Australian industry members co-create their vision for the future.

How a national industry body used Synthetron to engage their members to set a vision for their industry & assess the support they needed in navigating COVID19.



The client and their needs
Our client was a peak national industry body. In partnership with their eight state and territory associations, they wanted to engage their members in a conversation about their industry’s future and to better understand the optimal service offerings and governance framework their members wanted.

The industry and its character
The members of the national and state industry associations are from the for-profit and the not-for-profit sectors, and vary considerably in terms of their governance arrangements, size and needs.

The task
The client asked Synthetron to engage their members in a conversation about the future of the industry, the value they placed on the services provided by the industry association, and what they wanted to see from their associations in the future.


Pause and think about this… 134 member organisations engaged in a conversation that yielded 1503 ideas and 745 agreements, and all in only 60 minutes.



The questions explored during the Synthetron conversation

  • What services provided by the national and state/territory associations have been helpful in dealing with the pandemic?
  • What support is required as we move out of isolation?
  • What is your vision or ideas for our industry over the next five years?
  • What does success look like for your organisation?
  • Which of our services do you consider essential and which do you not consider essential?
  • How do you think these services should be paid for or funded?
  • What is the key message you’d like to share?


The outcome – Key Agreements 

  • Vision A high level of agreement was reached by members for eight key ideas that could be broadly grouped into two themes – industry reputation, and accessibility and quality of services.
  • Definition of Success A high level of agreement was reached by members for 15 key ideas that could be broadly grouped into several themes – transitioning out of COVID, customer relationship management, service affordability for customers, industry profitability, industry governance, and industry reputation.
  • Key messagesMembers believed that the national and state associations needed to rationalise their respective roles, review their membership and fee structure, and explore opportunities to be more creative and member-orientated.

The outcome – The character of the Agreements
This particular Synthetron session revealed that:

  • The level of member agreement was strongest when discussing the vision for the industry
  • The level of member agreement was weaker when discussing how to fund services, and
  • The most number of agreements were reached when discussing the services members want and what success looks like

The power of insight

Synthetron is powerful in its capacity to virtually engage large numbers of participants, explore a large numbers of ideas, and distil the areas of agreement and disagreement in a short amount of time. And the resulting “data feast” enables clients to drill down and analyse what participants said by any number of demographic variables.

The analytical capability that Synthetron offers clients makes the platform unique and powerful. In this instance, Synthetron was able to provide a deep dive analysis of the data for the client by industry sector (six variables), jurisdiction (eight variables), size of member (five variables) or any combination of the resulting hundreds of ways of drilling down to compare and contrast what members with different characteristics said.

This yielded the client with deep and valuable insights. For example, in relation to the proposal for industry association services to be funded on a user-pays model, there was a divergence of opinion between large and small members and between jurisdictions.

Such analytical capability enabled the industry association to really understand what their members thought and where agreement converged and diverged.

Synthetron’s support on the project:

What we did

  • Designed the engagement strategy in partnership with the client.
  • Designed and sent out invitations to industry members to join the conversation.
  • Managed registration for the conversation.
  • Designed the conversation script for the Synthetron discussion in consultation with the client.
  • Moderated the Synthetron conversation with the nine national and state industry bodies watching the conversation evolve in real time.
  • Produced a 17-page  report for the client on key outcomes and findings inside three days.
  • Produced a deep-dive 103-page analysis for the client exploring members’ perspectives by member size, jurisdiction, and industry sector.



You want to get in touch with the Synthetron consultants who worked on this case to see what they can mean for your organisation?


Stakeholder conference turned virtual at a Dutch bank.

How a cooperative bank used Synthetron as a tool to change a physical conference into a truly interactive virtual conference for all stakeholders.


Rabobank (a Dutch cooperative Bank) has a strong ambition to contribute to sustainable development. This is explicitly formulated in the mission of the bank: ’Growing a Better World Together’. As such, they had planned a half-day dialogue event gathering a variety of stakeholders ranging from governmental institutions, NGOs, academia, and business. The purpose of the conference was to do collective research about sustainability and to connect the participants, allowing them to gather insights and for Rabobank to adapt their policy choices accordingly.

However, we were at the start of 2020 and it wasn’t long before Covid-19 made it impossible for the organisers to go on with their planned physical conference. Instead of cancelling the event, it was decided to simply replace the already planned conference and bringing it from physical to virtual.

