Late last year, we were lucky enough to have Mike Oates join the G2 team as our first intern. With his ‘give everything a go’ and ‘lap up the learning’ attitude, Mike soon became a treasured member of the G2 team. We asked Mike to write about his experience…

A pommy’s experience in the land down under…

I remember that unique nervous yet excited sensation as I boarded the plane in Manchester airport. Next stop, Australia. This feeling was soon drowned out by the sleepiness resulting from a 22-hour flight. A rollercoaster of emotions followed as I was reunited with grandparents for the first time in 10 long years as they greeted me at Melbourne Airport.

I had just over a week to settle in before I started my internship at G2 Innovation. The unique nervous/excited concoction crept back in the night before I met the team.

As I walked into G2 HQ, I was soon in awe of the innovation oozing out of the place. The nervous feelings rescinded as I quickly realised that I would fit right in.

My first week was all about getting to grips with the way G2 operates. I completed my onboarding and attended a mixture of workshops, idea jams and design sprints to learn how G2 inspires and embeds change.

Throughout my internship I was included in a huge range of activities, from digital marketing to coffee meets, from the morning stand-ups to workshop creation. This led to a truly wonderful internship experience.

Here are the top 3 things I learned from my 6 months with G2:

Culture eats strategy for breakfast.
— Peter Ducker

1.      Culture is everything

My experience at business school left me with a mindset that put business strategy on a pedestal. Although the infamous Drucker quote about the breakfast habits of culture would occasionally be thrown around on a lecture slide, I left university feeling that culture was a little “airy fairy”. I wasn’t long into my internship when I started to realise the true importance of a culture which encourages innovation. An employee-centric culture is the bread and butter of an organisation which fosters and encourages innovation. After all, people innovate, not companies.


2.      It’s not about age or experience, it’s about attitude

Being a recent grad with a youthful complexion meant I was worried that I would struggle to be taken seriously in the workplace. After being involved in a huge range of projects, G2 soon showed me that what matters is having empathy, being creative and demonstrating a can-do attitude. This is hardly a revelation to most, but working with G2 gave me the confidence that I will be taken seriously when I voice my opinion. I learned that embracing problems and working hard revealed more about me than anything else.

3.      It’s ok to make mistakes, as long as they’re learning opportunities

As an intern, I made a LOT! But that’s ok, as I learned from these. Everyone makes mistakes, especially the new guy, but making mistakes is one of the most effective ways to learn. Thankfully, G2 doesn’t embrace the industrialist carrot and stick mentality and so I was free to explore how I can best avoid these mistakes going forward. This taught me a lot.


A final thought…

One final lesson, and this one is more of a life lesson. As if the flight wasn’t enough of an eye opener, I soon understood just how big Australia is when I drove from Sydney to Port Lincoln, just a small corner of Australia, which took 3 whole days! Australia was my first experience living outside of the United Kingdom and being here made me understand just how much there is to explore in this world.

I have been made to feel welcome and this was humbling. Above all, this ignited my drive to travel and explore innovation world-wide.


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