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Successful thought leadership summit focuses on food and design trends, expert voices and experiences

The first edition of Franke's new flagship thought leadership event 'Think Next by Franke' brought almost 500 guests to the company's headquarters in Aarburg, Switzerland.

The audience was made up of entrepreneurs, opinion leaders, innovators and influencers, as well as numerous customers and partners who joined the event. The summit focused specifically on innovation and trends in the food industry.

Top-class speakers such as Claus Meyer, Philippe Starck, Matteo Thun, Marius Robles, Marije Vogelzang and Tyler Brûlé presented their insights on cuisine, design, consumer behavior, architecture, sustainability and technology. In-depth discussions with the experts took place in panels, insight sessions and trend labs. A delightful food festival with stands from all over the world rounded off the day.

The idea for the event series 'Think Next by Franke' springs from the fact that Franke is on the move. The company says it has created a new world - a fresh, exciting and exceptional world to be reflected in every aspect of its brand appearance. Franke has committed to a journey to 'Make It Wonderful' - a promise to make everyday life a little more special for its business partners and end customers.

This is a promise that impacts the Franke corporate strategy, and the entire culture of doing business. It puts an emphasis on Franke to think beyond the product and changes the way in which Franke aims at thought leadership.

As Alexander Zschokke, (pictured) CEO of Franke Group, explains: "Digitalisation is the big topic nowadays. It is all about Big Data, algorithm, Industry 4.0 or artificial intelligence to name a few. Those are also big topics for us, naturally. Yet we never forget that at the core of what we do, there are always, and foremost, emotions."

Franke says it does not design its products merely to fill voids in buildings, homes and businesses; it creates innovative product systems and solutions that enhance living spaces and environments. These solutions influence the way people experience their homes and their work environment - they, in fact, turn a house into a home, and a workplace into an inspiring environment.

"Our brand has many touchpoints with people's everyday life, so we aim to engage in discussions and involve people that inspire us. This is what we do at the summit and where we find the insights and vision that lead us to where society as a whole will move," said Alexander Zschokke.

'Think Next by Franke' went beyond the products, and focused on inspiration, emotions and experiences. Almost 500 guests joined the event from around the globe. Renowned specialists from every corner of the world shared valuable insights on cuisine, design, consumer behavior, architecture, sustainability and technology with the audience.

They pointed out where the journey will lead them and everyone else, what trends will be most relevant over the next years, what inspires them most and how they come up with big ideas. Beside keynote speeches, the guests were invited to open discussions in panels on controversial issues, insight sessions and trend labs.

In the first opening keynote, the culinary entrepreneur Claus Meyer spoke about unfolding potential and his own personal business adventure. Starting with the Noma in Copenhagen, rated the world's best restaurant four times in a row, Meyer took the audience on an emotional journey about his manifesto for the new Nordic kitchen. He emphasized the need for a reflection of different seasons in a meal, as well as to base one's cooking on products that excel due to the qualities of our climate, landscape and waters.

Philippe Starck, the renowned French designer, involved the audience in a presentation that focused on 'The Duty of Creativity'. His creations show deep sophistication and exceptional concepts, such as dematerialization and biomechanics. Beside other creations, he designed a new sleep apnea medical device, allowing for a more comfortable sleeping experience.

Italian architect Matteo Thun; said to be the first person to place real trees in closed rooms, talked about the relation between nature and architecture. For him, architecture should be integrated into nature and not be seen and treated as a foreign object.

Food Designer Marjie Vogelzang invited guests to a spectacular, multi-sensorial food experience, rediscovering foodstuffs such as tangerines, marshmallows and rice pudding by smelling, touching and tasting only.

Marius Robles, CEO and co-founder of ReImagine Food, and Stephan Sigrist, head of W.I.R.E, presented 'The Influence of Technology on the Future of Cooking'. They made it very clear that a revolution is near, and that smart devices and machines are shaping new ways of cooking, eating and shopping.

Melchior Lengsfeld, executive director of Helvetas, and Michael Lammel, designer and co-founder of NOA, illustrated that developing new designs and technologies for the first world's water taps is not contradictory to the aim of providing clean water to everybody. They explained the link between the access to clean water and local economic development, and why water will be a contested resource in the future.

The day was rounded off with a delightful food festival with stands from all over the world. The renowned chefs René Schudel and Bruno Barbieri as well as cookbook author Nadia Damaso presented their art of cooking in highly entertaining show cooking sessions.

'Think Next by Franke' underscored Franke's commitment to make everyday life a little more special. As Alexander Zschokke puts it: "This event is all about how we think about the future of cooking, eating and living. Yet, we also believe that it is important for us to know what real people will eat, and how they will cook and live in 10 years' time. We do indeed crunch numbers, but we are also bringing 'Big Data' to life. We want to create wonderful moments, so we need to start with the real-life experience of our customers."


15th September 2017

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