They approached our Synthetron consultants, with whom they decided to translate the 3 hour physical conference into a 2 hour online event mixing Teams Live Event (a Microsoft videoconference tool) with Synthetron (an online dialogue tool).

The agenda for the event had to be changed and simplified but, with the help of our consultants, the bank managed to create an online dialogue event that provided an alternative that brought rich and substantive input. 

Rabobank Online conference on sustainability


To make everyone feel at ease with the whole process and be ready for the day itself, the Synthetron consultants organised dry-runs with the client. Making sure that the organisers were comfortable to organise this online dialogue event. Details like; how to start and end the session, what to say, and making sure that the whole process was a bit more personal and pleasant for the participants was something Rabobank brought in by introducing a Synthetron moderator during the session.

The whole process was co-designed by the Synthetron consultants and the client. Here is what the process looked like;

  • First (30 minutes in Teams Live Event): Introduction by the bank’s CEO and with the chairman of the event.
  • Second (1 hour in Synthetron): The structure of the online dialogue was based on the Rabo AI-dialogue method and transformed into the script for the Synthetron session. This included around 5 phases during which questions related to sustainability and banking where asked to the participants. Every single person was able to give their inputs and opinions as well as rank and react on those of others.
  • While the online dialogue was going on, on the moderator side, our consultants could help the client analyse different dynamics, opinions that stood out, and important topics to follow-up on. Based on what was coming out of the dialogue, the client could choose to go further on a topic and decide to adjust the script a bit, during the session itself.
  • Third (30 minutes in Teams Live Event): A panel with the chairman and a member of the managing board and advisor of the Rabobank Dialogue Expertise centre, looked back at what came out of the dialogue and concluded the event.



The participants to the virtual event were very pleased that the event could continue despite Covid-19 and enjoyed using a software to do that (Synthetron).

As for our client, they were able to gather new insights and suggestions from different stakeholders around sustainability. This will help them in their new policy choices on the topic, as they want to fulfill an important role in the development of sustainability practices in business.

During the uncertain times at the beginning of the corona crisis and the restrictions on public gathering, some organisations chose to cancel their events and conferences planned in 2020. Others, like Rabobank, decided to keep going, to be pro-active and find an alternative solution for their physical conference. Organisations don’t stop in times of crisis, they adapt. In this case, Synthetron was there to provide an effective alternative solution to share and collect insights with stakeholders.

You want to get in touch with the Synthetron consultants who worked on this case to see what they can mean for your organisation?


Innovation during virtual times at the Dutch Ministry of Justice

How an interactive virtual meeting with 150 managers made innovating in times of crisis possible for the Dutch Ministry of Justice.


One need that the Corona crisis of 2020 accentuated was a need to innovate. Organisations were doing that before already, but this crisis forced them to innovate double as fast as and adapt to these changing circumstances, as day-to-day practices evolved because of homeworking.

The challenge then, for most companies, was to find a way to move forward with innovation while being unable to meet physically and host big innovation sessions with their different teams…

One organisation found a way to innovate effectively with their virtual teams. The Dutch Ministry of Justice had already leveraged Synthetron for the first time at the beginning of the Corona crisis to get in touch and connect with their people suddenly isolated and working from home. After being very pleased with the results and dynamic it had created in their teams, they used it again and turned it into a powerful tool for virtual innovation.

Their different departments had adopted new ways of working with their teams, had tried and tested different practices and it was time to now put the different departments together for them to learn from each other and implement, as an organisation, efficient new ways of working.

It all came together nicely for the organisation. They had been working already on a leadership program and a change program when the Corona times hit. At this point, they found it important to share experiences around innovation with their top managers to be able to learn quickly from each other in an open setting.

Covid 19 Virtual Meeting


Innovation was the most important objective. There was a clear need to innovate and share ideas that could immediately be adopted and implemented by the managers. In order to achieve that, it was decided to organise a virtual meeting with all the managers from all the departments and combine Synthetron (the discussion and co-creation part) with Webex (to introduce, present and conclude the meeting).

