Futurewhiz’s new young management duo!

Sol May Olivares

Last week, our office was buzzing with excitement as welcomed a fresh, young management team. Vanessa (12) and Adam (13) from primary school Blijhaven in Amsterdam were two of the 719 students that participated in the 10th edition of the project ‘Baas van morgen’ (Boss of Tomorrow). This project, an initiative by non-profit organisation JINC, helps children gain knowledge on how to run a business. Surely Chief Product Owner Jeroen Munk was very impressed by these students and described the day as the best day of the year for our team, with our products in such good hands” . Curious about what made such an impact? Then read further!

After a breakfast conference and a welcome word by Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsema in Move, Jeroen brought the students to the Futurewhiz office. They kick off the day with a tour of the office, getting to know the different departments, meeting rooms, and the studio where all StudyGo clips are recorded. Now it’s time to really get to work! First they joined the UX workshop where they learned about making apps and websites that are easy and enjoyable for everyone to use. Afterwards they applied their critical thinking to test Squla and give feedback on its new reward element. They also packed and sent packages for the customer support team. Then it’s time for the managementteam (MT) meeting, which is a gathering of all the managers to update each other on their work. Adam critically noted:“It was not boring, but it took a bit long, we might as well have done something else.”. Time flies by and before they realise it, it’s time to have lunch with all the colleagues. At Futurewhiz, we make sure our friends, guests, and colleagues never leave with an empty stomach. It just so happened that every Thursday is snack day here, so Adam and Vanessa joined the team on the perfect day.

Good food leads to new energy: what a perfect time to start a brainstorm session! The students are sitting together with some colleagues to talk about the future of Squla. It was an inspiring session that sparked several out of the box ideas, such as working with AI. This was a great intro for the next workshop: the AI workshop. Adam and Vanessa were able to test and design a new AI tutor for StudyGo – how cool!

We wrapped up the day with a feedback session and asked the students some questions. What did they think of the office how did they like the workshops, and how awesome were the snacks? But, above all, what valuable lessons have they learned that they can apply to their future? Vanessa and Adam are very excited and really enjoyed the day. Adam’s favorite workshop was the brainstorm session and he liked that everyone could give their opinion. For Vanessa, her favourite activity was helping the customer service by packing the goods. Learning is what project Baas van Morgen by JINC is really about. JINC believes in equal opportunities for every child and gives children the chance to experience how a company works and what it’s like to network. That way, they enter the job market with more confidence. We are very proud of Adam and Vanessa, a power duo in our management team 🚀.

About JINC

JINC believes that every child has talent, including the hundreds of thousands of Dutch children that grow up in disadvantaged socio-economic environments. That is why they strive for a society in which your background does not determine your future. A Netherlands where every child has equal opportunities.

Exam Season at Futurewhiz

Lisa Potma

While students were studying for the exams, we brought some exam vibes into our office during the Futurewhiz Exam season. The activities ranged from Feedback Trainings, to focus sessions, to WAB (work-avoiding-behaviour) tasks… And of course: an “Examenstunt” (Exam prank) to close it off!

To engage with our students, it is important for all our colleagues to understand what happens at schools. The Culture Crew therefore came with the idea to introduce the Futurewhiz Exam Season. It started May 16 with a Receiving Feedback Training. In the days that followed, we had various Deep Work Sessions to work uninterrupted in silence on a specific task. We also practiced the art of giving feedback during a Giving Feedback Training.

In addition, our office manager introduced a list full of WAB (work-avoiding-behaviour) tasks, inspired by the many SAB (study-avoiding-behaviour) we all engaged in back in the days. Think about cleaning the fridge, dishwasher duty or updating your calendar. As a reward, employees received a sticker. The result? A relaxed employee for taking a break and a very happy office manager. Who knew WABbing could actually be so productive?

The season ended with an “Examenstunt” (exam prank) on May 30. A group of 5 colleagues secretly gave the office a make-over the night before. The next morning, all employees were presented with the Futurewhiz Festival. Everyone entering the office that day, had to go through security, could make selfies in the selfie room, take a break in the yoga room or perform some dance moves in the reversed silent disco. At the end of the day, it was time to do an actual exam. Here the true Futurewhizard was revealed: our colleague Constantine made only one mistake and was the proud winner of the day!

We ended the Futurewhiz Exam Season with drinks in House of Watt, our favourite cafe around the corner. A day full of fun, and just like our exam time when we were teenagers – something to remember!

The Futurewhiz King’s Day Flea Market

Sol May Olivares

As you probably know, the country was in orange at the end of April 👑 ! At Futurewhiz, we also celebrated the orange spirit by having our very own King’s Day market. We decided to celebrate King’s Day in style, transforming our kitchen into a flea market filled with treasures, treats, and tons of fun! Come and read how the day went by 👀.

During King’s Day, streets in the Netherlands become a giant marketplace and a hotspot for parties. Similarly, our kitchen area was filled with food, goods and happy faces. We had a flea market where colleagues could showcase their goodies that deserve a second life. Best of all, we also had some colleagues show their talents (or rather, lack thereof…). For example, we have two very brave colleagues that tried to play violin and the flute. The performance might not have been too pleasant to the ears, but hey, it got everyone laughing and having a good time, which is what King’s Day is all about!

We also had traditional Dutch King’s Day games such as ‘blikgooien’ (throwing balls at a pile of cans), a ‘grabbelton’ (a box filled with gifts) and ‘beschuitfluiten’ (whistling with biscuits). Combined with orange snacks and drinks, we really had a great time celebrating at the office. And of course at the end, we had our monthly Futurewhiz drinks. It was a day to remember 🧡.

Futurewhiz & Kinderhulp: Spreading joy through reading!

Roxy

We can all agree that children should have the opportunity to experience the transformative power of education, and the magic that is sparked through reading and storytelling;

So, join us as we uncover just how many books we helped enter the homes, and hearts, of children across The Netherlands.

We all arrived at the warehouse with a palpable sense of purpose driving us on our mission to ensure as many children as possible have the chance to enter a world of wonder and exploration regardless of their circumstances.

We knew that every box full of books held the potential to ignite a spark within a young readers imagination, and open doors to new worlds, encouraging curiosity and a love of learning that will last a lifetime.

With this mission in mind, and teamwork driving us forward, we spent the afternoon packing boxes until they overflowed with potential adventures, fantastical worlds and invaluable knowledge, for those who need them the most.

We are thrilled to have partnered with Kinderhulp, and join them on their dedicated journey to ensure every child can access the wonders of literature.

We’re grateful that you reminded us of the joy that comes from ensuring every child has the chance to dream, explore and get lost in their imagination.

To the children that will soon have these books in their hands, we hope they find solace and adventure at the turn of every page and that you are inspired to continue reading for life.

Futurewhiz Laser Tag Arena 🔫

Sol May Olivares

Last week, we swapped our monthly drinks for an evening of friendly fire. That’s right, we went for several rounds of laser gaming with the Futurewhiz crew 🚀. It started straight after work – but no one left the office, because we had transformed the office into our very own laser gaming field. Geared up and eager to fight, we took the challenge to reach victory!

We took pride in our six core values during this fun evening. Here’s how we did it:

  1. Learning is everything: At our laser gaming event, we discovered that learning is everything (for some a lot of learning… 😉). From mastering new strategies to adapting on the fly, each moment was a lesson for us to work on.
  2. Embrace the difference. We embraced our differences and found strength in diversity – to each their own unique talent, whether it be in laser gaming or making jokes.
  3. Fun works. Who says work and play can’t mix? In the chaos of flashing lights and friendly fire, we discovered the true power of enjoyment in the workplace.
  4. Together is better. Why go solo when we can bond together, dodging imaginary bullets and outsmarting opponents as one big unstoppable force?
  5. Be brave. With laser guns in hand and hearts pounding, we charged into the game space, both fearless and united.
  6. Results matter. Through teamwork and determination, we didn’t just play the game – we truly gave our 100%. So here’s to the epic wins and unforgettable moments, where our laser gaming skills showed that in the end, results do speak louder than words!

All in all our efforts paid off and we went home satisfied and excited for upcoming Futurewhiz eventz!

The Futurewhiz AI Cupid ❤️

Sol May Olivares

As Valentine’s Day approached, our office was filled with a mix of excitement and anticipation. Sure, there were the usual whispers of romantic plans and the occasional eye-roll from the skeptics, but this year, we decided to bring a dose of technological absurdity into the mix. Wanna find out more? Continue reading and hop on the AI love train!

