Lindéngruppen’s annual Global Management Conference took place in Virtual Reality, which created an innovative collaboration space, saved time and more than 35 tonnes of CO2, and has re-defined how we communicate.
Lindéngruppen’s virtual one-day Global Management Conference in October 2020 with the theme ‘Shaping the world after Covid-19’ involved 55 participants from 15 countries and three different continents. Seven external experts, thought leaders and inspirators were also invited to take part remotely.
These experts included Amy C. Edmondson, Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management at the Harvard Business School, Andrew McLaughlin, former CTO of the USA under the Obama administration, and David Roberts from Singularity University who is one of the world’s top experts on technology disruption, innovation and exponential leadership.
Lindéngruppen arranged the meeting together with a team of external experts. Ola Ahlvarsson, technology entrepreneur and advisor to Lindéngruppen, was the moderator and Mats Larsson from Synergy Space the Event Producer.
“Following Lindéngruppen’s decision to hold a virtual conference, we really focused on striving to utilise the latest technology to optimise the sense of being together, despite not being physically in the same room,” explains Ahlvarsson.“ This involved finding new efficiencies in a VR setting for enhanced collaboration, and a playful TV format for the participants to maintain a high-tempo and engaging conference.”
“When we first met the Lindéngruppen team, they were very willing to embrace technology and to try innovative solutions,” says Larsson. “The VR experience created far more opportunities for collaboration than a standard 2D video conference.”
In preparation for the conference, a virtual replica of the Lindéngruppen Boardroom in Höganäs, Sweden, was created from CAD drawings and photographs, as a virtual space to hold some of the conference workshops. A VR art tour was also created for participants to experience Lindéngruppen’s art collection at its head office.
A highly interactive experience was created for the participants through easy-to-use interactive virtual whiteboards and post-it notes, the use of 3D models, and the ability to take photos and film during the conference. Participants were also given virtual tasks to conduct with their VR avatar during the workshops.
“The VR platform created a fantastic space for the participants to challenge and explore different topics together, such as how leaders can be catalysts for innovation,” says Ahlvarsson. “I am extremely proud of this conference as it really pushed what is currently possible with VR and by infusing energy, humour and a few surprises along the way, we created great experiences for the participants.”
Avoiding the need for participants to travel from all around the world to a physical meeting in Höganäs saved both valuable work time and transport-related emissions.
“After the meeting, we calculated that the 55 participants saved around 111 hours in travel time in total and avoided over 34 tonnes of CO2 from transport emissions,” says Larsson.
The savings from the seven external speakers were not included in these figures.
The VR conference demonstrated that highly engaging and interactive meetings can be created through VR to avoid flying people from all around the world. After the conference, Lindéngruppen has held several smaller meetings with the same VR platform and is working to get more people throughout the Group used to the technology.
The management teams in the Group companies all now have VR sets and the virtual replica of the Lindéngruppen Board room is always available whenever – and from wherever in the world – without having to actually travel to Höganäs.