The highlights of ORGATEC – industry talking points

ORGATEC Trend Forum 23.-27. 2018 addresses the opportunities and challenges in tomorrow’s worlds of work

The Trend Forum in Hall 6 is the place to be for visitors to ORGATEC 2018 looking for concise information about current developments in the industry. Building on the success of the Trend Forum of the past years, top-class experts will present the themes and trends influencing the working worlds of the 21st century from Tuesday to Friday at ORGATEC 2018 and discuss how companies can adapt to accommodate them and use them to their competitive advantage.

The event begins on Tuesday, 23 October 2018, with a presentation on the subject of “Effective office and working environments”. The study was conducted by the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering (IAO/Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation) on behalf of the designfunktion Group and consulted more than 1,000 office and work environment experts as well as representatives from the architecture and property sectors who are dealing with the issue of “new working environments”. The presentation will be led by Stephanie Wackernagel, Fraunhofer IAO. After that, Samir Ayoub, Managing Director of the designfunktion Group, will comment on the study's findings and report on the challenges that he faces when planning modern office and working environments.

The motto on Tuesday afternoon will be "Workplace (R)Evolution for Well-being". The intricate relationship between technology and well-being is an essential challenge for the future of the design profession, and we need to consider evolving our workplaces to adapt to our changing needs. Randy Fiser, CEO of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) will present a recently conducted case study that explores the future of office design.

The theme of workplaces of the future continues on Wednesday, 24 October 2018. With the title “Every ‘where’ has a ‘why’: the future of human-centred workplace design”, Cheryl S. Durst, Executive Vice President and CEO of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), will lead a fascinating discussion on the subject of people in the workplace and the role that designers play in creating office spaces that prioritise human-centred design.

In the afternoon of the same day, the focus shifts to the question of the role played by the working environment in employee engagement. Architecture, design and consultancy firm Gensler will present the findings of a comparative analysis of workplace conditions in Germany, the USA and Great Britain, entitled “Germany workplace survey 2018 – how do German workplaces compare at an international level?”. The study examines the similarities and differences between these leading economies. The joint presentation will be given by Philip Tidd, Principal/Head of Consulting Europe and Janet Pogue, Principal and Workplace Leader Gensler USA, based in Washington DC. A moderated panel discussion of the research findings will follow.

The presentation of the “Best Workplace awards” will then take place from 3 p.m., organized by kununu in collaboration with Germany’s Interior Business Association (IBA). “How satisfied are you with the facilities at your office workplace?” This was the question put to users of kununu, the biggest employer evaluation platform in Europe, by kununu and the Interior Business Association (IBA) in spring of 2018. The organisers of the survey were looking for the Best Workplaces 2018 in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. More than 10,000 employees participated in the survey. The three companies with the highest scores in the categories Small Companies (up to 49 employees), Medium Companies (between 50 and 249 employees) and Large Companies (250 or more employees) will receive the title Best Workplace 2018. In addition, a special award will be presented for the best workplace atmosphere.

Predicting the future is a fool's errand. But evidence exists on how materials, design, and the integration of the two affect employees' connection to their jobs. This is precisely the research area on which the Trade Association for Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers (BIFMA) focuses. Analyses of existing data, combined with specific research the association is currently conducting, considers workplace culture and how design and furniture can be tools for building greater employee engagement. The exciting results of this research will be presented on Thursday, 25 October 2018, by Jennifer Wammack, Director of Outreach at BIFMA.

The last day of the forum will begin with a presentation by Thomas Jannot, founder and CTO of MittelstandsWiki, Managing Director of just 4 business GmbH and Director of Heise Business Services, as well as the author of various specialist books. He follows the interlinked development of ITC and the world of work as a “participant-observer” equipped with experience, expert knowledge and interest. At ORGATEC, he addresses the subject of Blockchain in daily business. Blockchain really does exist – and not just as a shared digital ledger for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. In logistics, IoT platforms like Xage and international shipping companies are already making whole supply chains traceable from end to end with blockchain. Pharmaceutical companies can guarantee that their products are genuine right up to delivery to the customer, and energy suppliers can regulate feed-in with smart contracts. In this presentation, visitors will learn how this works and what users should be prepared for.

Trend Forum 2018 then comes to a close in the afternoon by posing two fascinating questions that address necessary changes in companies. The first question asks – perhaps somewhat provocatively – “What kind of future would you like to have?”. This refers to a pressing issue affecting German firms: succession planning in family-owned companies. Choosing a suitable successor is one of the most important tasks for the head of any family company. It is also one of the most difficult. But simply handing over the reins is not enough. A leadership change means change at all levels. It affects products and processes, the company culture and working conditions. Dirk Wiebusch will reveal how it can be done right and what pitfalls need to be avoided. He is Managing Director of the Institute for Entrepreneurial Families (IFUF) and has more than twenty years’ experience in advising family-run companies of all sizes, from small-scale trade businesses to large corporations.

Leopold Neuerburg is the final speaker at the ORGATEC Trend Forum 2018. In his lecture, “Software eats sales”, he examines the question of how SMEs and market leaders need to change if they are to avoid being replaced by start-ups. Digitalisation is increasingly replacing conventional business models in the construction industry. In his talk, Neuerburg presents four ways in which you can support your sales digitally and make sure your business is prepared for the decades to come.

Find a complete overview of the ORGATEC Trend Forum programme here