IBN Virtual Event Report: working together while staying apart

How can cooperation and inclusivity help you get out of a room that doesn’t really exist?

One answer is when it is an internet based learning experience such as the IBN’s first virtual event – an online escape room game. Hosted by external partner PDT Global on 25 June almost 70 IBN members from across Switzerland registered to learn about the value of social inclusion in a fun and innovative way. With a chance to mingle through a series of follow up Zoom sessions afterward, the event kept true to the IBN spirit of professional networking in a relaxed social fashion.

Following an opening address from Eamon Hickey, Ambassador of Ireland to Switzerland, PDT Global then hosted the 30 minute game for the 10 participant teams. Individual team-members had to immerse themselves in the topic of inclusive behaviours in order to ‘escape’ from the virtual room. Featuring original puzzles, cryptic clues and microlearning opportunities, the hosts facilitated a live virtual experience in a race against the clock. Ultimately everyone managed to get out just in time for a collective reflection session on lessons learned and for the post-event networking sessions on Zoom.

We received a lot of very positive, even exuberant, feedback both on the event content and format and the opportunity to network with members right across Switzerland without time-consuming travel. The event attracted many new members from a wide demographic”, said Brigid O’Donovan, Co-President of the IBN.

Enabled with support from the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Emigrant Support Programme (ESP), this virtual event was a creative alternative solution to engaging with IBN’s membership base following the cancellation of other planned events due to the COVID-19 crisis.
At least one positive from this global health pandemic is the acceleration across the mainstream in adopting online tools including virtual events and meetings. Indeed, aspects like event format, timing and physical presence may be quite different compared to in-real life experiences, but as the success of June 25th indicates, topical content and a genuine opportunity to network with others remain key ingredients.

As Steve Jobs once said “Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have a faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them”.

By bringing a very diverse group of IBN members together to co-learn, this virtual escape room has helped catalyze thinking and attitudes toward the value of social inclusion and fostering a sense of belonging in the workplace.