Focus on Thought Leadership Meeting

Focus on Thought Leadership – Leading Technological Transformation

October 10-11, 2019

SAID Business School
University of Oxford


To provide more opportunities for members of the ECLF community to connect in a meaningful way,  we are launching a new meeting format called “Focus on Thought Leadership”. 

Complementing our annual summit and our traditional Focus on Practice meetings, we are planning for 1-2 additional events per year which will last two half days, from noon to noon. They will provide the opportunity to meet and discuss issues relevant to your profession with leading scholars from renowned universities, think tanks, and research centers. There will be no additional costs for ECLF members.

The first of such meetings will take place from October 10-11 at Oxford University. In a series of  interactive sessions with top faculty members from SAID Business School, we will discuss technological trends, the resulting scenarios for business and society, and the implications for leadership and organization.

As space is limited, seats will be allocated on a first com first serve basis, giving priority to senior primary members.  


Together with Oxford Saïd’s faculty we will explore contemporary areas related to technological transformation and the challenges they present for strategic leadership and organisation:


Chris Kutarna on Global Mega Trends
Now is humanity’s best moment - and its most fragile. Global health, wealth and education are booming. Scientific discovery is flourishing. But the same forces that make big gains possible for some of us deliver big losses to others—and tangle us together in ways that make everyone vulnerable.  We are living in a second Renaissance and we can flourish—if we heed the urgent lessons of history. During this first scene setting session we will explore how.


Trudi Lang on Scenarios Thinking
Often organisations have a single strategy approach to technology based on the analysis of forecasts, trends and the assumption that tomorrow will not be that radically different from today.   Scenarios thinking is a practical approach that enables executive teams to think in new ways and create credible stories of the future that challenge conventional wisdom and in that way identifies potential disruptors that could emerge.  This allows strategy to be stress tested and, if necessary, modified to withstand or harness disruption.


Marc Ventresca on Leadership and the Humanities
As we grapple with all the challenges that disruption brings, where can we look for ideas to inspire our leadership practice?  The humanities study human society and culture including ethics, creativity, communication, philosophy, politics and history,  all of which can provide inspiration and creative solutions for today’s challenges.  Our discussion will focus on how the humanities can inform leadership and what practical interventions can be applied.


Eleanor Murray on Making Change Happen (Executive Panel Discussion)
We will wrap up the FoTL meeting with a panel conversation between selected ECLF members and Eleanor, who specializes in how change is constructed in organizations and systems. What approaches work,  what else could be done in the light of fresh perspectives? How should leaders resilience-proof their business, to anticipate and respond to the spectrum of current and future disruption?


You can download the detailed schedule of the meeting here.


This link will help you to travel to the City of Oxford.


Event Venue

Our Focus on Thought Leadership Meeting will take place at Saïd Business School at Oxford University. 

SAID Business School  website  |  map
Oxford University
Park End Street
Oxford OX1 1HP
United Kingdom

Click here to learn how to best get to Oxford University



Marriott Courtyard has just opened a brand new hotel in 8 minute walking distance to Oxford University. 

Courtyard Oxford City Center   |   website  |  map
15 Paradise Street
Oxford OX1 1LD
United Kingdom
+44 (1865) 306900

Please make your reservation directly with the hotel.

We were able to reserve a dicounted block rooms for our group at a rate of GBP 158 including breakfast, which will be only available until September 1, 2019.

Please mention the code ECLF when booking your room. After this deadline, rooms are not guaranteed, and regular rates apply.


Dress Code

Business casual


For all questions regarding logistics please contact


For all questions related to the event please contact


Please register by September 15, 2019 by obtaining a "ticket" via eventbrite.




Special Terms for this Meeting

  • Space for this meeting is limited
  • Registrations will be treated on a first come first serve basis
  • Priority will be given to primary members
  • All others will be waitlisted until the registration deadline expires (September 15)



The meeting is free of charge for ECLF members.

Provided space is available after the registration deadline, the folllowing terms apply:

  • Guests from member companies pay a 50% discounted fee of USD 600.
  • Guests from non-member companies pay a nominal fee of USD 1,200

If you are not a member and would like to receive an invitation, please contact

Annual ECLF Conference 2015

11th Annual ECLF Conference

Organizing Learning
Operating L&D Models in Complex Organizations

July 8-10, 2015

UBS Executive Learning Center "Wolfsberg"
Ermatingen, Switzerland


Aligning the operating model of learning and development with the continuously changing strategic context of the firm is a challenging task. A number of hard to control variables - such as a company's current business context, the maturity of the organization, the mindset of the CEO, the dynamics of the C-Suite, the historical identity of HR, the company's technological infrastructure, and it's culture in general - make it virtually impossible to prescribe an organizational template.

L&D's traditional role is changing, which significantly impacts its operating model. Closing skill gaps through learning interventions and assuring the alignment of capability frameworks with the strategic thrust of a corporation remains an important mission; the means to achieve it, however, are rapidly changing as we witness a paradigm shift towards more learner-centric approaches that leverage social technologies and recognize the importance of "informal learning".

What's more, many organizations have realized that L&D needs to be much more than just an educational function. Fast shifting business contexts, driven by globalization, digitalization, and political and economical volatility require complex transformational efforts, both on the level of individual mindsets and organizational designs. Here, the learning challenge is to foster agility and strategic responsiveness and as such help shape the operating model of the entire corporation.

Conference Topic Overview

With our traditional mix of member-driven analytical deep-dive and peer-sharing of experiences the 2nd Global ECLF Summit will provide the opportunity to dig deeper into these issues, looking at questions such as:

  • How should we govern a global Learning organization - what should be done by corporate, what should be moved to regions/businesses? What systems and mechanisms can assure strategic alignment AND required differentiation? What are unavoidable structural conflicts - how can they best be dealt with?
  • How should we structure the value chain of learning: identification of needs - design - delivery - evaluation. How does the dynamic change in light of new technology and the shift towards learner driven learning?
  • How can we optimize the L&D operating model as an engine for transformation and innovation. What are the implications for capabilities, stakeholder management, positioning of the function?
  • Outsourcing models - what are the implications of aggressive use of outsourcing? What needs to remain inside at all means? Why? How to best manage the interface with service providers?


As always, the three days are designed as a highly interactive and collaborative mix of top level expert input , case studies from our members, and peer-to-peer exchange. Some highlights:

  • Hubertus Kuelps, SVP and UBS' Group Head Communications and Branding will talk with us about the Role of Corporate Communication and its interplay with L&D in addressing the transformational challenges the bank has been facing over the last few years.
  • Carol Pledger, UBS Global Head of Talent and Development will share with us the bank's journey towards today's T&D operating model in the context of the changes in the banking industry over the last several years.
  • James Longwell, Google's People Development Leader for EMEA, will share how Google - also facing major transformational challenges - organizes for L&D.
  • L&D Leaders from AXA, BASF, Coca Cola, and Siemens who all have recently engaged on a global restructuring of their Learning Function, will share their experience on a panel, relating it to insights from UBS and Google.
  • In our traditional workshop mode, we will also gather in smaller groups to dig deeper into various dimensions of L&D Operating Models, such as governance, value chain dynamics, outsourcing models, and the implications on stakeholder orchestration.
  • Also, as always, we will have our popular peer-to-peer Focus on Members Issues session...
  • ... and ample time for informal conversation and catching-up, for instance during a Barbecue Dinner in the Gardens of Wolfsberg.




June 24-26, 2020

For details please click on the individual event.


Hosted by member companies, ECLF annual summits are the highlight of the year, bringing together ECLF members from more than a dozen of countries to engage in an intellectually and socially inspiring dialogue which is the hallmark of ECLF's culture.

Each conference is dedicated to exploring a strategic challenge of the practice.