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Trend Session #9 Replay

The future of architecture

Catch up! Watch or the talk (again)
(original version in English). 
How can we shape the city of tomorrow?
Explore the future of architecture with Van Bo Le-Mentzel!

English French


[Q&A part 2] Humanity 5.0

On 3 November, 2020, Shivvy Jervis - Innovation futurist and expert in human potential - talked about some of the most extraordinary innovations, the ones that are going to move humanity forward and change how we do business - as illustrated in her ‘Humanity 5.0’ concept.

During this live talk, which was followed by nearly 500 people, many of you had questions to ask. Here is the second part of the answers to your questions.


History demonstrates that humanity is not always making the best use of new technologies. What will drive these developments and prevent that we lose control on it? How will we make sure that the data presented in AI will be objective and not partial/manipulative?

AI and similar technologies are advancing and iterating so fast that we are just learning to police them properly. The UK’s common law system (where prior court judgements make up semi-official law via case law), once considered archaic by many other nations who relied only on fully written concrete legislation, is very well suited to policing fast moving technologies. 

This means there have been many Acts, Laws and Cases that have helped to prevent misuse of even the fastest moving technologies. A good example is Bridges v South Wales Police, where UK courts balanced facial recognition with people’s right to privacy. 

There will always be misuse of technology. Since the first days of personal computers, people were using them to break into each other’s desktops and steal data or even just prove they could. In modern times, scandals like Cambridge Analytica or the Snowden Leaks have allowed policymakers to act quickly.

A mixture of quick, agile law making and an ethical emphasis on teaching future AI engineers will couple up to ensure we can reduce instances of misuse, and punish correctly any instances of actual misuse that do occur. The general public should also be better educated on their data rights, with topics such as cyber security and digital rights being possible future school topics that would greatly benefit young people as they get older and become part of society. 

In addition, making people more aware of subconscious bias means that they are more able to tackle it when designing software. 

Don’t you think that too technological an impact can negatively affect our customer/supplier relationships? 

I don’t advocate for technologies that aim to replace the human to human interaction so critical in customer or supplier relations. However when it augments human efforts and takes on the tedious repetitive tasks that comprise too much of our valuable time, it is very useful and frees us up to focus on the decision making and relationship building. 

Here are three aspects to consider:

1// For certain use cases such as customer service, research shows that people don’t necessarily prefer a human or a machine. They prefer speed and accuracy. If someone’s internet is off and they need to ring a call centre to organise a fix, then they don’t care about speaking to a call centre in a faraway land for the ‘human touch’. They want their call answered fast, and the issue resolved. If this can be done instantly thanks to technology, people will be happy with that. 

2// The removal of human error helps eliminate mistakes which will also help boost the relationships between customers, businesses, and the B2B element. There is also the factor that no-one can accuse an AI of being rude, and that technology never loses its temper or has short patience. 

3// Technology also enables more inclusivity in customer engagement. Customers who are mute, deaf, or blind all have very different needs and face differing yet significant barriers to getting the customer support they need. Tech like text-to-speech, voice recognition, speech to text, and more all help make the relationship between customer and supplier easier and more fulfilling for a wider range of people. Having a variety of technologies at play helps enable customers no matter what barriers to good customer service may be present. 

What’s the impact of these developments, like artificial intelligence, in the skills we should be looking for when recruiting?

Not everyone needs to be an AI expert, but most workers in industries where AI is becoming a factor should have some familiarity with AI - even if that’s just a short primer course, or even self-teaching from books. 

An understanding of technology is beneficial when working alongside AI or with AI-driven tools. However, people who lack a good technological base, such as many workers who are reaching the middle or later stages of their career, should not be discounted. A willingness to learn new digital skills is often all that is needed, especially with a large existing base of knowledge of their industry to draw from. 

We are now on a much greater transition to ‘soft skills’ rather than concrete certified academic skills. The ability to be agile, adapt quickly, learn new things, innovate, and interact well with others are becoming much more highly sought after than having a dozen or more listed certifications. 

That said, it has never been easier to hire specific skills in new roles such as AI, Machine Learning, or Data Science. In recent years these have become full-blown specialist areas in their own right, and subsequently have become specialisms for education. These include small primer courses in data science online, all the way up to 4-year degrees in Artificial Intelligence which are now offered by many respected UK universities. 

Thanks to the explosion in popularity of these professions, there are more employees than ever before entering the workforce with the right tech skills to succeed in a data-driven world. However, it is up to organisations to create the necessary environments to attract these candidates and perhaps must crucially to upskill or reskill their existing workforce so that they can take their employees along for this digital journey rather than leave them out of a job. 

When we talk of digital transformation in times of Covid, what should we be aware of to give transformations programs the best shot of thriving? 

For true digital transformation in wider society versus solely within an organisation, the factors influencing the best outcomes are different to when we’re referring to change cycles within a company. 

We must not forget these people who exist in the wider ecosystem that enterprise operates in that are currently being excluded by Covid-19 - those sections of society who already risk being excluded from the digital economy such as the elderly, the 1 billion global disabled who now cannot get to courses or receive home visits and those without internet access. A whole host of social segments are at risk of being left behind. 

Are you aware that 1 billion children were ‘locked out’ of virtual classrooms during this pandemic summer owing to the “digital divide” – ie either not having a) proper Internet connectivity, b) the devices via which to access the Internet properly (smartphones, tablets or laptops) c) or the ICT skills in order to navigate the system. 

We also always need a receptive culture for transformation. Other factors that need to be on our radar for digital transformation during a pandemic include: 

A) Emphasis on security and safer digital identity - both for employees as well as end customers and wider society. There is a very real fight for our digital identity and we should see the protection of digital identity as part of best practice company 'culture'. Social media giants want to be our digital passports and companies should help people understand the nuances of privacy or consumer rights and also to move sectors towards a more open ecosystem. 

Without transparency, transformation may start well but splutter and die out quickly. 

B) Consider ‘green transformations’ – Defining and endorsing sustainability targets for organisations is vital, as is encouraging companies of all sizes – startups, SMBs and the multinationals - to vastly improve the environmental footprint of their digital infrastructure. A green transformation cycle goes a long way in embedding sustainability and resource management in the digital economy. 

C) Talent, talent, talent! Giving due value to new talent, bright minds and ideas and welcoming the more maverick thinkers translates into good business outcomes. These are the thought leaders and experts whose ideas may initially make some of one think ‘That sounds a little risky, I’m not quite sure’. 

However these maverick thinkers often trigger better transformation outcomes owing to encouraging the experimentation that many companies desperately need in order to scale up. 

The dynamics from a pandemic mean transformation programmes formerly mapped out on a two-year timeframe are now being accelerated to an 8 month schedule! By virtue of this we will see more experimentation and rapid deployment to test new tools. Workforces will respond to this and feedback loops will become faster and more efficient from this.


[Q&A part 1] Humanity 5.0

On 3 November, 2020, Shivvy Jervis - Innovation futurist and expert in human potential - talked about some of the most extraordinary innovations, the ones that are going to move humanity forward and change how we do business - as illustrated in her ‘Humanity 5.0’ concept.

During this live talk, which was followed by nearly 500 people, many of you had questions to ask. Shivvy answers the questions still awaiting an answer in a two-part article.
In this first part, she looks at issues like the ecological impact of emerging technologies, worldwide disparities and the dangers as well as the benefits of these new technologies.


What are your thoughts on the ecological impact of the internet and the development of those new technologies?

The internet, and its associated technologies such as machine learning and IoE, does have an ecological impact that some aren’t aware of. These technologies rely on servers and drives that are housed in large sites that draw huge amounts of power in order to crunch numbers and transmit data.

Just how much power is a shock to many people. New estimates published in 2019 suggest that training a single AI can produce as much as 284 tonnes of carbon dioxide. For reference, it was stated that this was equivalent to the entire lifetime emissions of five cars. 

I think we need to begin to tackle this new source of environmental damage before it gets out of control. Luckily, we are now in a position to begin doing this. New environmentally-friendly algorithms are being developed which make better use of power, and major cloud providers such as Amazon and Google are investing lots of money and research into powering their cloud services with renewable energy. 

We must continue down this path to offset the potential environmental damage of new technologies. 


It seems that IoT is oriented at a business improval process. What about much bigger problems that humanity is facing? How can IoT technology help us live better together, be better connected to others, to our environment, live and act in a more sustainable way?  

The Internet of Things (IoT) is something I have termed IoE – the internet of everything. For the purposes of this answer, I’ll use IoT as it’s the term the majority of people still use. This is about objects ‘speaking’ to each other – a car to traffic lights, a doorbell or kettle to your phone, a car to its owner’s devices and in industrial settings vast interconnected machines all ‘speaking’ to each other about their health! It can help us pre-empt issues before they become a serious problem (for instance being alerted that devices or machines are developing a fault or malfunctioning). 

IoT is often touted in a business setting but it does have more obvious effects to our day to day lives. IoT fundamentally relies on sensors embedded into an object – your boiler, car, kitchen appliances for instance - and via connectivity, produce relevant information about that item. This data is then made sense of and triggers different options to the user and there plenty of examples of IoT being used for the greater good of humanity. Here are a 4-6: 

1// Food supply chains: A good one is the use of IoE and drones to monitor plant health, which helps farmers to lose far fewer crops to pests, disease, and even theft. In much of the wealthier west this means an increased profit margin, but for much of the world where a single bad harvest can have devastating consequences for the local community, this technology can make the difference between putting food on their table and famine.

2// Energy consumption and environmental gains: IoE is also frequently being used to reduce consumption of energy by mechanical tools or vehicles, as well as reducing wasteful processes in industry, transport, and monitoring air pollution. Cities account for a whopping 70% of the world’s harmful greenhouse gas emissions and each year more than 3 million people die from air pollution. 

Connected sensors can track air pollution and toxic gases to identify which streets in a city are the unhealthiest for its citizens, and help governments and city councils to mitigate this. 

3// Biodiversity: The IoE is currently being used in industrial settings to measure dozens of variables such as weather conditions, animal behaviour patterns, biodiversity, and more. This helps us keep track of the effect we are having on our environment on a scale never before envisioned. It can therefore help us realise the impact we are having whilst also helping us to maximise yields and prevent pollution. 

4// Personal health: Cyrcadia Health are developing a bra chock full of safe sensors that aims to spot abnormal patterns associated with early stage breast cancer. These wearable patches identify circadian temperature changes over time within breast tissue. 

In 2018, trials with cancer patients undergoing treatment found that those treated with the help of aftercare IoT wearables suffered fewer side effects from both the cancer and its treatment due to a much more personalised treatment regime. In 2017, IoT sensors were developed that when worn would detect an asthma attack before it even commenced, meaning that preventative measures could be taken to prevent a severe attack and make it mild instead. 

5// Safety: Connected technologies are being used to help human rescuers be alerted to and arrive at accidents or emergencies faster. Their use in emergency services and in rescue vehicles is a great example of how IoT can translate to true on-the-ground impact. 

Then you’ve got IoT and advanced AI working in sync. Examples include automated or semi automated vehicles – where cars can sync up with traffic lights, coordinate braking with othercars and predict when another vehicle may be about to veer into your lane; or in energy consumption via connected home devices such as thermostats. 


Is there a risk that with connected technologies of losing human contact? Is there a risk that man could become a slave to the machine? 

I constantly champion that technological progress is only valuable when it grows at the same pace as humanity. Innovation must augment human efforts, not displace it. 

The IoT and associated technologies have a lot of benefits to health, from prevention to diagnostics to treatment. However, there is always the chance that individual humans can become addicted to technology. This isn’t so much a fault of the technology as it is the circumstances and predisposition of the individual. There are many who we might know that spend an unhealthy amount of time on social media or on gambling websites that negatively impact their lives. 

The key is to teach people how to use technology responsibly, and perhaps even design future systems to make it more difficult to use it in an unhealthy manner. Instead of being the cause, connected technologies could help to be the cure for many ‘slave to the machine’ -esque fears. In the workplace, it could help make sure employees are not being overworked, that stress levels remain low, and that safety procedures are being followed. It could enable accountability and ensure that workers’ health is being looked after. 

In our personal lives, as long as connected tech remains a human tool and not a replacement for human interaction, the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. 


Does emotionally aware AI work the same way in different parts of the world? For instance, some cultures are reluctant to show their emotions – could that cause an issue with the technology? 

Emotionally aware AI as I have been calling it for the past five years is where the system can perceive, interpret and respond to human emotion. It’s a form of emotion analytics that uses this information safely to provide the user with an interaction in a fully contextualised way, factoring in the state of mind or mood of the human into the way it answers. This is of particularly use in systems that have a back-and-forth dialogue with us such as our smart home assistants, ecommerce bots and even road safety software. 

The key thing many people forget about AI is that it is only a reflection of the data that it is fed. This has long been a fault not of AI, but of the people designing it. Fortunately, thanks to several high-profile discrimination examples in HR (Amazon’s discriminatory recruiting tool) and Law Enforcement (Detroit Police’s unintentionally racist facial recognition software), much more thought is being put into what kind of social data we use in AI - and this is now being reflected in AIs that are designed to be used with a regional or local focus. 

Training AI on data generated by the community it is meant to serve means that emotional AI can exhibit the local language, customs, and nuance that it needs to be effective. It could even learn regional accents - though this would limit the AI’s usefulness to a specific sector. Many Americans would struggle with a Geordie Alexa, for example! 

A historical focus on the Queen’s English and training on commercial data made much technology famously difficult for people with strong accents (think Scottish, Indian, Geordie, or Cornish) to use. Luckily, this is being addressed and modern systems are far better at this.

In future, it is probable that major international corporations will develop emotional AIs for each region, rather than a catch-all, due to the vastly increased user-friendliness and subsequent quality. This would be vital for cultures with radically different cultural rules to one another, to avoid causing offense.


[Replay] Humanity 5.0: the future of our human potential

During the live-talk on 3rd November, Innovation futurist and keynote speaker Shivvy Jervis introduced us her “Humanity 5.0” concept. Through active dialogue and moving multimedia, in less than one hour, she presented us some digital and technological breakthroughs. She focused on the most human centred advances as she believes “it is crucial to take humanity and people to the same pace as technological development”.

In this talk, you will discover which innovations will enhance our capability, how to use technology for social good and create lasting impact on organisations, society and citizens.

The video is available in English with English, French and German subtitles.

The “Best of” Shivvy Jervis:

  • “We're at the Internet of everything: IOE. Right from the smart home to the smart car, to actually the smart body.” Example of the digital pill which can be swallowed and tells us that we're going to get ill before we even know it.
  • The moral economy: a heightened focus on responsible governance. “Employee wellbeing is a far more serious factor that will impact the company's business outcomes.”  
  • Human perception (emotive) artificial intelligence or affective computing: “Think of this as emotionally aware software that can perceive, understand, but also respond to the way that we as humans talk, feel and think […] It’s going to create a great deal of commercial value in the next few years.” Example of the IQ bot from Automation Anywhere and road safety software.
  • Advance business intelligence: “There is a democratisation taking place since the past few years. We're now taking the most crucial aspects of data intelligence platforms, that were previously only really accessible to very experienced data scientists, into the hands of anyone at an organisation, a salesperson, a businessperson, an engineer.”
  • Talking about augmented reality: “In the way that mobile technology transformed, for example, the consumer banking landscape in the last decade, this has the potential of an equally transformative impact in the next three years […] I call it augmented commerce because it will impact how we experience information.”
  • The future of work: “The responsible development and usage of these tools is critical. […] That's one of the jobs of the future, the skills of the future, is digital ethics. We will also need to think about more focus on alternative energy as we transition towards a clean energy future.

In this talk you’ll also find answers to four questions asked by the participants:

  1. What are some of the leadership approaches we can take to help navigate the digital economy? You’ve developed something called the 'inventor mindset’ - tell us more about that?
  2. Can professional decisions be affected by our personal feelings, or can we predict or influence customer behaviour?
  3. What are your thoughts on the sustainability and environmental impact of digital versus mechanical solutions (example of the door lock)?
  4. Which would be some of the humans skills to develop in a world led by AI and Internet of Everything?

The other questions will be answered in a coming article…keep an eye out!

What the participants said:

  • “It was the first online event that really had me hooked.”
  • “Very interesting, speaker excellent.”
  • “The presenter really brings her presentation to life with examples that clearly touch on”

To go further:

Stay tuned, unanswered Q&As and interview from Etienne Dock will follow soon!


[Article] The future of architecture - 1st part - by Van Bo Le-Mentzel

At the Van Bo Le-Mentzel conference in the Hager Forum on 29 November 2019, the innovative Berlin architect and urban planner presented seven ideas for the cities and houses of the future. In this article he goes a little further in his vision of the future of architecture. In a second article he will present his concept of the circular city, a utopian scheme or the future of architecture? "What we can say with certainty today is at least this: We can't go on as we have been."

The architecture of the future: economic, ecological or political?
What the future is going to be like is harder to imagine today than it was a century ago. In those days, the “game changers” were easy to identify: new materials like armoured concrete, new types of mobility with the automobile, and new forms of communication like the telephone.

But what comes after Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and solar and wind energy? Or put differently: What will come after globalisation? Will we colonise Mars?

Different people will depict different pictures of the future of architecture. It all depends on whom you're asking. Whatever the picture of the future is, it will always be the reflection of some kind of longing or yearning that we, the architects, have the pleasure to translate into space. To my mind, these desires can be divided into three categories: the architecture of unlimited growth, that of a green utopia, and that of a world without national boundaries. This means that architecture can be economic, ecological or political. 

Architecture at the service of a long-term vision
Sociologist Harald Welzer describes the political future of the city in a very dramatic way in his book „Everything could be different“ (original title: “Alles könnte anders sein”, edited by S. Fischer). He depicts a world in which state institutions, such as parliaments, tax authorities and law enforcement agencies still have the say, but that has been rid of passports and borders. Architecture would be dictated by Banks for the Common Good, cooperatives and companies with long-term perspectives. In this world, the overhaul of existing buildings would have the priority over new and prestigious architecture. And yet spectacular construction projects would exist, e.g. incremental architecture. This term has been invented by the Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena. His award-winning compounds of houses are intentionally half-done. The missing half will be completed by the inhabitants, with apprentice craftsman using local raw materials.

This mates quite well with the Wikipedia spirit of the time and platform capitalism, in which everything is thrown into the world in its beta-version and needs to be refined by the consumer. In Welzer's city, hardly anybody drives a car, while almost everybody rides a bicycle. Basically, this type of city looks like the city of Freiburg in southwestern Germany. 

The return to natural materials
In the ecological vision, the city is one thing more than anything else: it’s green. Streets and parking lots are freed from their asphalt lid and their SUVs. Homes are made from wood, walls out of straw and clay. Representative architects of this type of future vision are Satish Kumar, Rob Hopkins and Vandana Shiva. All of them are gardeners rather than urban planners. Key words are permaculture and Transition Town, both principles being inspired by traditional Chinese and South American farmers who privilege diversity, patience and the lowest possible degree of human interference. Unfortunately, permaculture is unable to address the challenges of organising and feeding our megacities. Nonetheless, their practices are quite inspiring. Just take the usage of compost toilets like Terra Preta or the spiritual education as practiced at the Schumacher College of Totnes, UK.

Data is the future of architecture according to economists
The most widespread vision is that of the economists: Elon Musk (Tesla), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) and Google no longer regard the dollar as their capital. Instead, data are “the raw material of the future.” The leader of the gang is Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and most probably the wealthiest man alive. In order to avoid a “civilisation of standstill”, Bezos considers the conquest of space to be the only way out if we want to meet the requirements of world population. Once the remainder of the Earth's fossil raw materials will have been consumed, it will be the turn of Mars to be exploited.

The general idea of the economists is not necessarily based on ground-breaking inventions. After all, autonomous driving (the Google Car) and the computer you can talk to (Siri) are hardly more than utopias of the Sixties.

Technical innovation will play a key role in the architecture of the future
In their ideas, architecture must be driven by technological innovation. It must rise high and be full of smart technologies. Solar panels on every facade, on your contact lenses and on the sidewalks. Anything turns into a resource. And if it isn't a solar panel, it may also be a spectacular mirror foil as recently installed in Seoul, South Korea. “Infinity Tower” is their latest achievement –the logic of "tall-taller-the tallest" at its finest.

A tower that can not only be dimmed to invisible, but that is fitted with thousands of cameras and screens to display pictures and ads: architecture turned into an advertisement media for the Amazons and Tencents of this world. The buildings of the future also seem to want to go down the somewhat biblical road of our data that apparently disappear in invisible clouds somewhere up in heaven. The luxurious green that embellishes the intermediate floors of such architectural giants can hardly hide away the fact that in such economic utopias nature is little more than –embellishment. Somewhat more interesting are the latest projects launched by IKEA who, for the first time in their corporate history, have kissed their humble blue corrugated sheet metal romantic goodbye and embraced innovative experiments featuring green downtown oases and even a hotel on a roof, all of this right in the heart of Austrian cities. Turning points like this will be increasingly frequent, even though, unfortunately, construction laws all over Europe are far too restrictive. During a conference on innovation organised by the REWE trading group, I had the opportunity to witness a discussion on neighbourhood gardens on supermarket roofs.

In this context, digitisation and robotic automation of construction sites is totally unavoidable, be it only due to the lack of skilled manpower and Generation X. There are simply no concrete builders and masons left among the young people of today. Prefabrication will therefore become the standard. We will see if the spectacular 3D printers will really be able to offer solutions. Currently, they are just too slow and use up too much energy.

 There is one thing we can claim, though: We cannot go on with business as usual. The worldwide CO² emissions are to a large part attributable to the construction industry. Steel concrete is becoming the cancer of the modern era. Major corporations simply ignore national borders. Why shouldn't states do the same? How do you plan cities in a world that no longer defines itself through the existence of borders?

Climate activists like Greta Thunberg raise the really big questions. As an architect, I prudently try to provide a tiny bit of input in small incremental steps. This input is combined in a utopian master plan that I have been developing over the past years in cooperation with specialised planners, corporate groups, novices, children and homeless people. I call it: the Circular City.

The future of architecture


[Replay] The future of architecture by Van Bo Le-Mentzel

"Having 9 billion people on earth could be a huge disaster" How can we make something positive out of it through architecture? On November 29th, Van Bo Le-Mentzel, an architect and innovative urban planner from Berlin, proposed seven ideas about cities, homes and life in the future during Trend Session #9 at Hager Forum.

Will the city of tomorrow be built using collective intelligence? Circular cities, multifunctional buildings, DIY housing kits, so many ideas to explore, and even more by watching the entire talk.

Van Bo Le-Mentzel's 7 statements on the future of architecture:

Statement 1: Be Yin & Yang, my friend

What if we were to think vertically and build circular cities where we create places that include different kind of buildings for all kinds of people and activities?

“Be yin and yang, my friends” means that we should plan cities in a way in which we do not decide to put up a building specifically for use as an office, or for residential purposes or as a school. Let’s be yin and yang and make all that in one place: Co-Being houses as a new type of co-living, wonder homes as a type of affordable flats, tiny houses as temporary fast housing and many more examples yet to be discovered.

Statement 2: Forget master plans

We cannot plan today what people will need in 20 years. But how can we build a city or a village without a master plan? Maybe with Tiny Houses for temporary and fast housing? Tiny houses are fully equipped houses, but on a small scale, and can be placed almost anywhere. For example, the very first German temporary Tiny House village was set up with experimental housing prototypes in the unused courtyard of the Bauhaus museum. It provides a lot of opportunities to rethink “unused spaces”.

Statement 3: Make streets for humans, not for cars

There is a shortage of free empty spaces, apartments and living spaces. So, where do we go? What about putting homes on the streets? Let's create temporary villages on public places and streets with sidewalk houses that can be combined for singles, couples, families and co-living with a community zone in the centre.

Statement 4: Trust in crowd intelligence

Today we have YouTube tutorials. We don't actually need an architect to design a house. We don't even need a carpenter to build a chair. There are so many DIY videos online in which we can learn anything, everything ... We can learn anything via Wikipedia and YouTube. Perhaps not everything, but almost everything.

What if we could all create our own houses? Have you heard about “Do it your shelf”?

Statement 5: Focus on community, not on individuals

Co-being houses are the next generation of co-living. The basic idea is “More We - Less Me”. Create community spaces by downsizing individual space and live with a community without constraints.

Statement 6: Create Homes, not machines

Human-friendly spaces need lovely neighbourhoods. Do you know wonder homes - the backbone of the circular city?

Statement 7: Discover for yourself...

And where does Hager fit into all this?

Van Bo Le-Mentzel's recommendation to help Hager contribute to the future of architecture is to focus on innovative and intelligent solutions in order to create shared electricity circuits accessible to different types of users.
Many ideas could emerge by rethinking the way we see things. Who knows how our spaces could be transformed at Hager?

We look forward to continuing to explore the future of architecture in his next article.

Some ways to better understand the future of architecture:

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[pop up h3+] Second temporary design exhibition about Design at Hager

h3+ is a completely new design concept for us

In November 2019, our second ephemeral exhibition, pop up, took place at Hager Forum. Co-organised by the Design Studio and Hager Forum team, these events provide an opportunity to get behind the scenes (and more) of a Hager Group product. Over the course of a month, employees, customers and visitors learnt more about the new design philosophy of h3+ products and the technical developments that make them an intelligent range.

Engineering, technology and design all working together

Visitors could discuss with Design and Project teams about design and the technical & design improvements of the h3+ product range. They experienced first-hand how these teams worked closely together to make h3+ a success.

See more here

Curious & enthusiastic visitors

"I found it very interesting because we are all involved in different projects, and it gives a slightly larger vision of the company, and where it's going. And it's enriching for everyone.” Andrès Loux, Product Marketing

“What I liked was that the product presented is not one that we see in our daily lives. It's hidden. So it was interesting to show what pluses design can add.” Marc Helfter, Disruptive Innovation Director

“Do this kind of exhibition again? Yes! It allows us to see another point of view, other aspects of the project that we didn't necessarily understand at the beginning.” Alexandre Schweitzer, ISO Metrology Coordinator

Over to the Design Studio team

Pop up events are a way to present our ideas in a more direct way, and all the design intentions behind a product directly with customers or employees. These exchanges are invaluable for feedback to allow us to propose designs and products that are always closer to our customers' expectations.

See you soon for the next edition.


[Article] Energy transition: A Climate for Change by Gabrielle Walker

During Trend Session 8 on September 30th, strategy expert Gabrielle Walker approached the subject of the energy transition during a 45-minute talk. We asked her to explore this topic further through an article. After first pointing out the urgency of the issue, Gabrielle then focuses on two sectors which can do a lot by changing a little, namely buildings and transport.
Her credo is “We have to get really serious right now!” 
Gabrielle shares her optimistic view on how the world could be a better place in the coming years if the climate crisis is taken seriously.

“The climate consequences are already with us”

I have just received an email from a cousin who lives in northern California. Yet again her home is menaced by a wildfire. She can smell the smoke, and see the eerie orange glow on the horizon. “It’s like a recurring nightmare,” she says. 

And this same nightmare is also recurring almost everywhere we look. Twenty or so years ago when I started speaking and writing about climate change, it was hard to find images to illustrate my talks. Now it’s hard to choose. As well as the devastating series of wildfires in California, there are also the ones that have recently ravaged Chile, Sweden, Australia, and Russia. And there are the heat waves, like the one this year in Europe that saw Paris sweltering under the hottest temperature in its history. And the mega hurricanes, battering the Caribbean, Japan, Southeast Asia, showing up farther north or south than they are expected, earlier or later in the season, and with an increasingly destructive impact. One investor at a conference I recently spoke at told me his holiday home in Barbados had been obliterated by hurricane Dorian earlier this year. “The whole area looked like a nuclear bomb had hit it,” he said. “I used to be a climate denier. I’m not anymore.”

Like a nuclear bomb, everyone is concerned

The bomb analogy is, sadly, an accurate one. Through our emissions of greenhouse gases, the heat we are putting into the atmosphere is the equivalent of four Hiroshima nuclear bombs every single second. And the climate consequences are already with us. The past five years - from 2014 to 2018 - were the warmest on record, and 2019 is shaping up to be warmer still. If we allow this to continue unabated the nightmare will grow steadily worse.

It is this realisation that has driven protestors onto the streets, shaken politicians into belated action and caused a seismic shift in the way that investors consider climate change when allocating their capital.

And this, of course, has injected a fresh sense of urgency into the energy transition. The world is already in the midst of a significant shift in how we make and use our energy, and the transition has recently been accelerating. That in turn brings significant risks for companies that fail to embrace the change, and significant opportunities for those that do.

The initial focus of the energy transition involved decarbonising the electricity grid, which has been greatly aided by the plummeting costs of renewables such as solar PV, and wind turbines. Now attention is turning to areas that are harder to abate, and of these I would highlight two key sectors: buildings and transport.

Number one key sector: buildings

According to the European Commission, buildings are responsible for nearly 40% of energy-related CO2 emissions, and this is likely to rise. The International Energy Agency predicts that over the next four decades the net increase in building floor area (after taking demolition rates into account) will be the equivalent of constructing the entire building stock of Japan every single year.

This means that, to stay on track for the Paris climate agreements, energy intensity per square metre needs to improve by 30% in the next ten years, and all buildings need to be carbon neutral by 2050. Some of this will be achieved by decarbonising the electricity and heat used in buildings, but it will also require a massive increase in the use of smart technologies to manage demand and increase efficiency.

Number two key sector: transport

Here the story is all about electrification, and electric vehicles are becoming mainstream. At the Frankfurt motor show in September, for instance, Volkswagen showcased its new all-electric hatchback – the ID3. (Three because this is the third period in the evolution of the people’s car, where the iconic beetle was number one, and the equally iconic golf, number two.)

What’s more, Volkswagen has committed to make all its vehicles fully carbon neutral by 2050. That involves counting the emissions not just when the car is running but the entire manufacturing and power-generation processes. This attention to emissions throughout the entire value chain is new and significant, especially for companies that form part of that chain. And Volkswagen are not alone. Daimler has made the same commitment but say that their entire passenger car fleet will be carbon neutral even earlier - by 2039.

Also significantly, this is not just a European endeavour. China dominates the e-vehicles market - nearly half of electric cars on the road in 2018 were in China compared to around 40% in 2017, while the rest were almost evenly split between Europe and the USA.

These are extraordinary developments and help explain why the International Energy Agency is now talking about a “rising tide” of electric vehicles. In one of their scenarios there will be more than 250 million electric vehicles on the road in just ten years’ time.

All of those vehicles will need access to charging stations, all will have implications for electricity supply, and all can potentially play a significant role in demand management and storage with the right smart grid infrastructure. The scale and pace of this change is, and will continue to be, astonishing.

Going green does not have to mean having a worse experience: the future is full of hope!

And there’s another reason that these two sectors are so important. I started this piece writing about the very real recurring nightmare of the unnatural climate disasters that are already upon us. Now, these two areas of the energy transition also show us the dream. The places where we live and work, and the vehicles in which we transport ourselves, are two of the most visible aspects of the energy transition for individuals, and they show that going green does not have to mean having a worse experience. 

The World Green Building Council has documented a slew of cases where improved energy efficiency, daylighting and better internal air quality have led to significant increases in employee satisfaction and productivity. 

The same applies to cars. The days when electric vehicles were little better than golf carts have long gone. At the same Frankfurt motor show where VW unveiled its ID3, Porsche also presented its sleek new all-electric Taycan, which had motor enthusiasts salivating. 

These are just a few examples, but they do show how, when we solve the climate crisis, we will also have built a world that is better to live in and work in and move around in. And that will be very good for business.

Gabrielle Walker
Expert strategist, speaker and moderator

Energie transition, the future is now - Round table

Energie transition, the future is now


[Replay] The energy transition, the future is now by Gabrielle Walker

During Trend Session 8 on September 30th, strategy expert, speaker and moderator Gabrielle Walker – both inspiring and experienced – approached the subject of the energy transition. Using specific examples, she pointed to the urgency of the climate crisis and the need for specific and immediate actions by everyone concerned (public, governments, politicians, etc.) worldwide. She also spoke about a great many solutions that are already out there and of the enormous potential offered by solutions still to be developed.

The “Best of” Gabrielle Walker:

  • “There are solutions [to tackle energy transition] and we have to be ready for them because the alternative is too bleak to imagine. There is potential to use hydrogen in very difficult areas, like steel, cement and chemicals that we haven’t really been thinking about. Therefore, hydrogen is making a very big comeback.
  • “The only thing we care about is electric”: EVs will become competitive even without subsidies around the world within the next four to five years. It is thought that 55% of all new car sales and 33% of the global fleet will be electric by 2050. Storage potential of charged vehicles to balance electric transmission grids.
  • Gabrielle quoting Greta Thunberg: "We are going to have to pull your CO2 out of the atmosphere. My generation is going to have to clean up your mess. And we know. We see you. We know that."

The closing words:

"Every single social and global issue of our day is a business opportunity in disguise." I believe in business. I believe that business is going to be the way for us to get ourselves out of this. But we have to get really serious right now.”

Where does Hager fit into all this?

A round table took place after the conference to understand what role Hager can play and what projects are already under way in this area. Gabrielle Walker exchanged ideas for 30 minutes with experts from Hager (Jean Lasserre, Vice President Corporate Strategy at Hager Group and his teams) and the audience. Renewables, lower energy demand, solar panels, commercial possibilities, energy storage and electric mobility were just some of the subjects discussed.

What the participants said:

  • “Well done! The theme of the talk is really the hot topic for our generation”
  • “Thank you for bringing in such an outstanding speaker and for preparing such an interesting discussion/event”

For a clearer idea of what energy transition is about: 

  • (Re)watch Gabrielle Walker at Trend Session #8.
  • Check out her profile: Gabrielle Walker helps businesses to address global challenges—with a focus on sustainability, new energy and climate change. She has written four books exploring the relationship between humans and the planet we call home.
  • (Re)read the  Hager Group Annual Report on energy transition.
  • Read up on the subject with the article from McKinsey on the global energy perspective 2019.

Follow us!! hagergroup.com/hagerforum, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube


Trend Session #9 Replay

The future of architecture

Catch up! Watch or the talk (again)
(original version in English). 
How can we shape the city of tomorrow?
Explore the future of architecture with Van Bo Le-Mentzel!


[Article] The future of music: Singing tomorrows? by Cédric Fabre

Prehistoric, traditional or classical instruments, technological development then transition to the digital age, from prehistory to the present day, music has never stopped evolving. So what does the future hold for us? How will music be created? How will we listen to it? How will it be broadcast? What role will AI and digital play?
Journalist and writer Cédric Fabre takes us on a journey into the future of music through a foresight exercise.

Robots or holograms that replace real-life rock stars; applications that create our playlist according to our mood; sounds that enter us through our bones ... The assumption here is that, far from smothering musical creation, the new technologies will lead to an increasingly democratic way of making and listening to music.

Neuroscientists have recently shown how the brain can restructure itself through music; it has even been observed that music reduces apathy in people with Alzheimer's disease. We can appreciate the symbolic value behind the medical aspect of this anecdote; more than ever before, in an increasingly complex world, we will need the arts in general - and music in particular - to provide us with balance, not to mention the pleasure of listening, which is constantly increasing through incredible innovations.

Musicians - actually playing an instrument - will be less and less dominant in the field of musical creation, even if do not fade away completely behind artificial intelligences and other "sound designers". While they may seem to be declining, classical music or jazz will become the main genres still sold in the form of records, while pop music becomes increasingly dematerialised - essentially downloaded or streamed. The return of vinyl is also a sign of resistance to the "all-digital". As far as classical music is concerned, not only are we moving towards revolutionary methods of learning music theory, "by the body", like at the Conservatoire de Vincennes, but the genre is about to be rediscovered thanks to innovative venues, such as the SoundBox, a converted building in San Francisco in which the San Francisco Symphony performs. It a kind of "classical music nightclub", with several stages and giant screens…

Increasingly synthetic music

Instruments will continue to evolve, and the voice could even become the true instrument of tomorrow, using "augmented" vocal cords or the development of the Auto-Tune, software that corrects the defects of the voice while changing it. Not to mention the "piezoelectric" violin, which transforms the vibration of the strings into an electric current, which is then transformed into a sound wave. We are also looking forward to the widespread fashion of connected clothes, like the digital glove that transforms everything it touches into sound, or trousers equipped with sensors that become an actual battery when tapped in specific places. And we would argue that artificial intelligences, which compose using data banks and will increasingly produce muzak for shops or public places, will never be able to replace creative human intention. In the words of the French musician and producer Pedro Winter, who supervised the mixing of one of his pieces by AIs: "It is precisely the failures of the machine that interests me". AI boosts creativity!

The end of "rock stars"?

We are witnessing – “unfortunately” we would be tempted to say - the disappearance of the traditional "rock star" (like David Bowie or Mick Jagger), synonymous since the invention of rock with transgression, who also aimed to make a political statement and provoke a certain (r)evolution of morals. For the English essayist David Hepworth "rock stars did not just live their own lives, they also lived our own by proxy. New stereotypes emerged, the hypersensitive diva, the filthy rich hip-hop godfather, social network stars who put their daily lives on show, or the fleeting stars of talent shows". Will there still be a Bruce Springsteen standing in commitment alongside a presidential candidate of the United States once censorship-defying Chinese or Iranian punk or rap scenes emerge? The stars of tomorrow will not necessarily be human. We already have robot conductors, like Yumi... with Japan already leading the way in the hologram field with the "singer" Hatsune Miku whose voice is generated by speech synthesis software. Are we going backwards? Not necessarily ... "Fictitious beings are the most spectacular ways to break with society," says the anthropologist Agnès Giard. 

More collaborative productions

The future may see a revolution of independent artists, thanks to social networks that will make it possible to launch new forms almost on demand, funded by the collaborative economy. It is also possible that in the future video games will become one of the main sources of music distribution, especially because the market is constantly progressing and will have the funds to finance superb soundtracks - original or otherwise - for products sold on a very large scale. Streaming will become the main way of listening to music. In Europe and the United States, it now represents, nearly 75% of revenues from music sales. Furthermore, artists seem to be gaining increasing autonomy and control over their work; in the end, they expect that digital technology will help broaden their audience. And the Internet will not have killed copyright: some people point to the danger of artists being exploited by the platforms, as well as a failure to distribute revenues, but at the same time we are seeing the development of blockchain-based rights identification prototypes. One specific major future challenge will be how to manage rights concerning the paternity of a work produced by a computer from a database: software will establish to what extent any borrowing from authors will be too obvious. Finally, we are sure that the future of musical creation will play out in big cities. Within a decade, Bamako could therefore become the largest pool of French language music …

 "Live shows": more spectacular ... and more virtual

Falling musicians' incomes will lead in future to a boom in concerts with outstanding groups or singers from China or South Africa: in fact, no one was expecting the success in the "West" of Korean pop Boy Band BTS. We can imagine increasingly wild concerts, on oil platforms, in space shuttles, under air-conditioned domes in the desert - not the best idea from an environmental point of view! -, with works by computer-assisted "video- jockeys". We will also have virtual headsets to allow us to "participate" in a concert without being there, walking in the crowd and flying over the stage, thanks to drones equipped with cameras.
A future anti-war Woodstock could well take place one day in Dakar, Tunis or Brazzaville. And we could almost bet on a "Summer Of Love 2067" in Kabul! 

Customised listening and discoveries

The "concept-album" will no doubt have disappeared, but we will find ambitious works included in installations mixing light sculpture and 3D video performances - such as the digital frescoes by Yann Nguema, the bassist in the group Ez3kiel. Algorithms make it possible to discover new artists who would never have emerged otherwise, and we see this as a real advance, even if some people worry about possible "formatting", since home automation will progressively push us towards more personalised listening, with playlist suggestions that could vary according to our mood - by semantic analysis of our email exchanges or our status on social networks - but also based on our daily schedule. And bone conduction will revolutionise the way the body "hears" sounds, with a headset that transmits music through the bones of the skull, rather than the "simple" ear canal.

At the end of the day, we remain optimistic: the "No Future" announced by the punks in 1976 will probably not come to pass, at least in music terms!

Cédric Fabre
Journalist and writer 


[Article] The future of mobility by Leo Johnson

On land, in the sky, on water, means of transport have been evolving constantly since the dawn of time. Developments providing ever more power and speed have emerged, from the horse to the electric car via the locomotive and the plane, but sometimes they are detrimental to our planet. Alternative forms of mobility are appearing, less focused on the use of fossil fuels and thus emitting less carbon dioxide. So, when will we all travel by electric vehicle? What impact will the technologies have on our transport ecosystem? Will these changes be the same everywhere in the world?
Leo Johnson, an expert in economics and sustainable development, shares with us his vision of mobility in the short to medium term.

For the first 250 metres it all goes great. I’m sitting in the back of Singapore’s pilot driverless car, exploring, for BBC Radio 4, the long term future of mobility. We glide up the road, a blank space in front of the wheel, then the car swerves without warning onto the wrong side of the road, a giant dumpster truck hurtling straight for us. The emergency driver grabs the steering wheel, yanks us back to safety, then says words to the effect of “okay that didn’t go that well, but you have got to understand something. This isn’t a plain vanilla driverless car. This is a do-it-yourself one, built with off-the-shelf supermarket technology to accelerate the rollout.” I nod. The big picture project, I later find out at the transport ministry, is as follows: Step one is driverless cars, complete with a multi modal transport ecosystem that includes 5G, blockchain-based, self separating flying vehicles. Step two is to fully automate the economy. Step three is to put all citizens on universal basic incomes.  Step four, with Northern Jakarta heading under water from climate change, is too close of the city walls to migration. 

Is this the future of mobility?

We’ve grown up, many of us, in the city of the car, its borders and arteries defined by the transport revolutions that Henry Ford ushered in a century ago. Is a new transport revolution about to reshape not just mobility but the cities we live in?
The long-term megatrends look hard to stop. Exponential technologies, from blockchain to the Internet of things to nanotech and quantum-based battery improvements, are accelerating and combining to lay the framework for a radically different transport ecosystem. But in the short term there are still formidable barriers, from public perception to regulatory complexity to transitional safety challenges that could stall wholesale transformation. 

So just where and how could the next wave of disruption in mobility break?

Geography and governance will be critical. There are transport leaders, cities like Amsterdam, Stockholm and Helsinki, that are leveraging the combination of good road quality, advanced technological infrastructure and high levels of governance and state and private sector capital to start to move towards seamless mobility. What is the vision? An “all you can eat” mobility-as-a-service, multimodal transport ecosystem that includes autonomy, electric vehicles and last mile transport options from shared bikes to electric scooters. But these cities transforming mobility systems, even among developed nations, are the minority. For the rich world megacities, the transport revolution looks in the short term to be one that’s less about an inclusive and autonomous low carbon model for the many, than personal mobility upgrades that ease the pain for the few. It’s pain that’s worth easing; congestion in Los Angeles costs the city an estimated $23 billion per annum and highway corridors for electric driverless cars can at least take the sting out of the long commute. But the risk is that the underlying challenge of mass congestion goes unsolved, with personal driverless cars, made cheaper through electrification, potentially even increasing total traffic by an estimated 25% by 2030. And the real mobility challenge is in emerging markets. By 2035, the World Bank estimates, the total number of people living in Asian and sub-Saharan African megacities will have risen to 4.9 billion. And for these low-income megacities, from Mumbai to Lagos, the barriers to a transport revolution look formidable. The very same cities that confront the most pressing mobility challenges, from collapsing road infrastructure to congestion and toxic air quality, are the cities that lack the capital and governance structures needed to accelerate investment into a technological overhaul. 

What does the medium-term transport future look like for these critical emerging market megacities?

The best case looks like an acceleration down the route of low carbon mass transit that Thailand is exploring, where companies like BMW are pushing out electric vehicle car sharing and campus-based electric buses across Bangkok. But if there are barriers to the Jetsons-style dream of a wholesale transport revolution, longer term, there are also powerful accelerators. Electric vehicles are getting way cheaper, and way faster than expected, with the electric vehicle crossover point, the point where it’s cheaper to buy an electric, not fossil fuel vehicle, now dropping to 2022. That matters in terms of widespread adoption. But the real game changer is the potential for vehicle-to-grid systems that essentially turn cars into revenue-generating “batteries on wheels”. In Denmark, where Enel and Nissan have set up the first vehicle-to-grid (V2G) commercial hub, cars don’t just save money, they generate the owners around €1,500 in annual revenue. Is Henry Ford’s breakthrough, the fossil fuel driven private car, set to become the next gondola, an obsolete relic that lingers on only as a tourist attraction? In the short term, it looks like it’s here to stay, but what cannot go on, as Richard Nixon’s advisor Herb Stein, once commented, must stop. Fast forward and it’s hard to see the looming collision of megatrends, from exponential technology to urbanisation to demographics and climate change, not accelerating a transport revolution that once again reshapes the city and its business. 

What is out there in the transport Imaginarium to watch out for?

It’s stuff that is already getting built, from the Hyperloop that’s already part of the planned transport mix between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, post Dubai Expo 2020, to NASA and Uber Air’s partnership for mass access to vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft, to the Audi Pod that hovers above you, lifts up your vehicle, and delivers you, like the hand of God, from the jam. And will any of this address the transport challenges of the many? At a transport hack the other month, a group of entrepreneurs and Ministry officials laid out their plans for a second-tier city in Libya. Top of the list? Flying cars - a multimodal vertical takeoff and landing transport system. And why? It’s just like mobile phones in Africa, they tell me. They don’t have money to waste on the expensive fixed infrastructure of the road network. Is the West, I wonder, going to find itself in the slow lane?

Leo Johnson
Co-Presenter of Radio 4 “FutureProofing

Obernai, 28.08.2019

[Interview] Biomimetics, its challenges, its future by Idriss Aberkane

What are the economic challenges for biomimetics ? Finding processes that are less polluting, less energy-greedy, recyclable, safer, of better quality, less costly; does it mean imitating nature in order to save it?

The major and promising trend in the 21st century is to do with industrial ecosystems. Meaning that one company’s waste becomes a source of supply for another. It means thinking in terms of the food chain, so that companies no longer just see supplier-customer relationships. It will mean creating a sort of “ecosystem relationship”, in which one day their waste can be treated as an asset on the balance sheet, rather than a liability. This has already happened many times in history. The emperor Vespasian, by creating public toilets in Rome, earned money by selling urine for various products, fertilisers, “detergents”... If we manage to turn liabilities into assets more systematically, companies will have great opportunities to create value or increase margins. The way in which Hager creates value can be seen in two major categories, the tangible and the intangible. Biomimetics applies to both. At the tangible level, biomimetics has had a great impact on the creation of plastics. There is a bioplastics centre using coal in Porto Torres, Sardinia, for example. Two petrochemical plants have been converted to produce bioplastics based on local coal. As for the intangible part, it includes artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, connected objects, Smart Grids and the analysis of data, which can provide opportunities, knowledge and information with great economic value. This represents a vast pool of opportunities for Hager in the 21st century. Here too, biomimetics can teach us lessons. As I said previously about Waze, analysing electricity consumption patterns, making a Waze for electricity consumption, that remains to be done and it could create an enormous amount of value. 

Is there a link with the circular economy, the business model? Could it be a future model for us?

Absolutely. I talked about it with the idea of industrial ecosystems, food chains. The circular economy is an excellent base. To develop it, case studies are needed first. There is nothing like case studies. Don’t go too much into the theory of the circular economy, even if it’s very interesting, to “evangelise” – this is the buzzword – the ideal is to present very concrete cases where its use has created a lot of value. The start-up EnerGaïa is very interesting, with the installation of spirulina bioreactors on hotel roofs in Thailand. These bioreactors capture the CO2 coming out of the air-conditioning system. They fix the hotel’s carbon footprint twice over. Over the year, the hotel becomes a carbon fixer rather than a carbon emitter. Then they sell the spirulina directly to hotel guests in the form of cocktails, tagliatelle, etc. Here we have a real and quite magnificent example of the circular economy, with the added benefit of a short chain. All options are possible, short chain or long. In the case of electricity generation, storage, Hager has some great opportunities with renewable energy storage options. Not only in terminals or facilities but also in the way the electricity is consumed, especially in electric car chargers. 

Looking to the future: What future trends will shape biomimetics over the next 5 or 10 years?

There are micro- and macro-economic trends. Macro-economic, more and more nations realise that biodiversity can be the equivalent of an oil field. The one and only message from my Bioniria foundation is that, one day, heads of state will prefer to find biodiversity rather than oil, for purely economic reasons. An oil field represents a certain number of barrels, a certain value, a gross domestic product, a debt capacity, which is interesting for a nation. Tomorrow, we should expect the World Bank and the WTO, even the IMF, to grant loans to nations according to their biodiversity, saying “Here, the barrel of knowledge that will come out of this forest, from this river, is worth so much that we know the loan will be repaid within 15 years”. Some barrels of knowledge can be unexpected, like animal toxins. Some, like the black Mamba toxin, are worth an enormous amount, $600 for 0.1mg, or 6 billion per kilogram. These toxins are very interesting in medicine, as they are more powerful painkillers than morphine and without its addictive properties. At the micro-economic level it’s happening with individuals, in the family. The meso-economic scale concerns companies, which are the creators of value between macro- and micro-economics. For individuals, it means seeing case studies, things in their immediate environment that are bio-inspired, like Waze for example. There is nothing like receiving bio-inspired services to convince a majority of the population that nature and jobs can exist together. Being surrounded by solutions, more and more bio-inspired, ranging from the Eiffel Tower to Waze, and above all being aware of these solutions, understanding where they come from, will allow the conversion of a majority of individuals to biomimetics. At the corporate level, the logic is the same. Creating value five or ten years later, sometimes faster, shows employees day-to-day, when they provide services, when they sell catalogue products, that maybe, in a few years, they will be able to sell still more competitive products and solutions, thanks to bio-inspiration. So that’s how I see the future at the three classic economic scales, micro (with families, individuals), macro (with nations or continents) and then meso (with businesses, from SMEs to large corporations).

Interview Idriss Aberkane

Obernai, 29.07.2019

[Interview] Biomimetics by Idriss Aberkane

Biomimetics, a science known since antiquity, inspires and fascinates Man. In the 4th century Aristotle observed nature, then in the 15th century Leonardo da Vinci imitated nature by drawing his first plans for flying machines. The latter wrote “Go take your lessons in nature, that is where our future is.” Since then, we have witnessed the birth of many innovations inspired by nature: the aeroplane, Velcro, or the new generation of wind turbines. Idriss Aberkane spoke at the Hager Forum in 2016, giving a lecture on the economics of knowledge. Also a specialist in biomimetics, he gave us an interview on July 19th, 2019 in which he tackles this subject from an international and economic angle. In this first part, Idriss Aberkane sets out the current challenges facing companies and what biomimetics can do to meet them. In the second part that will be published later on, he will deal with future trends.

1. What is biomimetics ?

Biomimetics is being inspired by nature to innovate, sustainably if possible. At a more philosophical level, biomimetics is a movement that considers nature to be the greatest source of knowledge on Earth. We can see it in the 21st century: the solution to the most important and pressing political problem on Earth is to reconcile economy and ecology. We talk about downsizing, rationing tickets for commercial flights for example. We see that China has its back against the wall; if it doesn’t achieve around 7% growth in GDP per year, it may lose power. In any case, Chinese political elites know that the next Tiananmen will be ecological. The next time people demonstrate in China, it will most likely be because in Shanghai in winter you cannot see at ten metres, you cannot breathe clean air in some parts of Beijing and there are even “cancer villages”. This constraint applies to several billion people on Earth, including Brazil, Russia, India, China and of course all the rich countries. The country that solves it will most certainly have the greatest political leadership of the entire 21st century. Biomimetics is the answer to this problem: knowledge is found in the most abundant quantities in nature. In other words, by copying nature, we can create the most economic value.

2. At present, what are the areas of application, do you have concrete examples? Can biomimetics be linked to Hager’s know-how, namely the world of energy, electricity and building?

Absolutely. Literally the most monumental example of biomimetics is the Eiffel Tower, already more than 130 years old. The Eiffel Tower is inspired by the human bone. Not many people know this, but the structure of the Eiffel Tower makes it very light. It is lighter than the cylinder of air that contains it. If we take the cylindrical volume of air that goes from the base of the Tower to the summit at 25 degrees Celsius. This feat was made possible because Gustave Eiffel’s chief engineer had studied the structure of the human bone at the Polytechnic University of Zurich. Already at the time, this method was called bionics, which is the name for biomimetics in architecture. There are examples all around us. There is a lot of talk about Velcro, which is a classic example of bio-inspiration. For Hager, there is the whole field of data, big data, artificial intelligence, smart grids, smart meters, smart networks. The Waze app, for example, which is now used on almost one smartphone in four or five, is bio-inspired. The way Waze recommends the best route through crowded cities is inspired by ant colonies. Waze engineers studied how ants automatically calculate the best routes. This phenomenon is called Stigmergy. From the Greek stigma, meaning sign, and then synergy, working together. The ants, when they emerge from the anthill, deposit a fine drop of pheromone on the ground and follow the most highly scented path, which is also the most efficient. Waze copied this model, so that every time you hit the brake, it puts a minus on the map, as soon as you step on the accelerator, it puts a plus. By aggregating all these pluses and minuses in real time, they are able to calculate heat maps, which also have huge value in Big Data, well beyond giving recommendations. It allows you to calculate traffic in real time around stores, to forecast turnover, to know exactly which socio-professional category goes through which place. For Hager, typically, this issue of data is worth a lot of money. Facebook is so rich because it sells barrels of data. Even if the comparison between data and oil is not exact, in the 21st century, knowledge is to data what plastic is to oil. This data can be extracted using bio-inspired methods, distribution networks from nature, root networks, fungal networks and ant networks. This is true for any operator in infrastructure and technical solutions who wants to offer new lines of services, either for Big Data or for new products.


3. What are the current challenges for companies? 

Typically, companies face the challenges of nations. The current issue for nations is to maintain a rise in the standard of living and creation of wealth, while preserving the environment, which is today likened to a kind of war. We have what in my last book I call a “grey-green” war, like the 1914 war. It is an opposition between nature and employment that has dramatic consequences in the world. The idea that we cannot combine nature and employment at the same time, that when we talk about ecology we can’t talk about economics and that as soon as we talk about the economy we can’t talk about ecology, this is problematic. George Bush Sr. refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol because he was convinced that as soon as we talked about ecology we were not talking about economics, and today Donald Trump has withdrawn from the Paris Accords for the same reasons. In the same way, in the “green” camp, beyond political parties, we are convinced that as soon as we talk about jobs, economics, we can’t talk about ecology, the two are opposed, it’s a real challenge ahead for companies. Companies are caught between two trends, that of being sanctioned for ecological reasons, as we’ve seen with Volkswagen, and that of doing their job, which is to create wealth, employment and solutions that are worth something, either for their business customers or for their consumer customers. Finding how to produce more while polluting less is one of the big challenges companies face. We find it with Tesla, which has been criticised in the sense that an easy analysis and something of a caricature is to say “Yes you know, all the same, lithium comes out of mines, mines have a certain environmental impact”. Despite these criticisms, Tesla brought the possibility of no longer emitting fine particles in the city, which is already huge. A mother in China is happy that some cars do not emit fine particles at a height where they’re breathed in by her children. Electricity generation may have an environmental impact, especially in China, but at least it is not at the height of a child’s bronchial tubes. These small steps are made in the creation of value, while also sharing an environmental value: that of believing in both, not by saying that you’re making a compromise. It is to say what value I create, while trying to have a better environmental footprint. Companies that are able to solve both at the same time, and there are plenty of them, are the companies that will win the most market share in the 21st century. 



Smart home, how did our homes become smart?


[Article] The future of energy by Leo Johnson

Leo Johnson, an expert in the economy and sustainable development, spoke at a Hager Forum conference on the circular economy in September 2018. He took this idea even further in a first article on the future of the circular economy published in April 2019. In this new article, Leo Johnson invites us to think further about the future of energy while also offering some answers using concrete examples, an economic approach, a state of play and some projections for the short to medium term. Find out more about the future of energy.

Are citizens’ movements key to the future of energy? 

“Sous les pavés, la plage”, the Situationists used to say during the May ‘68 Paris riots. “Underneath the pavement, the beach.” Okay it’s not a beach, but London’s Waterloo Bridge, congestion-central on an average day, a fume-clogged heavy goods vehicle artery right into the heart of the city, has been blocked off and turned before my eyes into a crowd-sourced car-free Garden Bridge. It’s a pop up Situationist paradise, complete with Pétanque, pot plants, jugglers and vegan chilli-serving yurts. Welcome to the Extinction Rebellion, a snowballing people power movement to combat climate change that launched with naked campaigners gluing their buttocks to the walls of the House of Commons. Is this a glimpse into the Future of energy? Where politics has failed, is the power of the people going to accelerate a renewable energy future?

Is there still a pathway out of global warming?

Look at the numbers and it looks hard to see a credible pathway. An estimated 91% of global energy use is still fossil fuel-dependent, a figure unchanged for thirty years. To avoid more than 1.5° warming we need to decarbonise at more than double the current rate. But since the landmark Paris agreement in 2016, global banks have instead invested an additional $1.9 trillion in fossil fuels. Global Carbon Dioxide emissions, according to the International Energy Agency, rose by 1.7% in 2018, to a record 33 billion tonnes. Not much grounds for optimism, you might reckon. But there is one big factor that makes me think a transition towards renewables may be ahead that is more sudden one than people think. And it’s not just the people power that’s giving me hope. It’s the economics.

How can we define an energy strategy? What economic tool do we have to hand?

What’s the number that really matters, that makes or breaks energy strategy? It’s the EROEI, the energy return on energy invested. Putting it simply, the amount of energy it takes to get the energy out. When Henry Ford first started applying mass production to harness the embedded energy in oil, the EROEI was around 1300 to 1. You pretty much stuck your hand in the ground and the oil poured out. A century later, and it’s a different story. The low hanging fruit has gone. The fossil fuels that are left - the shale gas, the tar sands, the sub-salt oils - they all take a lot of energy and capital to get out, with an EROEI that ranges from just five to thirteen to one. It’s a business, in other words, where the longer-term economics are increasingly marginal.

What about renewables? Is there a tipping point closer than we think?

On the flipside, look at renewables, and what you see is the opposite phenomenon at work. The same laws that drove down the price of computing power have over the last twenty years transformed the economics of renewables. Take cars, the bedrock of the Fordist economy of fossil fuel -driven mass production. The cost of electric batteries is down 35% in the last year alone, bringing us ever closer to the Electric Vehicle crossover point, the tipping point where it’s cheaper up front to buy an electric vehicle than petrol or diesel. This date, set at 2026 back in 2017, is now expected to be 2022. And it’s not just cars. In May, the world’s first autonomous renewable cargo ship delivered 2.5kg of fresh mussels from Maldon port in the UK to Oostende in Belgium. Stena Line plans to install a 1-megawatt battery in one of its car ferries between Sweden and Denmark, scaling up to a 50 megawatt-hour battery that provides 50 nautical miles’ worth of power. And this is today’s technology stack at play. A number of exponential technologies, moving at uneven speed from pilot to scale, have the potential to cause more system wide disruption. On the roads, alongside Sweden’s inductive charging pilots, Hyundai’s new solar car offers a nanotech powered solar-harvesting sunroof. In the skies, Harbour Air, operating 42 short haul routes in British Columbia, is adding an electric plane to its fleet, with a plan to convert the entire fleet, In Germany meanwhile, Sonnen’s distributed energy shows the potential for the game changer of a block chain-enabled energy microgrid. Looking further ahead, Quantum computing capabilities such as D-Wave 2000 qubit processor (100 million times faster, according to a Google analysis, than the world’s fastest conventional supercomputer) promise accelerated materials discovery to increase battery capability. The energy system is at the point of transition. The timings are unpredictable, but the colliding cost curves point in only one direction - the centralised fossil fuel system, propped up by subsidies estimated by the IMF at US$5.3 trillion a year, will yield to a distributed and renewable alternative.

“The future of the apocaplypse”, or how to stay optimistic

For the BBC Radio 4 programme FutureProofing, just to cheer everybody up, we decide it’s time for a programme on The Future of the Apocalypse. We head off to the Ukraine, and, Geiger counters in hand, walk around the carcass of Chernobyl Reactor 4, the reactor that exploded on April 26th, 1986, releasing radiation 400 times more intense than the nuclear explosion over Hiroshima. The 30 km wide Chernobyl Exclusion Zone has been rewilded; it’s now an ecological sanctuary, a haven for brown bears, lynx and wolves. The reactors themselves are buzzing with lab-coated technicians, monitoring contamination levels and carries out a barrage of scientific experiments within the facility. “How do you power it all?” I ask one of scientists. “What is the energy source?” “Chernobyl in fact now has a solar power system”, he replies.

Leo Johnson
Co-Presenter of Radio 4 “FutureProofing

Obernai, 29th May 2019

[Interview] Smart home, future market opportunities and trends

In April 2019, Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino, an expert in the Internet of Things, spoke about the smart home during a conference at Hager Forum. In this interview you will discover her vision of the current state of housing, buildings and connected cities. Geographical and socio-economic aspects are examined later on. Alexandra then sets out the market opportunities and trends that companies and individuals will be facing in 10, 20, or 30 years' time. Explore the future of the smart home with Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino.

"Smart home - state of the art": What is the current situation and how do user expectations vary on the basis of geographical area and income?  

It all depends on the socio-economic area. This will determine whether the smart home concept is received with open arms or with great concern. 

In some African countries where Internet access is limited to mobile phones, the luxury of having a home with a minimum of connectivity, such as a desktop computer (laptop or tablet) limits what can be offered without seeming to be selling a luxury, "western"-style image.

This also implies that the smart home serves the interests of the better-off, who are worried about being burgled or kidnapped. Whether in South America or elsewhere, the smart home can contribute indirectly to significant social anxieties without really addressing the issue in a more permanent and strategic way. 

The recent changes imposed by Airbnb - in connection with protecting the privacy of tenants and aiming to stop owners spying using hidden cameras - show that our uses have moved to a higher level and that the degree of control gained is asymmetrical. We are happy for people to share their homes to help make ends meet, but we want to know what's going on all the same. 

In the big cities in Asia, where space is at a premium (as can be clearly seen through Michael Wolf's photos), the image of the American smart home is also completely out of sync. The products that are increasingly requested are related more to optimising space, or to the air quality in the surroundings and at home. Some families even measure indoor air quality in schools to make sure their children's health is protected. 

Creating bubbles of fresh air in the home therefore helps to privatise key societal problems like urban pollution and the role of the car in countries where governments have underinvested in public transport provision. 

In Europe, the apartments built in the middle of the last century are genuine energy sieves and this poses new problems. 

Ensuring energy efficiency for a tenant does not require the type of refurbishment works needed to actually increase the value of a property (thermal insulation, a battery and solar panels). A smart thermostat can improve the comfort of a home, but will not necessarily help reduce its energy consumption. Efficiency and comfort are often at odds because it is only worth buying a smart thermostat if you intend to stay in the house for longer than two years, but it is obviously much cheaper than to re-insulate the walls, which would have a much more fundamental impact. It should not be forgotten that so-called "smart" products consume much more energy than a less connected home does. Every smart TV is continuously connected to the Internet and therefore costs more than a television bought ten years ago. These are the hidden costs of the smart home. That means everything depends on where you live.

The "minimum viable smart home" will be different in different regions of the world. 

Smart building, smart city, smart village: what solutions can address the issue of poverty? In other words, access to connected/smart housing to serve low-income populations. 

The Smart City is often a beautiful, clean city, without problems of homelessness, drugs or violence. This conceals the many varied and long-standing techniques in the field of "control architecture", where efforts are made to stop people from sleeping on park benches, or the use of police services, etc.

The presence of cameras in visibly public places, which are becoming increasingly private, does not help matters. Finland has decided to offer a basic apartment to its homeless population and continues to reduce poverty levels by providing the base level of needs in the Maslow pyramid.

In other countries, the use of smart objects is used to control the energy consumption of social housing units, or even to offer them various services (often more expensive), which is never very popular. In South Korea, people pay for their compost production, given the waste caused in the preparation of certain dishes (broths and soups). This is one way of doing things that will not necessarily be accepted elsewhere, even though we all need to reduce our per capita waste output. The relationship between the so-called "private" act and the responsibility of a community, city, or country is a complex one.

Our cities face increasing budgetary restrictions, while our civic duties are increasing: more compost, fewer rubbish bins, more optimised electricity use, changes in our means of transport ... the list goes on and on. Cities can finally provide a support role (sensors in public bins to inform when they need emptying, for example) but the hardest task remains to convince individuals to consider any private action as ultimately somewhat public. Most "Smart City" projects - and I studied more than 130 for Nominet a few years ago - are not very well-defined and are often hammers in search of nails.

The city of the future will obviously have access to new tools and a house will be able to participate in sharing data produced in the home but, again, people must be psychologically re-accustomed to living in society, as they did before the arrival of most of the technologies that have cut us off from one another, such as the mobile phone.

A voice assistant that "hears" a woman being beaten by her husband should be able to handle this information for the common good, even if that runs counter to the owner's interests. How we can reach this stage without re-creating "Big Brother" is the key question that many cities are asking themselves. 

What remains to be developed? What market opportunities will companies encounter? What are the future trends of the smart home (in 10-20 years' time)? 

The everyday life of the elderly is a key development issue for many people within the smart home industry. I dare to hope, however, that we are not heading towards a "militarised" type of habitat, where each area of the house has 15 different sensors to predict when an elderly person might suffer a fall.

Adapting our habitats to the daily lives of increasingly isolated people presents possibilities of a completely different kind. Encouraging multigenerational homes as imagined in 1920s Sweden ("co-housing" or "collective housing"), or "kangaroo homes" where micro apartments are designed inside a house to allow a family to care for an elderly parent, are more interesting projects and can actually address issues of social isolation and health and health system impacts within each city. A person living alone in isolation costs the State much more than someone surrounded by friends, close family, enjoying access to transport services and daily exercise because the services are close-by … We already know all of this, but the smart home of the future that can overcome these problems of isolation will remain reserved for the better-off, who will still be young and healthy. 

There is also a backlash against data security issues, involving smart home applications, smart computers, voice assistants, and so on.

We can imagine some people insisting they would rather have a "dumb home" out of fear. Perhaps we will develop the "slow home" as a response, in which data produced by smart objects will remain local, unless some external actor issues a precise request to share them. 

What could a smart home look like in 20-30 years' time? What features would be offered? 

The main problem of the future is climate change and how to combat it on a daily basis. The home of the future will either be fully adapted to more efficient uses notwithstanding personal wishes (the washing machine will start up when there is low collective demand), or a less environmentally friendly decision will be required by default. We could also imagine a world in which these everyday good environmental practices could help to generate a data profile that would give this individual privileged access to lower mortgage rates. In the final analysis, our private lives will not be so private, in view of the impact our actions have on our environment, which is shared by all.

This loss of control on a daily basis could result in collective services that are more efficient (laundries, etc.) and flexible, given the technological services that are now commonly used. The 'green' house will probably also be equipped with a socket for charging electric vehicles, a battery and solar panels that will allow a certain degree of autonomy and will be triggered at specific times of greater demand or when we want to resell our energy capacity to the neighbours, or to their daughter who is away at university, for example.

This implies reassessing our everyday energy that we take for granted in 2019. 

Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino
Expert in the Internet of Things 

Obernai, 9th May 2019

Talk: Smart home, how did our homes become smart?

Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino, our visiting expert on the Internet of Things, presented the key developments in our living places as we move towards smart homes during the April 4th 2019 conference at Hager Forum.
Hager has been present in the smart home market for 20 years, therefore this is one of its strategic business areas.

The concept of the living space and its design are constantly evolving - The main takeaways from the conference

  • The development of the smart home throughout history: What great inventions have made living spaces increasingly smart?
  • Home design: More available space. The interior layout of the home has evolved. Family structures and lifestyles are changing. Everyone needs more privacy. Inventors, engineers and designers are continually facing the challenge of meeting users' needs in a rapidly changing context.
  • Assistance and services: We have a genuine world history of servants, helpers and services. Housework is never really completed, there is always something else to do. Developing the IoT to help humans is based on three conceptual models: the secretary, the waiter and the dog model.
  • Security: Surveillance technologies, voice assistants, connected dolls. Are we fully aware of their consequences and the data models that underlie these products?

Some ways to better understand the progression of the smart home:

Coming soon on www.hagergroup.com/hagerforum: interview with Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino on the future of the smart home

Some questions as a teaser:
What could a smart home look like in 20-30 years' time?
What are the upcoming challenges in terms of energy savings and what solutions could appear in the smart home (in 10 years' time)?
And more ... Stay tuned!


The future of the circular economy by Leo Johnson

In September 2018, Leo Johnson gave a talk on the circular economy at Hager Forum. We asked him to continue to share his thoughts via this article, in which you will find out what the circular economy consists of, a few current examples of companies that have applied it and have developed new profitable and sustainable business models, along with the opportunities and perspectives in economic terms.

The ultimately dysfunctional economic model

So here’s a thought experiment. Sit back, relax, and try to dream up the ultimately dysfunctional economic model. What would it look like? If you really wanted to cook up some bad economics, what would you bake in? Here are five design principles for starters:

• Principle one: Go for volume. Mass-produce a whole ton of stuff, completely independent of demand.
• Principle two: Manufacture demand to the max, persuading citizens, if necessary, to spend money they don’t have on some things they don’t need.
• Principle three: Don’t worry about waste in the production line; feel free to chuck a good 60% of the raw materials away.
• Principle four: Forget distance. Ship it anywhere. Don’t get all steamed up if 93% of the energy gets lost between the coal mine and the light bulb in your living room.
• Principle five: Build for obsolescence. Make sure the stuff goes bust fast and can’t be fixed. And if that’s hard to do, if you have got a durable good, make it a crime against fashion not to replace it.

What’s been delineated here? It’s an economic model build around mass production, distribution and consumption that turns our houses into pre-processing units for the landfill. And it’s the linear economic model that has dominated the last century, an ideology so integrated into our daily lives that it has become almost invisible. But it has taken its toll. The World Bank projects that global waste, driven by urbanisation and population growth, will jump from 2.01 billion tonnes to 3.40 billion tonnes a year, up 70% by 2050. On our current burn rate we are due to consume three earth’s worth of resources by 2050, passing 1.5 degrees of global average warming within the next 5 years.

What’s the circular economy about?

It’s about doing things a bit smarter, shifting to renewable energy and materials, promoting shared uses, building for durability, improving efficiency, closing the loops, and dematerialising. It’s about recognising, as the Economist Kenneth Boulding did in his essay on the coming “Spaceship Earth” that we don’t exist in a cowboy economy, with infinite new pastures available to plunder. It’s about recognising the biophysical limits of the planet, closing the loop and transforming the waste streams of the linear economy into wealth. What does this reimagined economy look like in action? There are already proven successes.

In fashion, with total greenhouse gas emissions from textiles production estimated at 1.2 billion tonnes annually, more than international flights and maritime shipping combined, Patagonia has drawn plaudits for reclaiming fleece from plastics.

In consumer electronics, with e-waste topping 50 million metric tonnes a year, and predicted to rise 500% over the next 10 years, Restart Parties have taken London by storm, with neighbours getting together not to buy Tupperware, but to fix mendable household appliances doomed for the dumpster. Fat Lama, meanwhile, a peer-to-peer sharing platform, lends out and insures the tools for repair work, creating resource efficiency by delivering access instead of high cash and resource-cost ownership.

And for those appliances, finally, that don’t get a new lease of life, GEM, the Chinese “urban mining” company that operates across sixteen industrial parks in China’s ten provinces, hunts for the cobalt, nickel and tungsten to be found in batteries and electronic waste, monetising waste streams that are richer dollar for dollar than the seams of conventional mines.

But if we fast-forward five to ten years, is there a next wave of innovation ahead for the circular economy?

In the short term the dominant opportunity is to mainstream proven innovations. These range from Vertical Farming, driven by ultra efficient LED lightings systems and closed loop hydroponics, to Internet of things innovations like Michelin’s IoT enabled energy-efficient tires, and the Finnish waste company Enevo, using sensors to detect when trash bins are full, optimising pick-up routes for trucks and reducing fuel and labour costs by 20 to 40%. This is picking up the five pound notes on the floor.
In the longer term, exponential technologies look poised to create breakthroughs that potentially change business models across industrial sectors, from Just Foods use of synthetic biology innovations to produce “eggless eggs”, to social plastics - soft drink producers using the blockchain to tag every plastic bottle they produce and allocate micro awards for the bottle gatherers, from Hyperloop-based Low Carbon travel, to Apple’s robot iPhone disassembly, and asteroid harvesting initiatives that open up the possibility of zero earth impact for rare metals.

How much value is there to be gained across industrial sectors?

With the global economy only an estimated 9% circular, the World Economic Forum estimates that the circular economy could contribute $1 trillion a year to the global economy through reduced material use by 2025. And it’s not just the cash, it’s jobs; In the UK alone, the government estimates a more circular UK economy could be worth £9- 29bn a year, and create 10,000-175,000 jobs across skills levels by 2030.

What does the circular economy of the future look like?

It looks, above all, like a system wide change of mind-set, a movement away from the linear logic of the production line, towards something that works better for business and society. It’s economics, as EF Schumacher, the author of “Small is Beautiful” would have put it, “as if people and planet mattered”.

Leo Johnson
Co-Presenter of Radio 4 “FutureProofing

Obernai, 28th March 2019

"Pop Up": a temporary exhibition to take you behind the scenes of Hager Group

In January 2019, Hager Forum launched a new "Pop Up" event format: temporary exhibitions to take you behind the scenes (and more) of a Hager Group product or solution. 

With Pop Up gallery, the Design Studio gave visitors a chance to understand, touch, feel and see through the eyes of a designer from mid-January to mid-February. In this first edition, employees, customers and visitors were given the opportunity to discover gallery, the new range of wall-mounted equipment launched in France, from a design angle. All interested parties could freely access the exhibition space at the Forum entrance. In addition, they could interact with the Design Studio team every Monday. Video here.

Interview with Erwin Van Handenhoven, Design Studio Director at Hager Group.

The "Pop Up" exhibition from gallery at the start of the year was a first. What are your impressions?

I thought it was a very "fair" exhibition, in other words, faithful to its name: "Pop Up" is unpretentious, lightweight, no need to take the lead, go when you want, and don't feel obliged to stay an hour. It is passing, fleeting, well worth coming to see. The format is neither pedagogical nor artistic, it is not like a course or a training session. The formula is fun, informative, based on impressions, which I think strikes the right tone for that kind of thing.

What have you heard or observed about the exhibition?

Only good things: the feedback is very positive. People are thrilled to discover the products created in-house, to go behind the scenes. Employees rarely get the chance to do this and sometimes even find references to products in the catalogue.

What I observed: there was a buzz, people were sharing their enjoyment, the interest gallery had aroused. I also noticed that visitors really respected the exhibits. People touched them - which is important - but then put them back in place and respected the set-up.

This exhibition came just before the launch of gallery on the French market. Does this foreshadow a new way of launching products?

Yes, I think it can certainly provide ideas. You can see how product launches are very important events in other companies - think of Apple's keynotes. It makes people understand the amount of work behind the product, and this is celebrated. With this "Pop Up" format, the event lasts a limited time but it is longer than one or two hours. I can't really imagine this format as a live broadcast, like a keynote. On the other hand, I quite like the idea that the "Pop Up" can be a travelling show.

How did the audience and the participants react?

Basically, the proposal was a story to be told plus the experience of an additional visit. This exhibition was a chance to bring visitors to Hager Forum within this story and to give the product another dimension. This is an extra experience for our outside visitors and generates a good dynamic. Besides, we used it in the D-events (design events) with our internal customers and I know that training participants at the Hager Forum also benefited from the exhibition.

Has this exhibition made design work easier to understand?

The technical side of things is our essential raison d'être at Hager but Design allows us to stand out in our sector of activity. As you know, in our industry, many products that we make are similar - they are subject to standards, rules and regulations. So we end up with very similar things. What makes the difference is the story, the perception, and therefore the emotion. And all of that is the design work. So yes, this exhibition has made it possible to see the product from a different perspective, specifically a design angle.

What did the project mean for the Design Studio team?

The exhibition was created by the entire team, and we worked on it for several months. We had to create, to think of the formula and then make things happen. We wanted a presentation that was both unpretentious and classy. We wanted to convey the "new start" spirit that marks all our design productions. It wasn't easy - we made models, we gave it a lot of thought, we made furniture specifically for the exhibition. It really is a joint creation and it built a good team atmosphere. We were all very proud to show our work. Furthermore, every Monday each member of the team had the chance to meet the public, to tell the story, to meet new people. We have invested a lot of energy and time and next time it should go faster.

So tell us, what will the next "Pop Up" exhibition present?

We are preparing a "Pop Up" for H3+ which is a very technical product. It's a huge challenge! We want to underline the fact that it is not only the switches and the wall equipment that are associated with design. It's another job, another story, another user experience: everything is different but the design also contributes to developing very technical products. H3+ will be launched in France, China and Germany and it was actually the members of the project team who suggested doing an exhibition! They appreciated working in design: in this scenario, design and engineering worked hand in hand, with very strong interactions and a great deal of cooperation. It will be drier, more surprising, because we expect less design in this area, but it is important for us. We want to talk about all this!

gallery, a very "Design" product

gallery had already won the Janus de l'Industrie 2018 award, and received the "Good Design® Award 2018", an international award for the most "avant-garde" products and graphic designs in industrial design.

Interview by Stéphanie Formery and Olivia Hanschke

Obernai, 11th March 2019

Smart home: challenges for the home of the future

Buildings are getting smarter, and that's just the beginning! How did we come to integrate the "smart" concept into our living spaces? What is a "smart home" and what are the future challenges for users and professionals?

During the live Hager Forum conference, Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino, a pioneer in the Internet of things, will enlighten us on the Smart Home and its main developments.

Smart home: the future of our living spaces

Remote-controlled lighting, smart thermostats or solutions to make buildings safer or more energy-efficient are just some of the examples of what home automation can do today.

But what about tomorrow? Our guest, Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino, will retrace the development of our homes from several perspectives: historical, architectural, technological, societal and from a user design point of view. She will point out the various definitions of the smart home from the geographical, cultural and economic perspective. She will address the future challenges in light of the context increasing urbanisation of our societies as well as that of genuine user needs.

Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino - IoT expert - will be live on Thursday 4th April from 1 to 2.30 pm (CET)

Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino is an interaction designer, product designer and entrepreneur based in London and a specialist in the Internet of Things.
In 2018 she published the book Smarter Homes in which she studies product-innovations being developed in consumer and industrial spaces.
She runs Designswarm, an Internet of Things strategy-focused consulting firm working for governments and companies that aim to position themselves on new generations of connected products. She performs a great deal of research in this area.
She has been creating connected devices for clients such as BBC R&D, Nokia, British Gas, EDF and British Telecom since 2006. As a speaker, she explores the following topics: the Internet of Things, Smart Home, thinking about future generations of connected products, creative solutions, innovation and design.

Learn about this topic with our expert on 04.04.2019 from 1 to 2.30 pm live.
The talk will be held in English, with simultaneous translation into French.
Watch or re-watch our previous conferences.

Obernai, 18.02.2019

Artificial intelligence today and tomorrow I Daniel Hulme.

Daniel Hulme held a conference about artificial intelligence (AI) on November 15th at Hager Forum. In this interview he explains what artificial intelligence is and how to differentiate it from optimisation processes. Using examples, he shows how AI is embedded in buildings and how we, humans, are interacting with it. In conclusion, he shares with us his vision of the future and the ethical implications of artificial intelligence.

Hager Forum: Artificial intelligence – please explain what it is and what it isn’t. 

Daniel Hulme: There are two definitions of AI, and the more popular one is the weakest. This first definition concerns machines that can do tasks that were traditionally in the realm of human beings. Over the past decade, due to advances in technologies like deep learning, we have started to build machines that can do things like recognise objects in images, and understand and respond to natural language. Humans are the most intelligent things we know in the universe, so when we start to see machines do tasks once constrained to the human domain, then we assume that is intelligence.

But I would argue that humans are not that intelligent. Humans are good at finding patterns in, at most, four dimensions, and we’re terrible at solving problems that involve more than seven things. Machines can find patterns in thousands of dimensions and can solve problems that involve millions of things. Even these technologies aren’t AI — they’re just algorithms. They do the same thing over and over again. In fact, my definition of stupidity is doing the same thing over again and expecting a different result.

The best definition of intelligence — artificial or human — that I’ve found is goal-directed adaptive behavior. I use goal-directed in the sense of trying to achieve an objective, which in business might be to roster your staff more effectively, or to allocate marketing spend to sell as [much] ice cream as possible. It might be whatever goal you’re seeking.

Behavior is how quickly or frictionlessly I can move resources to achieve the objective. For example, if my goal is to sell lots of ice cream, how can I allocate my resources to make sure that I’m achieving the objective?

But the key word for me in the definition of goal-directed adaptive behavior is adaptive. If your computer system is not making a decision and then learning whether that decision was good or bad and adapting its own internal model of the world, I would argue that it’s not true AI. And it’s OK for companies at the moment to be calling machine learning AI. So for me, the true definition of AI involves systems that can learn and adapt themselves without the aid of a human. Adaptability is synonymous with intelligence.

In fact, most companies don’t have machine learning problems — they have optimisation problems. Optimisation is the process of allocating resources to achieve an objective, subject to some constraints. Optimisation problems are exceptionally hard to solve. For example, how should I route my vehicles to minimise travel time, or how do I allocate staff to maximise utilisation, or how do I spend marketing money to maximize impact, or how do I allocate sales staff to opportunities to maximise yield? There are only a handful of people across the world who are good at solving problems like this with AI.

Hager Forum: Can you give some examples of important AI applications?

Daniel Hulme: For millions of years, biological life has been intelligently adapting its environment to enable it to thrive. However, since the start of this century our species has established a new paradigm; we've begun building environments that intelligently adapt to us. AI is starting to be used to automatically control the temperature in our homes, recommend what products we should buy, and advise us about what to eat to live longer, healthier and happier lives. Like biological systems, AI consumes data from a myriad of sensors. Whether we carry these devices around - like our phones - or they are embedded in the walls and objects we interact with, we're seeing an explosion of sensory data that is being mined for insights. This technology is often called the Internet of Things (IoT), and it's becoming the eyes and ears of AI.

Aside from predicting when to make us coffee or when our autonomous car should pick us up from the office, our environments will learn to make our lives more comfortable by collaborating and interacting intelligently with itself. 400 million years ago the formation of the earliest eyes caused the Cambrian Explosion of diverse biological life. I would imagine that we will see a similar explosion of technology, stemming from the convergence of an abundance of sensory data with the ability of our environments to reconfigure and perhaps construct themselves without human intervention or guidance - environments building environments.

Hager Forum: Let’s have a look into the future. 

Daniel Hulme: If Moore's Law continues - where computing doubles in speed every 18 months - then over the coming decades these devices will become exponentially smaller, perhaps small enough to run through our veins and gather detailed data about our physiology. This data will surface insights that will enable our environment to intelligently interact with us in ways we can't yet imagine. The intelligent environments we're building form the fabric of our physical and digital interactions. With virtual and augmented reality on the horizon, we might see people living more and more in virtual worlds; worlds that allow us to suspend all of physics and reality. Perhaps we can't yet imagine how magnificent and absorbing those worlds will be, or how they will evolve. We don't know how it will change the way we interact with physical and virtual objects, AI agents and each other. Nor do we know what impact these adapting environments and intelligent worlds will have on our physiological development, emotional intelligence and social attachments.

Hager Forum: What is the ethical challenge posed by AI?

Daniel Hulme: For millennia, philosophers have been debating about how society should be structured and what it means to live a “good” life. As our environments start to intelligently interacting with us we're giving them the power to create and destroy. We have to embed ethical behaviours into these system, which makes it an extremely exciting time for humanity, because we now have to agree on what those ethical behaviours should be.


See or review Daniel Hulme’s talk about artificial intelligence.

Obernai, 07.02.2019

Interview with Marc Halevy: adapt or disappear.

The world is changing and we need to understand why. What is happening to us and our planet, our societies, our businesses? 

Hager Group's human resources team has offered its employees the chance to discuss these matters with physicist and philosopher Marc Halévy on February 7th, 2019 during a conference-debate.

How is our world changing? 

Our socioeconomic logic is branching off in a far-reaching way, as happens on average every 550 years (the last time was the Renaissance and the transition from feudalism to modernity). One world is dying (that of modernity and its values and ways to interpret the world) and a new world is emerging along five major axes.

From the environmental point of view, we have left behind the old paradigm of abundance and are now in a world in which all the essential resources (energy, arable land, fresh water, non-ferrous metals, etc.) are scarce. We therefore need to develop an economy based on frugality.

From a genealogical point of view, we have come from a financial-industrial model based on the mass economy (producing and selling a lot) and low prices. This model is dying: all cost prices will rise and markets are turning towards a logic of utility value and niches; therefore we must develop a virtuous economy.

From the technological point of view, digital has supplanted mechanics: immaterial intelligence produces value, not material processes. Everything that can be robotised will be robotised; everything that can be algorithmised will be algorithmised. The centre of gravity of human activities is moving full speed towards new trades.

From a logistical point of view, the classic hierarchical model has reached its inefficiency zone. It is far too poor in relationships and interactions, therefore too slow and too heavy, to respond to the complexification and acceleration of the real world. We must therefore move to rich organisations, in other words collaborative network operations of small autonomous entities.

Finally, from an ethical point of view, the nihilism of the 20th century has left behind a world that is cruelly lacking meaning and values. The big question we must therefore ask is: what benefits are people, humanity, enterprise, economy, community and society aimed at producing?


What principally impacts our companies from the economic, technological and ecological points of view? 

Five radical changes are needed to avoid companies from disappearing.

  1. Companies will have to apply the motto ‘Do (much) less, but (much) better’ in everything they do. This means permanently chasing after everything wasted (including time and stress), everything we do or have done that is useless, time wasted on the phone, in meetings or sending pointless e-mails.
  2. Companies have to understand that their immaterial assets (real virtuosities) are infinitely more valuable (but much more volatile) than their material assets. They must therefore invest a lot of time and energy (but little money) in developing their real talents, their real know-how and their real excellences.
  3. Faced with the explosion of digital technologies, more than just keeping a cool head, we must develop a true digital intelligence. Most ‘innovations’ from California have absolutely no economic value and no value in use. They are gadgets. Moreover, most of the companies that produce them earn money only through stock trading, not because of their work (Amazon, Uber, Facebook, Google, SpaceX, Instagram, Tesla, etc. all lost around 20% of their value in 2018). They will disappear in the next five to ten years. The real digital revolution lies far from this nonsense.
  4. Companies must radically transform their working methods. Collaborative networking and small self-contained units will be the norm. The hierarchical principle is outdated and must be replaced by a charismatic principle. Furthermore, the concept of wage-earner will disappear and be replaced by concepts like associate, freelancer, partner, etc.
  5. Companies - in particular with regard to generations Y and Z who are demanding this - must answer the question ‘why’ before they answer the ‘how’. We can no longer ‘give orders to do things’ but instead should ‘give a good reason to do them and do them well’. And wages are no longer the only good reason - far from it.


SMART: Internet of Things (IoT), embedded services: how do you think this trend will evolve? What is your philosopher's point of view?

As always with these kinds of things, 80% of gadgets are useless. Can ‘connected objects’ and ‘embedded software’ sometimes be genuinely useful? But most of the time, they are not much use and weaken the reliability of operations. And of course they copiously feed big data and the uses to which malicious third parties can put such data for espionage, control, denunciation, fake news, etc.

I come back to the central ideas of ‘digital intelligence’ and ‘digital minimalism’. Basically this amounts to applying three principles:

  1. Only using technology if it provides real value in use; just because a gadget is new or fashionable it doesn't mean that it is useful.
  2. Always make sure that technology remains the slave of mankind and that mankind is never the slave of technology (just look at the addiction to mobile phones, a gadget that is more than often useless).
  3. Apply this minimalist principle: the less we depend on technologies, the freer - and happier - we are.


What will be the next energy challenges?

The first challenge is to make people understand that 'renewable energy' does not exist. A wind turbine turns and produces electricity thanks to wind, which is a free fuel. And there will be wind as long as the sun is hot and the Earth is surrounded by a gaseous atmosphere. That's all very well. But to build, operate, maintain and dismantle that wind turbine will consume enormous amounts of resources which are absolutely non-renewable, non-recoverable and non-recyclable. The yield of the operation is negative and it only works today by pumping a lot of taxpayer's money into it.

Like wind power or any alternative or “energy transition” technology, electric cars displace resource problems, but do not solve them. It lies at the heart of an issue that is more political and ideological than genuinely environmental. It shifts pollution from cities to the countryside (where the necessary additional power plants - nuclear or otherwise - will be installed) and accelerates the depletion of already scarce resources (such as lithium).

The second challenge: our petroleum supplies will soon run out. It is therefore essential to continue to build the nuclear sector (taking care to avoid accidents and radioactive waste); that is the one and only transition energy.

The third challenge: the only truly clean and renewable source of electricity involves hydroelectric power plants (which, I remind you, is a ‘solar’ sector). The concern is that almost every site in the world where a real dam can be located is already in operation or under construction. This covers about 20% of the current needs of humanity.

The conclusion is plain and simple and constitutes the major challenge: we must not try to produce in some other way, we must attempt to consume much less!


Marc Halévy, you mention frugality a lot. Can you define it for our readers? In your opinion, is this an urgent matter for businesses? Why?

Let me share some figures to help us understand: in 1800, there were one billion humans on Earth, then 1.7 billion in 1900, 6 billion in 2000, 7.5 billion today and more than ten billion (all other things being equal) in 2050. Furthermore, the appetite to consume all of this beautiful world is a growing exponential that multiplies the first one. Faced with this, the global stock of natural resources continues to decline (in 150 years, humans have consumed 80% of all non-renewable reserves). The two curves of demographic demand (increasing at a startling rate) and the capacity of the Earth's supply (rapidly decreasing) will cross to take us from a logic of abundance to one of shortage. In fact, it's been that way since the early 2000s.

Shortage is not on the horizon. It is already here. The most glaring shortages today are in freshwater, arable land, fossil fuels, non-ferrous metals and so on, not to mention the cultural and intellectual shortage caused by the failings of our education systems. In twenty years, the illiteracy rate has increased from 10% to 21% of the adult population in France. And it's almost the same elsewhere.

There is a great deal of waste. But this waste is not the root cause of the shortages. Even without wasting, humans are far too numerous to consume these increasingly rare vital resources.

