First online Directors Forum Ecsite was a great success!

We have what it takes to organise digital events
On 29 and 30 October 2020, Technopolis organised the first ever online Ecsite Directors Forum of the European association of science centres and museums. Due to the corona crisis, however, gathering all participants in one place was out of the question. It was therefore decided to host the event online for the first time. Technopolis took on the organisation with great pleasure, showing that, as a renowned event organiser, it has everything in-house to organise events digitally as well.
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The Directors Forum

Ecsite’s annual Directors Forum traditionally brings together CEOs and executives from across Europe to exchange experiences and do some networking. A total of 47 participants from 17 different countries took part in the online event.

It is an important meeting for science centres and museums across Europe that will determine the vision and strategy for the coming years. In terms of content, this year’s Directors Forum focused on the shift from physical to digital experiences and their consequences. A very topical theme!

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Why online?

Postponing the Directors Forum was not an option: it is more important than ever to stay in touch with each other in order to get through the corona crisis as healthily as possible as a company or industry. The participants understood that message well.

Even though it was the first time for many participants and speakers to participate in a fully online event, the Directors Forum went very smoothly, and everyone was satisfied. An online Directors Forum — as it turned out — is equal in all respects to an actual real-life event

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The programme

Just like a traditional conference, all kinds of sessions were offered, such as panel sessions, round-table discussions, live or pre-recorded lectures.… Two moderators, actress Lien Van de Kelder and Technopolis vlogger Emiel Dehouwer, ensured a smooth transition between sessions in the lobby.

There was also time to relax and watch live demonstrations and pre-recorded videos, and there was a special awards ceremony.

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With the help of a handy chat and video call function, there were plenty of opportunities to make (new) contacts! In two days, more than 91 individual conversations took place, and 172 messages were posted in the central lobby chat (visible to everyone). Participants were also able to discuss questions with other participants and speakers during the sessions.

During a special network carousel”, 36 of the 47 participants had speed dating sessions with other participants. And in the exhibit hall” you could talk to company representatives.

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Special guests

Among other, special guest Hilde Crevits, Deputy Prime Minister of the Flemish Government and Flemish Minister for Economy, Innovation, Work, Social Economy and Agriculture, took part in the online Directors Forum. Together with Stephane Berghmans (CEO of Technopolis) and Herbert Münder (president of Ecsite) she opened the first online Directors Forum.

Steven Van Belleghem, writer, entrepreneur and founder of Nexxworks, then set the tone in a session on the future of customer expectations in the events and entertainment sector.

Technopolis is ready for your online event!

The organisation of the Directors Forum proves that…

Technopolis, not only as a science and technology centre, but also as an event organiser, never gives up. At Technopolis, all events can always take place: if not physically at Technopolis, then (partially) online.

Technopolis recently opened a professional recording studio to stream events live. The fact that Technopolis successfully organised the first digital Directors Forum is a clear sign that it is fully prepared to continue to organise events regardless of the circumstances.

If Technopolis has proved one thing since the outbreak of the corona crisis, it is that it is particularly flexible in difficult times. We are always looking for innovative solutions so that we can continue to fulfil our social role. If Technopolis closes, we continue our activities online. And when the opportunity arises to facilitate the Directors Forum, the most important meeting for science centre CEOs in Europe, online, Technopolis is first in line to do so. It was more important than ever for the Directors Forum to be able to take place this year despite all the measures taken, because continuing to share networks and experiences is crucial for this sector to survive the crisis. At the same time, we showed that Technopolis, as an event organiser, has everything it takes to organise digital events. 

- Stephane Berghmans, CEO of Technopolis and member of the Board of Directors of Ecsite

Responses from participants

You guys and girls were absolutely great! Thanks for your time, your smiles, your intelligence. Lonely stars are small — constellations are huge and this is what the DF team looks like. Enjoy your success!
Catherine Franche, Executive Director of Ecsite
Dear Stephane! Dear colleagues and friends, thank you all. It was excellent, it was fun, it was a great learning experience!
Leonardo Alfonsi, General manager presso Famelab Italia
Stéphane, Catherine, what a great conference. Thank you!
Robert Firmhofer, CEO Copernikus Science Center
Dank je wel Stephane & team and thanks to everyone!
Ulrike Kastrup, Director focusTerra
Yes! Congratulations and thank you so much, Stephane!! It was wonderful!
Maria João Fonseca
On behalf of our Head of Content, who attended the Ecsite’s meeting, congratulations to Technopolis for the meeting. The platform worked very well.
Dolores Ballester Lorente, Ciutat de les arts I Les Ciències
Technopolis offered to facilitate the digital Directors Forum and they managed to create a successful and engaging event. Thank you very much!
Herbert Münder, President d'Ecsite