Digital Infrastructure

Enabling INSEAD’s mission every day of every year – whatever the circumstances.

We were just two-and-a-half years into our Digital Transformation 2023 roadmap when the COVID-19 pandemic shook the world and INSEAD entered one of the most challenging stages of its institutional journey to date. Thanks to earlier investments in digital technology, the school’s dedicated team was able to help faculty, staff and students navigate safely through this difficult time, keeping almost all activities running efficiently and cost-effectively.



Enabling business continuity with agility


From the outset of the crisis, the key priorities were to ensure health, safety and regulatory compliance with minimal disruption to INSEAD’s functioning. Most important of all, as campuses closed, classes continued online.


Harnessing the capabilities of our Learning Management System (Canvas) and Zoom platforms, we set about supporting more than 1,500 degree programme students as they transitioned seamlessly to digital learning. By the end of the academic year, we had also upgraded most teaching spaces on INSEAD campuses to “dual mode” for delivering in-person and remote learning at the same time.


Meanwhile, our scalable IT infrastructure and cloud-enabled ecosystems enabled the school’s already-global staff teams to work from their own homes. The process was made easier by our considerable previous investments in both technology and the recently agreed “teleworking” policies. A survey carried out in June 2020 showed that 86% of our staff across the world believed that they were able to work as effectively from home as on campus.


The INSEAD GO-Live rooms, with which we started experimenting with in 2019, proved an essential asset in allowing Open and Customised Programmes to go digital, as described in the Executive Education section of this report. As of early 2021, there will be a total of four, fully functional GO-Live rooms across the Europe and Asia campuses.


We also developed a suite of digital tools and data analytics to manage and mitigate physical risks. By June, INSEAD had its very own COVID-19 “check-in” mobile app, and by August 2020 a new analytics dashboard provided the school’s Crisis Management Team with the data and robust processes needed to reopen campuses safely and securely.


As we prepared to reopen our campuses in September 2020, another of our new digital innovations came to the fore. The Resource Scheduling and Timetabling (RST) platform enables real-time space utilisation information for better coordination of resources and room booking across our campuses. The platform soon became a vital component of daily life, as it enabled agility in reallocation of spaces and freed up more rooms for students to study, collaborate and even conduct job interviews, while adhering to social distancing measures.


Behind the scenes, Executive Education’s new Salesforce Customer Relationship Management platform, implemented in late 2019, became another springboard to agility, as the focus switched to selling or transferring individual and corporate clients to digital programmes. Similarly, the Application Integration Platform covered in last year’s Annual Report continued to enable us to accelerate the integration of our various digital education technologies, to improve the experience of learners and to even enhance their learning – wherever in the world they were studying.



The ongoing digital journey


As we at last begin to perceive a glow at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, the innovation goes on. We remain attentive and agile as we navigate the remaining obstacles, but also take time to reflect with pride that our original Digital Transformation 2023 roadmap has shown us the right way forward. In 2020/2021 we will focus further on enhancing existing technology and developing new capabilities. If the pandemic has taught us one lesson, it is that we must carry on investing judiciously in digital infrastructure.

Physical Infrastructure

From lockdowns to safe and smooth reopening.

In early 2020, in common with most organisations across the world, we faced the challenge of putting our facilities into hibernation. As the academic year 2019/2020 drew to an eerily silent close on campus, our attentions shifted to reopening safely. We took the decision to accommodate degree programme participants only – with the option of remote learning, if preferred, and with minimal staff presence – in order to create a COVID-safe environment.


Among the many measures we implemented were new procedures for entering campuses, socially distanced learning and table service in restaurants, along with onsite testing facilities. By September 2020, we were the only leading business school in the world open for face-to-face teaching for degree students. The fact that we now have four teaching facilities in four different world business regions complicates our task but also represents a strength. Local lockdowns do not necessarily require a global school to shut.

Physical Infrastructure


San Francisco Hub


The last week of February 2020, when we celebrated the inauguration of INSEAD’s first teaching facility in the Americas, now seems a very long time ago. But the occasion is still a source of great satisfaction and pride. During the week, around 630 guests visited the converted industrial building – renovated with the support of founding donors – in the heart of the Bay Area’s startup scene.


Teaching began right on schedule the following Monday with the second module of the International Directors Programme. Although closure due to the pandemic soon followed, we continued to put the finishing touches to the building. The Amphi Charles de Portes is now ready for participants, with a total capacity of 59, including four wheelchair accessible places.



Europe Campus


Following the renovation and extension of our Hotels on campus, we made the decision to sell our 65% share in the historic Aigle Noir in Fontainebleau town centre. The transaction was completed just before the onset of the pandemic. Meanwhile, work continued on the renovation of the Euro-Asia Centre building and the design phase of the main campus renewal, with the final planning application submitted to the town hall in July 2020. The crisis inevitably resulted in the project being put on hold for some months.

Physical Infrastructure


Asia Campus


During the “Circuit Breaker” – Singapore’s version of the lockdown – we were proud to support the local community in Singapore by turning the campus residence into a quarantine facility. We also worked hard to convert break-out rooms into live online rooms and to adapt the audio-visual and IT equipment in all teaching spaces, making it easier for professors to, both, deliver live sessions via Zoom and to record their classes for future use. In August, we created the first of our GO-Live rooms for live, virtual Executive Education, with another due for completion in 2020/2021.



Middle East Campus


After a very busy beginning to the year, our focus in Abu Dhabi shifted – as elsewhere – to enhancing safety and security. The improvements implemented, including an advanced CCTV system and Automated External Defibrillators, should continue to bring benefits long after the pandemic is over.


Annual Report Description
We are pleased to provide downloadable versions of Our Year in Review 2018/2019 and annual reports from previous years. All downloads are available in the PDF file format.