The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) brings together the companies that run Britain’s railway into a single team with one goal - to deliver a better railway. The purpose of the Network Performance Board (NPB) is to drive a programme to improve rail network performance and thus improve customer satisfaction with rail services.
- Rail Delivery Group
We were asked to support the Network Performance Board to take their bi-annual Network Performance Seminar virtual. This was the first time the RDG NPB Portfolio Team (the client) had ever delivered a large-scale online event – so ensuring the event achieved their objectives was key.
We were given the following objectives from our client:
1. To ensure we get the same impact from an all-day event in 3 hours
2. To ensure the event is made up of a mixture of listening, taking part in breakout outs and also Q&A
3. To ensure the event runs smoothly, creating a great experience for attendees, speakers and facilitators.
At the start of the project, we sat down with the client to understand more about the network performance seminar, what the objectives are from the event and the key success metrics for attendees.
The first thing we realised was that the previous events took place in person, over a day, including a mixture of formal presentations, breakout groups and networking. The mixture of formats kept attendees engaged for a whole day. However, all day virtual events are hard to make effective and engaging. As a result, we decided to create a 3-hour event.
But how can we squeeze the normal agenda into just 3 hours? We decided to release a select number of our more detailed presentations in advance of the event. This not only built up engagement for the event – but also saved us 1 hour in our programme. On the day of the event we played a 10 minute summary video from the presentations.
To ensure the event was made up of a mixture of presentations, breakout interactive groups and networking was key.
For our breakout groups we wanted to ensure that the groups were kept small and allowed for engagement. As a result, working with the client, we identified 8 facilitators who led the breakout groups. The breakout groups were each given a theme and all breakout groups worked on a collaborative virtual whiteboard. The virtual whiteboard enabled all the breakout groups to work on their individual themes before zooming out to see all notes from each breakout group.
Historically the networking part of the seminar was key. It provides an opportunity for members of the network performance community to share ideas and discuss what they are working on. However, most video conferencing tools are very static and not engaging. As a result, we decided to use Wonder, a virtual space where people can move around, talk and meet in a room you customise to run our networking. The networking part of the event stood out as a real positive in the post event survey.
The Rail Delivery Group relies on the collaboration of its partners in the rail industry to deliver this seminar. We worked with the client seminar team to ensure that all speakers and those helping to support deliver breakout groups were briefed and understood what was needed of them before, during and after the event.
The virtual event was a success as demonstrated by the positive feedback received from delegates. The event provided an opportunity for the performance community to get together, share ideas, see the progress of projects and think about the future. The core objectives of the Network Performance Board were achieved and the stakeholders attending the conference were happy with the event.
Rail Delivery Group used BA Events’ expertise and support to successfully deliver our first purely online rail industry performance seminar in March. BA Events are a very professional company and we found them to be very pleasant to work with and efficient in delivery. They were able to provide software options and utilise their extensive experience in the use of various online collaboration systems and tools to up-skill the core team, supported the seminar presenters and provided tech support of the day for our 150+ delegates in the use of web-based technology too. BA Events also showed good project management discipline in co-coordinating the event with us, ensuring the event ran to time and cost, with the desired quality outcome.