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Virtual Facilitation - Ajinomoto Leadership Event
Jolien Noppen

The semi-annually Ajinomoto Leadership Event was planned to take place in the Zoo of Antwerp. Unfortunately, our friend Corona put a stop to that. They had two options: reschedule (again) or go virtual. They chose the latter and asked us to facilitate an innovative and engaging virtual Leadership Event with 'Sustainable Entrepreneurship' as the common theme. Check out how we guided them through the process and what we've learned from it.

Our mission was to create an event with high energy and interactivity, engaging the different plants and business units. Offering the attendees the perfect mix between information, inspiration, connection and fun.

In 6 weeks time and with a compact design team, we deconstructed the original agenda of the physical event and reframed it into a virtual setting. With a clear storyboard and vision on how the day should look like we involved Blue Moon as technical support for the broadcasting. Together we decided on how the event would be captured to ensure a smooth experience for both speakers and attendees.

Ultimately, we created a full-day event containing

  • updates from the different business units in the form of interviews between speakers on-site and remote
  • an interactive keynote on sustainability where attendees were divided into groups to discuss the topic
  • a teambuilding moment where participants from different teams and even countries had to join forces to become the winner of the Ajinomoto Online Olympics, hosted by our partner Businessgames

Our three key learnings from this project

  1. you don't just 'go virtual' overnight: setting up an online event takes at least as much time as setting up a physical one, with new challenges and worries such as 'How do we combine on-site speakers with those who dial in from other locations?'
  2. technical benefits of going virtual: some of the international participants found the content of the event smoother, cleaner and easier to follow. Recording the event also allowed us to share snippets of it with the attendees afterwards.
  3. creating connection in a virtual setting: during the morning coffee and online Olympics, participants were more likely to connect with people they wouldn't necessarily walk up to during a physical event

Check out the aftermovie to see what the day looked like: