Wim Wensink (Capgemini Invent) on Accelerated Solutions Environment

Wim Wensink is responsible for Accelerated Solutions Environment (ASE) practices within Capgemini Invent. This unit clients with the establishment and execution of events and group interventions with the aim of taking steps in strategy development, change or innovation.

First, what exactly does the Accelerated Solutions Environment do?

The practice designs and guides the process to solve a client’s challenge in a short time. In our preparation, we dive into the customer situation to examine exactly what the question is. Is it about bringing a group of people in line with different interests?

Are there emotional, rational or political sensitivities to be addressed? Or is an organization looking for a way to jointly move from strategy to action? Towards a concrete and sustainable way to move towards a common vision? Or should that vision be determined jointly? Or is it just about making progress. About milestones, deliveries and actions?

In any case, each session is about a combination of two things: transformation (next in the same direction) and action (taking concrete steps forward). In our preparation, we determine the balance between these two dimensions together with the client and adapt the design of the session accordingly. Together with the customer, we design a process and ensure that the right people participate.

A common saying on ASE is ‘everything speaks’. We think of all the details: from wording to environment to music. For the experience and thus the productivity and energy of the participant, it is important from the first moment that he is received in the right way. What does the room look like? What are the colors? How is the lighting? How are the boards set up? What appears on the video wall? What music is playing?

Everything is in the service of the participants’ experience, so that they can fully immerse themselves in the content and go home with the best possible results at the end of the session.

Our events are tailor-made and vary enormously in program duration, size and topic. For example, we arranged an event where we initiated a cultural change at our client, where we devised a vision and plan with 60 participants in three days to achieve this change.

In another event, we gathered 100 participants from eight different suppliers who needed to work better together to help our customer properly. In another event, we helped 20 participants design a concrete vision for the future of their department in one day. There are endless examples.

The common denominator I see in many of our projects is acceleration and collaboration. Designing, starting up, restoring or improving how people work together is at the core of most of our work.

How have the sessions changed from before the pandemic?

The pandemic has made us look at our work completely differently. Where before we wanted to work as analogously as possible – after all, people spend enough time behind the computer on ordinary working days – the computer was suddenly the only way to keep helping our customers.

Over the past two years, we have become experts in virtual facilitation. We now understand very well what works and what does not work externally. Basically – apart from the virtual – our work has remained largely the same. What we clearly notice is that we are doing much more international events and collaborating with other ASEs in the world than before.

For example, over the past two years, we have been collaborating with colleagues in the UK, but also India, Singapore and Australia, to organize events with participants on sometimes three different continents. All the different cultures are very inspiring!

What needs to change in the Accelerated Solutions Environment events tomorrow?

We are always preoccupied with the question: How can we make events even better? We always adapt our work to the customer’s needs. In that sense, events are constantly changing. For the past two years, we have experimented a lot with, among other things, virtual and hybrid teaching methods, asynchronous teaching methods and international collaborations.

Now that we notice that customers really like to meet in a physical space again, we make use of the experiences we have gained over the past two years. For example, we now know well when remote facilitation is effective and when not, when you do or do not include virtual participants in your event, and how you can also make the most of your global network during face-to-face sessions.

What tips do you have for future projects / ways of working together?

Be flexible and try new things. Make sure you know exactly what your target audience needs and then let go of your creativity. Especially now people love to be surprised!

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