values of exploration, innovation, and collaboration.
After so many months spent physically separated and with new team members coming on board, spending quality time together was just what our team needed. Plus, it would be time spent outside of the office, making personal connections and memories, learning about what everyone’s working on and what is inspiring to them, and having lots of fun in between.
This felt like the perfect year to bring back the NAPC.
To pay tribute to NAPCs of the past, which sometimes included international travel, we chose as this year’s conference theme “Turning Footprints into Trails” and decided to travel together into new neighborhoods and experiences in our home city.
So in late June 2022, our team checked into Hotel Zackary in Chicago, right across the street from Wrigley Field. While the Cubs weren’t in town that weekend, the milieu delivered the perfect mix of energy and Chicago pride. That first day of being together as one big group was electric, one of the very best parts of the entire NAPC. We had a great dinner at Swift & Sons, followed by some drinks, with an exclusive focus on connecting and reconnecting with our amazing team.
The next two days were a whirlwind of inspiration and education. Our time was jam-packed with presentations and collaborations that kept our wheels turning as one unified group. Almost every Nansen staff member presented to the team. New hires shared what they had learned so far at Nansen. Others talked about their recent client work, some about new tools and techniques they have found beneficial, and some about new ways of working that were driving strong results. Every presentation was important and contributed to the exciting energy of the event.
We also enjoyed presentations by a handful of outside speakers. In one, a SEO specialist talked us through the latest strategies to consider for this critical part of our work. And in one of the true highlights of the whole event, an executive from string-instrument vendor Fiddlershop shared the story of their company’s digital transformation journey and ecommerce success.
On Thursday evening, our team jumped on the L train and headed across town to catch the White Sox in action. Kicking back in a comfortable suite, we were able to unwind from an intense day of learning while enjoying America’s pastime.
Presenting the morning after a great ball game in a corporate suite can be tricky. But fortunately, Friday morning brought us together for one of the most impactful parts of NAPC, and one that really represents the company values that undergirded the whole conference. That was the Fridtjof Labs workshop, led by Nansen’s own Jarrett Arnold.
Inspired by scientist and explorer Fridtjof Nansen, our company’s namesake, the Fridtjof Labs workshop served to preview the kind of innovation-focused exploration, prototyping, and building that will take place within Nansen’s walls in the near future. Jarrett brought the whole team together to run through the concept of the Labs division and then work together on a sample mini-project. The room was alive with ideas and energy, and it got everyone excited for their future rotations in Fridtjof Labs.
At Nansen, we’re proud of our commitment to company culture. We want every team member to love working at Nansen and to derive multiple kinds of value from their role within our growing company. No one knew for sure what bringing back NAPC would look like this year, but we had an inkling that it would deliver just the kind of results that it did: inspiration, education, innovation, connection, collaboration, and more. We’re already excited to start planning the 2023 event.