The meeting was divided into 3 cycles, one per presented innovation initiative. All cycles were built as follows;

  • First, the team of 150 managers used Webex (a videoconferencing tool) so the entire group could listen to the manager who presented the initiative. He presented and explained his new practices and what he had learned. (5 min)
  • Second, the different departments met using Synthetron to discuss and see if they could adopt certain practices in their own processes. Every department could discuss about; “Could we do the same in our processes? Would it work for us as well?” (10 min)
  • Third, Webex was used again for the organisers to immediately react and conclude on what had come out of the virtual discussions and what, based on these findings, the next steps would be. (5 min)

This cycle was repeated 3 times and followed by a general conclusion to the meeting.


Many ideas have come out of it. It was a big step forward for identifying ways to improving processes across the various departments, and this in just over an hour!

The biggest added value for the organisation was that Synthetron makes it possible for the them to use a videoconference tool like Webex alongside our e-dialogue platform. This allows to start with a “one-to-many” format, then swiftly enter into separate conversations in the “many-to-many” format to go deeper, share innovations and learn from all participants.

The most well-known videoconferencing tools like Zoom and Webex just don’t have a good functionality when it comes to allowing people sitting behind their computer, usually taking a passive role, to take a pro-active role by sharing and ranking their insights and opinions with those of others. By adding Synthetron to the mix, the organisers could let everyone speak, react, debate and find out relevant insights that, after just one hour, they could put forward and react on with Webex before concluding with concrete next steps.

The Synthetron consultant working on this case concluded: “Without our tool, all you can do is get a person to give a long presentation after which you might be able to get a few people to respond, but it usually doesn’t go above 10 people. It is really more of a ‘one man show’ or a ‘few people show’. It remains limited when it comes to sharing and discussing topics. Which is essential to any innovation process.

By combining Synthetron with their videoconferencing tool, the Dutch Ministry could turn two different tools into something new and powerful. Into a real tool for virtual innovation with big teams.

You want to get in touch with the Synthetron consultants who worked on this case to see what they can mean for your organization?




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Case: preparing a key global conference

How Synthetron helped the senior management of a multinational corporation to prepare a Top 100 global conference.

Of course they all understand the strategy.  This conference will be about how we implement it” – what our client said before the discussion.

“We can’t have a conference about strategy implementation now.”  — what our client said after the discussion.



Senior management of a multinational corporation wanted to prepare and improve the agenda for a Top 100 global conference focused on the implementation of a new strategy.

Management wanted to engage their employees to find what they wanted the conference.  In this way, management could prepare in advance and maximize the efficiency of the event.



We set up two Synthetron online dialogues to identify priority actions for the conference. All employees were invited and the discussions were segmented by seniority and geography.

We developed a script together with the client to make sure that the questions would get to the matter quickly. Then we moderated the sessions to make sure that everything ran smoothly and that the client got the input they were looking for.



The analysis of the debates was done by Synthetron consultants. It showed that a significant number of the employees were not aware of the strategy.  Of those aware, many did not necessarily support or even understand it.

This early warning from the online brainstorms came as a surprise to senior management.  However, it helped them realise that the first job was to clarify and communicate the strategy and to build alignment.  Only after clear communication and alignment around the strategy could they ask employees to implement it.

The conference was postponed and hundreds of thousands of pounds of travel expenses were saved.  In addition, management avoided disengagement or an unexpected rebellion against the new strategy.   This would not have been possible without the online dialogues.

Case: engaging stakeholders in IT project roll out

How Synthetron helped engage all stakeholders in an IT project roll out process. To facilitate its implementation.


An multinational oil company needed to launch a major new IT project that required key stakeholders engagement world-wide. They turned to Synthetron to facilitate discussions from pre-launch to post-launch.


A set of systematic online Synthetron discussions of the new plan were held with different stakeholders. A discussion before the launch and multiple discussions during the implementation process.

Before launch a first session was set up with local management to understand what would make them real change agents. Online Synthetron “change readiness”discussions were held in different countries. The purpose was to understand the in going change position in each country.

All sessions were moderated using the same change readiness script. We measured the position change of the participants between the beginning and the end of the discussion. We used the classical change curve, from resistant to very enthusiast, in our analysis.

During the implementation Synthetron sessions were organized to conduct a series of reviews using different stakeholder segments: management, implementation team, and floor.


The client received a concise report one week after every session. This report was based on a content- and mindset analysis.

