How Adobe created “everyday magic” for employees and their families with a virtual Field Trip

by Damon Guidry

posted on 08-31-2020

Emilie Zanger co-authored this post.

Each summer, Adobe offices in the U.S. and Canada welcome employees’ families on-site for a full day of fun educational activities that promote art, STEM, and creative projects using Adobe products. Known as Adobe Field Trip, this signature event is a perennial highlight for our workplace community, highlighting the best of Adobe’s culture and creating magical, inspiring experiences for school-aged children and their families.

Bringing families together while we’re apart

This year, with Adobe offices across most of the world closed and countless live events cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we embraced the challenge of reimagining Adobe Field Trip as a brand-new kind of experience — one that could bring Adobe’s culture right into employees’ homes, bridging the virtual and physical worlds.

We went to work, dreaming big to conceptualize the first-ever virtual Adobe Field Trip. Leveraging our own technology and creative partners, we built a dynamic digital environment and a custom-designed app as the access point for the weeklong program. From August 10-14, families in North America, Latin America, and EMEA could access live-streamed and on-demand classes and original content spotlighting wellbeing, learning, play, and inspiration for kids ages 5-18.

Families got moving with hip-hop and Bollywood dance, were entertained with live-illustrated story time, and got hands-on with STEM experiments and digital art projects using Adobe products. Building on their recent successful pivot to virtual for Adobe employees, our foodservice partner Bon Appétit Management Company and fitness partner EXOS offered family-friendly cooking classes and daily yoga and meditation sessions. Each day of Adobe Field Trip brought new opportunities to experience “everyday magic” at home, and to connect with ourselves, our families, our communities, and our planet.

In her welcome comments, Adobe’s CHRO and EVP of Employee Experience Gloria Chen explained that the decision to reimagine Adobe Field Trip came in response to the social and emotional challenges presented by the current moment. “We know that now, more than ever, we all need an outlet for community and creative expression.”

Those themes of connection and creativity also ran through two virtual 3D worlds where Adobe Field Trip attendees were invited to interact and play. In “Message in a Bottle” and “Kite Wish” activities, families could step into virtual environments to either exchange notes with families from around the world or build, decorate, and fly a digital kite. During the Adobe Field Trip finale on August 14, families from around the world gathered virtually to fly their kites, magically filling the sky with color and wishes from the children. These custom-designed environments, built using Adobe products, allowed the Adobe community to unite across distance and build connections in new ways.

Adobe family members writing a personalized note for the Message in a Bottle activity.

A more inclusive Adobe Field Trip

One unanticipated benefit of taking Adobe Field Trip virtual in 2020 was the ability to include Adobe employees and their families from a wider range of geographic regions. All told, 5,200 employees and their families across the U.S., Canada, Latin America, and EMEA registered for Adobe Field Trip. Participants were spread across 10 time zones and represented 17 countries.

Adobe employees outside of North America had the chance to experience Field Trip for the first time. “This week was amazing!” said Rafael Hidalgo Y Terán Estrada, a Mexico City-based Senior Solution Consultant. “Finally I could attend an Adobe Field Trip. It was so much fun because it had activities for all the family.” (Rafael and his family created a Spark page to share their Adobe Field Trip experience!)

Rafael Hidalgo Y Terán Estrada (right) and his family participating in the Bollywood dance activity.

Even for employees at offices where Adobe Field Trip had previously taken place in person, the virtual experience brought new experiences. Lehi, UT-based Engineering Manager Jake Cahoon said, “My kids ([ages] 9, 7, 5) loved the story time and are starting to make their own story in Spark.”

Lessons in virtual community-building

This year, as the world collectively redefines what it means to gather, we took risks and innovated to create a new kind of virtual-meets-physical event experience. The learning curve was steep, and not everything went perfectly, but this experience has prepared us to design better, more engaging, and more seamless virtual and hybrid events in the future. We are immensely proud of the way our community came together, in ways large and small, to create this experience for Adobe families.

VP of Employee and Workplace Solutions Jonathan Francom echoed the importance of community and connection during his closing remarks. “While this was our first attempt at creating a remote Adobe Field Trip, we learned that our community will show up, even when we can’t be on campus together.”

While we can’t yet predict what Adobe Field Trip —­ or any large-scale employee event — will look like in 2021 and beyond, the lessons learned from our first real-time experiment into virtual gathering will inform the way Adobe brings its community together until we can meet in

Topics: Adobe Culture, Adobe Life,