Behind the Scenes of RoadExplorers

Team Insights and the Journey to Innovation
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About VW Digital Solutions

Ready for a behind-the-scenes look at RoadExplorers? If you haven’t caught up on our innovation journey yet, check out the first article of the series here. Today, we’re turning the spotlight on the organizers: André, Laura, Rafael, and Ricardo. Join us as they share their unforgettable journey of bringing this project to life!

Why organize RoadExplorers?

RoadExplorers provided me with the opportunity to be involved in organizing an impactful project, even though it’s not part of my usual job role. Being a software developer, my passion for creation extends beyond coding; it’s about bringing ideas to life, a drive I discovered during my college years when I helped organize a successful student tech conference.

I never imagined that I’d have a similar experience again, especially in a professional context, where I would be preparing a project throughout the year with a team from diverse backgrounds and then transforming it into an inspiring reality. That said, when I heard of this opportunity at VWDS, I jumped at it.

Fast-forward a few months, and I couldn’t be happier with the decision. Working on RoadExplorers alongside my regular responsibilities throughout the year gave me the opportunity to collaborate closely with people from all the different Tech Units and Central Teams of Volkswagen Digital Solutions. While my daily responsibility as a software developer usually involves interacting with people from my Tech Unit, joining efforts with an amazing team with different backgrounds made it a particularly enriching personal experience. Reflecting on the whole journey, I can say it was truly remarkable. RoadExplorers wasn’t just another project; it was a testament to the power of teamwork, innovation and collective vision. The sense of accomplishment and pride we felt during the process was indescribable, material evidence of the countless hours of dedication and collaboration we put into it.

– Rafael Martins, Software Developer

How to Prepare a new Project for the Entire Company?

Upon joining the RoadExplorers organizing team, I found that my teammates had already laid out a detailed plan with ideas, dates, and milestones. Being my usual self, I questioned everything there and proposed changes. Maybe the team got instantly overwhelmed by my 1 million questions, but that’s how a team should work, am I right?
Also, during this phase, I found it funny to discover that planning an event with tech-savvy people meant using Miro for almost everything – my teammates are pretty much experts at it! Once we had a solid plan, it was time to pitch the idea to the Board. Thankfully, they bought into it, otherwise we wouldn’t be sharing our story here! This transformed our idea into a formal project.

To maintain alignment, we held monthly meetings with the Board. These sessions allowed us to update them on our progress, address any challenges, and seek their input for improving the project.
The most rewarding part of our preparations was seeing the Board’s enthusiasm and support. They understood RoadExplorers’s importance for the company and our people, and actively contributed to its success.

And that’s why the preparation phase was a crucial phase – it highlighted the importance of planning and collaborative decision-making, as well as the significance of support from key stakeholders!

– Laura Carvoeira, Information Security Officer

How it felt to organize the 3 pitch sessions and presenting and closing the initiative at our annual company event

Our pitch sessions were an amazing journey! With about 40 excited participants, the competition was full of energy and emotions, making it both challenging and fun.

The top 3 highlights of the pitch season for me were:

Choosing the Finalists: The first emotional high was picking the top five finalists. It was tough to say goodbye to so many great ideas, but also exciting to see who made it through.
Deciding the Winner: The second big moment was selecting the winner. The finalists were very well prepared thanks to extra time and their mentor’s support, making it a hard but thrilling choice for the jury. We faced lots of questions and high expectations, making the decision a real challenge.
Announcing the Winners: The final and most exciting moment was announcing the winners to over 500 colleagues at the Off-Road event – our annual company gathering. Sharing the results with such a big crowd was the highlight, bringing a new level of excitement to the whole process.

Overall, the pitch sessions were a fantastic experience. We got to connect with amazing people who are eager to think big, solve problems, and take on new challenges. It’s exactly what we aim for—finding new ways to innovate and grow together. Bring it on, RoadExplorers 2024!

– Ricardo Binns, Engineering Manager

Now let’s talk about multimedia!

First edition, we kept it local, but the feedback was off the charts! Everyone’s hooked and looking forward to watching it, it’s Shark Tank after all, right?

This time, we’re stepping it up a gear.
As an innovative tech company, we’re going completely digital:

For the viewers, we’re leveling up the entire experience.
We’ve got top-notch equipment, robust testing behind us.
We’re talking about a game-changing setup where remote attendees can catch every grin, every eyebrow raise from the judges, hear every clap and whistle.
We’re transforming this from a simple ‘join a meeting’ to an immersive event our people won’t forget.

You might just witness the birth of a groundbreaking solution, app, or system—something truly once-in-a-lifetime. That’s why we’re turning this into much more than just a presentation; it’s going to be a “nice to watch show!”

And for the teams gearing up to pitch? We want them to feel like and incorporate the rockstar entrepreneurs they are.
Being comfortable and feeling that you are being backed by solid tech and a support team when you’re in the spotlight makes a world of difference. We’re right there with each team, providing the slickest multimedia setup to pump up the confidence and remind everyone that they’re doing something big and impactful!

André Guerra, IT Ops

This is an opinion article and doesn't necessarily reflect the Volkswagen Group view.