Highlights from our annual retreat (Kauai 2019)

(from left: Morgan, Joel, Brian, Rachel, Peter, Marissa, Alan, Jeff, Luke, Mandi, Kedron & Ron)

Last week our team convened in Kauai for the better part of 5 days to review the vision, mission, and values of Agathon, celebrate the successes of the past year, and identify opportunities for the coming year.

We do this every spring because we strongly believe in the value of face-to-face meetings.

As always, we shared great food, a lot of brainstorming, and even more laughter.

Chickens in Kauai

Also, a lot of chickens. Kauai is known for an abundance of free-range feral chickens. They were first brought over by the original Polynesian settlers and later escaped during both Hurricane Iwa (1982) and Hurricane Iniki (1992). Because there are no wild predators on the island, the chicken population has thrived on Kauai more than the other Hawaiian islands.

We saw our first chicken as we walked out of the airport and quickly realized that they were everywhere, from the neighborhood to the beach, waking us with their crows each morning and delighting us with their antics.

Okay, back to our regularly scheduled program…

Brainstorming in Kauai
(from top left clockwise: Alan, Kedron, Ron & Peter add Post-It notes to our Empathy Map)

Empathy mapping

Through a variety of sessions, we explored ways to partner with clients in the coming year to not just respond to their requests and needs but to proactively look for ways to help them grow their businesses and organizations.

Kedron led us through the Empathy Map exercise, a tool we regularly incorporate when strategizing with clients. It was a great opportunity for everyone on our team—from project managers and developers to administrative staff—to work together to understand our clients’ needs and motivations and how we can better serve them!

(from left: Brian, Morgan, Kedron, Joel & Mandi discuss the Empathy Map)

Website redesign

Over the past few months, we’ve been hard at work on an updated website that recombines the Agathon Group and AGhosted sites into one entity. As we get close to launch on that project, we spent time reviewing the progress Kedron and Ron have made so far and creating next steps for seeing it through to completion.

We can’t wait to unveil the new site, which better reflects how we help clients and the skills we bring to the table!

(from left: Marissa, Rachel, Ron, Kedron & Luke discuss efficiency & standardization)

Efficiency & standardization

The development team also met during one of our breakout sessions for a conversation around efficiency and standardization. Their main focus was on how to lean into our deep experience to standardize the way we tackle new projects, both in terms of workflow and toolsets.

This will be an ongoing conversation as we create processes and architecture to better serve clients.

(from left: Alan, Mandi & Morgan discuss site migrations)

Expanded blog content

You may have noticed that we’ve been posting more regularly on the blog this year. One conversation we had during our time together was how to make it easier for partners, project managers, strategists, and developers to contribute here on the blog while juggling their regular responsibilities.

Our hope is to expand our blog content beyond WordPress blogging tips and into some of the more exciting things happening in strategy, design, and development as well. Watch for those posts in the coming weeks! (And if there’s a topic you’d like to see covered, we’d love to hear from you in the comments or on Twitter!)

We also made time for exploring each day, stopping at the Ho’olalaea Waterfall on our way to the house the first day, hiking down to Queen’s Bath before we kicked things off on Monday, grabbing dinner at Tiki Iniki in Princeville and shave ice (twice!) in Hanalei, and exploring the beach & pier at Hanalei Bay.

(Marissa & Rachel discover Waimea Canyon)

On the final day, Peter, Rachel, and Marissa had time to visit Waimea Canyon and a coffee plantation, and several team members flew to the island of Oahu for a couple of days before returning home!

Marvin in Kauai

And of course we brought Marvin along. 🙂 He joined us for shave ice, posed for an updated portrait, and helped Joel brainstorm before catching a ride back home with Mandi!

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