Empowering Media Leaders: Transformative Insights from the Executive Learning Series

Navigating Strategy, Ethics, and Innovation in the evolving European media landscape.

The Executive Learning Series, a unique programme delivered by Thomson and designed to equip media leaders from across Europe with the skills to expand their impact, has concluded successfully. This innovative initiative engaged 25 media professionals from 13 countries in three cities—Warsaw, Skopje, and Belgrade. Through a series of meticulously crafted sessions, they all learned to envision the future, think strategically, and measure success.


Warsaw: Masterclass on Foresight

The programme began in Warsaw with a masterclass on foresight, titled, How to Envision the Future: Foresight and Scenario Building”. This session aimed to raise awareness about the future trajectories of the media market and provided participants with practical tools to reflect on and envision the future of their own media organisations.

The agenda for the Warsaw masterclass was intensive, starting with an introduction to strategic foresight and progressing through exercises on the Three Horizons of Growth, backcasting, and scenario planning. Notable sessions included a guest lecture by Veselin Vačkov on heuristic foresight for building new revenue streams and personal development journaling to reinforce daily learnings.

One participant, Jelisaveta Miletić from, Serbia, reflected on the sessions impact: Weve realised that its not just enough for us to produce a product but also to understand why we make it, how we make it, how we market it, and how we reach our audience. This brings us to the question of how much our organisation needs to change, and it seems to me that most indeed need to as they have been relying on much more traditional methods. Now organisations especially media ones are a business that we need to engage in.

Skopje: Strategic Thinking

The second stop in Skopje focused on strategic thinking with the masterclass, How to Think Strategically: Making Strategy an Easy and Daily Tool for Effective Transformation”. This session emphasised the importance of strategic thinking in daily managerial duties, highlighting that organisations should continuously integrate strategic considerations into their operations.

Participants explored various strategy frameworks and tools, examined why strategies often fail, and engaged in a stakeholder mapping exercise. The programme featured a guest lecture by Jernej Verbič on new revenue streams and a speed-dating exercise to foster potential collaborations among participants.

Jan Bělíček from Deník Alarm, Czech Republic, shared his insights from the series: I took these sessions as an opportunity to think more about the future, the strategy, and what will happen in ten years. It is a rare opportunity to be more reflective, and I take it as a significant advantage of this series. I realised that things could affect our media in ten years; it has concrete effects on how we will operate. That was one of the most important insights for me.

Belgrade: Measuring Success

The final session in Belgrade was dedicated to measuring success, titled, How to Measure Success: Defining Key Metrics for Organisational Development and Continuous Improvement. This masterclass aimed to equip participants with the skills to define success, establish realistic goals, and develop effective performance assessment systems, including practical exercises on value and impact measurement. A guest lecture by Larisa Halilović on the GESI framework and peer reviews of organisational projects were highlights of the session.


Impact and Future Prospects

The Executive Learning Series provided tailored insights and practical skills, enabling media professionals to thrive in the rapidly changing media landscape across Europe. Participants have reported increased confidence, clarity, and resilience as key takeaways from their involvement.

Open and free media in Central Europe and the Western Balkans has never been more under attack. Revenues are collapsing, threats deepening and politics becoming ever more polarised. Thats why we feel it’s important to create safe spaces for media executives in the hardest hit places to come together, share experiences and find ways to survive, together. And these events are doing just that, said Thomson’s Managing Director – Development David Quin.

Beyond enhancing participants’ professional capabilities, the programme also fostered a community of forward-thinking media leaders prepared to drive impactful change within their organisations. With diverse perspectives and strategic foresight, these media professionals are now better equipped to navigate challenges and lead their organisations towards a sustainable future.

The events were part of a series of programmes implemented by Thomson for the projects ‘Media Innovation Europe’ run in conjunction with International Press Institute (IPI) and funded by Creative Europe; ‘Western Balkans Media for Change’ – run in conjunction with the British Council and funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO); and ‘Deepening Digital’ – Thomson’s media support programme in Central Europe.

Explore our projects across the globe