This year for Cogent Day we got together as a team to tell stories about what makes Cogent and our people so special…

Cogent Day is nothing like Australia Day. There are no BBQs. No flags. No flies or mozzies. And we aren’t celebrating the day we landed at our office.

Instead, it is a day for us to come together as a company in one place, to connect with each other, to change our routine, and to contribute to the emerging direction of the business.

As we are a consulting business, it means that we are often working out of our client’s office and don’t get as many opportunities to hang out with each other as we might otherwise. To offset this we organise regular lunches, social activities, and events like Cogent Day to give us a chance to come together.

The focus of Cogent Day 2018 was around story-telling and our values. Cogent is a values-led company, which means that we refer to our values regularly as we go about our business, and use them as tools to help us make both straight-forward and challenging decisions.

We currently have six values: transparency, diversity, learning, personal wellbeing, creativity, usefulness.  We wanted to design a day which enable people to become more familiar with our values, and which would also give them an opportunity to share the personal impact Cogent’s values had had on their life.

The day started with a mindfulness exercise and then people going off to get coffee in pairs. While they were walking, they were encouraged to share a story that summed up their experience of Cogent’s values. Afterwards, a few of these stories were shared with the broader group. Some incredibly personal and heart-warming stories were expressed, and it was clear that people have had some amazing experiences with our values.

In the afternoon groups of six worked together to put together a presentation that encapsulated our company living one or more of our values in the future, to a utopian or dystopia extreme. Each group came up with a pretty unique approach to conveying their ideas, including improv skits, re-dubbed videos, and making use of some fancy-dress props.

One of the highlights of the day was hearing that Cogent is taking some small, intentional steps towards developing a better understanding of first-Australians, and to exploring if there are ways we may be able to assist emerging technologists who identify as being a first-Australian. Understanding the best way for Cogent to have a socially-responsible contribution to our culture has been an open question for some time, and this seems to be a good way forward.

Pictured above L-R: Mark Wells, Cogent CEO, John Chambers,Tappl Founder / Victorian Aboriginal Economic Board and Cormach Evans, Founder Strong Brother Strong Sister.

Cogent Day is open to all staff that work at Cogent and is something I look forward to each year. This year I had the honour of facilitating the day, and it goes down as my personal highlight of my time working at Cogent.