Every hand counts
The story behind a creative project with a lasting impact
When we started planning our 75th anniversary in autumn 2022, we came up with a wide variety of creative ideas for this special event. Some were immediately discarded – some were thought through further. One of them was “wall painting”, a concept that is often used for team building. This idea was discussed for many weeks.
We definitely wanted to come up with something creative for the big company celebration with the Elman people in July 2023.
The first concrete ideas for implementation emerged. The Elmaners were to give free rein to their creative ideas on a white canvas in the foyer of the main building, wearing gloves, protective suits and lots of paint. But that wasn’t really convincing yet.
At some point it clicked. We were inspired by the current value dialogue in the company, where the Elma value compass with the values curiosity, cohesion, trust and determination had just been defined together. And so we decided to pick a value that plays a big role on the Elma ship – cohesion.
We developed this idea further. We invited all Elmaner to be curious and lend us their hands for 10 minutes for a personal handprint. For this, we deliberately prepared a separate area in the marketing warehouse and coordinated several appointment slots so that all colleagues could participate.
A look behind the scenes
The curiosity of almost all Elmanians was great. On site, we helped them into their aprons, gave them a pair of gloves and then they stood with big expectant eyes in front of a blank sheet of paper and many bottles of acrylic paint. The task was quite simple: each staff member was now to leave their personal handprint in the colours of their choice on the paper.
Many resolutely grabbed different bottles, put a few drops of paint on their hands, spread them out and then pressed their hands onto the paper. If there’s one thing the project has taught us in between, it’s how wonderful it is to elicit people’s creative potential. No pair of hands is like the other. And so this project is incidentally also an expression of diversity and individuality. Rarely have we looked into so many happy faces. Everyone had a lot of fun, yet when you left the room you didn’t know what we were going to do with each piece of art.
Well over 200 Elmaner left their handprints. Afterwards, all the “hands” were digitised and assembled into a large collage with great attention to detail. The unique artwork was then printed on a huge canvas measuring 3×4 metres. And just a few days before our big 75th anniversary celebration, the shrouded painting was then ready in our cantina.
Our two managing partners, Cornelia and Mirja Schmidbauer, unveiled the painting on 21 July 2023 to a roll of drums and great applause after their celebratory speech. Afterwards, the Elmaner had the opportunity to discover their hand on this unique painting.
Today, the painting is still in the cantina. It brings a smile to some people’s faces, and here and there customers, partners and suppliers ask about the background of the painting.
For all of us, the painting with the well over 200 coloured hands has a special value. We will always remember a project that required trust, gave us a lot of pleasure and depicted a lot of cohesion alongside curiosity and determination.
It demonstrates one thing to us every day: every hand counts at Elma Schmidbauer GmbH.
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