We are experiencing a profound crucial change, comparable to the Neolithic Revolution, whose economic component says: we must move very quickly from quantity to quality, from value in exchange to value in use, from growth to development. We must understand that economic development in terms of value in use can be achieved only through a decline in GDP and turnover, a decline in company size and a decline in population. It is no longer a matter of mass producing prices, but of soberly generating value. There is no correlation between financial wealth and joie de vivre. Quite the opposite. This is the great choice that our generation must begin to take.


2019 Program

Four reasons to follow Hager Forum in 2019

In 2019 Hager Forum will have been open for four years: the ideal moment to build on or roll out certain activities, such as live conference broadcasts, reorienting its editorial line with a new website and exploring new themes while continuing in its role identifying societal or technological trends. Want to explore the future? Welcome to Hager Forum! 

The years go by and are not alike. In 2019, we have three important developments in store for you and (at least) six appointments that are not to be missed. There will be something for everyone! Here are four reasons to follow us for our fourth anniversary:


1. We will be reinforcing our positioning as pioneers and opening up even more to the world

Our participants are unanimous: Hager Forum stands out for its events, punctuated by inspiring conferences, broadcast online. We want even more people to be able to enjoy these. That is why this year we will work even harder to choose topics that can interest not only our employees, but also our partners and customers, here and in all the countries in which Hager Group is present. We hope to make these moments a special opportunity to meet, reflect and exchange with colleagues, our partners and our customers, on site or remotely, throughout the world.


2. We target captivating and relevant themes

We will deal mainly with these four major themes: energy and electricity, science and technology, living and working spaces, business and society.

Through our contributors, we will explore the future via our online content that is accessible to everyone (talks, articles, interviews, etc.)


3. We are further developing the internet experience

You will have noticed that our website has a new look: now you can discover what is in store but also browse through themes to learn more about them. Since Hager Forum must be on the cutting edge and should always offer more to explore, we will redouble our efforts to feed the website with inspiring, informative and useful content. Explore the future of our companies and the business world through our unique content!


4. Save the dates

Please take note of the most important dates.


Talk: Smart home, how did our homes become smart?


Hager Forum is four years old.


Musical concert at the Obernai Music Festival.


Trend Session #8 livestreamed.


Trend Session #9 livestreamed.


See you soon!


See or review our previous talks.


Four reasons to follow Hager Forum in 2019


In 2019 Hager Forum will have been open for four years: the ideal moment to build on or roll out certain activities, such as live conference broadcasts, reorienting its editorial line with a new website and exploring new themes while continuing in its role identifying societal or technological trends. Want to explore the future? Welcome to Hager Forum! 

The years go by and are not alike. In 2019, we have three important developments in store for you and (at least) six appointments that are not to be missed. There will be something for everyone! Here are four reasons to follow us for our fourth anniversary:

  1. We will be reinforcing our positioning as pioneers and opening up even more to the world
    Our participants are unanimous: Hager Forum stands out for its events, punctuated by inspiring conferences, broadcast online. We want even more people to be able to enjoy these. That is why this year we will work even harder to choose topics that can interest not only our employees, but also our partners and customers, here and in all the countries in which Hager Group is present. We hope to make these moments a special opportunity to meet, reflect and exchange with colleagues, our partners and our customers, on site or remotely, throughout the world. 
  2. We target captivating and relevant themes
    We will deal mainly with these four major themes: energy and electricity, science and technology, living and working spaces, business and society.
    Through our contributors, we will explore the future via our online content that is accessible to everyone (talks, articles, interviews, etc.)
  3. We are further developing the internet experience
    You will have noticed that our website has a new look: now you can discover what is in store but also browse through themes to learn more about them. Since Hager Forum must be on the cutting edge and should always offer more to explore, we will redouble our efforts to feed the website with inspiring, informative and useful content. Explore the future of our companies and the business world through our unique content!

  4. Save the dates
    Please take note of the most important dates.


Talk: Smart home, how did our homes become smart?


Hager Forum is four years old.


Musical concert at the Obernai Music Festival.


Trend Session #8: the energy transition (livestreamed).


Trend Session #9: the future of architecture (livestreamed).

See you soon!

See or review our previous talks.

Next live conference is coming soon…

We are preparing something amazing and exiting for you. Keep calm and save the date of our next live conference!

We are pleased to invite you to our next live conference organised at Hager Forum. For the general public, this free conference is available online. The session will be in English, with a translation into French.

 More infos coming soon

 Be the first to know, subscribe to our news alert!

By plane, train, bus, car - Wherever you come from, there is a way to get to Hager Forum.

By plane

Hager Forum is located 25 kilometres from Strasbourg-Entzheim airport, 86 km from Baden-Baden Airport and 106 km from Basel-Mulhouse EuroAirport.

More information on:

By TGV hi-speed train

Hager Forum is located two hours from Paris by train.

More information on:

By car
By train

Obernai is served by the TER regional express train.
Timetables and fares of the Strasbourg-Molsheim-Selestat line are available here.

Hager Forum is 1.5 km from Obernai train station. The PassO shuttle system runs from the train station. More information here


Access all our articles

(Re-) Read our articles. You can read all the articles published on the site here.

Hager Forum experience

Rediscover all the videos of our conferences and past Trend Sessions. Through these, our experts give you a good dose of knowledge and inspiration for the future.

Explore the future of energy

Explore the future of energy and electricity: energy transition, sustainable development, energy production, electric mobility, off grid and smart grid.

Explore the future of society and business

Anticipate weak signals: key socio-economic trends, user expectations, new business models, social, environmental and economic challenges.

Explore the future of spaces

Discover how our living spaces (homes, workspaces, hotels, shops) will evolve: architectural challenges and design for smart, connected and low tech buildings.

Explore the future of sciences & techniques

Explore the future of sciences and techniques: innovation, digitalisation, big data, internet of things, artificial intelligence, blockchain, biomimicry, etc.

Explore the future

Explore the future and trends through our themes: energy and electricity, science and technology, living and working spaces, business and society. 

Check out our previous conferences

Rediscover all the videos of our conferences and past Trend Sessions. Through these, our experts give you a good dose of knowledge and inspiration for the future.

Hager Forum celebrates the end of the year 2018 with a flashback.

Obernai, 09.01.2019

A year of exchange, openness and collaboration at Hager Forum

In 2018, Hager Group's visitors, partners and employees once again chose Hager Forum for gatherings where exchange, openness and collaboration were the name of the game. The Hager Forum team organised 224 site tours and 91 events, as well as providing quality hospitality to over 70,000 people using the meeting and training rooms. Mission accomplished: the team helped cement the space’s role as a sounding board, catalyst and scout within Hager Group. Let's have a look at the most memorable moments of the year! 


Hager Forum promotes interaction internally and externally by inviting its users to meet at the heart of Hager Group's largest industrial site. From informal meetings and training sessions to events with participants numbering in the hundreds, formats run the gamut but the objective stays the same: to shape the future of Hager Group together.

See the video: Hager Forum Flashback I 12 highlights in 2018


Boost good practices and celebrate the successes of Hager Group

Over the course of the year, Hager Forum has hosted numerous employee events to celebrate achievements and encourage initiative. However, two events designed with the company's transformation in mind made a particular splash: the launches of the Agile community and Tech Days.

When it comes to training sessions, customers are in the limelight: training events are the customers' chance to discover Hager's solutions and services. This is important because the company strives to maintain a close relationship with its partners.


Hager Forum: the catalyst of Hager Group

224 in 2018 meant roughly 3,300 customers, partners and employees. Their guides – passionate salaried employees volunteering their time – took them on an immersive journey to explore our history, our values, our solutions and our production tool.

In the space of a few days in March 2018, nearly 200 customers from 11 countries turned out for Frankfurt's Light&Building fair! It was a shining moment for the teams, who broke their record again in October with 39 visits or nearly 600 visitors. This is key to the Hager Group community’s continued expansion and consolidation.


Hager Forum as a scout

Hager Forum is a window to the outside world: to learn, explore and never shy away from bold issues – that's the goal we've set out to accomplish with cutting-edge conferences and workshops. Some spotlighted subjects: the big trends of tomorrow with futurist Anne-Lise Kjaer, the circular economy with economics and sustainability expert Leo Johnson; the meaning of impossible, culminating in a Creativity Week conference with Cathy O'Dowd, the first woman to climb Everest. Various aspects of business ethics were explored during Positive Impact Week: conference-debate with Roger Steare, corporate philosopher, educational workshop on conflict metals and improv theatre.

Capping 2018 was an event many called "the best conference of the year". Expert Daniel Hulme demystified artificial intelligence and shared his thoughts on its impact in our lives today and moving forward. It was a healthy dose of inspiration for everyone! And a good opportunity to invite partners or customers to enjoy a nice time on site, remotely on hagerforum.com live or offline.

We'll see you in 2019!


The list of external collaborations and synergies goes on, notably the Peter-und-Luise Hager Foundation-backed Obernai Music Festival concert or Industrie Magnifique, the occasion for Mann auf Stier, the statue normally perched at the Hager Forum entrance, to get out and see the world, starting with the people of Strasbourg. But we prefer you learn about our most shining accomplishments in the video: Hager Forum Flashback I 12 highlights in 2018.


Keep your eyes peeled, the 2019 programme will be inspiring! 


See you soon!

Obernai, 21.12.2018

Talk : Artificial intelligence for humans

„Best conference ever!“ During his talk on 15.11.2018 at Hager Forum, Daniel Hulme, our guest and expert in artificial intelligence (AI), took the audience on a journey to the world of artificial intelligence with his optimistic and lively style. Daniel succeeded in explaining this bewildering topic simply and effectively. He shed light on the impact it would eventually have on our future economy, environment, culture, ethics... as well as our jobs and corporate structures. His audience thrilled to the highly topical themes raised. 


Discover the talk: Artificial intelligence I Daniel Hulme

Machine Learning. Cobots. Virtual Reality. These and many other topics relating to artificial intelligence are apparently widely known, but what exactly do they mean? Will AI give us new impulses in our work? How to bring people and AI together to create amazing innovations?



Can artificial intelligence take care of decision-making for us?

After automation comes optimisation. To devise optimal decision-making processes, we need machine learning, deep learning, data sciences. However, for data scientists, decision-making is a very different set of skills than machine-learning. France, Germany, and Australia are very strong at this subject. But these skills in the field of "decision science" are often under-represented in industry. And the true trick to build systems that drive value in organisations is figuring out how to combine these three different technologies to achieve optimal decision-making processes.


Daniel Hulme’s Best-of 

  • “[exponential problems] They get very ugly, very quickly. Humans can deal with 7 or less, computers can probably deal with about 40 or less, but beyond that you need to get very clever at solving those problems. And this is the world of AI.”
  •  “When I go into organisations and the organisation wants to build an AI solution to replace or do the job of a human, I’ll go to the human and find out how they are making their decisions. What data are they using? And we use that as the starting point.”
  • “I think that AI right now is able to free us from these mundane tasks that we’re doing. And I think that’s amazing because it means we’re going to be able to go and do more interesting things.”


A few recommendations to better understand artificial intelligence and our future: 


See you soon!


Dr. Daniel Hulme – Artificial intelligence expert, entrepreneur and university lecturer

Dr. Daniel Hulme speaks from the point of view of a developer, researcher and entrepreneur: he is Director of the Business Analytics Masters’ programme at the University College London, where he is also a lecturer and researcher, as well as being the founder and CEO of a company specialised in applied artificial intelligence. Additionally, he advises the government of Dubai on artificial intelligence related issues.

Artificial intelligence explained to humans

The circular economy: a model for the future?

Obernai, 30.10.2018

The circular economy: an economic model for the future?

On September 28, Leo Johnson, our guest expert on sustainable development, projected his audience into the future at Trend Session #7 using four different economic models - exponential technologies, linear, post-linear and circular. Leo Johnson asked the question: Which model is future-proofed, in other words sustainable for the economy, the people and our planet? He used persuasive examples to show how it is becoming necessary for us to shift a linear - mass - economy to a sustainable - closed-loop approach.


Discover the video: The circular economy: a model for the future?



Leo Johnson‘s ‘Best-of’

  • “There’s narrow circular where you think inside the box. You think inside the particular sphere you’re operating in and you optimise within your sphere. But then there’s big circular. And I think what big circular looks at is a whole ecosystem and a whole society.”
  • “[This scenario] is a completely new world of hyper loops[1], of mega drones, of space travel, of abundant energy where energy efficiency probably disappears as a preoccupation because energy will be free in a stock scenario. But in a second scenario, energy sufficiency becomes crucial for mainstream businesses, why? Because suddenly, everything is very, very tight.”


[1] Hyperloop is an industrial research project launched in 2013 by Elon Musk. Originally, Hyperloop consisted of a raised double tube in which capsules carrying passengers and/or goods moved.


The circular economy: an economic model for the future?

"Extract, make, throw away": this is the principle of our linear economic system... And what if we could trade and produce based on a circular system in line with three main principles: preserve natural capital, optimise resources, eliminate adverse impacts? Service economy, sharing, cradle-to-cradle, industrial ecology, biomimicry, the blue economy: many companies have applied these concepts. And successfully! Explanations and specific examples will be offered during the talk.


What can a circular economy look like in concrete terms?

In a world where natural resources are becoming increasingly limited, we can imagine goods and services in a leasing system. This can also apply to equipment, cars, but also clothing, car mats or services. Rather than selling a product, we sell its use, its function. Recycling is considered from the product design phase. What happens to the product at the end of its life cycle? We recycle these materials. We (re)use recycled materials. They are available! Companies like Michelin, Drive and Away, Tata Motors or M-KOPA have already taken this on board.


To explore the future, we suggest that you:


See you soon!



Speaker: Leo Johnson, expert in economics and sustainable development

Leo Johnson is an expert in sustainable development, and co-founder of Sustainable Finance (PwC). He advises more than 50 companies and banks. He specialises in identifying environmental and societal megatrends that offer business opportunities.


Obernai, 04.07.2018

Hager Forum, the company in the era of collaboration

For the last three years, Hager Forum has symbolised and supported the transformation of Hager Group. Spotlight on our activities and highlights: internal and external interactions, events, partnerships to develop business, innovation and local commitment... Towards even greater collaboration!

We needed a space to foster meetings and exchanges between members of the Hager community and the outside world. This was the idea of Daniel Hager, CEO of Hager Group, to facilitate the transition to the future, towards a more innovative, more interconnected and collaborative company. This led to the opening of Hager Forum on July 4th 2015. Today, we look back at three years of activity marked by: increased interactions, numerous events, cooperation for innovation and the local community.

Discover the video : 3 years of collaboration at Hager Forum.


A place for customers and employees to exchange ideas and foster collaboration  

In three years, more than 11,000 customers and institutions have come from France, Germany and more than 50 countries to discover the company. "What do we share with our partners as they visit Hager Forum and the Obernai production site? Hager's history, our commitment to quality, which can be seen on our production lines, our innovative solutions and the future development of our brand worldwide" said Valter Moreira, Americas manager, during his visit to the Light and Building 2018.

Another original way to experience Hager's know-how: The Design Team based at Hager Forum has been inviting customers or partners to take part in hands-on workshops since 2016.

Not forgetting the thousands of training sessions and meetings conducted in the fifteen rooms available to customers, employees and training services. 


Events to inspire, share, and collaborate

What could be better than events for meeting, exchanging and celebrating? Hager Group's various departments have used the site to organise all kinds of events: Tech Days, conventions, kick offs, product launches, graduation ceremonies, Young Talent Days and annual international team meetings. It is also the favourite spot for internal networks:corporate women’s network, trainees and apprentices community, etc.

As a true catalyst for change, Hager Forum also hosts conferences and workshops to inspire, experiment and foster innovation. The talks are open to all on-site employees and are available online and offline on hagerforum.com. The latest one, featuring Roger Steare, was part of the Positive Impact Week. "The subject was disconcerting at first because we are not used to considering ethics and business together, especially from a philosophical angle - that's really innovative. There was a questioning and introspection phase, followed by a discussion with the others. It was interesting. We are generally fairly passive in these events, although we did have a relatively interactive role at the previous talk, which was great" enthused one participant after the event.

Twice a year, at the Trend Sessions we explore the future with an expert and anticipate future changes.


A dynamic of openness towards external collaboration

And that's not all! Every now and again events are organised jointly with partners: companies, institutions, networks or associations. Cooperation has started with local youth, environment and culture associations. For example, for the last three years, the Peter-und-Luise Hager Foundation has been supporting a concert at the Obernai Music Festival which takes place inside Hager Forum. This year, art was more present than ever: the statue entitled Mann auf Stier, placed in front of Hager Forum, travelled to Strasbourg city centre as part of the Industrie Magnifique event. This is just one more original way to get in touch with our community.


Links are forged in a great many ways at Hager Forum. The diversity of activities reflects the many interactions taking place between employees, customers, partners and the outside world. This rich diversity augurs well as we move towards a future that remains full of surprises. 


See you soon!

Obernai, 28.06.2018

Business ethics, when the company reconciles profits and values

Business ethics is one of the three major strands of corporate social responsibility within Hager Group. The Sustainable Development Week this year will have helped to raise awareness on this topic, including a new conference format. 


Business ethics: the central theme of European Sustainable Development Week at Hager Forum

The third edition of the Positive Impact Week, the Hager Group version of the European Sustainable Development Week followed on from the previous one: "The company of tomorrow will either be ethical or it will not last." (Emmanuelle Duez). Why? "Business ethics is crucial for Hager Group because we need it to build trust, and trust is the foundation of lasting relationships", he recalled by way of introduction.


In this spirit, participants were called upon to consider this question: In business, do we have to choose between profits and integrity? What attitude should we adopt in the face of an ethical dilemma? What social and environmental impacts can arise from our personal and professional choices?


A disconcerting conference/debate in a café-philosophy spirit that challenges employees on the issue of business ethics

Roger Steare, The Corporate Philosopher, had already told us about it. It's not so much a conference as a conversation. Hager Forum has never lived up to its name so well! Introspection, discussions among participants and with the speaker. Exchange was the keyword.

And it came along with a number of key messages attached:

  • "The most important thing is to create a corporate culture where we can discuss and debate what needs to be done together.”
  • "We also need to create opportunities to make decisions together.”
  • Work transforms most of us into compliant robots driven by fear. But fear is the worst enemy of ethical decisions.
  • Contrary to popular belief, pay, prestige and pressure are not drivers at work. Humans need purpose, to progress and to play. Roger Steare summed up the situation by saying that it is a matter of finding "the right balance between a common objective, moral values and simple rules."

Go here for the highlights of the conference: Good Business, A choice between profits and integrity? Roger Steare. 


 "Ethics is knowing the difference between what you have a right to do and what is right to do." (Potter Stewart)


Experimentation and humour, two ways to increase employee awareness of business ethics

If participants felt like actors in the opening conference, what about the other two participatory events organised to illustrate the theme?

Firstly, there was a practical workshop inspired by the fairphone company. Under the pretext of dismantling a mobile phone, employees go behind the scenes to learn specifically about the social and environmental issues surrounding rare metals. This is a chance for the sustainable development team to raise awareness around eco-design and to draw parallels with Hager products.

Professional ethics is a rather serious subject though, isn't it? We turned this on its head by using humour to make an impression. Three actors from Les Improvisateurs mixed sketches and improvisation to place the participants before ethical dilemmas. Between laughter and song, the final chorus was engraved in everyone's memory. "If you have an ethical problem send an email to …!"


Relive the best moments of the Positive Impact Week #3 in photos.


The last word is from a Hager Group employee attending the conference: "Ethics is something present in our daily lives and should be taken into account in our industrial activities and in our personal lives.”

That's why the Positive Impact Week #3 is on the agenda of the sustainable development team which has just launched an internal programme revolving around ethics. The debate around ethics is only just getting started!


Watch or re-view our previous conferences and discover the programme of upcoming events at Hager Forum.


They were there and can testify! 

"The subject was disconcerting at first because we are not used to considering ethics and business together, especially from a philosophical angle - that's really innovative." A Hager Group employee.


"It may also be a way to approach them in a slightly different way while asking serious and real questions." A Hager Group employee after seeing Les Improvisateurs perform.


See you soon!


Good Business, A choice between profits and integrity?

Global Website Privacy Notice

Last update: May 2018

At Hager, we respect your privacy and we want to be transparent about the types of personal information we collect about you and how we use it. In this Website Privacy Notice (hereafter the "Notice"), we explain who we are, how we collect, share and use personal information we obtain from you when you visit a web platform (hereafter the "Website"), and how you can exercise your privacy rights.

Please note that this Notice describes the collection of personal information that takes place generally on all Hager websites and the specific processing activities that take place on each Hager websites may be different. Therefore, some of the processing activities described in this Notice might not apply to the particular Hager website that you are visiting.

If you have any questions or concerns about our use of your personal information, then please contact us using the contact details provided at the bottom of this Notice.

The Website that you are visiting is managed by the local Hager affiliate (hereafter "Hager"), who is the data controller for all personal information that is collected via a Website.

1. Quick links

We recommend that you read this Notice in full to ensure you are fully informed.  However, if you only want to access a particular section of this Notice, then you can click on the relevant link below to jump to that section.

  1. What personal information we collect and why
  2. For what purposes we use your personal information
  3. Who we share your personal information with
  4. Transfers of personal information outside the EU/EEA
  5. How long we store your personal information
  6. How we protect your personal information
  7. Minors
  8. What data protection rights you have and how you can exercise them
  9. External links
  10. Updates to this Notice
  11. How to contact us

2. What personal information we collect and why
We collect various types of personal information on our Website. The personal information that we may collect about you broadly falls into the following categories:

  • Information that you provide voluntarily
    Certain parts of our Website may ask you to provide personal information voluntarily, including:
  •  your contact details: such as first and last name, date of birth, address, phone number, e-mail address, gender;
  • details about the products/services you are using or interested in;
  • credit card details;
  • business contact details, including your business affiliation;
  • CVs and job applications for online recruitment purposes.

 The personal information that you are asked to provide, and the reasons why you are asked to provide it, will be made clear to you at the point we ask you to provide your personal information.

  • Information that we collect automatically

When you visit our Website, we may collect certain information automatically from your device.  In some countries, including countries in the European Economic Area, this information may be considered personal information under applicable data protection laws.

Specifically, the information we collect automatically may include information like your IP address, device type, unique device identification numbers, browser-type, preferences, broad geographic location (e.g. country or city-level location) and other technical information.  We may also collect information about how your device has interacted with our Website, including the pages accessed and links clicked. 

Collecting this information enables us to better understand the visitors who come to our Website, where they come from, and what content on our Website is of interest to them.  We use this information for our internal analytics purposes and to improve the quality and relevance of our Website to our visitors.

We use cookies and similar tracking technology (collectively, “Cookies”) to collect and use personal information about you.  For further information about the types of Cookies we use, why, and how you can control Cookies, please see our Cookie Notice.

  • Information that we obtain indirectly from third parties

From time to time, we may receive personal information about you that we obtain from other sources (for example: installers when they create an account on your behalf on one of our Websites).

