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Team Building for Success: Delta-Q’s Innovative Start to 2024

Team Building for Success: Delta-Q’s Innovative Start to 2024

As the new year dawned, our team at Delta-Q Technologies saw not just the turn of a calendar, but an opportunity to enhance these four pillars of our core company values. Looking ahead, Delta-Q’s leadership recognized that maximizing these values required bringing our team together in new ways. 

To achieve this, our Director of Hardware Engineering, Daniel Nuttal, joined forces with the renowned team-building experts at Eventology. Together, they crafted a uniquely tailored team-building experience held on January 24th, 2024, aimed at galvanizing our engineering department for the opportunities that lay ahead.

The goal behind this collaboration was simple: to align our goals, foster innovation, and strengthen our collective resolve to drive ever-greater results—into the rest of 2024 and beyond.

A Day of Learning and Collaboration

Structured to balance strategic alignment with engaging, hands-on activities, the all-day event began with morning discussions among attendees. With a diverse array of Delta-Q team members attending from equally diverse engineering departments, this initial portion laid a critical foundation for the collaborative exercises to follow.

“I did think it was helpful,” says Raymond Bramford, a DQT Hardware Engineer. “Having the senior management go over goals for the year helps give some guidance to everyone about how we can focus our efforts to improve as a team.”

For Hema Nanjundaiah, a Senior Software Test Engineer, the experience was an entirely new venture. “This was our first session outside the Delta-Q office,” she says, highlighting the novelty of the day’s activities.

Despite its uniqueness, the event’s objective was crystal clear: to continually charge Delta-Q’s electric, people-first culture. “The emphasis on employee development for this year is motivating,” adds Raymond, “as it shows the company is invested in its employees.”

As morning discussions concluded and with everyone aligned through the insightful discussion, the stage was set. What followed was a deeper dive into the team’s capabilities for innovation, perseverance, and collaboration—a true test of Delta-Q’s collective strength and creativity.

The Chain Reaction Machine Challenge

Under the expert guidance of Eventology’s Mark Hemmings, the afternoon saw Delta-Q team members work together in constructing a complex 10-stage Rube Goldberg machine.

Named after the fantastical inventions depicted by American cartoonist Rube Goldberg, these devices combine the inertial force of a small metal ball and multiple simple machines (such as the wheel and axle, lever, pulley, and inclined plane) to create a chain reaction. This domino effect ultimately ends with the machine performing a simple task—in this case, turning on some music—in an overly complicated way.

“At first, I thought that it was impossible to build these machines to transfer energy between groups,” recalls Hema. Yet despite any initial reservations, Delta-Q’s team members quickly rose to the challenge. “As soon as we started collaborating within the team—with other teams—and understanding the concept, innovative ideas flowed in, and everyone on the team contributed and gave their best.”

The challenge served as both a metaphorical and practical exercise in problem-solving and collaboration under pressure. With a time-sensitive situation in place, the activity demonstrated how important it is for multiple teams to effectively communicate; only by actively listening and understanding each other’s needs could everyone achieve the desired result.

Challenge Results: Fostering Teamwork Through Innovation

Dean Jurgensen, Senior Regulatory Engineer, spoke appreciatively of the activity’s team-building nature. “The concept that Eventology provided ensured that all employees worked together for a common goal where if one person or team failed, we all would fail. It promoted constructive collaboration with the sharing of ideas and techniques for the participants to improve upon and learn.”

Much credit can be given to Eventology’s philosophy of ensuring that team-building exercises should be just as fun and exciting as they are educational. Rather than simply stirring up activity by pitting groups of employees against each other in a competitive way, the emphasis remained on truly cooperative teamwork.

This unique balance clearly shone through, resulting in an event that captured Delta-Q’s innovative roots as a pioneer in battery charger solutions. “They took the ideas of iterative improvements in design, resulting in a more robust and repeatable system process—a concept that we can apply to actual designs,” Dean concluded. 

