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In December 2019, the Graphic Design, internal communication and external communication units merged to form the new Principal Directorate Communication. More detailed information on the set-up, strategy and first steps taken by the new team can be found in the section on the "Strengthening corporate culture" programme (see goal 1). The reports below summarise the 2019 activities of the internal and external communication units.
To accompany the launch of the Strategic Plan, we developed multimedia content. To ensure that staff remain well-informed of our progress in implementing the Strategic Plan, we launched a communication framework that draws on previous staff feedback and introduces the three principles of:
As the framework requires close collaboration with programme and project managers, we organised several communication training and communication plan consultancy sessions for all SP2023 programme and project managers. A video and interview series was also launched to introduce staff to a number of SP2023 programmes.
Financial Study 2019
Our communications campaign accompanying the Financial Study comprehensively covered its launch, the consultation process with internal and external stakeholders, the proposed bundle of measures and the envisaged timeline for implementation. We also held extensive consultation rounds on proposed measures to gather feedback from staff, staff representatives and external stakeholders. Various deep-dive explanatory videos provided full transparency on all aspects of the study and proposed measures. In a new live Q&A format, broadcast live to all staff, the President and VP4 answered questions from team managers on the Financial Study and envisaged measures.
Staff engagement survey
In January we launched a multimedia campaign to encourage participation in the 2019 staff engagement survey. It succeeded in encouraging 5 675 staff (85%) to participate in the staff engagement survey. The campaign enjoyed high visibility and generated a great deal of interest, with background material on it attracting over 70 000 clicks.
Women in the Lead
On International Women's Day (8 March), we organised a launch event and campaign to introduce the Women in the Lead Mentoring pilot programme to support women who would like to pursue a managerial career. Our campaign attracted 300 registrations to the programme, far outnumbering the places available in the pilot.
Ad hoc teleworking scheme pilot
In April we launched a communications campaign to accompany the Ad hoc teleworking (AHTW) pilot scheme, explaining how the scheme would bring the EPO into line with many other intergovernmental organisations and grant staff greater flexibility to work remotely.
Focus groups, discovery sessions and relaunch of the social dialogue intranet site
To take the pulse of staff on key strategic topics, we organised seven sets of focus groups involving a total of 200 participants, covering issues like diversity and inclusion and the performance appraisal system review. Together with the President's Office, we also arranged 217 discovery sessions for senior management (the President and VPs) and managers/staff, thus providing further fora for the discussion of strategic topics. As part of the overall effort to open up two-way conversations and increase transparency, our social dialogue intranet site was also relaunched.
In 2019 we also launched the EPO InfoPoints, an internal network of infoscreens delivering internal office news on 130 displays. EPOtv, the EPO's internal platform for videos on demand and live-streaming, was also relaunched and the EPO multimedia studio was opened in Munich, giving staff access to film and broadcast production facilities.
Health and safety days
In September, the EPO launched a communication campaign to announce a two-month programme of health and safety offerings for staff, including medical check-ups, skin screening, stretching sessions, lunchtime lectures and the cycle-to-work day.
EPO Tech Day in the Hague on additive manufacturing/3D printing
In September we also launched the 1st EPO Tech Day, an annual internal event organised for staff by staff to explore various technological issues. The event included an internal AM/3D printing conference, featuring both internal and external expert speakers, and a series of workshops. The AM/3D printing exhibition showcased the evolution of AM technology supported by the European patent system. The event laid the foundations for an external conference on the same topic and proved so successful that the Tech Day will take place on an annual basis in the future.
In November, the first art collection event in Haar brought together Board of Appeals colleagues and EPO staff at an exhibition of artworks by local artists. Around 200 staff attended the opening night of this joint initiative between the Kunstakademie München and Künstlerkreis Haar. Staff were also given an opportunity to attend guided tours throughout November and December.
The EPO's annual results were launched with a media campaign in March/April 2019 in EPO member states and the other IP5 regions. The campaign covered all media channels with localised press releases, graphs and infographics, video material and a special social media kit.
The EPO's Annual Report 2018 attracted a great deal of European and global media interest. During the first four weeks of the campaign, a total of 1 770 media reports (2018: 2 053) were generated, including 59 newswire, 399 print, 1 279 online and 33 TV/radio reports. The campaign created an Advertising Equivalent Value (AVE) of some € 5.7 million (2018: € 5.8m) – a good result achieved mainly by an increase in high-value quality reporting by tier 1 outlets, and particularly by high-quality daily newspapers.
Our social media campaign hit new record highs, with nearly 815 000 users reading the EPO's messages, over 4 500 conversations, almost 11 000 clicks, over 275 000 video views, as well as 3 600 interactions on content related to our annual results. From March to August 2019, almost 100 000 page impressions were recorded our Annual Report section on epo.org.
With its European Inventor Award, the EPO promotes the role played by patents and the European patent system in supporting technological progress, innovation, prosperity and job creation. The European Inventor Award 2019 ceremony took place in Vienna on 20 June. The Award Ceremony at the Wiener Stadthalle was attended by over 600 guests.
Overall, the media coverage of the 2019 Award from 7 May 2019 to 1 August 2019 generated an advertising equivalent value (AEV) of some € 19.3 million, compared to € 16.4 million in 2018. This marks the highest AEV achieved to date by an EPO media campaign. It was mainly due to increased radio and TV coverage of the ceremony, including the first-ever live broadcast on free television (Servus TV broadcasting in Austria and Germany).
By the beginning of August a total of 2 229 media reports had been released (2018: 1 725), including 54 news agency reports, 386 print articles, 1 725 online articles and 64 TV/radio broadcasts.
The EPO's social media posts reached over 22 million users, an increase of 950% compared to last year. There was a 1 300% increase in the number of interactions (likes, shares, comments) on our posts compared to the same period last year. The EPO's short videos were seen by over 13 million users in the first month after the social media campaign launch.
The interest of journalists in the European Inventor Award is enormous and continues to grow every year. Almost 50 journalists registered to report on-site from the European Inventor Award ceremony, representing 17 countries, with many from leading media outlets such as Il Sole24Ore and RAI Uno (Italy), PAP and Gazeta Wyborcza (Poland), EFE and El País (Spain) and Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (Japan). Almost 200 interviews were conducted with the finalists on-site in Vienna. TV teams from different member states also attended and covered the ceremony onsite.
Our Chief Economist Unit (CEU) published a number of flagship reports in 2019, including: