Top 10 Pharma.

Leadership team workshop

Case Study

At a glance

It is a great honor to be gradually pulled into increasingly strategic discussions with a client. In the autumn of 2022, Whitespace was privileged to be called upon to design and facilitate an in-person leadership strategy workshop – in Amsterdam – for a Top 10 Pharma company's Technical Excellence and Innovation team, after having worked with them on a project level for a year.

Balancing light and serious topics, personal and team relevance, as well as multi-year and next-quarter plans was a challenge we happily took on. Last-minute changes kept our team on its toes, proving that when it comes to workshops, anything can happen, and you have to be prepared.

Client

Top 10 Pharma

Sector

Health & Life Sciences

Project

Strategic planning workshop

Activities

Workshop design and facilitation

Lego Serious Play

Futurecasting

Icebreakers

OKR planning

Technologies

Miro

Sessionlab

Rigorous planning

The just one-year-old Technical Excellence and Innovation team was preparing for its year ahead and was looking for a holistic strategic planning session. The 3-day program's first early iteration was jam-packed with goals and topics, so we knew the first challenge was striking a balance between breadth and depth.

Every ounce of attention spent on defining a workshop's content and goals is worth its weight in gold. We were fortunate enough to be involved early on in discussing the scope and had the opportunity to shape the details together with our client.

A rigorous, down-to-the-minute plan helped define priorities and a must-should-could-won't categorization of desired content. In parallel, we kept a dual focus in mind: making the workshop balanced between strategic topics and hands-on projects, ensuring both vision and action. This planning proved invaluable, as last-minute changes were on the horizon.

workshop agenda with color-coded categories
workshop agenda in miro online whiteboard

Flexible execution

There is something to be said about templated workshops, and when unknowns are introduced, these predetermined approaches often break. Organizational changes just two days before the workshop made last-minute changes necessary. Luckily, with our early high-level planning, it was easy to move some topics out, bring new topics in, and include a flexible time shaped by participants' input.

When designing the workshop, we focused heavily on creating an environment and atmosphere of psychological safety. This ensured that people didn't just share their thoughts, but also asked difficult questions. This engagement shaped a large part of the workshop, while still allowing us to accomplish the goals set out at the beginning.

An eye on the future(s)

With a continuously evolving technological landscape and constantly changing organizational structures, a linear strategy would not have made sense for the team. So as part of the workshop, our team facilitated a futurecasting session, collecting signals and charting out probable, plausible, and possible futures.

Not only did the team engage eagerly in the activity, but they also identified critical possible future(s) scenarios, to be explored in more detail in the coming months.

strategic advisory workshop on future casting
futurecasting workshop results

Work hard, play hard

It is easy to be caught up in a focus on efficiency and impact when defining a team's strategy, but a team is made up of humans. We wanted to bring the geographically dispersed team together on a personal level, to foster more understanding of each other, and more collaboration.

Custom-designed activities and established concepts such as Lego Serious Play ensure that fun and work were truly handled and accepted as two sides of the same coin – bringing insights to light that were important both on a personal as well as team level.

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A really engaging workshop - I want one of these done for my own team as well.

Senior Director, Data Asset Framework & Services

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leadership workshop with Lego Serious Play
Lego Serious Play

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Julia Borkenhagen

Julia Borkenhagen

Chief Experience Officer

What a pleasure preparing and co-facilitating this 3-day workshop. Finding the right flow and balance of light and more serious activities, all with a clear purpose, was both challenging and fun. The leadership team was extremely open to it all, worked hard on a common roadmap, OKRs, and maybe most importantly, were able to spend true quality time with each other.

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