Get to know The Futurewhiz AI Cupid (pictured above), our Slack bot-turned-matchmaker that churned out love poems faster than you could swipe left. We were able to create prompts, and with those, AI generated the poem. And let me tell you, the results were… well, let’s just say they ranged from surprisingly heartfelt to downright hysterical. On Valentine’s Day, our office manager Martina created poems out the prompts and with fake wings and a bow and arrow she went around reading people the poems and giving out chocolates – what a spectacular performance. The total number of messages was 140!

Here’s an example of one poem generated:

💘
You are super sweet, a drop of honey,
Life’s wild ride, but you make it funny.
With a dab so cool, the room ignites,
Spreading laughter, reaching new heights.
Life with you is a joyful cab,
A dance, a laugh, another dab!
So here’s a cheer, don’t be shy,
You’re the reason why joy flies high!

The conclusion of this is that in a world where technology often feels cold and impersonal, here we were, using AI to spread a little love and laughter in an incredible way. And who knows, maybe amidst the frenzy of digital poems and makeshift Cupid costumes, a few sparks of real romance would ignite 👀.

The Great Futurewhiz Clothing Swap!

Sol May Olivares

Dear readers, here at Futurewhiz, we are all about creating impact with our platforms.

So, it should not be surprising to hear that we are also keen to impact our planet, and are always coming up with ways to be more sustainable and reduce our overall environmental impact.

Take a moment, and join us for an evening at The Great Futurewhiz Clothing Swap!

Whats is a Clothing swap?

Our clothing swap involved colleagues bringing in gently used items of clothes, that they no longer need, and exchanging them with others. What a great way for us to refresh our wardrobes sustainably! The best part, anything that got left behind, was donated to Kringloop Amsterdam, even further extending the life cycle of those clothes.

We were all set up in the kitchen on our stalls where there were tables of pre-loved clothes and shoes, all ready to be handed over to the next lucky person🍀.

Participants discovered hidden gems and unique pieces to add some excitement back in their wardrobes and the event was a tremendous success.

Our lovely colleague Renske who is part of the AI team, stood out as particularly enthusiastic. She could be seen hopping from one table to another, swapping back and forth and left to right like a true sustainable legend.

To reward her natural a knack for trade, she was given a Rataplan giftcard to shop to continue on her journey towards maximum sustainability.

There were 2 additional B-Corp-Wizard awards handed out! 2 exclusive, funky and colourful B-Corp pins as a token of appreciation to those that were particularly active shoppers, Office Manager Martina and StudyGo Backend Developer Yoran.

Now, let’s talk about numbers (you don’t need to be a math wizard to understand this). Sure, we know that contributing to the sustainable cycle, making more conscious decisions, eating less meat, buying secondhand, etc. is good for the environment, but what does this actually mean, and what is the impact? Take a look at the image below.

Do you want to join us on our journey? Below are a few Tips for sustainable Fashion:

  1. Mindful Consumption – before making a purchase, consider if it alligns with your values and whether you truly need it or not.
  2. Quality over quantity – Invest in high quality, timeless pieces that withstand trends, and last longer.
  3. Upcycling and repurposing – Upcycling can breathe new life into clothes you may otherwise discard, so instead of throwing them out, get creative with your new clothes!

The Great Futurewhiz Clothing Swap is just one of the many small steps we’re taking, in order to make the future brighter, greener, and more sustainable. Together, we can all make a difference.💚✨

First Month of the New Year 🍾

Sol May Olivares

Find yourself typing “2023” instead of “2024” as if time hasn’t quite caught up with the calendar? The rapid pace at which days turn into months can leave us feeling like we’re in a perpetual time warp. At Futurewhiz, we aim to add a touch of warmth to the chilly season, alleviating both the literal cold and the mental chill. Come read further and find out how we not only survived but thrived in January. And yes, there may have been a bit of champagne involved 🤫.

On Blue Monday, our thoughtful office manager Martina reminded us of the importance of mental health. In the hustle of daily life, the demands of our routines can lead us to overlook our mental well-being. Coupled with the potential physical toll of cold weather, these times can be challenging for us. Martina encouraged us to take care of ourselves and recommended activities such as stepping outside the office for a walk, indulging in a meditation break in our Gym room, and, above all, checking in with each other.