The types of information we collect from third parties may include: email address, details about your existing installation, etc. We use this information to maintain and improve the accuracy of the records we hold about you, to provide technical assistance for the setting-up or maintenance of our solutions and to manage our customer account relationship with you.

3. For what purposes we use your personal information
We use the personal information we collect from you for the following purposes:

  • to create your account on our Website;
  • to communicate efficiently with you and to answer any questions or queries you may have;
  • to manage your online purchases on our Website;
  • to administer and monitor the stability and performance of our Website in order to improve it;
  • to ensure the content on our Website is relevant to you and is presented in the most effective manner for you;
  • to notify you when updates of our Website are available and of changes to any products or services we offer or provide through it;
  • to send you information or promotions on our products and proposed services;
  • to subscribe you to our newsletter;
  • to send you personalized advertisements that we think may interest you based on your preferences and your use of our Website;
  • to understand your preferences and improve your experience and customer satisfaction when you visit our Website and our services;
  • to carry out statistical analyses on the use of this Website and visit frequency; and
  • for online recruitment purposes (please read the Jobs Application Privacy Notice that is available on our Website.

We will use the personal information we collect from you only for the purposes described in this Notice or for purposes that we explain to you at the time we collect your personal information.

4. Who we share your personal information with
We may disclose your personal information to the following categories of recipients:

  • to Hager affiliates, third party service providers and partners who provide data processing services to us (for example, to support the delivery of, provide functionality on, or help to enhance the security of our Website), or who otherwise process personal information for purposes that are described in this Notice or notified to you when we collect your personal information;
  • to any competent law enforcement body, regulatory, government agency, court or other third party where we believe such disclosure is necessary (i) as a matter of complying with applicable laws or regulations, (ii) to exercise, establish or defend our legal rights, or (iii) to protect your vital interests or those of any other person;
  • to a potential buyer (and its agents and advisers) in connection with any proposed purchase, merger or acquisition of any part of our business, provided that we inform the buyer it must use your personal information only for the purposes disclosed in this Notice;
  • to any other person with your consent to the disclosure.

5. On what legal basis we process your personal information
We will process the personal information collected on our Website based on the necessity to manage our relationship with you, based on our legitimate interests which will depend on the personal information concerned and the specific context in which we collect it, or based on your consent.

If we ask you to provide personal information to comply with a legal requirement or to perform a contract with you, we will make this clear at the relevant time and advise you whether the provision of your personal information is mandatory or not (as well as of the possible consequences if you do not provide your personal information).

Similarly, if we collect and use your personal information in reliance on our legitimate interests (or those of any third party), we will make clear to you at the relevant time what those legitimate interests are.

6. Transfers of personal information outside the EU/EEA
We operate at a global level and, as a result, your personal information may be transferred to, and processed in, countries other than the country in which you are resident. In some cases, these countries may be located outside the European Union / European Economic Area (EU/EEA) and therefore may have data protection laws that are different to the laws of your country of residence.

Specifically, our Website servers are located in the EU/EEA, but we may share or give access to your personal information to Hager affiliates, third party service providers and partners who may be operating outside the EU/EEA (for example, we may use web hosting providers or cloud computing service providers who store or access your personal information outside the EU/EEA).

Where that is the case, we make sure that your personal information is transferred to third countries outside the EU/EEA that are deemed "adequate" by the European Commission (a list of adequate countries is available here [link]), or alternatively, where your personal information is not sent to a country that provides adequate protection, we will put in place appropriate safeguards to guarantee that your personal information remains protected while it is being processed outside the EU/EEA in accordance with applicable privacy laws. These appropriate safeguards may include signing the European Commission’s Standard Contractual Clauses with the Hager affiliate, third party service provider or partner outside the EU/EEA with whom we share your personal information. For further information about transfers of personal information outside the EU/EEA, please refer to the "How to contact us" section below.

7. How long we store your personal information
We will retain your personal information for as long as necessary to enable us to fulfil the purposes described in this Notice and where we have an ongoing legitimate business need to do so (for example, to provide you with a service you have requested).

Once the purpose for processing your personal information no longer exists, or the period of retention has expired, or if you ask us to delete your personal information, we may continue to store your personal information for a limited period of time if necessary to comply with applicable legal, tax or accounting requirements. 

When we no longer have a purpose to process your personal information, we will make sure your personal information is either deleted or anonymised.

8. How we protect your personal information
We are committed to ensuring the security of your personal information. We utilize robust precautions to protect the confidentiality and security of the personal information within our Website, by employing technological, physical and administrative security safeguards, such as firewalls and carefully developed security procedures, for example, when you enter confidential information (such as login credentials or information submitted from within the Website). We encrypt the transmission of that information using secure socket layer technology (SSL). These technologies, procedures and other measures are used in an effort to ensure that your personal information remains safe, secure, and only available to you and to those you authorized to access your personal information. However, no internet, e-mail or other electronic transmission is ever fully secure or error free, so you should take care in deciding what information you send to us in this way.

9. Minors
The services we provide on this Website are not intended for individuals below the age of 18. If you are under 18, please do not provide your personal information on this Website.

10. What data protection rights you have and how you can exercise them
You have the following data protection rights:

  • You may request access to and obtain a copy of your personal information.
  • You may also request that any personal information that is inaccurate or incomplete be rectified or completed.
  • You may request that your personal information be erased under certain legal conditions (for example, where the personal information is no longer needed to achieve the purposes for which the information was initially collected). 
  • In addition, you may object to the processing of your personal information, ask us to restrict processing of your personal information or request portability of your personal information under certain legal conditions.
  • You have the right to opt-out of electronic marketing communications we send you at any time and free of charge.  You can exercise this right by clicking on the “unsubscribe” or “opt-out” link in the marketing e-mails we send you.  To opt-out of other forms of marketing (such as postal marketing or telemarketing), then please contact us using the contact details provided under the “How to contact us” heading below.
  • Similarly, if we have collected and process your personal information with your consent, then you can withdraw your consent at any time.  Withdrawing your consent will not affect the lawfulness of any processing we conducted prior to your withdrawal, nor will it affect processing of your personal information conducted in reliance on lawful processing grounds other than consent.
  • You have the right to complain to a data protection authority about our collection and use of your personal information.  For more information, please contact your local data protection authority. Contact details for data protection authorities in the European Economic Area, Switzerland and certain non-European countries (including the US and Canada) are available here.

You may exercise any of the rights above at any time by contacting us as described under the “How to contact us” section below. We will respond to your request in accordance with applicable data protection laws. 

11. External links
If any part of our Website provides links to third party websites, those websites do not operate under this Notice. We are not responsible for the online collection on third parties' websites and we recommend you examine the privacy notices posted on those websites to understand their procedures for collecting, using and disclosing personal information.

12. Updates to this Notice
We may update this Privacy Notice in response to changing legal, technical or business developments and where that is the case, we will provide an updated version of this Privacy Notice on our Website.

You can see when this Privacy Notice was last updated by checking the “last update” date displayed at the top of this Privacy Notice. 

13. How to contact us
If you have any questions, concerns or complaints about this Notice, or the way we process your personal information, or if you want to exercise your rights as described above, please use this request form.

If you are a customer of Hager, please also note our Global Customer Privacy Policy.

Global Cookie Notice

Last updated: May 2018

At Hager, we respect your privacy and we want to be transparent about the types of personal information we collect about you and how we use it. In this Cookies Notice (the "Notice") we explain how Hager and other affiliates of the Hager group ("Hager") use cookies and other similar technology ("Cookies") to recognise you when you visit our website at www.hagerforum.com and our other websites (the "Website"). We also explain what these technologies are and why we use them, as well as your rights to control our use of them.

Please note that this Notice describes what types of Cookies we use generally on all our Websites and the specific Cookies that are used on each Website may be different. Therefore, some of the Cookies described in this Notice might not apply to the particular Website you are visiting.

What are cookies?
Cookies are small data files that are placed on your computer or mobile device when you visit a website.  Cookies are widely used by website owners in order to make their websites work, or to work more efficiently, as well as to provide reporting information. 

Cookies set by the website owner (in this case, Hager) are called "first party cookies".  Cookies set by parties other than the website owner are called "third party cookies".  Third party Cookies enable third party features or functionality to be provided on or through the website (e.g. like advertising, interactive content and analytics).  The parties that set these third party Cookies can recognise your computer both when it visits the website in question and also when it visits certain other websites. 

Why do we use Cookies?
We use first party and third party Cookies for several reasons. Some cookies are required for technical reasons in order for our Website to operate, and we refer to these as "essential" or "strictly necessary" Cookies. Other Cookies also enable us to track and target the interests of our users and to enhance the experience on our Website. Third parties serve Cookies through our Website for advertising, analytics and other purposes. This is described in more detail below.

The specific types of first and third party Cookies served through our Website and the purposes they perform are described in the table below. 

Types of Cookies

Who serves these Cookies

How to refuse

Essential website cookies: These cookies are strictly necessary to provide you with services available through our Website and to use some of its features, such as access to secure areas. 

These are essentially first party cookies that are set by Hager.

Because these cookies are strictly necessary to deliver the Website to you, you cannot refuse them.

You can block or delete them by changing your browser settings however, as described below under the heading "How can I control Cookies?"

Performance and functionality cookies: These cookies are used to enhance the performance and functionality of our Website but are non-essential to their use.  However, without these cookies, certain functionality like view settings may become unavailable.

These are first party cookies set by Hager or third party cookies (such as Google).

To refuse these cookies, please follow the instructions below under the heading "How can I control Cookies?"

For more information about how Google uses cookies and how you can manage your Cookies, please click here.

Analytics and customisation cookies: These cookies collect information that is used either in aggregate form to help us understand how our Website is being used or how effective are marketing campaigns are, or to help us customise our Website for you.


We essentially use Google Analytics for analytics cookies. This is a third party cookie.

To refuse these Cookies, please follow the instructions below under the heading "How can I control Cookies?"

For more information about Google Analytics, please read the section "Google Analytics" below or visit Google's website at: https://analytics.google.com

Advertising cookies: These cookies are used to make advertising messages more relevant to you.  They perform functions like preventing the same ad from continuously reappearing, ensuring that ads are properly displayed for advertisers, and in some cases selecting advertisements that are based on your interests.


These are first party cookies set by Hager or third party cookies (such as DoubleClick that is owned by Google).

To refuse these Cookies, please follow the instructions below under the heading "How can I control Cookies?"

For more information about DoubleClick and how you can manage your Cookies, please visit Google's cookies page here.

Social networking cookies: These cookies are used to enable you to share pages and content that you find interesting on our Website through third party social networking and other websites.  These cookies may also be used for advertising purposes too.


We enable you to register onto our Websites by using your Facebook account. As a result, a third party cookie that is used by Facebook may be posted on your device.

To refuse these Cookies, please follow the instructions below under the heading "How can I control Cookies?"

For more information about Facebook Cookies, please read Facebook's cookies page here.

For a full list of the cookies we use, please click on the link here:  hagerforum.com/cookies-list

What about other tracking technologies?
Cookies are not the only way to recognise or track visitors to a website.  We may use other, similar technologies from time to time, like web beacons (sometimes called "tracking pixels" or "clear gifs").  These are tiny graphics files that contain a unique identifier that enable us to recognise when someone has visited our Website (or opened an e-mail that we have sent them).  This allows us, for example, to monitor the traffic patterns of users from one page within our Website to another, to deliver or communicate with Cookies, to understand whether you have come to our Website from an online advertisement displayed on a third-party website, to improve site performance, and to measure the success of e-mail marketing campaigns.  In many instances, these technologies are reliant on Cookies to function properly, and so declining Cookies will impair their functioning.

Flash Cookies or Local Shared Objects
Our Website may also use so-called "Flash Cookies" (also known as Local Shared Objects or "LSOs") to, among other things, collect and store information about your use of our services, fraud prevention and for other site operations.

If you do not want Flash Cookies stored on your computer, you can adjust the settings of your Flash player to block Flash Cookies storage using the tools contained in the Website Storage Settings Panel. You can also control Flash Cookies by going to the Global Storage Settings Panel and following the instructions (which may include instructions that explain, for example, how to delete existing Flash Cookies (referred to "information" on the Macromedia site), how to prevent Flash LSOs from being placed on your computer without your being asked, and (for Flash Player 8 and later) how to block Flash Cookies that are not being delivered by the operator of the page you are on at the time).

Please note that setting the Flash Player to restrict or limit acceptance of Flash Cookies may reduce or impede the functionality of some Flash applications, including, potentially, Flash applications used in connection with our services or online content.

Advertising cookies
Third parties may serve Cookies on your computer or mobile device to serve advertising through our Website. These companies may use information about your visits to this and other Websites in order to provide relevant advertisements about goods and services that you may be interested in. They may also employ technology that is used to measure the effectiveness of advertisements. This can be accomplished by them using Cookies or web beacons to collect information about your visits to this and other sites in order to provide relevant advertisements about goods and services of potential interest to you. The information collected through this process does not enable us or them to identify your name, contact details or other personally identifying details unless you choose to provide these.

Google Analytics
This Website uses Google Analytics, a web analysis service from Google Inc. (“Google”). Google Analytics uses Cookies, or text files. These are saved on your computer and allow your usage of the website to be analysed. The information generated by the Cookie about your usage of this Website is generally sent to a Google server in the USA and saved there. However, if IP anonymisation is activated on this Website, your IP address is shortened by Google within the member states of the EU or in other contracting states to the Agreement on the European Economic Area. Only in exceptional cases is the full IP address sent to a Google server in the USA and shortened there. Google will use this information on behalf of the operator of this Website to evaluate your usage of the Website, to compile reports about the Website activities and to perform further services connected to Website usage and Internet usage in its dealings with the Website operator. The IP address sent by your browser as part of Google Analytics is not combined together with other data by Google.

You can prevent these Cookies from being saved by making an appropriate setting in your browser software. However, you may then not be able to use all the Website's functions to their full extent.

You can also prevent the data (incl. your IP address) generated by the Cookie and related to your usage of the Website from being sent to Google and processed by Google by using the above-mentioned opt-out links. More information is available at https://analytics.google.com.

How can I control Cookies?
You have the right to decide whether to accept or reject Cookies. You can exercise your Cookie preferences by clicking on the appropriate opt-out links provided in the Cookie table above.

You can set or amend your web browser controls to accept or refuse Cookies. If you choose to reject Cookies, you may still use our Website though your access to some functionality and areas of our Website may be restricted. As the means by which you can refuse Cookies through your web browser controls vary from browser-to-browser, you should visit your browser's help menu for more information.

You can generally accept or decline the use of cookies through a functionality built into your web browser.  

Click here to learn more about the “Private Browsing” setting and managing cookie settings in Firefox;

Click  here to learn more about “Incognito” and managing cookie settings in Chrome;

Click  here to learn more about “InPrivate” and managing cookie settings in Internet Explorer; or

Click  here to learn more about “Private Browsing” and managing cookie settings in Safari.

In addition, most advertising networks offer you a way to opt out of targeted advertising.  If you would like to find out more information, please visit http://www.aboutads.info/choices/ or http://www.youronlinechoices.com.

Updates to this Notice
We may update this Notice in order to reflect, for example, changes to the Cookies we use or for other operational, legal or regulatory reasons.  Please therefore re-visit this Notice regularly to stay informed about our use of cookies and related technologies. 

The date at the top of this Notice indicates when it was last updated. 

For more information about how Hager is using your personal information, please read our Web Privacy Notice here.

Where can I get further information?
If you have any questions about our use of Cookies, or the way we process your personal information, please use the following form.  

It is not impossible...

Obernai, 22.05.2018

Creativity Week 2018 – You can achieve the impossible!

Beyond creativity: exchanges, synergies, new projects and a stirring conference

Pushing back the limits of what can be done, that was the motto of the 3rd Creativity Week at Hager Forum. Within the framework of the international week of creativity and innovation, employees and external partners took part in an exciting and interactive programme. Here are the highlights of this event!


“Failure is definitely an option!” A suspenseful and inspiring talk!

Over 230 participants listened with baited breath to Cathy O’Dowd’s riveting talk – both on site and on hagerforum.com. “Interesting and gripping, with concrete examples of managing challenging situations.”

The first woman to conquer Mount Everest, Cathy O’Dowd shared her experiences as an adventurer, as well as the skills required to achieve the impossible.  “It is about the people, about integrating the different kinds of expertise in the group (…), thinking beforehand about how to facilitate good communication, the ability to have a flexible path while still having a focused outcome.”

She drew clear parallels between her experiences and the project management skills needed in corporate life.


You can watch highlights from this talk here.



A week devoted to interaction

This year, interaction became the unofficial theme of Creativity Week.

During the conference, participants were able to interact with the speaker by answering a questionnaire on their smartphones.

27 staff members from a great variety of departments took part in innovation workshops in 6 teams. Their challenge was to create a visualisation of energy production through solar panels at Hager Forum. With the help of the innovation team and equipment from the Hager Group FabLab, the employee teams were able to develop original projects. Their creativity was highlighted through exchanges as well as by diversity within teams.

All 6 projects were presented during a pitching event. Audience and jury voted for the winning project: a visitor experience. Hager Forum will integrate this project into its guided visitor tour next year.


Creativity Week took place from April 16th – 20th 2018, and was organised by the Hager Forum team and by Corporate Strategy, Innovation & Business Development. It has shown that the impossible can be achieved, if we make team spirit, communication, and flexibility our watchwords, and allow ourselves to make mistakes. Collective intelligence produces conclusive results! New ideas and synergies were developed thanks to team diversity. Our colleagues were excited to discover creative working methods.

These are inspiring outcomes, and we are highly motivated to begin work on a new, creative programme for 2019.


[Save the date] Join us during our next live conference on 31th May 2018.


Watch (again) our previous talks.

See you soon!


Talk: Good business, a choice between profits and integrity? Roger Steare

Talk: Good business – A choice between profits and integrity?

Roger Steare


During his talk, Roger Steare will share an approach to business ethics with us. Together we will explore the concepts of societal interest, moral values, and some simple rules for a sustainable and successful business. 


Live Conference on www.hagerforum.com, Thursday May 31st from 13:00 to 14:30 (CET) 

Professor Roger Steare is The Corporate Philosopher. As an expert in leadership, culture and ethics, he works with large groups in the banking, technology, health, defence and engineering sectors.

Roger Steare has developed a programme of ethical governance that he gave to some 4,000 leaders of an oil group following an oil spill. He also worked with a large bank between 2009 and 2011. During this period, the company's profits increased by 55%.

The talk is in English with French translation broadcast live.


See or review our previous talks


Roger Steare's talk is part of Positive Impact Week #3 and of European Sustainable Development Week (ESDW) 

Positive Impact Week has been held every year for three years at Hager Forum as part of European Sustainable Development Week. It is co-organised by Hager Forum and the Hager Group Sustainable Development team. All Hager Group employees can participate in various activities around a central theme. The theme of this third edition is: "Ethics is something you do!”

During the previous Positive Impact Week, Emmanuelle Duez concluded her talk with the following words: "The company of tomorrow will either be ethical or it will not last.” This statement really hit home. What if we were to go deeper into the subject during this new edition?


What is an ethical company? How can we reconcile ethics and business? What are good reflexes and behaviours? It is only a short step from words to action. Take that step and join us at our next live talk.


From May 31st to June 4th 2018 at Hager Forum: "There are no ethical propositions, only ethical deeds." (Ludwig Wittgenstein)


See you soon!


Talk: "It is not impossible..." by Cathy O'Dowd

Talk: "It is not impossible..." by Cathy O'Dowd

16.04.2018 – 13:00 – 14:30 : How can we push back the barriers of the impossible?

Cathy O'Dowd will open the Creativity Week #3 with an inspiring and motivating keynote.


“11 days in, summit bid gone wrong, no food left, the plan has failed. When the impossible is staring us right in the face, what can we do next?”


Cathy O'Dowd was the first woman to climb Mount Everest twice: by the North and the South faces. The author and keynote speaker shares her experiences and talks about team spirit, leadership, problem-solving, perseverance, and creativity: All of these skills helped her and her team to overcome the impossible.

The session will take place in English, with simultaneous translation provided into French, and broadcast live on our website.

This event is co-organised with the team from Corporate Strategy, Innovation & Business Development and will take place at Hager Forum from April 16th to 20th during International Creativity and Innovation Week.


Watch (again) our previous talks.

See you soon!

Eight major changes on the horizon

Obernai, 01.03.2018

Trend Session #6: Eight major changes on the horizon

We were pleased to organise Trend Session #6 at Hager Forum on February 5th. On that occasion, our speaker, the futurist Anne Lise Kjaer explored the main trends of the coming years through the prism of the 4 P's: People, Planet, Purpose, and Profit

Three takeaways:

  •  “The most important skill in the future will be emotional intelligence.” In a world transformed by digital technology and artificial intelligence, social skills and empathy will be what create work environments conducive to employee commitment.
  • "According to some studies, value-oriented companies outperform their competitors by a factor of twelve to one: values really do pay off on the bottom line."
  • "By 2030, 80% of our building materials will come from the circular economy.” New business models will appear and we will have to adapt.

In conclusion: Now that we know what is happening, we can prepare for it. "The future is not just somewhere we go, we create the future.”

To explore the future, we suggest that you:

See you soon! 


Obernai, 29.01.2018

Another exciting year at Hager Forum in 2018

Best wishes for a successful and enjoyable year to you all!

The Hager Forum team is excited to wish you all the best for 2018.


Flashback to 2017

In 2017, a total of 2,650 customers and partners visited and 12,000 employees, customers or partners took part in events at Hager Forum. And more than 86,000 cups of coffee were drunk at Spark! Take a look at this minute and a half video.



Save the dates! The "Be the change" programme

We work with internal partners (innovation, sustainable development, transformation, etc.) to propose subjects related to the transformation of the company.


You can follow our conferences live or replay them on our website (in English and French). Share a fun and friendly moment with colleagues, customers or partners by organising a group viewing session.


Book your dates right now:


Trend Session #6 livestreamed. + info.

16.04 – 20.04

Creativity Week #3 - Theme: The impossible

including a livestreamed lecture. + info

31.05. – 02.06 

Positive Impact Week #3  - Theme: Ethics

including a livestreamed lecture + info


Hager Forum celebrates three years of existence

End of July 

Concert within the Obernai Music Festival

with the Foundation


Trend Session #7 livestreamed. 

Circular economy


Artificial Intelligence


2018 promises beautiful things!

Obernai, 05.02.2018

Trend Session #6: Eight major changes on the horizon

Trend Session #6: Eight major changes on the horizon

05.02.2018 – 13:10 - 14:10: Foreseeing the world of tomorrow 

Our next Trend Session will focus on the key trends of the next 5 to 10 years. Participate in this short conference in a well-established format with an external expert and an internal speaker who will put the major changes ahead in perspective.

What is it about?

