The first forum-theatre performance in front of 150 employees from Germany was an oustanding success. But how to repeat this success at further events in America – while keeping travel expenses to a minimum? The solution consisted of film and performance via video conference …
What are the challenges within the current transformation process – and how to sensitize all the affected people to it and to develop solutions together? This was the question that the Siemens Information Technology Infrastructure management was facing. “Thanks to great previous experiences with this format, we decided to use business-theatre to help heighten the awareness of the teams to critical topics and find solutions for problems,” explained Sabine Vogl, communication manager for the IT Infrastructure sector.
In more than 30 interviews Vitamin T analyzed the biggest challenges and packaged them afterwards into an entertaining story, which was presented in six forum-theater sketches. These were shown to the European Service Orchestration and Management employees during a two-day conference in Herzogenaurach near Nuremburg.
However, the characters were hard to convince, so the participants were stretched to their limits to find the right arguments.
“Everybody was fascinated by the accuracy of the sketches,” said Sabine. “They were very motivated to find solutions!”
Four weeks later the second event took place. – in Orlando Florida. And another three month later in Atlanta Georgia. The design of the events was quite the same, but how to implement the forum-theatre without crippling travel expenses?
The solution was innovative. The forum-theatre scenes were recorded and shown in Orlando and Atlanta. Following this, the participants formed small groups and developed solution proposals. When they came back to the plenum, the characters from the video were already waiting for them. However, they were not personally present in the room but virtually via video conference from Germany and Switzerland. Now each group presented their findings to the characters on screen who immediately responded from the respective offices live in front of the camera.
“The interaction between the participants in the U.S. and the characters in Europe was astounding – the effect was the same as if they were in the room,” declared Susanne Taylor who was facilitating the process in Orlando.
And Curt Czapski, IT Business Partner for the Siemens Industry Inc, summarizes the Atlanta event three month later: “The session was a big hit!! All positive feedback from the audience and many thought that all the actors were Siemens employees!”
Markus Berg, owner of Vitamin T adds: “In the future even the impulse film could be cancelled. Instead, it would be possible to deliver the entire performance via video conference, based on the technology that is available today!”