IPMA Education & Training Board’s Series for the PMWJ: IPMA Expert Seminars


By Hans Knoepfel

IPMA Education & Training Board Member 

Zurich, Switzerland

  1. 1.    History

The International Expert Seminars of IPMA originally started in 1970’s and were hosted at the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute (GDI) near Zurich until the late 1980’s. Each Expert Seminar had a theme which was introduced by the Chairman and discussed by about 30-40 experts, predominantly IPMA (at that time called INTERNET) members.

The term “seminar” is related to sowing and to nursing plantations. The participants contribute to the topics by asking questions, presenting views and proposing conclusions. There is a robust interaction between research and practice.

  1. 2.    Relaunch in 2008-2012

In 2008, IPMA and Swiss Project Management Association (spm) decided to revive this kind of competence development event for project management experts. It was felt that no other comparable product of this quality was on offer on the marketplace.

A revised format of the IPMA Expert Seminars with a general forward looking title and investigations in four different Themes was introduced. The Themes provide clear directions for the presentations and discussions.

One Theme is provided and managed by the IPMA Young Crew. The results are brought to the plenum each day. Experts from various sectors of the economy and university institutes as well as different cultural backgrounds explain the issues and trends for each Theme. These are presented, discussed and recommendations  developed based on various case studies, research results and theories.

The IPMA Expert Seminars can be considered as a part of the knowledge management of the participants and their organisations and during the seminar knowledge transfer and enrichment takes place.

  • The keynote speeches explain the Themes and additional topics
  • The Papers contribute to the Topics by offering theories, views, practices and case studies
  • The statements in the discussions contain questions, evidence, logic and conclusions to the Topics
  1. 3.    Objectives and conditions

The IPMA Baselines provide frameworks for the Expert Seminars. The presentations and discussions can be related to them thereby giving an orientation and platform to compare with existing knowledge and experience.

The format precludes restricted thinking and the discussion of details in a rigid framework. It encourages participants to understand other views, to be aware of the context and to see new perspectives.


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Editor’s note: This is the 3rd in a series of articles provided by the IPMA Education and Training (E&T) Board on the subject of project management education, training, careers and related topics.  More information about the IPMA E&T can be found at http://ipma.ch/education. 

About the Author

flag-switzerlandhans-knoepfelDr. Hans Knoepfel

Zurich, Switzerland

Hans Knoepfel is an IPMA Fellow and Honorary President of the Swiss Project Management Association. He has been responsible for the Advanced Study Courses in continuing PM education at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Lucerne.  His teaching and research engagement include Universities in Europe, the United States and Asia.  He has published about 75 papers on project management in German, English and other languages. He has been an  active contributor  to the development and continuos updating of the IPMA Competence Baselines, the IPMA Certification Systems for Individuals and Organisations and the  IPMA Expert Seminars. Dr. Knoepfel can be contacted at [email protected]