Learn more about operations, campuses and information technology
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.
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.
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.