Successfully completing the challenge left the team with a sense of victory and fulfillment. In many ways, it could be said that working together within the creative constraints of this challenge mimics the real-world problems Delta-Q team members tackle on a daily basis. 

The challenge thus left team members with a unique takeaway—a real, physical representation of the results that can be achieved when working together.

Opportunities for Improvement

While the exercise was overwhelmingly successful, Daniel Nuttal’s leadership role obliged him to consider areas for potential growth.

“I enjoyed observing the natural experiment of teams self-organizing and different characters and personalities appearing,” Daniel noted. Still, the event did spotlight missed opportunities—such as the tendency to focus narrowly on the individual tasks at hand. “[It] was easy to lose sight of the end result.” 

This insight well illustrates, in small part, how easy it is to lose sight of the broader purpose behind our work. As Daniel emphasized, “In order for teams to be successful in the exercise, living our Delta-Q Technologies values lies at the center.” 

Indeed, while innovation, perseverance, collaboration, and driving results remain the four pillars of Delta-Q’s values, at its heart is our central philosophy—doing the right thing. 

As we navigate towards a more sustainable and environmentally conscious future, remembering the “why” behind our actions is more important than ever. This principle is not just a part of our values, but a guide for our collective mission to contribute to a greener planet.

Lessons, Takeaways, and Final Thoughts

Victor Leon, Embedded Software Engineer, captured the sentiment of the day, reflecting, “It was an awesome experience to take some time out of the office and spend the day as a team to see what we have planned for the 2024 year and further.

“The team building activity was the perfect combination of challenge and reward and allowed us to work in a small group of co-workers that we do not normally get to work with,” Victor continues. “Overall, it was a fun day and it left me looking forward to what the engineering team will be able to tackle in the 2024 year!”

Similar enthusiasm carried through well after the event’s conclusion, with team members expressing renewed vitality from the lessons learned.

“Brilliant people,” summarized Hema, speaking of her team members in overcoming the chain reaction machine challenge. “In the end, the results speak for themselves. It was fun and good learning for me.”

Daniel agreed that the event was well-organized from start to finish, with the activity drawing out new sides of individual team members that can become suppressed in office settings. “The whole engineering team was engaged, excited, and clearly bought into the game,” he remarked in testament to the day’s success.

Participants also directed praise towards Eventology’s expert guidance in facilitating the day’s exercises. “The presenter, Mark Hemmings, did a great job of guiding us through the process in a clear and understandable manner,” noted Dean. “He also did a good job at summarizing the learning blocks provided and how the physical activities translated into conceptual learning.”

As the Delta-Q team looks back on a day filled with education, collaboration, and fun, the consensus is clear: the experience not only strengthened their bond but also sharpened their focus on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Charging the Future: Kicking Off 2024 with Purpose

Delta-Q’s innovative team-building exercise provided invaluable insights that will help guide us into 2024 and beyond. By aligning on goals and bringing together a variety of team members across departments, the event enabled free-flowing collaboration even under tight time constraints.

The challenge also served as an appropriate metaphor for Delta-Q’s core values and design process. Innovation underpinned the unique activity. Perseverance drove teams to overcome initial doubts. Collaboration enabled collective growth. And the results? The results spoke for themselves.

Just as ideas were built upon one another to create an efficient machine, so do we continue to refine our products through the lens of each one of our core values. All of this is accomplished without losing sight of our end goal: charging a greener, more sustainable future.

Written By:

Sarah MacKinnon, Co-CEO & CFO at Delta-Q Technologies

Sarah MacKinnon has been part of the Delta-Q team since 2012, when she joined the Company as CFO. In that role, Sarah worked closely with the CEO/Co-Founder and Board of Directors on driving topline growth and profitability, resulting in the acquisition of Delta-Q by ZAPI GROUP. Sarah was appointed Co-CEO in 2019, and is responsible for all aspects of the company’s strategy, people, and operations, in addition to her CFO role.