D&D Excellence : your Partner for Excellence

The 2007 EFQM Forum in Athens: Derek's report

The Parthenon seen from the Temple of the Olympian Zeus

Someone has to do these tough jobs, so while Dave was working on a Levels of Excellence assessment in southern England, Derek flew off to the EFQM's annual Forum, this year held in Athens, Greece. The theme of this busy two day conference was 'Building high performance organisations in Europe', and comprised a mixture of plenary and parallel sessions. And of course the EFQM Excellence Awards were announced and presented at the gala dinner.

As well as the opportunity to hear some big-name speakers, these events can provide the chance to experience a little of the culture of the host cities around Europe in which they are held, and to catch up with old friends - and meet new ones - in the Excellence world. So it was great to meet once again the many people from EFQM itself, Emmanuel Perakis, Sally Green, Sam and Julienne McCrea, Fernando Sierra, Rob Jackson, Chris Nicholls, Bob Davies, Tony Wildman and George Wilson amongst the hundreds of attendees.

For the Forum 'proper', plenary sessions were given by Luis Alvarez of BT Global Services, Professor Chan Kim, Grammeen Bank founder (and recipient of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize) Dr Mohammed Yunus, and Rene Carayol. Obviously people had the opportunity to attend different parallel sessions, and Derek's choices took him to Andrew Weissmann, one of the prosecutors in the Enron case, and Revd Dr John Strain of Surrey University talking about personal and corporate integrity. He also went to the Management by Process session given by Andrew Wendt of BMW Chassis and Engines and Stephen Mathews of The Cedar Foundation.

Everyone will have learned different things from the various sessions, but if anyone is interested Derek has outlined what he thinks are a few priceless gems from the speakers. It is a purely personal and highly-edited selection: you really wouldn't want to see the full 'mind map' notes he made of each presentation ... a condition of Derek's attendance was that Dave wanted a full briefing on his return!

The Award ceremony saw particular success for two regions of Europe that have also featured well in the past: Northern Ireland and the Basque Country. Congratulations for winning EFQM Excellence Awards to The Cedar Foundation and Tobermore Concrete Products Ltd - both in Northern Ireland -to Lauaxeta Ikastola (School) in the Basque Country, and to Villa Massa in Italy. And all the other organisations that went through the process will also have 'won' from the feedback on Strengths and Areas for Improvement provided by the assessors.

For those who want to plan early, next year's Forum returns to Paris.