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These include: online (asynchronous) learning, where participants work at their own pace; live virtual (synchronous learning), where participants study together in real time, whether in “classrooms” led by professors or in “breakout rooms” in groups; and blended learning, which combines traditional face-to-face teaching with either or both of the former. Even on campus, learning has long been paperless thanks to the [email protected] platform.
The previous five annual reports document the steady march of these evolving teaching and learning methods, but during the second half of 2019/2020, we accelerated to a sprint.
Our ability to respond rapidly to the pandemic was strengthened not only by our investments in technology and e-learning of previous years, but also thanks to the creativity and flexibility of our faculty and the content of our programmes, many of which now focus on topics such as digital innovation or entrepreneurial methods. It also helped that we were well on our way to launching further virtual learning experiences, such as Virtual Executive Coaching – initially for individuals, and then, early in 2020/2021, for groups of managers working at the same organisation.
Similarly, we were already experimenting – in collaboration with Degree Programme colleagues and external provider Barco – with our new GO-Live technology. GO-Live provides a synchronous teaching and learning environment, connecting participants from home or the office to engage live with faculty and peers just as they would in an INSEAD classroom.
INSEAD GO-Live is now integrated into Open and Customised Programmes across the portfolio. Participant satisfaction rates are extremely high and we are now converting further learning spaces across our campuses into “GO-Live rooms”.
In May 2020, we hosted our first ever Digital HR Summit, welcoming 52 corporate clients from leading organisations from around the globe, including senior human resources and learning and development clients. Over two half-day virtual sessions, Professor Phanish Puranam led a dynamic discussion on “Making Remote Work” that proved its own title!
Arguably, the crisis proved timely in that so many of our clients began to embrace working from home and could suddenly see the benefits of learning remotely, as well as doing business remotely. Our own transition, when the virus struck, was made even easier by the fact that the year had got off to such a profitable start with our traditionally delivered programmes, both Customised (to the client organisation’s needs) and Open (to participants from multiple organisations).
The Customised Programmes team was having an exceptional year until the pandemic hit. In March 2020, they mobilised quickly, listening to clients and taking their requirements on board, while simultaneously adapting to working from home themselves. Several programmes had to go digital almost overnight, as the initial modules had already been completed.
Corporate partners from some regions were quicker to embrace the new paradigms of learning than others, but most clients pivoted enthusiastically to redesigning their programmes with INSEAD. The Americas team, for example, developed our first fully digital “live case study” and our longest ever digital customised programme, lasting 18 weeks in total.
Some examples of organisations that turned to virtual or online delivery include Danfoss, which pivoted fast and successfully to virtual delivery after completing a face-to-face module; and Walmart, which also moved quickly to a hybrid model combining live virtual and online modules. Similarly, seven cohorts of Cargill executives had gone through an incredibly impactful face-to-face learning experience, which meant that significant innovation was required to maintain the intimately collaborative culture for the eighth and ninth “virtual” classes. Other successful new partnerships included live virtual sessions with Ubisoft, and the transfer from face- to-face to live virtual for a number of key clients such as Roche.
We also partnered with Google EMEA to jointly develop an online CXO programme to help accelerate Google clients’ digital transformation by providing tools and education to its senior executives.
We paused to celebrate briefly in May of 2020 when news came that our partnership with Indonesian state-owned-company, Pertamina, had won an EFMD Excellence in Practice Gold Award in the Talent Development category, while our programme for Irish aircraft leasing company, Avolon, was a finalist for the Organisational Development prize. But the innovative activity soon resumed and will form the basis for future award submissions.
Similar to Customised Programmes, our expanding Open Programme portfolio was forecast to see a truly exceptional 12 months. Then the pandemic hit. Within a very short time frame, we had to offer programmes via virtual technology, including GO- Live, which helped us to minimise the impact of the pandemic. Nevertheless, from the outset, it was a particularly challenging time, as many executives preferred to wait for the full on-campus experience and the opportunity to network in person rather than switching to the live virtual format.
Needless to say, as the pandemic continues, we are maintaining our live virtual offering. As a result, there has been a big marketing effort to re-position the portfolio and to attract participants during these disruptive times.
Our Open Online Programmes business has been growing steadily over the last few years. The pandemic has acted as a catalyst and enrolments for our expanding Online portfolio were higher than expected in 2019/2020, with revenue closing at €5 million – up 65% compared to the previous academic year. As the crisis unfolded, we were quick to respond and offered a suite of short Open Programmes using our new GO-Live platform. Over the space of just two months, we delivered three new programmes, setting new records for speed.
One highlight of the year was the launch of the International Directors Programme in our new San Francisco Hub for Business Innovation, shortly after the official opening ceremony. Another good-news’ story is that our six established Corporate Governance Programmes continue to see particularly strong demand and there has been tremendous interest in the new programmes we have added to the portfolio.
Open Programme partnerships have also continued to thrive. We successfully launched the new Open Programme, “The Future of AI”, in partnership with Singularity, while another global partnership, with leading Brazilian school, Fundação Dom Cabral, celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2019/2020.
There was yet more cause for celebration in May 2020 when the Financial Times ranked INSEAD #3 in the world for Open Programmes – our highest position ever.
Online Programmes introduced in 2019/2020:
Open Programmes introduced in 2019/2020 (currently delivered in live virtual format):
Live Virtual Programmes devised in 2019/2020 – either delivered in 2020 or for launch in 2020/2021 (specifically designed for live virtual format):
As we look forward to the post- COVID-19 world, we also look back with pride on the agility, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit shown by faculty and staff in our Executive Education teams in 2019/2020. Whilst the pandemic has been challenging, INSEAD Executive Education is increasingly well positioned to maintain its leading position.