H&N Online Academy 2020
H&N Breeders and Distributors of the world finest layers
H&N Breeders and Distributors of the world finest layers

H&N Online Academy 2020

H&N Online Academy 2020

Pioneers’ Premiere 2020

A look back and behind the scenes of the first virtual online learning with H&N

Cuxhaven/Worldwide – Three days, three time zones, way over five hundred active registrants from all over the world. There are great movies with even greater “making of” stories. It certainly had many elements of the heroes’ journey. And it was, by all means, a true premiere. Technically we had to master a tight rope walk with more than one “we’re gonna need a bigger boat” moments. Despite common agreement on what has to be optimized, the feedback was – and still is – overwhelmingly positive. So, we plan to do it again in 2021!


From 6th to 8th October 2020 the virtual event split into three times Layer Academy, three times Campus and one entire day for Distributor Meeting, and covered all time zones between Asia, Europe, Middle East and Africa and the Americas.

Dialogue over Distance

It started with the idea to keep everybody safe and nevertheless do the annual Academy event. Not just one directional and online, but with real, multi-directional interactive dialogue. “We wanted to convey as much of the original, usual format as possible. Not just delivering webinars, but authentic interpersonal real time interaction with our customers and influencers”, says Xabier Arbe. “We choose to stream live across three time zones and three days for a first time in our own and in the entire EW groups history. It was pretty much unchartered ground, but we pioneered and seized the opportunity.”

Professional Dream “Stream” Teams

To make a good appearance in front of the camera, it took a professional team behind camera. “We trust in the team of “La Marmota”, because they have over ten years experiences in professional television, streaming and digital content”, says Arbe. “And not only that, they also worked with us on a personal level to deliver our content and reach our audience outside the event-room.
Two technicians came under travel ban literally last minute and had to be emergency replaced by another supporting company. “The colleagues from Road Sound integrated themselves so flawlessly like you plug a cable”, says Arbe.

Taking a hurdle race marathon

Virtual conferencing services like Skype, Teams or Zoom are on the rise with Zoom being most popular and widely known to a broad audience. “The much we would have like to use a different service, we needed to go with the one of broadest availability to our attendees, and that was Zoom.”
In the layer academy we tested the possibility of being closer to the customers using the “breakout rooms”. It allowed to have multi classrooms where customers could attend their selected topics and have some interesting and also some funny moments of learning. “We enjoyed collaboration and real dialogue during these parallel sessions in small groups. And we kept these workshops from the original event structure since they are a vital element of mutual learning and exchanging perspectives.

Funniest moments – Outtakes

A unique way to introduce the concept of cage-free was the trouble shooting session for Asia by cage-free specialist Leon Schouren, as attendees found out for the first time that cage-free exists and also has several benefits to consider.
Another session initially saw no questions at all “After the presentation there was a big, gaping, long silence. All I heard was my own breathing for some moments”, recalls Dr. Pratap Rananavare. But then questions slowly came in and the round entered into a more active state of exchange. “That was very good, and I hope to see even more of it in future as we all get more and more used to also using digital ways to collaborate”, he says.
Before and during the three days sleep was scarce and coffee consumed by the barrel. Dr. Fernando Carrasquer accidentally had his microphone still open on helping himself to a coffee, and thus treated the entire team with some audible caffeine as he operated the machine in the H&N kitchen.
During the three days we all got more and more used to the new way of working and almost always being online with the whole world. “I was online with the team in the morning, a cup of coffee in my hand, discussing the day like usual. My mind was already in our studio and totally occupied with the next sessions when I realized that my feet still stood in my kitchen at home!”, recalls Dr. David Cavero. Seconds later he dashed to the H&N office “like we were racing at Monte Carlo”, smiles fellow coffee-drinker Dr. Fernando Carrasquer whom Dr. Cavero even managed to pick up on his way. “We made it. On time. I don’t know how, because I only looked at the speedometer once, and then closed my eyes in prayer!
“Would you visit this event again? – 100% Yes
We are always very serious about optimizing ourselves”, says Arbe. “Therefore, we did not just discuss our learnings among ourselves, but also ran a customer survey and asked very detailed questions about formats and contents offered.” The results show that the three event formats over all were very well received.

Registration worked flawlessly for most participants but could be kept simpler next time with more reminders. “Duration can be slightly shortened, as we intent to increase frequency and offer more content for smaller groups in future”, says Arbe. The way questions were answered was rated overwhelmingly well “which is great feedback, because we strongly encourage and appreciate questions, feedback of all kind. The more we want to ensure to also offer good answers”, says Arbe. Also, presentations and recordings will be available with less time lapse in the Campus of the H&N Website.
All participants, even those who did not top-rate all parts and speakers, would visit the event again. “This was very encouraging, and we are very thankful for all our participants who dedicated time to give us feedback!


Good online events aren’t easy and need far more preparation and planning than live events. People connected to online events might want or need to be doing other things at same time”, recaps Arbe. “We want to engage customers even more in future, as mutual exchange and dialogue are crucial.
Therefore H&N International will offer shorter sessions, small group workshops and lectures on a regular basis more often. That way we will focus on one topic or one area at a time and also be able to have more control over the technical and service-related site of things.

“Our Campus on our new website will inform about upcoming events and opportunities. Online will stay, even when we can travel again and be on site with our customers, we will in parallel offer online content and interaction for holistic information targeted to different needs.”