What’s NEXT

NEXT is the event for those who actively participate in shaping the digital transformation. In the vibrant surrounding of the Reeperbahn Festival, we will dive deeply into the world of tomorrow’s customers, business models and strategies. And experience together HOW WE WILL LIVE next.

Unpredictability is the dominant of the connected age. It changes everything, especially the winning formula of being successful. In the last ten years almost half of the companies listed on Fortune 500 disappeared from that list. Today, more than two thirds of consumers wouldn’t care if the brands they are using disappeared from their lives.

What happened? Yesterday’s assumptions are the jokes of today. Business designs, marketing logics, value chains and interfaces remain in a permanent beta mode. That’s great if you are one of the few riding the wave of being highly adaptive to a clear vision. Fast. First. Viable. But for the mass, being in beta is highly dangerous and risky when there is no clear understanding of future customers’ needs and rising technological possibilities. Without this view, permanent beta is just a reactive and frantic chase of trending waves.

“It is always wise to look ahead, but difficult to look further than you can see” – so goes the renowned quote. At the NEXT Festival, we will find profound answers to the big question “What’s NEXT?“. We will put aside the science fiction, so the spotlight can be turned solely on relevant business insights that inform the best decisions of tomorrow. A tomorrow where technology invalidates the old economy faster than business’ ability to grasp the thought of designing a new one.

We want to discuss the core drivers of tomorrow’s upcoming and yesterday’s irrelevant: the NEXT customer needs that are probably unmet, the NEXT habit-forming business models that haven’t been thought of yet, and the NEXT strategies that break free from old economy logics. Join us for inspiration, lessons learnt and expert discussions on forward-looking insights, questions and hypotheses:

#1 NEXT Customer Needs

To truly connect with customer needs, we should ask ourselves: What’s NEXT in the way mankind will live?

What’s NEXT? How will we work? The era of automation, which has seen robots replace workers in routine jobs, is shifting to knowledge work. So what are the scenarios of how Artificial Intelligence will transform our workplaces? Besides, co-creative networks of on-demand employment are questioning the fundamental nature of companies. So how do we build social contracts for work instead of jobs? Why may we need a Chief of Work – someone who designs the future of how we will work at top management level? At NEXT we will ask: What, in three to five years time, will be the state-of-the-art tools and methods for a perfect working landscape?

What’s NEXT? How will we shop? The merchants and chains of yesterday and today will be largely gone. Amazon’s conversion rate among Prime members is an astonishing 74%. Personalised micro-moments wherever you are will shape preferences more than shopping trips. New models of retail are rapidly emerging, building on new methods of production, interconnected places and objects as well as broader social and economic change. In addition, future transactions are best foreseen if we imagine a world without banknotes and coins or plastic cards. So where is the biggest momentum? What are the promising services and commerce solutions in the 21st century that will truly connect?

Pioneering questions like these are the customer-centric core of the upcoming NEXT. We will expand the range to fields of how will we play, move, love, and make.

#2 NEXT Habit-Forming Business models

To develop new business model visions we should stand on the shoulder of giants and derive implications for our own successful business design. By creating strong and untested combinations we might uncover the future directions we could take.

  • What’s NEXT? Why not build the Amazon of services?
  • What’s NEXT? What is needed to become the Apple of finance?
  • What’s NEXT? How to grow the Airbnb for jobs and workplaces?
  • What’s NEXT? When is the time for the Google of memories and dreams?
  • What’s NEXT? … the Uber for boats and planes? The Tesla for connected homes? The eBay for energy? The Facebook for open science? The Netflix for virtual gaming?

#3 NEXT Strategies

Classically, organisations slowed with growth. However, this is the opposite with Airbnb, Amazon or Tesla for example, as they establish and use ‘unfair’ advantages in their dominance of data, audiences and capital to fuel their growth. Are they unstoppable? Why is there not a degression on scaling? And how do others keep pace? Three polarising cornerstones.


What’s Next? Do you agree:

  • You are only a brand if you don’t focus on advertising.

    The relative shares of communication budgets of Apple, Facebook and Co. are shrinking. Compared to others, Airbnb did not spend a dime on classical advertising for their go-to-market. Meanwhile the budgets of traditional players are steadily growing with blurring effects on sales. So what is the secret of the digital pure players? What are their cues? And when and why are excessive classical marketing budgets an indicator of facing a commodity trap?

  • Your strategy definitely needs
 a new strategy.

    There is a need to overcome many classical strategy mantras. In the good old days, growth was a matter of planning. The holy grail was to achieve the famous ‘sustainable competitive advantage’. It was said to be the result of projectable positioning in a well-defined market-segment. But in the unpredictable digital sphere, shaken by disruptions, this is not the fitting recipe anymore. Industry boundaries are dead and market segments are blurring in the realms of one-to-one interactions. But how should we act when prediction is hard and advantage is short-lived? How to become the chief experimenter instead of being just the chief decision-taker? How to establish a viable start-up culture on a large scale?

  • You need to own the interface, not the value chains.

    We need to understand that business modeling in the dynamic digital space requires tough new logics. A new continuum from walled garden, to totally open. Interface designs that let the user navigate through ecosystems of integrated value chains with ease of use and unique aesthetics. Service platforms where marketers do not bet on single platforms but hedge their bets with multiple platforms based on open APIs for partners. Are you ready for this? What’s needed? Where are the constraints?

So, what’s your opinion about
“What’s next?”

We look forward to a festival of joint exchange and idea sharing.

Speakers of NEXT15

  • David Mattin

    Head of Trends & Insights, TrendWatching

    David Mattin leads TrendWatching's global team and brings trends to life in inspirational talks and workshops.

  • Tim Leberecht

    Author, The Business Romantic

    Tim Leberecht ("The Business Romantic") helps companies like Amazon, Boeing or Starbucks create meaningful experiences.

  • Yuri van Geest

    Founding CEO, Singularity University NL

    Yuri van Geest is co-author of "Exponential Organizations"and works for MIT, Google, Singularity University and global brands.

  • Scott Smith

    Principal, Changeist, LLC

    The US-futurist explains how consumers will change their behaviour radically.

  • Barbara Karuth-Zelle

    Board Member of Allianz Managed Operations & Services SE (AMOS SE), Allianz SE

    Barbara Karuth-Zelle is working as an enabler for Digital Transformation at the Allianz Group.

  • Anab Jain

    Founder & Director, Superflux

    Anab Jain provokes new future-facing ideas in design and tech innovation.

  • Nils Wollny

    Head of Digital Business, AUDI AG

    The Head of Digital Business at AUDI is an expert for digital transformation and innovation.

  • See all speakers

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