Navigating through complexity, decoding to explore, rethinking and shaping our future; these are some of the many challenges we are facing. Major emerging trends are leading us into the future and we must grasp their full potential to bring new ideas to life.

In a context of globalisation, what will be the expectations of the stakeholders of tomorrow? How should organisations transform to meet them? What will be the right balance between value and values for businesses? How can we harness the most relevant trends to become the drivers of the changes that are coming?

The session will take place in English, with simultaneous translation provided into French. Follow the Trend Session live on our site

Cybersecurity & IoT

Obernai, 22.12.2017

Cybersecurity and the Internet of Things: an impossible equation?

The last conference of the year at Hager Forum, held on 27 November last, dealt with the issue of cybersecurity.

This is an extremely topical subject: on the one hand, because of the surge in the number of Internet users and the IoT, with so many devices exchanging data on their users; and on the other, because of the introduction in May 2018 of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which aims to strengthen and harmonise personal data protection for all EU nationals.

This is an important regulation for all citizens, consumers and individuals, but also for professionals who will have to reassert the company's bond of trust with its stakeholders, both internally (employees) and externally (customers and suppliers). 

Cybersecurity is one aspect of this regulation, and is an area that we can each address, which is why it was the subject of the conference.


Individuals can become the strongest link in cybersecurity

Ethical hacking and the psycho-sociology of cybersecurity were included on the conference agenda. While for Jamie Woodruff it is beyond any doubt that every company will get hacked in the next five years, he agrees with Jessica Baker that "Individuals are the central element of cybersecurity". Both speakers shared key insights for increasing vigilance and protecting our personal and professional data.

Dive (back) into the subject with the video of the conference.


Next appointment in 2018

We look forward to seeing you on February 5th from 1.10 to 2.10 pm (GMT +1) for a Trend Session on the major trends of the next 5 to 10 years. See you soon!

Obernai, 27.11.2017 – 13:00 - 14:30

Cybersecurity and the Internet of Things

Cybersecurity and the Internet of Things: an impossible equation?

More smart, less secure?

We would like to invite you to our forthcoming conference at Hager Forum on the subject of cybersecurity.

The subject

Mobile devices, homes, cars, office equipment, factories, supply chains and even... urban or energy infrastructures: everything is becoming interconnected and "smart".

Indeed, with nearly 4 billion Internet users on Earth and more than 50 billion connected objects by 2020, the data collected open up incredible prospects for all organisations: improving customer or user knowledge, optimising processes and designing new products or services.

Provided that the data is protected.

This is of great concern to organisations, whose data represent the new "black gold", but also to users, who ask questions like: Where do the data end up? Who, or what, are they shared with? Can they be easily hacked?

If our societies rely more and more on data mining, what psychological, sociological, technological and security challenges emerge for companies, users and society?


The speakers

Jessica Barker

Jessica Barker is Co-Founder of a Cyber Security Consultancy. She works with companies and the media to decipher the human, psychological and sociological aspects of online data security.

Jamie Woodruff

Jamie Woodruff is an ethical hacker. He raises awareness among various audiences at conferences, but also works with organisations, at their request, by helping to reveal the vulnerabilities of their computer systems.

You can follow the conference live on our website.
The session will take place in English, with simultaneous translation provided into French.

See or review our previous conferences.

The Blockchain revolution

Obernai, 02.11.2017

Trend Session #5: The Blockchain revolution

On 9th October, Trend Session #5, organised by Hager Forum, was held for all Hager Group employees. This particular form of event, which has now become emblematic, aims to explore future trends with an external speaker along with a testimonial from an in-house worker. This takes place in a compact one-hour format.
Trend Sessions are broadcast live on the website www.hagerforum.com and are accessible online to anyone interested, in French or English versions.

Blockchain can change the world
In her talk, Nell Watson highlighted Blockchain's transformation potential. This covers areas that are not limited to finance or smart contracts, such as the supply chain, energy, IoT or artificial intelligence. "Blockchain technology makes it possible to build a strong consensus. Everyone has access to the same information; the system is transparent and we are pretty sure that no third party can change this data."
The philosophy behind this technology is considered inviolable and is based upon trust and cooperation. It's a genuine revolution!

Revisit the video contents
To dive back into this fascinating and complex subject, we suggest that you can:
• Watch or re-watch our previous conferences
• Watch a 2-mn video on "Blockchain: an incredible technology"
• Re-watch the talk by Nell Watson during Trend Session #5 on YouTube.

We look forward to seeing you on 27th November from 1 pm to 2.30 pm (GMT+1) for a conference on cybersecurity. See you soon!

Obernai, 11.10.2017

The satisfaction of being a good host

Hager Forum: Interview with Christian Gras.

Christian Gras has been the new director of the Hager Forum since the beginning of 2017. In this interview, the director tells us about his ideas and plans for Hager Forum.

Christian, what exactly does Hager Forum stand for today?
For an exciting variety of functions and possibilities. On the one hand, it is a collaborative space for employees, partners and customers. For our employees it is a place to meet, to brainstorm or to take a break. We made sure Hager Forum is now known outside the region as a versatile venue, by hosting events like the Hager Group Tech Days, Young Talent Days, the Creativity Week, the Positive Impact Week and Trend Sessions, to name but the highlights. I believe one of my tasks will be to establish Hager Forum as an internationally known Convention Centre for Hager Group and their customers, employees and partners.

How do you picture this kind of international Convention Centre?
Russian or Chinese guests expect different kinds of service than Indian or American guests. We must be able to adapt to that, to offer our visitors an experience that leaves them with a truly lasting impression.

Do you mean that Hager Forum is rather aimed at international guests than at regional customers and neighbours?
No, it would cater to both. Since Hager Forum opened two years ago, it has received 10.000 customers and 20.000 other visitors. Of those, around 40% came from France, 20% from Germany and around 40% from other countries in 2016. In 2017 we expect fewer customers from France and Germany, while the numbers from other countries are expected to increase. Our Forum draws in visitors from further afield than we thought. In the future we would like to get to know our visitors even better, in order to provide them with a more individualised service.

How do you picture that?
We want to be able to adapt to our guests and their experiences, and to meet their needs. In order to do this, we must link our visitor data with the Hager Group’s customer information system. For example, when an electrician comes to Hager Forum for the third time, he is bound to have different interests and needs than his colleague who is visiting for the first time. But we need to be aware that a visitor has already been to see us several times. This leads us to the next challenge: for guests who already know and appreciate our interactive showrooms, we must think of other offers and features that we can present to them on their next visit. Over the next few months, we will be working with colleagues from the regional markets in order to better identify the needs of potential visitors.

One might say that with social media, nobody actually needs a real space to meet anymore. Nowadays, networking can be done digitally.
An actual meeting with real people is something that can never truly be replaced. Looking someone in the eye, shaking their hand, to say nothing of the atmosphere created by working, thinking and celebrating together: this is why you need face-to-face meetings. And for one-of-a-kind meetings, you need a one-of-a-kind space. Since the opening, the team here have done a really great job to make Hager Forum into such a unique venue.

How is Hager Forum going to develop over the coming years?
Hager Group has planned profound changes for the next few years. In this context, Hager Forum aims to be a place where relevant currents and trends worldwide are picked up on and analysed. A place that works like a magnet for interesting people the world over, who can contribute to the Hager Group’s vision here. And, last but not least, it should also send out clear signals to the world.

Hager Forum is attracting a lot of people – what brought you to Hager Forum personally?
I really enjoy building something through a collaborative process, as well as making people happy. That’s what I did during the eleven years I worked as the manager of a large hotel and congress centre in Alsace, and now I’m in a position to do something similar at Hager Forum. On top of that, I feel at home in companies with a friendly, robust, humane corporate culture. And Hager Group has a long tradition of hospitality. It would be great to further develop this tradition through Hager Forum.

Christian Gras, 52, comes from Lyon and studied at the Franco-German business school in Paris. After eleven years as Key Account Manager in the packaging industry, he switched to the hotel business ten years ago. He has been the new director of the Hager Forum since January 2017.

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Company culture in the 21st century, agility through the people

Obernai, 06.09.2017

Company culture in the 21st Century: Collaborative management, bottom up and collective intelligence

In keeping with its scout spirit and openness to the world, Hager Forum held the fourth Trend Session on June 26th around the subject of new management methods. Trend Sessions are short talks to explore trends, prepare for upcoming changes and inspire all employees. They are given by an external expert and are put into perspective by an in-house participant.

The company of 21th Century will…
… draw upon cooperative organisation and be based on collective intelligence. This was the theme set out by Irène Papaligouras, a management specialist who coaches major global groups and startups on strategy. Benoît Le Coutour, Logistics Manager at Bischwiller Plant 6, showed a real example of this: The approach rolled out among the teams at his factory has given convincing results on productivity and well-being at work.

As we wait for the next conference
170 people were present while others were able to follow the conference live via hagerforum.com. To extend the experience, we suggest that you:

• View or review the Trend Session #4 and our previous conferences.

• Discover our 2 minute video "About cooperation and autonomy in the company"

See you on October 9th from 1.10 to 2.10 pm (CET, Central European Time) for Trend Session #5.

Blieskastel, 1st March 2016

Hager Forum celebrates Chinese New Year

Hager Forum celebrates Chinese New Year

At the Obernai site, from 8th to 19th February Hager Forum held its first intercultural event in honour of China.

Hager Forum recently launched its first intercultural event based on the Chinese New Year. It was an opportunity to encourage international cooperation between different group entities and local partners.

From 8th to 19th February Spark and Hager Forum, in Obernai - France, hosted a series of activities; the aim being to build connections between the different group sites, strengthen intercultural character, introduce colleagues to Chinese culture and showcase company values to visiting customers. With this in mind, Hager Forum team worked with Chinese employees to create a programme that will be further developed with each passing year. “We want to make Hager Forum a real meeting place that brings together our company’s various stakeholders and different cultures.

This interactions and diversity is essential for all to benefit and develop new projects, both locally and internationally,” emphasised Ana Maria Arteaga, Hager Forum Manager.

Every day almost 400 people experienced the special Asian atmosphere at Hager Forum. This year the festivities were centred in Spark, with participants enjoying Chinese-inspired culinary specialities, receiving traditional lucky red envelopes and solving riddles. Flyers and the giant screen in Spark provided information about Hager Group presence in China and Chinese New Year traditions. Meanwhile, decorative lanterns and Chinese music set the mood.

Throughout the entire period there was also a photo booth where colleagues could have their photo taken wearing red monkey masks –2016 being the Year of the Monkey. In total, 150 photos of employees, customers and Italian visitors were put together to create an animated greeting card for Chinese employees from Huizhou, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing.

We would like to wish customers, partners and employees from China and everywhere else a Happy Year of the Monkey, full of cooperation.


Obernai, 1st March 2017

Thank you for celebrating the Chinese New Year at Hager Forum

Thank you for celebrating the Chinese New Year at Hager Forum

A festive atmosphere at Hager Forum, with activities open to all employees and visitors

Hager Forum, true showcase for company, aims to reflect the diversity and international scope of Hager Group. By organising festive events such as the Chinese New Year, we aim to give employees and visitors from here the chance to open up to the culture of employees on the other side of the world.

Around 500 people passed through the Spark each day to discover the festive atmosphere, specialities and information on the presence of Hager Group in China.
Twenty employees started Taï Chi. The most playful participated in the guessing game to try to win an assortment of Chinese teas.

Check out the video of the employees on our social networks! (Facebook,Linked In, You Tube)

Happy Year of the Rooster, one and all!

Obernai, 4 July 2017

Hager Forum celebrates its second birthday

After two years of existence, Hager Forum is on the up and up

Hager Forum was officially opened two years ago. Hager Forum is a showcase for the identity and know-how of the Hager Group. Lying at the heart of its largest industrial site, it was created to reinvent the way Hager Group interacts with its community and with the world: in a more collaborative and interconnected way, while being a genuine living space, a catalyst for change and innovation. Daniel Hager, Chairman of Hager Group Management Board, concluded his opening speech with this invitation: "It's up to us to breathe life into it and make it our Forum.". Two years later, job done?

A place with a high attendance
Here are some figures to give an initial idea: since 4th July 2015, approximately 30,000 people have taken part in one of the 500 visits or one of the 115 events held at Hager Forum. 40% of the customers who came to discover the company and what it had to offer in 2016 were from France, 20% from Germany and 40% from the rest of the world. The events, organised by Hager Forum or by the Hager Group’s departments (human resources, corporate communications, innovation), attracted close to 20,000 people. Moreover, countless employees use Hager Forum every day for meetings or cutting-edge technological training. Finally, as Hager Forum is also a place for informal meetings and exchanges, the more than 400 coffees consumed each day in the Spark cafeteria testify to the employees' attachment to this place for informal and/or co-working meetups.

Promoting innovation and enterprise
Hager Forum offers a wide range of events that embody and instil innovation, knowledge sharing and enterprise at all levels of the organisation: Trend Sessions, Creativity Week, Positive Impact Week, all of which are aimed at employees and are increasingly open to the world. "Our ambition as a 'catalyst for change' is to inspire and foster new ways of seeing things and new practices within the group, but also to forge a strong working relationship with our external partners" explains Hager Forum Director Christian Gras. The events were planned jointly with various departments internally (innovation, sustainable development, production team members, representatives of the change management project) to be as inclusive and relevant as possible. Eighteen months after the first event of this type, the participation rate continues to increase, with an average of 190 participants on site per conference at present. "The challenge now is to attract more remote participants to support Hager Forum outside our own walls, via the website that is growing steadily - but not only that", admits Christian Gras.

What's next?
The entire team is extremely committed to continually improving the quality of services and supporting the activities of Hager Group. However there are still a few outstanding issues, such as refining key quality and satisfaction indicators, improving customer experience with ever-greater attention to inter-cultural aspects, space planning, and the international reach of Hager Forum.

Christian Gras is encouraging: "I have every confidence in the team, in its ability to work together with all our internal partners at local and international level.  We must stay the course while continuing to embody and spread the corporate values and culture which continually shine through the various Hager Forum activities.“

Obernai, 27 June 2017

A more than positive assessment: from 29 May to 2 June 2017, more than 360 people took part in Positive Impact Week #2

As part of European Sustainable Development Week, Hager Forum and Hager Group's Sustainable Development Team offered an inspiring and engaging programme to employees and external partners, focusing on the intergenerational approach and equality.

A positive assessment
For this second edition, more than 360 people took part in the five activities organised: an exhibition on stereotypes, a serious game, an open innovation day with secondary school students in partnership with the local association from the Junior Achievement Worldwide network, a conference on generations at work and a gardening workshop. This was the best attendance since Hager Forum began to organise these events.

A conference that really left its mark
At a conference on generations at work, Emmanuelle Duez shared her vision of the company of tomorrow: "It will be caring and ethical". Her enthusiastic talk was met with unanimous and overwhelming enthusiasm: "The speaker was great and my colleagues and I were excited about the subject and her speech. All we need to do now is to spread and apply all of this".
A short 4-minute interview is available on our website. You can also find other 20-minute videos here or here.

In the face of such an enthusiastic response, the entire team is eager to prepare the third edition, which might be about ethics. See you in 2018!

“Generations at work: Reinventing the company”

Christian Gras

Christian Gras

Hager Forum
Hager Forum Director

 +33 3 69 55 63 63

132 boulevard de l'Europe
BP 3
67215 Obernai Cedex

Obernai, 6th June 2017

Back to Creativity week at Hager Forum

Promoting and sharing best practices for more creativity and innovation and giving Hager Group employees the chance to share with each other are just some of the ambitions of Creativity Week. From 24 to 28 April, Hager Forum and CAEIS, Corporate Advanced Engineering and Innovation Services, organised a packed programme to help boost creativity.

In total, nearly 250 people took part in the activities: the opening conference (livestreamed on Facebook), the stools customisation workshop and the Lego Serious Play®.

Some people were able to follow the inaugural conference “Close your eyes to see more” by Eric Brun-Sanglard, a visually impaired interior architect, which many people described as moving. You can watch it or rewatch it on Facebook, Linked In and YouTube as well as his three key tips for developing creativity (video in French).

Another day, another format: the Lego Serious Play® workshop during which employees expressed the conditions for fostering creativity within Hager Group:
"Creating a favourable atmosphere; having time for observation; mixing people (young, old, disabled, from different cultures, etc.); getting them to exchange; stepping outside the box; allowing ideas to sink in; opening up to the outside world; being able to be inspired using a 360 degree approach; stepping outside the box; being entitled to be wrong; exploring new ways of doing things; working with different people."

Finally, 240 people voted for their favourite customised stools created by employees.

We are looking forward to the next edition!

Conference “The future of work” - Corentin Orsini

Conference “Love can do, how to transform learning?”

Conference “Close your eyes to see more”

Eligibility requirements

"Carnival Photos Competition" game rules

For legal purposes the French version must be used. The French version has been translated into English as a linguistic reference only to facilitate comprehension, and cannot be used in a court of law.

Clause 1 – Organising Company

HAGER ELECTRO SAS, a Société par actions simplifiée[simplified joint stock company], registered on the Saverne company register under the number 675 980 114, the registered office of which is at 132 Boulevard de l’Europe, 67215 Obernai (hereafter the "Organising Company") is organising, from 16 February 2017 to 7 March 2017, a competition called the "Carnival Photos Competition" (hereafter the "Game").

Clause 2 – Competition period and access

The Game may be accessed on the Hager Forum Facebook page at the following address:http://www.facebook.com/hagerforum and via the link on the Organising Company’s website www. hagerforum.com.

No other method of entry (including by post or e-mail) will be taken into consideration.

The Game will take place from 16 February to 7 March 2017 and will be organised as follows:

- the entrants, who will be employees of the Organising Company, will have from 27 to 28 February 2017 (until 23:59, time in mainland France) to produce their photo, which must be taken on the Organising Company’s site and send it to the Organising Company in accordance with the terms and conditions below,

 -  voting will be continuously open to all web users who have previously "liked" the Hager Forum Facebook page (hereafter the “Voters”), from 3 March (as soon as the Game is online) to 7 March inclusive (until 12:00, time in mainland France), as attested by the date and time of connection.

Clause 3 – Game principle

To celebrate the Carnival 2017 festivities, the Organising Company is inviting its employees and co-workers, who so wish (hereafter the “Entrants”) to take part in the Game described below.

The Game consists of the Entrants dressing in carnival attire and posing for a group photograph at the premises of the Organising Company. That photo will be submitted to a vote by web users, from the Hager Forum Facebook page.

To be eligible, each group photograph must include between two (2) and (10) Entrants (hereafter the "Group") and must be sent to the following address: info@hagerforum.com, along with the names of the Entrants, by 23:59 on 28 February 2017.

Entrants may only pose on one photograph.

The photos will be published on the Hager Forum Facebook page by the Organising Company in order to be submitted to the Voters. 

At the end of voting, the winning Group will be the one whose photo obtained the most number of likes on the Hager Forum Facebook page.In the event of a tie between several Groups, the winning photos will be adjudicated by a Hager Forum panel consisting of 3 members of the Hager Forum team.

At the end of voting, two people will be randomly selected from the Voters and will be awarded the prize described in Clause 5 below.

Clause 4 – Terms and conditions of entry - registration

Entry to the Game is not subject to any obligation to purchase; it is reserved for the employees and co-workers of the Organising Company.

Voting is open to all Voters visiting the Hager Forum Facebook page, who have previously "liked" the page.Voting must be personal. The use of robot software or groups of entrants to influence voting is not permitted.

Entry to the Game implies full acceptance of these rules.To register, each Group and member must send a prior e-mail to info@hagerforum.com (i) expressly confirming that they have read and agreed to these rules and (ii) attach the permission to image rights provided, duly filled in and signed.

Entries to the Game will be cancelled if they are incorrect, incomplete, infringing or breach the provisions of these rules (including if one of the Entrants is part of more than one Group).

Clause 5 – Winning prizes

The Entrants in the winning Group will each win the following prize:

- a voucher for a meal in the restaurant "A la Cour D’Alsace", at 3 rue de Gail, 67210 Obernai.

Unit market value:€30 including VAT.The total amount of the prize may not be more than 300 euros including VAT (for 10 Entrants).

Vouchers will be valid for one year from their date of issue. If they are not used within that period, the winners will lose their prize.

The Organising Company may not be held responsible for the unavailability of the restaurant on the dates selected by the winners.

The two randomly selected Voters will win a Bluetooth speaker (JBL Flip 3) worth €94 including VAT.

Each prize is personal and non-transferable.No prize may, at the request of the winners, be redeemed for cash or for any other consideration of any kind, or be substituted for an equivalent prize.The Organising Company may, if circumstances beyond its control constituting a case of force majeure oblige it, replace each prize with an equivalent prize in terms of nature and value.

Clause 6 – Award of prizes

Each winner will receive an e-mail at the address given upon registration within ten (10) days of the closing date of the Game.

If all or some of the contact details provided by the winners (including their e-mail addresses) are invalid, false or incorrect, they will lose their prize.

In order to be taken into consideration, any complaint in relation to a prize won and not received must be sent, within one month of the date of receipt of the e-mail defined above, to the following address:info@hagerforum.com.

The complaint must mention the contact details of the winner or it will not be taken into consideration.

Clause 7 – Communication – Identity of the winners

Unless stated otherwise, the winning Entrants and Voters permit the Organising Company to use their names, first names, towns and county of residence in their communication in relation to the Game, regardless of the dissemination media used for that purpose (any printed document, press, posters, TV, radio, Web including social media sites, etc.).

Such permission, which is granted free of charge, is valid (i) worldwide and (ii) for a period of three (3) years from the closing date of the Game.

Clause 8 – Personal information

The only data collected and processed as part of the Game is the data communicated by the Entrants.That data shall be used solely within the framework of the Game.The Entrants expressly authorise the processing and storage of their data by the Organising Company for this purpose.

By submitting their Group photo, the Entrants expressly agree to their first names and last names appearing on the Hager Forum Facebook page, in the form of a comment attached to the published photo.

The Organising Company agrees not to "tag" the Entrants unless expressly requested.

In accordance with the provisions of the Data Protection Law no. 78-17 of 6 January 1978, amended by the Law on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data no. 2004-801 of 6 August 2004, Entrants have a right to access, amend and remove any information concerning them.To exercise that right, simply send an e-mail to the following address:info@hagerforum.com.

Clause 9 – Liability of the Organising Company

The liability of the Organising Company is strictly limited to awarding the prize effectively and validly won.

The Organising Company cannot be held liable for any malfunctions in relation to the internet itself or in relation to any intrusion, attempted intrusion or fraud resulting in failures in the administration, security, fairness, integrity or management of the Game.In particular, the Organising Company cannot be held liable for any errors, omissions, interruptions, erasures, the loss of any e-mails and, more generally, the loss of any data as a result.

