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The Facilitation Impact Awards (FIA) honours organisations that have used facilitation to achieve a measurable and positive impact as well as the facilitator(s) who worked with them. More about FIA. 

Silver award
Barry Callebaut Global R&D
Lebbeke-Wieze, Belgium

Introducing Professional Project Management


We established a common way of working and a professional project management culture where:

  • Global R&D project leaders and multifunctional teams gained access to project charters, kick-off workshops and extra training on impactful project management topics, enabling them to professionally manage projects.
  • Kick-off workshops are now a standard way of working, leading to a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities and commitment of multifunctional project team members to the project goals.
  • Internal facilitators were trained to ensure sustainable application and execution of kick-off workshops.
  • Management globally has access to guidelines to execute portfolio management, leading to better alignment of projects, resource allocation and risk management.

Context and challenges

The Global Centre of Excellence for R&D of Barry Callebaut in Wieze, Belgium, is responsible for global innovations in cacao and chocolate. The Global R&D department has approximately 10 project leaders, each responsible for one or more global innovation projects. The department is located next to the biggest chocolate production facility in the world. Barry Callebaut makes substantial investments into R&D to develop the Chocolate Experiences of Tomorrow. Barry Callebaut has 28 R&D centres globally. The company’s Head office is based in Zurich, Switzerland.

In 2015, Ingeborg Van Heetvelde was appointed Global R&D Project Portfolio Director. Her challenge was to professionalise both Project Management and Innovation Management and Governance in Global R&D.

At that time, project managers were facing challenges to get support from other departments as well as missing overall business pull which resulted in projects stalling before the contract gate or being stopped just before launch.

Project objectives

The objective was to establish a common way:

  • for project leaders to manage global R&D projects
  • to involve and commit team members to work on projects.

Achieving this objective enabled the Global R&D department to pursue its vision to be the preferred global innovation partner bringing creativity and profitable business solutions to both Barry Callebaut and its customers by delivering a flow of innovation technologies and products.


Nel Mostert, an IAF Certified™ Professional Facilitator, facilitated project kick-off workshops for priority global R&D projects and trained Global R&D project leaders in high impact areas of project management. Nel also trained 4 internal facilitators to be able to facilitate project kick-off workshops on an on-going basis.

This was followed by the facilitation of writing the Barry Callebaut Innovation Management and Governance Guidelines.