Glückliche Ergosign Mitarbeitende bei der Group Focus Time.

Back for good — our Group Focus Time 2022

Esther Barra Lead Communication Manager

16/05/2022 • 5 minutes reading time

It's been two years since our last “Group Focus Time” @Ergosign. So we were very excited to see many familiar and new faces come together on Friday, May 13, when everyone flocked back to the offices in Berlin, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Saarbrücken, Munich, Basel, and Zurich so that we could spend a creative day together.

What is a “Group Focus Time”?

Our “Focus Time” has been a regular event since 2017. Four hours of the second Friday of every month are reserved for all of our colleagues for dealing with an (innovation) topic of their choice - alone or collaboratively.

Once a year, we then host a big “Group Focus Time” where we spend a whole day collaborating and developing ideas within a specific theme.

This way, we can further support our team's creativity, gain a new perspective on things and support the internal exchange beyond customer projects.

The theme this year was “Music and Sound”.

What do music and sound have to do with Ergosign and UX? A whole lot!

Our team developed a total of 42 ideas and started to work on them.

A photo collage with moments from Group Focus Time and the various projects.
Impression of the Group Focus Time 2022

Xmosphere from Hamburg

Our team in Hamburg loves to play table football, so developing an app for table football sounds was an obvious choice for them. This app will offer all the usual stadium sounds to create the perfect atmosphere during a game. The idea was initially brainstormed collaboratively via Miro and defined as an absolute MVP before being visualized as a prototype on Miro.

Ergo-S-I-N-G from Berlin

On the other hand, our team in Berlin wanted to bring music into the office both acoustically and visually. This way, music, and ambiance can be automatically combined.

The team designed an artwork with an NFT tag on it. If you scan the tag with your smartphone, a playlist plays via the integrated artwork speakers, and LEDs flash in coordination with the sound. The technical communication between sound, light, and smartphone takes place via shortcuts from Apple. This clever solution is like a simple "if-then query" or "if-then" in programming logic.

That means: "if", if NFC tag is scanned, "then", then this playlist opens on Apple Music and activates the LEDs. #partyon

‚Synesthisia’ Music perception drawing

A collaboration between Berlin and Saarbrücken was particularly creative and partly abstract. The team adapted the "Crazy 8 Method" and used it to create a collaborative piece of art.

Each team member chose a song and, inspired by the music, everyone drew to this song for 10 minutes. Afterwards, pictures and songs were passed on to the next person. This was repeated until everyone had listened to and drawn to every song.

The playlist was just as colorful as the finished pictures:

• Narcotic - Liquido

• Astronaut in the Ocean - Masked Wolf

• Ending Theme - Jorge Granda

• New Day Rising - Hüsker Dü

• Ocean Drive - Duke Dumont

• I Shot the Sheriff - Eric Clapton

Pictures of the Ergosign colleges' music alerts.
This is what drawn music warning looks like

On Air - Nobody disturbs you in the video call anymore

It has probably happened to all of us: We were sabotaged by colleagues, partners, children, or cats during a Zoom meeting, or we chatted happily while someone else was in a Zoom meeting…

That's why another Saarbrücken team developed an "On Air" light. As soon as a Zoom meeting starts, the lamp lights up red. If there is no active meeting, green indicates free travel for conversations with the environment.

This ingenious solution was realized with a Python script, which queries the Zoom processes from the computer and forwards them to the Arduino IDE for controlling the "On Air" display.

The "On Air" display may not yet help with interruptions by pets, but it is an innovative step into the future for our human interaction in everyday work. We will continue to work on this and keep you posted…

Munich - Miss my Office

Based on the 'I Miss My Bar' website, the second Munich team created a website with typical Ergosign Munich sounds. It lets you play ambient sounds if you feel lonely in your home office. You can also select individual sounds suitable for certain topics. No stock material was used for the sounds; all sounds were recorded in the office. The illustrations are also based on the Munich office and are available as SVG. The SVG was later implemented as a prototype together with the sounds using HTML, CSS, and Javascript.

The Sounds of Basel

The team in Basel took us on an auditory journey from the train station to the Basel office. The various stations were recorded with the iPhone's voice memo app. From the train station, we went to the Barfüsser Platz, to the market square, past the Rhine, via the Clara Platz to the coffee machine in the Basel office. Just recording noises would have been too easy. That's why the team created the 'Sounds of Basel' remix with Garage Band.

A busy street in the pedestrian zone of Basel.
The Sounds of Basel

Memory Fight Game from Stuttgart & Saarbrücken

A cross-collaboration between Stuttgart and Saarbrücken came up with a “memory sound game”. Based on the well-known memory game principle, this game is about remembering which card has which sounds and then identifying pairs of melodies.

A monster is included for more excitement - because it attacks if sound pairs are not uncovered fast enough.

This idea was implemented with Unity and the programming language C#. The teams have definitely shown how quickly and purposefully an application can be designed and developed with creative design.

The playing card with the monster and the remaining lives.
Excerpt from the game

These projects and concepts are just a small excerpt of the many exciting and innovative ideas that sprung up during Group Focus Time 2022.

We would like to thank everyone for this exciting day!