Employee Engagement in Higher Education Institute

How Synthetron’s platform allowed +600 affiliated teachers to have their voice heard by their umbrella organization.


In a company where some employees are physically located in the office and others work from different locations at different times, it can be a challenge for management to connect and involve all employees

FOF Aarhus addressed this challenge and launched a large-scale employee engagement process in the spring of 2021 with the aim of giving all employees a voice. With the help of the Synthetron, FOF Aarhus was able to ensure that every employee had a chance to be heard and the opportunity to become a strong and influential part of the organization – both now and for the future.

Download the full case report here: https://synthetron.com/case-fof/

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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?


Keeping a genuine contact with employees during Covid-19’s home-working period.

Virtual meeting Synthetron Webex

How adding Synthetron’s e-dialogue to a videoconference of 60 managers allowed new director to keep a finger on the pulse.


It was Covid-19 times. Organisations could not have real, physical contact with their own people anymore. The question was, how to keep a genuine contact with your employees if it is all virtual? How do we keep our employees engaged and listened to?

To add to these difficulties of social distancing requirements, the Dutch Ministry of Justice had just been appointed a new Secretary-General before the crisis and he was looking for a way to get in touch with his big new team in a meaningful manner.

Quote + session image Secretary General Ministry Justice Virtual Meeting Synthetron


The new Secretary-General wanted to know how everyone was doing under these circumstances. In order to do that, he decided to use Synthetron and host a session to hear how his people were really doing working from home, as well as introducing new managers.

The process of feedback and receiving relevant input from his team was very important to the Secretary-General but unfortunately, traditional videoconferencing tools don’t let you do that easily. So, the solution here was to use Webex (a videoconferencing tool) to let the top managers make a presentation and then use Synthetron to get real feedback from everyone, live.

The managers could then immediately come back to what had come up during the feedback discussion on Synthetron and conclude by using Webex again. The whole process took 1 hour and 30 minutes.


The Secretary-General and his team got important insights from their managers. Insights about how they were handling this new working-from-home situation. What was working well, what was not working so well. Most importantly, they heard about how their managers were coping with this new situation and how they could be supported in the next weeks.

Participants to this ‘enhanced’ videoconference had only positive reactions to it. So much so that the Secretary-General and his team were convinced to continue using Synthetron for their future videoconferences. A few weeks later using the Webex-Synthetron combination and turning it into a powerful tool for innovation.

People felt involved, felt connected to their organisation. It was a way for them to keep in touch. To create this feeling of community. Everyone working together, but separate. They were happy to try a new way of doing virtual meetings. This was not just superficial, like video calls can sometimes be, it was about sharing real content and ideas with each other. The virtual way…

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

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: involving >1000 customers in co-creation

Listen to employees with Synthetron online dialogues

How an Italian multi-partner loyalty program involved its customers in co-creating new initiatives with the biggest ever virtual focus group.

“Synthetron has proved to be extremely effective in listening to our customers and in getting feedback and new ideas from them. I would have never imagined collecting so many insights in real time, directly from our customers in just 60 minutes!” 

Head of Marketing & CRM


The Marketing team of an Italian multi-partner loyalty Program with > 10 million consumers and 80+ partners wanted to identify new insights for new initiatives and to improve the user experience.  They were looking for a way to actively involve their customers in this.


The team learned about Synthetron online dialogues and decided to use this innovative form of virtual focus group to actively involve their customers, listen to the ideas and suggestions and co-create with them new initiatives.

The Synthetron Italy team organized one session with 1300 customers – the biggest (virtual) focus group ever! – and carried out an in-depth analysis of the results.


    • The discussion enabled the Marketing team to validate quantitatively some of the actions already in their pipeline and to identify other new initiatives to put in place.
    • The discussion also confirmed the relationship and the expectations clients have towards the Program – not just from a rationale / features point of view, but also from a more insightful perspective.
    • And, last but not least, consumers really appreciated the Program’s willingness to listen to their thoughts:
        • “I appreciated the possibility of giving advice to improve the program.”
        • “I enjoyed to be able to express my ideas and see what others think about it.”
        • “I like being an important part of business decisions.”

Case: customer Mindset Profile

Listen to your employees in a Synthetron online dialogue and move forward together

How a financial institution used Synthetron’s Customer Mindset Profile method to understand more about the customers’ mindset and adapt its language.


The financial world has been through a very rough ride in the last 5 years. Many financial service companies have gone under.  Others have been re-organized or taken over.  Some only survived thanks to state interventions.

In this context, a leading European financial service company wanted to regain customer confidence by aiming for a respectful, meaningful and honest relationship with all their customers.  They sought a truly customer-focused approach with behavior linked to the core values of the company.

The management team wanted to go one step beyond the usual insights on customer needs and wanted to understand more about the customers’ mindset and their relationship with financial service companies.


We set up two Synthetron on-line dialogues.  One dialogue was with a group of front-line financial advisors (employees) in daily contact with the customers. The other dialogue was with a representative group of customers.

The topics for the discussions were carefully selected to enable the groups to have free-flowing and rich dialogues with an appropriate level of interaction between the participants in each on-line session. This balanced setup also allows for a gap analysis on the language used by the two groups.


The linguistic analysis revealed some interesting insights. The customer mindset is very much focused on the avoidance of any financial risk.  This has clear implications for the communication strategy of the financial service company:

  • more focus on the security and stability of the company and less on innovation or being different;
  • more focus on what the customer wishes to avoid (instead of what they want),
  • more personal, less business-like communication,
  • more new financial service opportunities proactively pitched to customers.

Based on these findings the financial service company could put more emphasis on the concerns of the customers, what problems they have, what risks they want to avoid and how the company can help to avoid them.

For more information on this case, click the “download file” button below.

Case: engaging high level experts

Who we are. Join the game as a Synthetron participant.

How a large consulting company engaged high level experts using Synthetron online dialogues.


A large private sector management consultancy wanted to develop knowledge and expertise around the treatment for depression. They wanted to involve multiple experts in a constructive dialogue.

The experts were dispersed and therefore they had to look for an innovative and efficient way to engage them all together.


McKinsey & Company commissioned a synthetron session where a high-level panel of more than twenty academics from Harvard, Yale and Oxford discussed issues around the treatment for depression.

Synthetron and the internal pharma project team jointly developed questions about treatment pathways, how to address challenges and how to formulate effective answers to improve care in depression.

The questions were put in front of the participants, after which they were able to react and vote on each others statements. Thereby the experts filtered out what they though was important, and what wasn’t. Everyone was able to give input.


Engaging participants for more than an hour, the moderators collected around 500 statements of substance. Nearly 21% of those achieved a collaborative support. From the instant report at the end of the debate participants learned immediately about their level of consensus on major issues.

McKinsey partner Dr. Jorge Santos da Silva was quick to congratulate the team – not only for careful preparation but also for the momentum achieved in this highly interactive format.
To inform experts around the world about insights from the panel, McKinsey published an in-depth research paper on the topics.

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: 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.