“Now let’s work on the ripple effect!”

Working and living in Berlin, it was a great pleasure and pride to welcome the AGLF in my city, after having also welcomed the European Leadership Forum earlier this year. Berlin is a very vibrant, inspiring and creative city that has contributed to the great success of this year’s AGLF.

My AGLF went this way:

Tuesday 7 am: First stop at the Berlin office to print the last posters and handbooks that will be used during the sessions.

Tuesday 8 am: Meeting at the AGLF Hotel with my fellow Global Shapers and Nienke who briefs me on my role as a Global Shaper: share pictures, quotes, “best idea of the day” and “blooper of the day”, support logistically the team leaders and… enjoy!

Tuesday 9 am: Departure for the first location where we have our first session with the Program Management (PgM) team, composed of 25 leaders. The location is a former storage shelter where a copy of a typical Hamburger house has been built under it. Amazing and completely unexpected! We discuss about the reasons why PgM as a Strategic Priority matters. It is a great session, permitting to know more about Program Management and also starting to know some of the leaders.

Tuesday 12 pm: Departure for our second location: the Glashaus. It is an old industrial warehouse located on the former border between East and West Berlin, the Berlin wall cutting the building into two parts. During this session, we dive a bit more into the PgM strategy and discuss about Arcadis competitors, market opportunities and the participation choices.

Tuesday 6 pm: we have dinner at the canteen of Chipperfield, a famous British architect who has his agency nearby. What a great way to have informal discussions with the leaders after an intensive day of work in a relaxed atmosphere!

After this intense day, taking picture, taking notes, running around and taking part in the discussions (mostly listening)… I am happy to go back home and have a good night of sleep.

Wednesday 9 am: all of the AGLF leaders gather in the Charlottenburg Palace, the largest palace in Berlin. Still in the PgM team, we reflect on the lessons learnt of the previous strategy period 2014-2016. Then we create an implementation map for the new strategy period. How exciting to see how quick the reflections and ideas of the previous day are suddenly taking shape and are ready to be presented during the session of the afternoon.

Wednesday 2 pm: The carousel session. The 6 Strategic Priority teams present their implantation map and everyone has the chance to see the presentations and even do one. So much creativity! Some decide to present by staying fit, others while throwing balls, acting like movie stars, calling their wives… It was amazing to see passionate and engaged leaders doing their best to take the colleagues on board for the next strategy period.

Wednesday 7 pm: Let’s party! Tonight is the award night in a former army bakery along the Spree river. All leaders are dressed up in eighties outfits and they are really all playing the game!! It is priceless to see Neil McArthur in an 80’s white bell-bottom suit and all our leaders dancing on 80’s music until the end of the night!

Thursday 9 am: Last AGLF day and all the leaders meet at the Café Moskau in the former East-Berlin part, a well-known old Russian café restaurant which was a popular meeting place for black-market activities and espionage. We have fun playing the Arcadis Way Performance Game in teams, where each team member has an assigned role. We are managing projects in the imaginary city of Rila the Arcadis Way; from beginning with the go/no-go process to the end with the project controlling. We even manage to construct an artificial island, which is the biggest project, at the end of the game!

Thursday 2 pm: Back to the regions. We split into the different regions and identify how to bring the strategic priorities, the Arcadis Way and leadership development back.

Thursday 4 pm: Final show with the Executive Board giving a speech.

Thursday 5 pm: Everyone is leaving, I am heading, alone, to the subway… What a strange feeling after having been surrounded by so many great people during a week. It was so intense and inspiring! Now let’s go back to the office and work on the ripple effect!


Aurélie Simon
Global Shaper Alumni

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