Expedition DNA – a bold response to a changing landscape

09 April 2019

The story should be familiar by now: the natural and built asset industry is among the least digitised. Similar to what has already happened in other industries – like banking and travel agents – our industry is going through a radical transformation. There are bold solutions waiting to be seized to improve efficiency and raise productivity. As we move to the digital economy, Arcadis’ challenge to improve quality of life will require innovative, new solutions.

In order to address changes in consumer demands, our markets, clients’ needs and wants, Arcadis is moving beyond incremental change. This is requiring an evolution of the way we work, the skills we develop, and the value we bring to clients. Expedition DNA is a bold response to this changing landscape, it is strong statement from Arcadis that we are joining the digital economy and that we are putting our people at the centre of this journey.

What is Expedition DNA?

Our people need to be empowered so that we can deliver new forms of value to our clients. The key challenge has been to find a way to meaningfully engage our employees from across business lines and geographies to create a global movement for digital within the company. This is the context from which Expedition DNA was born.

Expedition DNA is our new digital change management programme opened to all Arcadians across the globe – designed to provide our employees access to the knowledge and develop skills to become more innovative and digitally enabled. It is funded by the Arcadis Lovinklaan Foundation, the largest shareholder of Arcadis. No other change management initiative of this scale and scope exists within our industry.

The program consists of two stages. The first is an online learning experience (called Base Camp) which aims to establish a common language for digital within the company. The second is a face-to-face experience (called an Expedition), where we bring together 75 of our employees from various sectors, regions and levels within the business to focus on skills development.

Base Camp

‘Digital’ can be an amorphous concept and its meaning can vary greatly within a company. Arcadis is a complex business that spans multiple industries, so it was crucial that we relay information in a way that is relevant for the individual, but broad enough to be inclusive to all business lines and geographies.

Base Camp is designed to be a playful but very informative e-learning experience.







In Base Camp, through an online platform, our employees learn about the changing competitive landscape and Arcadis’ high level strategic response to these changes. The modules make digital tangible and actionable, so that our colleagues can start making connections between Arcadis’ high level strategy and their own client work. The time and effort invested in creating a meaningful online learning experience–with an engaging and intuitive front-end design–has seen a strong return, with 6,000 Arcadians accessing it thus far.


Following successful completion of Base Camp, a cohort of 75 participants take part in a four-day, face-to-face Expedition, at a peaceful Belgian Abbey campus. An immersive learning curriculum deepens digital capabilities in one of four skill areas (Customer Experience, Data, Ecosystems, or Platforms) and Arcadians leave the Expedition as digital translators, able to, and with an edict to, articulate the changing digital landscape to colleagues and to develop new opportunities with clients. Expedition DNA is a very unique programme within our industry – it is really about bringing together and empowering the early adopters of digital, the first few waves of people who will transform our company.



By Eliza Shaw
Eliza was part of Global Shapers 2016 and contributed to the development of Base Camp and the Expeditions. Eliza is working as a UK based L&D advisor and has a focus on digital change management.