Living A Network-Centric Mindset

Unpacking Potential

When the pandemic affected the experience of the latest cohorts, WDHB’s extensive insight enabled us to support Swiss Life in curriculum design and virtual event planning to adapt course and activate the community.

Swiss Life

For years, Learning Expeditions have been the highlight of Swiss Life’s multi-modular Key Persons Programme (KPP) and an important platform to inspire leaders with contemporary trends and practices. When the pandemic affected the experience of the latest cohorts, WDHB’s extensive insight enabled us to support Swiss Life in curriculum design and virtual event planning to adapt course and activate the community.

Context & Challenge

With 160 years of history, Swiss Life is the oldest provider of life insurance and pensions in Switzerland. Today, the company offers a wide range of financial services in its key markets of France, Germany and Switzerland or through its Asset Managers and International divisions on a global scale. Due to its pioneering focus on real estate as asset class, Swiss Life is the world’s 9th largest real estate owner. As the group’s only cross-divisional talent development offering, the KPP is the primary platform for capacity building and organizational
development with senior leaders. Injecting outside-in perspectives into the curriculum has been a primary objective behind the Learning Expedition module.

During Covid-19, the task force set up to respond to the Corona context asked the current KPP classes for support to analyze and anticipate the impact of newly triggered, accelerated or accentuated shifts in the business, the organization and its environment.

Collaboration with WDHB

WDHB has been working closely with Swiss Life Group Talent Development to design and deliver Learning Expeditions as an integral part of the multi-modular leadership journey, addressing topics of strategic and organizational importance and opening the organization and its leaders to evolutions of an ever-evolving context.

While the program has been continuously updated over the years, a more substantial redesign has been underway when Covid-19 intervened. The circumstances encouraged more decisive adaptations (shifting to virtual, exploring hybrid formats) while the special mandate offered an opportunity to incorporate futures thinking components and cross-divisional group work on trend analysis into the curriculum.

The “Shaping the Future Day”, an annual gathering of the talent development program alumni, was turned into a massive virtual event, serving as a major milestone in the mandate process and offered a platform for the entire community of 120 contributors to align and actively work on contents generated by the current KPP cohorts.


Contributing to the KPP Corona Mandate and the Shaping the Future Day 2020, WDHB activated a wide variety of expertise area:

  • Curriculum design, partner outreach, briefing, and integration, as well as participant engagement for foresight learning sessions.
  • Continuous coaching, feedback, and content management for seven thematic working groups active on foresight projects.
  • Virtual event design, scripting, project, stakeholder and vendor management, participant administration, and communications.
  • Preparation of speaker briefings, the establishment of moderators’ script, keynote speaker outreach/briefing, event documentation.
  • Close collaboration with internal technology and communications stakeholders, design of contents with the video production company.
  • Co-design of break-out architecture, facilitation crew coordination, (co-)facilitation of 4 of 7 break-outs using virtual whiteboards.
  • On-site event coordination with TV studio on script and contents, in-studio presentations, evaluation, and content follow-up.


Learning Expeditions have been consistently rated as a highlight
of the Key Persons Programme. It allows participants to raise contextual awareness, explore new and best practices, build empathy amongst each other and expand their understanding of leadership roles from a personal, organizational and strategic perspective. Ultimately, it turns them into a network of valuable change agents to the organization. This component will continue to address topics high on the company’s priority list while becoming more co-created and integrated with other modules.

As a result of the Corona Mandate, 36 Swiss Life leaders have been familiarized with foresight mindsets and toolsets and have applied those in the context as shaped by Covid-19, identifying 31 trends, developing 26 scenarios as foundation for the Shaping the Future Day community to identify over 100 opportunities for Swiss Life Group.

The Shaping the Future Day virtual event has solicited unprecedented degrees of participant engagement and satisfaction setting a new standard for this type of format. Moreover, thanks to the coherent integration into the Corona Mandate process and the numerous feature innovations, the event left a mark by fully living up to its claim.

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