I need to be careful not to overstate what we did last week but on the other hand, it was pretty revolutionary in Major Projects Association terms.

Conference headlines

We launched Part One of our Conference on the subject of Harnessing Emotional Intelligence in the Successful Delivery of Major Projects. The Conference is split into two parts for the first time and delivered to an online audience instead of face-to-face in our usual venue, the De Vere Latimer Estate, also for the first time.

Our ‘after dinner speaker’, Sir Mark Rowley, former Head of Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism, drew on his experience of what the Force needed to do to prepare and respond for the ‘inevitable eventuality of a major attack’ to talk about organizational culture, the importance of candour at the top and the process of building a high performing team ‘in peacetime’ that can then perform ‘in wartime’.


Paul Chapman from Oxford Saïd University provided the main input for the programme in Part One, explaining very engagingly and informatively exactly what emotional intelligence should mean for those involved in major projects.

“Most major projects will have downsides … they will be subject to bias and the more we are aware, the more we will be able to intervene”

Paul, was ably supported by our panellists, Mark Wild, the Chief Executive at Crossrail; Valerie Todd, Director of HR at Siemens UK and Jamie Houghton, Partner at PwC. The whole event was chaired expertly by the Association’s Chairman, Sir Tim Laurence.

Conference panellists

The launch of the Fringe

The other big innovation this year, sees us exploiting the opportunity going virtual gives us to extend and expand the conference, in terms of audience and content. We’ve done this by organizing a ‘Conference Fringe’ of activities and events that play with the theme of emotional intelligence and provide as diverse a set of experiences as we can create for members to explore, engage and share.

The first two Fringe events took place last week, following the Conference launch.

My Sparq MandalaIn the Lumina Sparq Workshop, psychologist Dr. Stewart Desson provided members with a chance (in advance of the workshop) to create a portrait of their own behavioural profile which we then explored in a highly interactive and insightful workshop.


I encourage everyone to take part in the research by Lumina we are supporting into the impact of Covid19 on behaviour. You can find more details and a link here and everyone who takes part, will have the opportunity to create their own behavioural portrait, using the Lumina Sparq profile.

In the first of two roundtable workshops, our Development Director, Manon Bradley, facilitated a session for the Association’s emerging professionals network on their experience of organizational culture and emotional intelligence on psychological safety and the effect that this has upon the ability for them and their colleagues to deliver their project as well as the impact upon the individual’s mental health and confidence.  The output of this workshop will provide input for the workshop sessions in Part Two of the Conference.

Finally, we kicked off the first of a series of blog posts from Cathy Thompson and Kirsty McWilliam of Coaching Direct, who are our EI Guest Bloggers during the Conference and the Fringe. You can follow their posts each Thursday for the next three weeks.

We still have most of the the Fringe and Part Two of the Conference to look forward to between now and 15th October. You may still register for these events, please do so and help make this modest revolution into a movement!