EFMD’s Executive Development Conference for the first time fully online

EFMD Executive Development Conference 2020

“This was brilliantly organised. Certainly, one of the best and most user-friendly virtual conference environments.”

We are happy for the very positive feedback from almost 100 participants at this year’s Executive Development Conference. And we learned a lot on our path to preparing an engaging online conference, with four particular lessons to share:

Optimising user-friendliness

The online registration process and conference platform were positively welcomed. The use of the virtual platform for preparation, sharing and connecting before and during the event, reflects how conference participants are still uncomfortable with asynchronous sharing and interaction. Our own habits are evolving fast during these times of working and learning from home during Covid-19, so this is something to look forward to for next time.

Being mindful of participants’ time

Spreading the programme over three days, with multiple well-timed sessions clustered in slots of about three hours seems to hit a sweet spot for participants. The spread over time-zones remains a challenge, though this also indicates a greater geographical diversity of participants. Being able to participate without having to travel has clearly increased the reach of potential participants.

“Truly inspiring, useful, good format and duration. Found it easy to take part and stay the time.”

Keeping audiences interested

The scenario planning exercise was a really interesting and inspiring opportunity to explore the impact of the Covid-19 on Executive Education. The Excellence in Practice case discussions were also a success, building on experience from previous years’ live conferences as well as webinars. Diving deep into cases in this way, and giving space to different points of view within the different types of programmes proved a valuable way for participants to pick up new ideas. One inspiring conclusion: In Executive Education we are in a fast-paced evolution of known trends.


Facilitating remote networking

Small content-focused discussion groups during the scenario exercise allowed people to connect on a profound level. Combining a quiz as a warm-up to the peer-support sessions proved to be a good fit to get to know new people. The closing award ceremony created a positive vibe and a festive closure to the conference.

All in all, the discussion time was very valuable, and as we are all working from home, it is good to connect and realise we are all dealing with the same challenges.