A Positive Start with a New Sense of Community
The importance of a collaborative culture
2020 is over…
Take a deep breath. It’s over. 2020 is finally behind us. Thank goodness, right?
Of course, the reality is that New Year is a fairly arbitrary point in the year where we congratulate the planet on doing another successful pirouette through the universe. There was no magical reset on the 1st of January, and the reality is that we may have another very challenging year ahead.
But still take that deep breath, and try to think about the year as objectively as possible. The narrative about last year has been grim – and with good reason, people faced great setbacks and struggles; health, finances, livelihoods, and mental well-being all impacted. But for many, there was genuine good to be found; both personally, and as part of a wider social and professional community.
How did you experience 2020? Perhaps more time with the family (even if they drive you crazy every so often…)? More time to engage with a personal project, or perhaps to work on fitness? A study by Ding suggests that searches for fitness and exercise peaked during the initial country lockdowns and maintained a consistently higher level in 2020 than in 2019, which suggests that we became perhaps more aware than ever of how important physical movement is for mental health (though whether we were actually getting up off the sofa or just googling the idea of it is an valid question…).
Physical focus at SDN
We’ve been very conscious of that in the SDN offices. Tension in our necks, stiff bodies and square eyes from too much screen time have plagued us all, and we’re making our own personal efforts to combat that; finding ways to rejuvenate, to regain our agility and mobility. For some that has been taking time out for walking, for others it has been yoga. Acupuncture has even been a topic of conversation amongst us all – though some of us still aren’t quite so enthusiastic about the idea of getting poked with long needles!
The key things has been taking time for ourselves – to lift ourselves up through mindfulness and positivity – but also, to be there to lift others up too. We have always had a strong team dynamic at SDNsquare, and we’ve had to lean on that fact even more heavily in times when we don’t have access to the normal mechanisms that keep teams strong; coffee in the office, a chat in the hallway, a casual beer after work, the hubbub and excitement of a tradeshow.
Looking out for each other – across the whole industry
Indeed, for us, that has been one of the most positive aspects to arise from the pandemic: a new sense of community, not just within SDN specifically (we’ve always had a very collaborative culture), but within the wider industry as a whole. As is so often the case, when united by a common (invisible) enemy, then people tend to find they are united in their goals too.
We all want the same thing: technologies that make our lives as easy as possible, that help us overcome hardship and challenges, and which facilitate a life that feels at least a little bit ‘near to normal’.
More than ever before, the idea of collaborating rather than competing has become key. Even in other industries – those famed for a traditionally cutthroat approach (yep, we mean pharmaceuticals…) there has been a key focus on knowledge sharing, with huge amounts of data being submitted to ‘Open Access’ research databases such as UniProt or those of the International Nucleotide Sequence Database Collaboration (INSDC) and EMBL’s European Bioinformatics Institute. Technology and medicine coming together – but most importantly, driven by a mentality shift where we recognize that we’re better together, not apart.
Broadcasting a change in mentality
And you can find that mentality shift here too, in the broadcast technology market. The issue of remote working we were talking about earlier? The industry has pushed further than ever before this year to make that more and more possible. People are using more and more data than ever, in increasingly complex ways – demanding that remote systems work reliably, quickly and easily.
Companies that were once reticent to push forward with the adoption of new technologies are now seeing technology not merely as a necessity where cost-efficiencies should be the driving purchase consideration, but instead, a significant source of competitive advantage where real investment will deliver real results. Companies are reaching out to a range of tech firms to provide an eco-system of technological tools; remote work and collaboration platforms, improved distribution channels, and vitally, cloud storage and services to coordinate data access and use.
Humble and proud all at once
Of course, all this means that we at SDNsquare have seen increased interest from the broadcast market, as they seek to join up the working tasks of teams that can no longer unite in the studio. We are pleased to be able to be immersed in an industry where we can offer a meaningful solution that is helping broadcast to keep soldiering on, even the face of difficult times: continuing to support not just the economy of a whole industry, but the content needs of a universal audience.
And whilst being cognizant of the struggles that others face and humble in the face of immense global challenges, we take pride in having worked through 2020 to the best of our abilities, and seen strong performance as a result. We think it’s important for our whole team to take positivity and pride from that, because it’s all down to their efforts.
So, whether it’s yoga or acupuncture needles, a shared beer over Zoom, or letting each other know that sometimes it’s OK to eat a whole pack of Pringles at 3am in your pyjamas, we here at SDNsquare will continue to be here for each other, for the industry, and for the global community as a whole.
Happy and collaborative 2021!