On our first day in the village at intern orientation, we were introduced to a small group of peers and thrown into a wacky ice breaker, adorning mannequins with scraps of fabric and attempting to make it look fashionable.
Little did we know that this group would be the same one that we were to work very closely with throughout the entirety of our summer for the Intern Innovation Challenge.
Eight teams made up of interns from all disciplines and backgrounds were asked to create a hyperlocal attack plan for three key cities. After 10 weeks of collaborative work, countless email correspondence, more cups of coffee than is suggested for humans to consume, we ultimately presented these plans before a packed audience of over a hundred employees in an effort to win the top prize.
“This opportunity to push ourselves as individuals, create lasting relationships and become well-rounded professionals paid off even more than we anticipated.”
We ended up winning the challenge and we attribute our success to these five key learnings that we arrived at throughout the process:
1. Diversity Made Us Strong
The competitive advantage that truly made our group solid was the particularly diverse background and skillset that each group member brought to the table. We are artists as well as athletes; scholars as well as skateboarders; natives as well as newcomers. After all, the tree with the widest-spread roots is the strongest.
2. Jump Start
The best ideas rarely come the night before the deadline. Knowing this, we got right to work on day one, picked a direction, and stayed true to it until the final presentation. By creating an inclusive, judgement-free group mentality, we allowed our ideas to flow freely and sort through them efficiently. By giving our team plenty of time to complete our work, we alleviated any unnecessary stress or worry in the final hours.
Right off the bat, we didn’t want to get caught up in our own ideas and stuck in our own minds. Rather; we looked to history to reinvent what we could do for the future. We were inspired by what has worked for our brand in the past, and learned from what hasn’t. We drew inspiration from successful activation plans rather than imitating them, and used this as a springboard for our thoughts and ideas to grow and develop.
4. Trust Yourself, Trust Your team
There were plenty of times when we were unsure of what direction to go; we questioned ourselves and each other. However, when the time came to make a decision we trusted our gut, our instincts, our research and our work. We realized that though there will always be a reason to doubt, sometimes you just have to go for it. We went for it as a cohesive unit and had no reservations after that point.
5. Becoming One
Above all, the most important lesson we learned is that there is a time for taking on the role as the leader and a time for following the lead of others. With an open mind, we adapted and absorbed knowledge with each interaction.
“We shined in our areas of expertise while letting others take charge when we were out of our comfort zones.”
We embodied what it means to be a team; we took a risk, we acted boldly. Above all, we created the new.