The first round of discussion with local management uncovered that, despite the fact that they all faced the same change and came from the same MO, their in going position was very different.

After they understood this the change team was able to engage everyone as change agents with a specific adapted approach.

The reviews with different stakeholder segments increased engagement of participants and gave the PMO and change team clear insight in issues and levers on how to improve and accelerate the roll out.

Case: engaging staff during merger process

How Synthetron supported the smooth merger of two banks by engaging valuable staff.


Two private banks were merging and there were concerns among the management that valuable members of the sales force of one company would be lost.

The bank looked for innovative ways to get the right input that would help them manage this situation.


The management decided to listen to the sales force, to hear their concerns about the merger. They used Synthetron to engage them in a series of interactive discussions where they could give their opinions.

The first step in the process were two different Synthetron discussions to identify the level of alignment to the merger vision among the salesforce. These sessions identified their fears, the potential bottlenecks they saw, their hopes, and their suggestions. The outcome of these two discussions helped management to take difficult decisions and give feedback.

A few months later another Synthetron discussion was held. This session focused on re-assessing the level of alignment and engaging participants in identifying key success factors and actions on which to focus.


We analysed the results by coding and grouping the qualitative data and combining it with the quantitative data. After which we gave the client a clear and concise report containing all the important findings.

The process helped management take difficult decisions and give feedback. Furthermore, it generated valuable insights on the level of support for the decisions taken and the way to manage the implementation successfully.

Case: aligning top managers on change program

How a Multinational aligned the 100 top managers on a strategic change program leveraging Synthetron online dialogues.



The leadership of a multinational decided to investigate the alignment of its top 100 managers with the strategic change program launched 4 months earlier via a cascading communication process.



All 100 managers were invited to join a one hour online, anonymous Synthetron online meeting to respond, discuss and validate their views.

  • How urgent was the change program?
  • How far had the change program been adopted, and translated into action?
  • What were the bottlenecks?

Finally, they were asked to identify how the strategic change could be accelerated and suggest improvements.



The outcome was richer and clearer than any classical interview round and generated new and actionable insights.

Case: involving frontline staff to shape the strategy

How a pharmaceutical company involved frontline staff to shape its R&D strategy.


A pharmaceutical company needed to make more effective use of its R&D budget for a high-selling drug. They wanted to get input to form their strategy from people on the ground since they have a lot of knowledge about the customers’ needs.

However those views were difficult to gather and analyse, often they were distorted by one or two more vocal individuals in focus groups.

They needed a way to give everyone an equal voice, so that they would have information that they could trust and build upon.


An online brainstorming session using the Synthetron methodoloy was used to engage the people on the ground: the front-line sales representatives of the pharmaceutical company.

Synthetron consultants developed the script together with representatives of the pharmaceutical company. The questions were specifically prepared to meet the needs of this case.

We moderated the sessions to ensure a good experience for the participants and get the right results for the company.

By engaging these experts the session collected wisdom from every corner of the market, which was later processed and prioritised. Everybody was able to voice their opinion on an equal footing.


The result was a clear ranked requirements list for development (these included the drug itself as expected, but also generated valuable and actionable ideas for packaging, communications and distribution).

The salesforce were motivated by their inclusion in the decision-making process and the priority changes identified by them were cheaper and easier to implement than the developments the R&D function had in mind.

The peer review of the ideas during the online Synthetron session took everybody ’s view into account, including those who never speak up at a meeting. Nobody had to wait for their turn to speak, or be embarrassed at expressing a “silly” point of view.

Case: building support for a new strategy

How a consumer technology company used Synthetron to build support for the new strategy and management agenda.


A multinational consumer technology company wanted to engage their employees worldwide to build support for their strategy, goals and management agenda over two consecutive years.

They needed a way to engage all these stakeholders efficiently.


In 3 virtual workshops each lasting 1.5 hours the employees of three Regions (Asia Pacific, Europe, Americas) were welcomed personally by the CEO in a conference call. Next was a short presentation of the new strategy.

After the presentation all employees returned to their PCs and engaged in an online synthetron discussion with 100- 200 colleagues of their Region.

They discussed topics such as: the general strategic direction, alignment of employees, and several selected components of the management agenda on how to achieve the objectives.

