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Technology Brings Communities Together

Staying Connected With Our Community

Coronavirus has had an impact across the world.

During this time when we all can’t be ‘together’, we have seen people finding different ways to socialise, stay engaged and maintain a connection with those around them.

Technology has enabled us to continue meeting face-to-face without needing to be in the country, let alone the same room.

At DriveWorks, we have now been working remote for over four months.

Our transition to home working has been smooth, allowing us to remain open and operational throughout.

While we may be working separately, it’s important for us as a business and team to stay in touch with each other.

The DriveWorks Team Meet Up

A weekly tradition at DriveWorks is our Friday afternoon company Show and Tell.

This weekly catch up is an opportunity for someone on the team to share new technology, a project they have completed or discuss something happening in the industry.

Normally the event would be hosted in person at our offices in Thelwall, but of course this changed when we shifted to a remote working environment.

Not wanting to lose this opportunity to share and learn from one another, we made sure to continue this weekly meeting – virtually.

Since taking our show and tell’s online, we have been hearing about lots of great projects, sharing interesting TED Talks and participating in fun quizzes every Friday afternoon.

No matter the subject or discussion, underneath it all it gives us the chance to be connected and engaged with each other.

At DriveWorks, we share in a strong sense of what it means to support and engage with the community.

Our goal when it comes to our community is to connect users, support education and share knowledge.

We support many communities such as our local community, education, FIRST® Robotics, the DriveWorks Community and the SOLIDWORKS User Group Network.

We have been watching, learning, and implementing new ways for our team to continue to support these areas in a ‘virtual’ environment and it’s been exciting to see what opportunities are available.

SOLIDWORKS User Groups Go Virtual!

We are active members of the SOLIDWORKS User Group Community.

Since 2015, we have been collaborating with our resellers, customers, and partners to support SWUG meetings.

Whether it’s helping group leaders find presentations, hosting a presentation on DriveWorks, or even just attending as SOLIDWORKS users ourselves, we love getting involved!

Members of the DriveWorks team can regularly be found taking part in SWUGN events and supporting the SOLIDWORKS community.

At the start of 2020, SOLIDWORKS provided all user groups with an opportunity to set up and use a new networking platform called Meetup.

In addition to this, all groups were provided with a GoToMeeting account to help support their meetings and give them a virtual presence.

Little did they know at the time how useful this technology would be!

Shortly after returning from 3DEXPERIENCE World 2020, all ‘in-person’ SWUG meetings were placed on hold indefinitely.

In true SOLIDWORKS problem-solving style, the community responded.

Shifting gears and using the technology tools they had been given. SWUG groups became virtual.

As time goes on, virtual SWUG meetings are occurring more frequently and have developed a more routine schedule.

It’s been great to see groups working together to collaborate on larger, regional meetings.

Betty Baker, (LEWA SWUG) organized a Midwest SWUG meeting with 11 groups involved.

In other parts of the US, group leader David Antanavige (Long Island SWUG) and Matt Rohr (SWUG NYC) have worked together hosting weekly meetings to keep people engaged.

These meetings are open to anyone and users from as far away as Australia have dialed in to take part.

When operating in a virtual environment, there really are no boundaries for participation!

Taking Education Online

Throughout the pandemic, it’s been great to see so many organisations recognising the importance of education and taking learning online.

We have been proud to take part in lots of online initiatives helping to inspire the next generation.

Through our partnership with The Pledge, we have been educating young people about how to be productive during this time and how to add value to their future careers.

While schools and colleges have been shut, many have found other ways to take their learning online.

Through the power of technology, we have still been able to get involved with virtual careers events, allowing us to reach even more students.

Another area of the community we support through education is FIRST®

After a successful launch to the season in 2019, in the Spring of 2020 FIRST® made the decision to cancel the FIRST® Robotics Competition season in response to COVID-19.

FIRST have had an amazing response to taking things online.

Whether it’s having ‘Fun with STEM’ on the FIRST® Pinterest page, or attending events such as live Instagram sessions and webinars, it’s clear that FIRST® is stepping up their community engagement to support learning, sharing and networking from home.

Tips for Hosting a Virtual Event

With so many events now moving online, we’ve put together a list of helpful tips to consider when hosting your own events online.

Back in April, we quickly shifted gears when it came to our own annual event, DriveWorks World. We were due to host our event at the very beginning of the pandemic, as travel restrictions were just beginning to come into place and large gatherings were banned by the government. In a matter of weeks, we turned our event into Digital DriveWorks World 2020. We hosted a week of learning, networking and sharing knowledge online. The response was fantastic and as a team, we were really proud of the training content and learning opportunities we provided to our community.

Have a Game Plan

Whether your event is big or small, offline or online, every event should have a planned strategy. Start with a set goal and concept, and go from there. Start planning early to ensure your event is a success.

Know Your Audience

An important part of the virtual meeting concept is your audience. When hosting a meeting such as a user group or other collaborative meeting, pick a platform where people can be engaged and feel part of the event.

Promote Your Event

Promoting online events is much easier than you may think. Anyone can attend an online event so make sure to post about your event on your website and social pages to reach as many people as possible!

Prepare for Technical Issues

As with in-person events, online events have many things that can go wrong. To minimise technical issues happening beforehand check your internet connection, prepare a back-up and do a test run!

Encourage Engagement 

You’ve organised an event and want people to engage – let attendees know they should ask questions and encourage discussion. Perhaps start the meeting with an ‘ice breaker’ to get the crowd warmed up.

Share Stories

Don’t forget that people don’t always want to be talked at. Break up presentations with stories or anecdotes that help the crowd feel more at ease in talking or sharing their own information.

Supporting Education

We’re proud to have continued educating and supporting communities and academia. Nurturing the future of STEM and helping professionals and students succeed is important to us and technology has enabled us to continue to provide learning and knowledge sharing opportunities virtually.

Learn more about our role in the community and get involved.