And if you cannot escape the cold, fight the cold! That’s exactly what we did mid-January, warming ourselves up in a frenzy of ice skating ❄️. Thanks to our Culture Crew’s fantastic planning, we embarked on this adventure at the Jaap van Eeden Ice Rink. While some of our colleagues effortlessly glided across the ice, others navigated with a bit more caution (including myself). Nevertheless, we all sure did hurry to the warm cafe after, where we had some food and drinks. It was a lovely way to unwind with colleagues after a day’s work, all while staying active and making the most of the winter season. That’s the Futurewhiz spirit!

Moreover, our CEO Serge Bueters, seen above, brought the team together last Thursday in the kitchen. We toasted to the highs and lows of 2023, sharing lessons learned and future plans. Champagne flowed, and as we reminisced about the year—its challenges and triumphs—the spirit remained high. Leaving all worries and mistakes of 2023 behind, we started to become excited for what 2024 might bring us. We wrapped up with a borrel to laugh and ponder even more (100% sober, of course). First month of the year ✔ eleven more to go: Futurewhiz is ready!

Futurewhiz’s sustainability challenge!

Sol May Olivares

Last week we again lived up to our B Corp status and encouraged our employees to take on a sustainability challenge. As enthusiastic employees actively participated, they contributed significantly to the community by cleaning up substantial amounts of litter from the streets. It not only strengthened our commitment to environmental responsibility but also created a sense of shared purpose among our team. Futurewhiz is proud of its B Corp status 🐝.

Futurewhiz has been a B Corp since 2020 and we are constantly striving to keep up this certificate. We belong to a worldwide network of 3,585 organizations that not only strive for profitability, but also take people, the environment and society into account when performing business. As a B Corp, we are legally required to consider the impact of our decisions on our employees, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment. While we are happily upholding the standards of being a B Corp, it is also important to recognize the significance of the smaller actions that together make an impact.

An example is last week’s challenge—we put our sustainability game to the test and had a blast doing it! The challenge was to collect trash and come up with an idea how we can make Futurewhiz more sustainable. Despite the rain, hail and cold, many of our employees went out of their way to clear the streets. Our lovely office is located near the Amsterdam Amstelstation, and it turns out there was lots of trash laying around in the area close to the building. One of our employees even found a dog (it could also have been his own dog, we are not sure about that 😉).

In addition to the trash picking, we asked employees to come up with sustainable ideas. Here is a snapshot of their environmental friendly thinking:

  • Make use of power strips with a switch for all docking stations and screens
  • Once in a while, collect food or items we can donate to charity
  • Donating excess supplies
  • Dimmable lights
  • Remove any single use paper towels and replace them with fabric towel dispensers

We are grateful to have employees that value our commitment to sustainability and are willing to participate in these kind of challenges. Stay Sustainable!

We had our very own Frightfest!

Roxy

With spooky season drawing to a close, we are reflecting on our immersive murder mystery day, which was followed by our spooktacularly epic fancy dress party held here in our office. Take a ride on the ghost train with us, as we delve into fun we had along the way.

The transformation of the office truly set the scene for what was ahead of us this Halloween. From fake blood, to cobwebs galore, the office soon resembled the perfect setting for the thrilling events of the day to take place.

With a playful twist, our team of accomplices laid out the rules of the Murder game, which had everyone looking over their shoulders in anticipation of murderous colleagues. The game really brought us all together in a somewhat unexpected way, but don’t worry there was no real foul play involved! We instead used our imaginations and were assigned “murder weapons” such as soup ladles and pieces of fruit!

What followed in the evening, were some truly frightening, and iconic costumes, from zombie brides, to Disney characters, dinosaurs and vampires – the fancy dress competition definitely bought out everyones creative side!

No Futurewhiz party would be complete without some classic karaoke, so of course, the microphones made an appearance, it was great to see many people getting involved, and performing their favourite hits!

As we look back at the day, we are grateful for the opportunity to come together as a team and strengthen the bonds which make Futurewhiz such a great place to work. It’s great to be able to combine the impactful results we all strive for, with our shared spirit for fun!

We’re sad to see the back of spooky season, but excited for the next event!