DEARBORN - Teams from two buildings came together to create something greater through the common thread of Ford’s “Go Digital… Go Further” (GDGF ) Program.
An activity during the April 25, 2013 “Take Our Children to Work Day,” (TOCTWD) was a great example of One Ford in action. To help make the event a success, a request to create activities was made by the IT team supporting TOCTWD in IT buildings in Dearborn.
“We were really looking to see what the possibilities were as we knew we typically have good participation for the event in IT,” said Steve Livingston, IT Diversity and Inclusion Action Team (IDAT) co-chair and member of the IT TOCTWD Core Planning Team.
Among other teams in IT, Digital Worker heard the call. ”It seemed like a natural fit with our “Go Digital… Go Further” program,” said Tracy Shumaker, Digital Worker Collaboration Tools Portfolio specialist, referring to the self-paced learning program that allows employees to complete technology-related tasks and earn recognition for their achievements, all while tapping into the power of the Ford community-at-large. “It was a chance to show kids how their parents do what they do every day, showcase technologies used through our program, and maybe an opportunity for us to looks at some of our instructional materials in a different way.”
So the Digital Worker team set out to develop an activity for children that mirrored the employee experience with Go Digital … Go Further, but at a child’s level. A list of tasks similar to those executed in GDGF was created. Originally planned for just the ITHQ buildings in Dearborn, the activity was coming together well when the TOCTWD planning team at the Dearborn FMCC building reached out. “I was both flattered and speechless. Time was not on our side, and I had not thought of extending to other buildings,“ said Shumaker, “but the FMCC team took the ball and ran with it.”
The team from FMCC went to work right away to secure laptops, a room, and people to help. “We really saw it as an opportunity for us to Go Further, and offer something fun for everyone participating,” said Sunil Sivaraman, IT Diversity and Inclusion Action Team co-chair, member of the IT TOCTWD Core Planning Team and FMCC building resident. More employees from FMCC became involved as word of the activity quickly spread. “We had no shortage of volunteers to help make it work,” said Sivaraman.
Additionally, people with specific knowledge of the GDGF Program residing at FMCC were sought, using the database of participants from GDGF. Pauline Williams, Technical Infrastructure Project Manager, Asset Manager and Computer Services Team, and also a Coach in the Go Digital… Go Further Program, offered her expertise. “The team from ITHQ provided us with all the set-up materials and instructions, and we had to make sure the logistics were in place. It was great to have the knowledge of GDGF to help frame the activity.”
The teams in both buildings quickly went to work together, testing and revising activity instructions, securing equipment, and even coming together for a “dry run” of the event a couple days before.
“We connected both rooms using WebEx with Video, and it was important for us to test instructions and ensure equipment was loaded with the tools and working in advance,” said Shumaker. “We even set up a special group in Yammer that both buildings could work through on the day of the event.”
Posters were placed, details were finalized and the day of the event arrived. The WebEx with video was pulled up to connect both rooms, and the hosts anxiously awaited the arrival of participants.
“The activity was scheduled to start at 10 a.m., but parents and kids started arriving as early as 9:40 a.m. at FMCC,” said Williams.
“We knew we were going to be busy!” And the same was true in ITHQ. “We used our training room,” said Shumaker, “and with early arrivals, all of the available workstations were filled by 10:05.” After a quick introduction and overview via WebEx with Video to link the rooms, the kids, volunteers and parents went to work at each location. With an average of 15 to 20 minutes to complete the activity, an approximate total of 65 kids participated between the two buildings.
“We moved a lot of kids through, but they seemed to enjoy the tasks, and it was great for the parents to get involved, too. Some even earned credit for their GDGF tasks as a result,” said Shumaker.
Additionally, Nathan Gilikin from the FMCC building provided a well-received demonstration of how a computer works.
After completing the activity, the kids received a sticker version of the electronic badges that employees receive as they complete the different levels of GDGF. Many of the kids placed these on the Ford badges they created earlier in the day, others went further.
“One of the parents emailed me to let me know her son went so far as to wear his sticker badges to school the next day to tell his friends about the “cool things” he did on the computer,” said Williams. “We made an impact, and that made me feel proud of the work we did.”
The ITHQ and FMCC teams are ready to do the event again next year, with the idea to expand to more buildings and a global presence if possible.
“The activity exceeded our expectation by truly showcasing the power of the program and what it means to be a ‘digital worker’ within Ford. How it relates to what our kids recognize as being members of a team - collaborating, working together, learning and sharing through the use of technology (in a fun way),” said Livingston.
Tracy Shumaker; Shawn Hawe; Sam Stripe; Jeanine DeGuzman; Rob Dingwall; Kim Schuster; Lu Kalaj; Val Bihun
Pauline Williams; Herbert Helzer; Sunil Sivaraman; Andrew Gertz; Walt Cooler; Nathan Gilikin; Srini Kodali; Mrinmayee Khedkar; Sunnie Ouyang; Aeron Baker; Robert Yang; Ravi Nuthalapati
IT TOCTWD Core Planning Team:
Laurie Chaushoff; Kevin Collins; Shavonne Crimes; Bryan Harris; Herb Helzer; Minu Khedkar; Sunil Sivaraman; Steve Livingston