During the 3 discussions more then 2500 opinions were shared of which over 400 became a synthetron (judged by the participants to be important).
After a quick analysis of the top synthetrons the employees received feedback on the session within an hour from the CEO in a second conference call.

The analysis report, together with the agreed actions by the management team, was shared with all staff by local management.


The management realised the following significant benefits of the exercise:

  • Collected insights and used the knowledge available throughout the organisation.
  • Quantified degree of alignment with the intended strategy.
  • Received quality insights, action list , prioritised by several levels of importance.
  • Engaged a large proportion of staff directly in a way that would have been impossible to do physically.
  • Demonstrated modern leadership based on a true dialogue.
  • Interacted with staff worldwide in a conclusive, open, cost effective and environmentally friendly way.

Case: understanding progress on a Change plan

How an industrial Multinational organization measured progress on its change plan and understood what to adapt.


A multinational industrial company had started a strategic change program 1 year earlier.

It initiated the implementation phase 6 months later with a major communication effort and needed to understand progress.


The Top 100 managers were invited to a one-hour interactive Synthetron discussion. Synthetron consultants moderated the session and asked them multiple questions.

We asked them to share their own elevator speech and their observations on the day to day impact of the new strategy to understand alignment and engagement.

We then asked them to reflect on the change, the obstacles they experienced and what they understood to be the key enablers going forward.


The Synthetron management report gave insights into the situation assessment, the main obstacles, and the conditions for accelerating the implementation.

Management was surprised by some of the arguments and their support.

The Change Manager found that this gave much richer feedback than interviews and the outcome confronted management with the reality in the trenches.

Specifically, the client realised that:

  • The communication efforts had not created sufficient ownership
  • They needed to address a main obstacle which was new to them
  • The priorities and key levers they needed to address
  • Which of their ingoing management hypotheses were confirmed or not and why.
    • The roll out plan was subsequently adapted

Case: assessing readiness for culture change

How a global company used a Synthetron value jam to assess readiness for a culture change.


A worldwide division of a large industrial services multinational developed a proposed new corporate culture with a changed mission.

They wanted to test this in order to launch it successfully at the worldwide top 500 conference.

This involved getting input from different locations before the conference.


Synthetron organised a value jam session with 8 online open discussions split by employee segment. The goal was to identify present: motivators, irritators, and hopes and fears.

The resulting synthetrons (most supported statementes) were analysed by segment. Furthermore they were integrated to give an overall insight into prevailing, missing, and aspirational values for different managerial segments.

The synthetron and mindset analysis produced a clear overall value map (values that enabled or slowed down). The value map contained a profile of each segment: person, team, company, and outside world.


Management realised there was a significant gap between today’s aspirations & emotions on the one hand and the proposed new culture on the other.

Furthermore, they realised this would compromise the worldwide conference and that they needed to adapt the proposed corporate culture based on the input, and find the necessary bridges and convincing arguments, before moving ahead.

They postponed the conference while they addressed this gap.

Case: involving staff on strategy globally

How an international NGO involved its staff on global scale to shape its new strategy.


This international NGO was one of the biggest. The winds of change were blowing through the organisation. Therefore, it wanted to update its strategy. Old, defunct processes were swept away and new questions were being asked of everybody.

The changes were refreshing but also felt a bit unstable. There were some murmurings out in the field as people wondered about the new direction. What was it? Did they agree with it? Did they want to stay?

Then in an unprecedented move the Head of Strategy decided to involve everybody. So they could give input into the new strategy for the next 20 years. However they had staff in 80 countries and no shared language. Hence they thought it would take forever. How could they make sure everybody had a fair chance to express themselves? How could they turn all that raw data into meaningful and robust recommendations?


We set up several Synthetron online dialogue sessions in parallel to be able to involve staff across time zones and languages.

We moderated the dialogues and made sure that everyone got the chance to get involved.

In an unprecedented move for inclusion, every single staff member was invited to participate. Hundreds of people inputted thousands of statements and generated a million data points.


After careful analysis the Synthetron consultant was able to give them a single image summing up the story. As well as clear direction on the updated mission and strategy.

Then the board wanted to find out if office staff were over-represented. So Synthetron did a segmented analysis looking only at field staff which confirmed only the most minimal differences of opinion.

The strategy team then incorporated the discoveries into their decision making, confident that their thousands of committed employees were aligned with the new plan.