The Organising Company cannot be held liable for internet congestion, the quality of web users’ equipment or the quality of their access method.As such, the Organising Company cannot be held liable if the electronic entry forms are not registered, are incomplete or are impossible to verify.

The Organising Company reserves the right to interrupt the Game temporarily or permanently in the event of unforeseeable issues beyond its control, which cannot be resolved with reasonable expense or effort.

Clause 10 – Image rights

The Entrants undertake to agree to the dissemination of their picture on all communication channels of the Organising Company (website, posters, social networks, digital communication, etc.).

Their entry to the Game is subject to the prior signing of an authorisation to image rights.

Clause 11 – Copyright

The photographs sent to the Organising Company as part of the Game must be free of all rights.Accordingly, each Group shall ensure, when sending its photograph, that the following conditions are met:

the photograph was taken by the Entrants and constitutes an original work;

the photograph does not contain or mention any trademark, logo or other distinctive sign (on the clothing worn, accessories or in the background) referring to a competitor of the Organising Company;

the photograph does not contain any element that infringes or violates any right whatsoever, including but not limited to, copyright, trademark rights or any other intellectual property right, publicity rights or the right to privacy of any natural or legal person;

All photographs sent to the Organising Company, in order to enter the Game, shall in no way violate any person or constitute gross indecency, an incitement to commit certain crimes or offences or any type of provocation, discrimination, hatred or violence.Similarly, photographs showing nudity are not permitted.

Photographs will be moderated by the Organising Company and will therefore be subsequently checked by it before being posted on the Hager Forum Facebook page.

By registering for the Game, each Entrant agrees that the photograph on which he/she appears may be disseminated and used on the page www.facebook.com/hagerforum for the duration of the Game.

Clause 12 - Moderation

The Organising Company reserves the right to remove any photograph/photographs or comment/comments which are indecent and/or contrary to public policy and/or may infringe upon human dignity. This list is not exhaustive.

Clause 13 – Amendment of the Game rules

The Organising Company reserves the right, if the circumstances so require, to amend, extend or terminate the Game early.Any amendment of the rules will be mentioned on the Hager Group Facebook page.

Clause 14 – Applicable law

The Game and these rules are subject to French law.


Proceed to the vote!

Proceed to the vote!

Be the jury of our first photo competition for Carnival 2017.

Visit our Hager Forum Facebook page from 3 to 7 March.

Vote for your favourite picture of the staff of Obernai, dressed for Carnival in the "Carnival 2017" album!

Two voters picked at random will win a Bluetooth speaker JBL Flip 3!

Are you ready?

To the Facebook Page


Game rules


"Love can do": How the economics of knowledge can transform learning

"Knowledge is by far the most essential economic resource”. In what ways does this formula have magnificent consequences? That is what Idriss Aberkane came to unveil at Hager Forum on November 29th, 2016. A conference where participants discovered the power of neuroscience for learning as well as innovation and work.

It is hard to summarise what Idriss Aberkane said, because he develops his subject in an imaginative, delicate and humorous way. He uses easily memorisable formulae to tackle difficult concepts drawn from economics, neuroscience and history. This article offers you some extracts and we invite you to watch the complete conference from Idriss Aberkane: How the economics of knowledge can transform learning.


"Knowledge is by far the most essential economic resource".

This well-acknowledged fact is the starting point from which Idriss Aberkane analysed the parameters of good learning. His conclusions encourage us to change the way we transmit knowledge but also how we assimilate it. As the author of the elegant formula φ(k) ∝ At, Idriss takes us on a journey into the fascinating world of the knowledge economy.


The economics of knowledge explained simply.

"This equation says: "The knowledge you will “download” is proportional to attention multiplied by time". Why multiplied? Because if one of the two things is zero, the entire thing is zero.” "In the knowledge economy, if you love something, you are going to give attention and time to it, you are going to learn more.”


"Who is Idriss Aberkane?"

Idriss Aberkane is an international consultant with three PhDs who has given more than 160 lectures on four continents, including five TEDx, and created three companies in France and Africa.

Stéphanie Formery

Stéphanie Formery

Hager Forum
Hager Forum Communication & CSR manager

 +33 7 86 61 08 77

132 boulevard de l'Europe
BP 3
67215 Obernai Cedex

Visitor experience

Hager Group’s latest building is designed to become a powerful catalyst for corporate development: a place that brings together a diversity of ideas, people and experiences and a place where new and innovative concepts and products are created.

Back to the future
Hager Forum takes visitors on an emotional journey through time, starting with the company’s history, then moving on to present solutions and finally a view of the future, with R&D and design. Most importantly, however, Hager Group’s latest building is designed to become a powerful catalyst for corporate development: a place that brings together a diversity of ideas, people and experiences and a place where new and innovative concepts and products are created. “We want Hager Forum to be a place of constant exchange and communication, both inside and outside Hager Group”, says Daniel Hager, CEO of Hager Group. “At the same time, Hager Forum will support innovation, knowledge transfer and entrepreneurial spirit at and across all levels of our organisation.” Translating these requirements into design was the challenge presented to Sauerbruch Hutton architects, who developed the building and interior architecture, and to Milla & Partner who were tasked with designing the exhibition spaces.

A Journey to the company’s roots
Hager Forum experience starts in the basement where visitors can delve deep and immerse into Hager Group’s history. A large chronological table spanning more than seven metres and featuring historical pictures from the 50s,  glass cabinets and historical artefacts takes visitors back to the company’s founding years. The group’s history continues in the Force Field, a presentation space equipped with a large tripod-shaped installation and with state-of-the-art multimedia technology. An immersive and emotional show experience familiarises visitors with the group’s essential values and character, telling the story of how, within the space of 60 years, a small company run by only three people developed into a multinational, family-run company with more than 11,400 employees.

Welcome to the here and now
Hager Forum presents Hager Group’s current product and solution portfolio for the private and commercial sectors. Additionally, there are a total of nine. The Hub, the central event space in Hager Forum, can be used for conferences, concerts and exhibitions with up to 400 participants. The event space thus offers an open and shared exchange platform for both Hager Group employees and visitors. The same is true for the café Spark, which is much more than just a well-equipped bistro: a meeting point, a retreat, a co-working space and a project room, because as we all know, great ideas aren’t born from being alone at our workplace. 

A view into the future
Hager Forum’s upper floor is mainly office space for the teams involved in all aspects of business development: the departments of Corporate Business Development, Corporate Design and Corporate Advanced Engineering & Innovation Services work in open office structures that facilitate communication, interdisciplinary teamwork and innovation. Innovation, cannot be made to order. However, certain conditions favor it, and that's what Hager Group has sought to establish with Hager Forum, an ambitious project that capitalises on sixty years of history and is intended to accelerate the development of the group.

About Hager Forum

Hager Forum is a 6 500 m² open, collaborative space, where visitors can meet, exchange, train, innovate and shape their future with Hager Group. To continue to grow and achieve its objectives, Hager Group has undertaken an ambitious process to change its corporate culture. At Obernai, in the heart of the largest industrial site in the group, Hager Forum embodies this new culture through the experience it provides to its visitors

The rationale behind Hager Forum

Hager Group is celebrating its 65th anniversary, looking back at a history marked by many milestones and successes. This is not least due to the fact that the company has always clearly defined its values and has never lacked the courage to innovate. The first Forum, built in 1992 on the historic site already Obernai, Alsace, had greatly contributed to the development of the company. A concept that has proven itself and that has been adapted to the requirements of the 21st century through the Hager Forum project, inaugurated in July 2015.

A catalyst, Hager Forum continues to serve as a space for encounters and exchanges, for knowledge transfer and development of competences.

This enables and drives a business culture focusing on innovation and entrepreneurial spirit at all organisational levels and on the continuous development of Hager Group brand. Daniel Hager summarises his view of the drivers behind Hager Forum as follows: “It is a new chapter in our history that all of us are writing together with our employees, customers and visitors. Hager Forum is our response to the necessity of having to adapt our ways of working to the challenges of the future, to perform and deliver even more successfully: more collaboration and more networking. We must continue to innovate if we want to be prepared for the challenges of the future and if we want to be able to access new markets – and that applies to how we present ourselves, to our products and to our worldwide image.”

Tangible innovation

With its combination of innovative technologies and tried-and-tested products, the singular building also serves as a real life showcase for applied Hager Group solutions. Visitors to Hager Forum thus have the opportunity to get a tangible impression of what electro-technical installations and building automation are able to do today and in the future.

Conspicuously powerful: the distribution board
The building’s electro-technical core is its main distribution board that distributes energy throughout the building. In Hager Forum, the distribution board is not hidden away in the basement it is a central eye-catcher, it is positioned between the main entrance and Spark café. “Unlike traditional showrooms, we don't just exhibit our solutions, we demonstrate them in live settings,” says Christophe Fix, in charge of this installation in Hager Forum. “If you want to see a perfect electro-technical installation for a complex building, Hager Forum is the right the place to visit.”

Smart solution: building automation
So what is the energy in the building used for? How intelligent, how smart can a commercial building be today? And how can a building be equipped to be both energy-efficient and comfortable?

The answers to these questions lie in building automation for which a true state-of-the-art solution was installed in Hager Forum.

Renewable energy: the photovoltaic system
A large part of the building’s energy requirements are produced in a most sustainable way by the building itself: 440 solar roof panels with a peak performance of 145.2 kW convert sunlight into electric energy for Hager Forum. Using Hager power inverters, the distribution board directly feeds the energy into the building. The system’s projected capacity of 150,000 kW hours per year is approximately 34 times as much as the consumption of an average household. More than 40% of the building’s energy requirements are thus produced in an environmentally and climate-friendly way.

Perfect interaction: Hager Group Brands
Besides outstanding individual solutions, one of Hager Forum’s essential strengths is the perfect interaction between products from different Hager Group brands such as Elcom access control systems, Berker switch ranges, Tebis monitor systems, Tehalit floor trunking systems and a new Hager arc fault prevention system. “Many brands offer good products,” says Christophe Fix “but, in Hager Forum, we demonstrate how very different solutions complement each other perfectly. At Hager Forum, this is not just a theoretical concept: it is a concrete experience.”

Hager Forum architecture

With Hager Forum, Sauerbruch Hutton architects and Hager Group have together created an outstanding example of corporate architecture.

The design: clear forms, pure materials, intelligent details
For Hager Forum, Sauerbruch Hutton created an H-shaped footprint with two central atriums flanked by two-level wings. With a height of nine metres, besides the basement and the ground floor (with the ‘Origins’ and ‘Force Field’ exhibition and presentation spaces), the building features a further floor that accommodates office spaces for business development and design and innovation departments. The south-facing part of the ground floor houses the reception area, ‘Spark’ café, showrooms and the project rooms called ‘Labs’. The central event space, ‘The Hub’, opens into the north-facing part of the atrium.

The two central spaces are visually separated by a bridge that connects the H’s two wings. According to Matthias Sauerbruch, with this design “we were able to create a space for conferences and events with up to 400 participants while smaller groups of visitors won’t feel lost in Hager Forum.”

Measuring 108 by 39 metres, the building’s most striking feature is the jutting roof construction of laminated timber beams, featuring a 3 x 3 metre grid and resting on only 18 slender supports. The large roof that juts out from the building is meant as an invitation to draw people inside: “It also creates a weather-protected space for employees to meet and to enjoy a coffee after lunch”, says the architect. 

Both the architects and Hager Group gave thorough consideration to the design’s sustainable qualities. With its modular structure, Hager Forum offers a high degree of flexibility, allowing future modifications and new uses at minimum effort and expenditure. The building’s compact volumes, its superbly insulated shell and its daylight-optimised glass surfaces together with a photovoltaic system on the roof and a smart building control system using Hager Group products account for excellent energy efficiency and comfort at a comparably moderate technological expenditure.

The construction phase: working with local trades
With Sauerbruch Hutton, Hager Forum has been created by architects who have attracted worldwide attention throughout the last few years. For this project, they worked closely with Guy Spack, Corporate Building Manager at Hager Group. Under his supervision, construction started in September 2013 and was completed in only 21 months. Five thousand five hundred cubic metres of concrete, 700 tons of steel, 125 kilometres of electric cable, 950 cubic metres of wood and almost 20 million euros went into Hager Forum. On the roof, 440 photovoltaic panels were installed, which generate sufficient regenerative energy to cover two thirds of Hager Forum’s consumption. Twenty five craft businesses, many of which are located in Alsace and the Saarland region, were involved in the construction. Thus, even before its inauguration, Hager Forum has put down firm roots in the region – a fact that is of great importance to our company.

About Hager Forum

Hager Forum is a 6 500 m² open, collaborative space, where visitors can meet, exchange, train, innovate and shape their future with Hager Group.

To continue to grow and achieve its objectives, Hager Group has undertaken an ambitious process to change its corporate culture.

At Obernai, in the heart of the largest industrial site in the group, Hager Forum embodies this new culture through the experience it provides to its visitors.

Blieskastel, 08th July 2015

Hager Forum is now open:

Hager Forum is now open: a hub of inspiration and innovation.

After just 21 months of construction work, Hager Forum was officially opened on Saturday 4th July. The children of the fourth generation of the Hager family opened the inauguration ceremony followed by the guests: other members of the Hager family, Hager Group employees – including 21 ‘ambassadors’ who came to represent the Group's sites from various geographic regions -  and elected officials from the local area. The elected officials included Annelie Faber-Wegener, Mayor of Blieskastel (Germany); Jean-Lucien Netzer, Mayor of Bischwiller; Bernard Fischer, Mayor of Obernai; and Guy-Dominique Kennel, Senator for the Bas-Rhin department. The event was a strong symbol of “faith in the future, which is something we all need,” commented the Mayor of Obernai.

Daniel Hager, CEO and the initiator of this ambitious project, opened the ceremony by highlighting the remarkable work carried out by the teams involved. “The aim of Hager Forum is to strengthen ties with all of Hager Group's stakeholders,” he added. Hager Forum is first and foremost a meeting place that serves to facilitate interaction and is deliberately situated at the heart of the company's largest production site. The building is set to welcome visitors from around the world and will be used to deliver innovative training, present the Group's solutions in the ultra-modern interactive showrooms and provide a space where teams can share ideas, experiment and innovate. It is a real showcase for Hager's expertise.

Hager Forum will also support the company's transition towards a future in which increased innovation plays a crucial role. The new space is a catalyst for encouraging people to come together and share ideas, both within Hager community and the wider world. This new culture is based on 60 years of maintaining close ties with and listening to customers and colleagues. “You are the embodiment of unpretentious success, hard work and human values,” declared Guy-Dominique Kennel in his opening speech.

“Although the building's architecture might seem simple, a reflection of the company's sober character, it is still an extraordinary technical achievement,” remarked the architect Professor Sauerbruch. “The structure, which is in the shape of a letter ‘H’, divides up the different spaces, but in a very transparent way. Indeed, the idea is that everybody should be able to see each other: colleagues, customers, the family, visitors and partners.” Comfort, aesthetics and energy efficiency were also taken into account by the many teams that worked on this Franco-German construction project.

At the end of the official ceremony, all the guests were invited to take a look inside Hager Forum, which was deliberately left “unfinished”, according to Daniel Hager, “because it's up to us to breathe life into it and make it our Forum.” Let's hope this space goes on to inspire as many people as possible!

Following this inauguration, almost 5,000 people - Hager Group employees and their families - participated in the 'Open Days' at the Obernai site on Saturday, 4th and Sunday, 5th July to celebrate the company's 60th year. Activities for both adults and children, concerts, different kinds of food, a video studio, 8 stands exhibiting not only Hager solutions but also the key themes for the group, factory visits and fun workshops to better understand modular device and residual current circuit breaker production were all part of a fun-packed programme where employees’ relatives got the chance to see family members’ everyday-life at work.

More information about Hager Forum is to be found in the press kit (ZIP, 150,9 MB).

About Hager Group
Hager was founded in Ensheim, Saarland, in 1955. The company is now a leading supplier of solutions and services for electrical installations in residential, commercial and industrial buildings. Our range of solutions and services extends from energy distribution to cable management and from security systems to building automation.
As an independent family-owned and run company based in Blieskastel, Germany, Hager Group is one of the industry's innovation leaders. 11,400 employees generate a turnover of about 1.7 billion euros. Components and solutions are produced at 23 sites around the globe and are trusted by customers in more than 95 countries worldwide. Our success is owed to the trust our customers have placed in us. 

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Obernai, 15th October 2016

Trend Session – Open inspiration #3

Last March, Hager Forum launched a new event format called Trend Sessions. These Trend Sessions are short talks to explore the trends that will shape the world of tomorrow, encourage creativity and inspire all employees.

On 10th October, from 1.10 to 2.10 pm, Corentin Orsini, a trend scout from Soon Soon Soon presented the topic ‘The Future of Work’.

As of today you can:
• watch or re-watch the video on YouTube;
• browse the Soon Soon Soon website to learn more about their activities.

The next Trend Session will be held in 2017.
More information coming soon!

Blieskastel, 8th July 2016

Hager Forum, one year on!

On 4th July 2015, after 21 months of hard work, Hager Forum was officially opened in the presence of members of the Hager family plus one hundred guests and officials.

This unique space of over 6,500 m², dedicated to training and innovation is located at Hager Group’s largest production site in Obernai, Alsace, France.
During the first year over 14,000 people, including 180 international customer groups, visited and had the opportunity to experience this new dynamic.

Hager Forum was designed to respond to the need to adapt the group’s working methods to the realities of tomorrow, making them more collaborative and interconnected. The ambition of Hager Forum is to reinvent the way in which Hager Group interacts with the surrounding community and the world at large.

Daniel Hager, CEO of Hager Group, who initiated the project in 2011, commented, “A year after its official opening, I feel completely satisfied with Hager Forum and its first year of operation. This project has exceeded our expectations. Hager Forum team and the different stakeholders have managed to make it a real meeting place where people come together to share ideas, right at the heart of our community – and this for both colleagues and customers. ”

Hager Forum is first and foremost a meeting place, it also plays the role of catalyst, pathfinder and amplifier, boosting innovation and contributing to the development of Hager Group. In this context, more than 50 events have been organised by Hager Forum so far. Innovative formats that were discovered during the Trend Sessions, Creativity Week and Positive Impact Week, have allowed to position Hager Forum as an open, collaborative space.

Hager Forum has hosted many local and national events such as the Energy Performance Symposium for companies organised by the region body ADEME and the Franco-German AAL Days which focused on ambient assisted living in the home.

“The events and activities here are becoming more and more dynamic, I am confident that this will continue. We are going to make even more progress, and Hager Forum will allow us to promote and support our company’s shift in culture and its further development,” added Daniel Hager.

Obernai, 24th June 2016

Mann auf Stier: new outdoor sculpture by Stephan Balkenhol unveiled at Hager Group in Obernai, France

On 24th June 2016 a sculpture by the internationally renowned German artist Stephan Balkenhol was unveiled at Hager Group in Obernai (Alsace, France). With the coloured bronze sculpture ‘Mann auf Stier’ (‘Man on bull’), the artist has picked up on the myth of the bull – very popular in art throughout history – and created a sculpture that, due to its contradictory nature, examines the complex issues of the attitudes and perspectives of mankind.

The work is characterised by a sophisticated formal language, and depicts a man riding a muscular bull backwards. It will be displayed in front of Hager Forum at the Obernai site of Hager Group. The animal is surging forwards, with its head lowered as if it were about to charge. Despite the bull’s great size and its unpredictable strength, its rider does not appear to be attempting to restrain or steer the animal, and yet the naturalness of his posture – notwithstanding his unusual viewing direction – suggests that he is an equal partner.

The bronze sculpture is around 3 metres long and 2.5 metres high. Together with its plinth, it weighs almost 4 tonnes. While the strong impression that the sculpture makes in front of the new Hager Forum seems self-evident, the fact that the man is riding the bull backwards also creates an element of confusion. Balkenhol’s memorable image is not as easy to grasp as it may seem at first, and it is full of contradictions. The onlooker does not see a static symbol, but rather a conceptual image that encourages contemplation and acts as a catalyst for various associations.

Matthias Winzen, Professor of Art History at the Hochschule der Bildenden Künste Saar (Saar University of Art and Design) in Saarbrücken, explains, “If we go along with the notion that the animal’s direction of travel leads to what is coming next – the future – and that the man is accepting his future by allowing himself to be carried towards it backwards, then one could consider Balkenhol’s sculpture an artistic translation of complex questions regarding our experience of time in corporeal spatiality. This translation of time in space gives the motionless bronze sculpture its effect of liveliness, its own presence. This is easier said than done for a sculptor. And this is where Balkenhol’s great skill – hidden behind his work’s apparent simplicity – truly lies.”

The onlooker scans the scene, searching and questioning; our sense of perception is awoken because the piece is so open to interpretation. “My figures are an expression of my search for the intrinsic essential characteristics of human existence – in all its facets. The figure shown here is somebody who is moving forward energetically – but he is careful at the same time,” says Stephan Balkenhol, explaining his work.

This is an approach that Daniel Hager and his company can certainly identify with.

“The bull symbolises growth, and growth is also Hager Group’s ambition for the coming years. We intend to grow sustainably and successfully rather than maximising profits in the short term. This growth is planned - represented by the man sitting backwards on a bull. Courage, authenticity and integrity are our company values, and what better to represent courage than a man sat facing the back of a forward pacing bull.”, commented Daniel Hager.

Blieskastel, 08th July 2015

Hager Forum is now open: a hub of inspiration and innovation.

After just 21 months of construction work, Hager Forum was officially opened on Saturday 4th July. The children of the fourth generation of the Hager family opened the inauguration ceremony followed by the guests: other members of the Hager family, Hager Group employees – including 21 ‘ambassadors’ who came to represent the Group's sites from various geographic regions -  and elected officials from the local area. The elected officials included Annelie Faber-Wegener, Mayor of Blieskastel (Germany); Jean-Lucien Netzer, Mayor of Bischwiller; Bernard Fischer, Mayor of Obernai; and Guy-Dominique Kennel, Senator for the Bas-Rhin department. The event was a strong symbol of “faith in the future, which is something we all need,” commented the Mayor of Obernai.

Daniel Hager, CEO and the initiator of this ambitious project, opened the ceremony by highlighting the remarkable work carried out by the teams involved. “The aim of Hager Forum is to strengthen ties with all of Hager Group's stakeholders,” he added. Hager Forum is first and foremost a meeting place that serves to facilitate interaction and is deliberately situated at the heart of the company's largest production site. The building is set to welcome visitors from around the world and will be used to deliver innovative training, present the Group's solutions in the ultra-modern interactive showrooms and provide a space where teams can share ideas, experiment and innovate. It is a real showcase for Hager's expertise.

Hager Forum will also support the company's transition towards a future in which increased innovation plays a crucial role. The new space is a catalyst for encouraging people to come together and share ideas, both within Hager community and the wider world. This new culture is based on 60 years of maintaining close ties with and listening to customers and colleagues. “You are the embodiment of unpretentious success, hard work and human values,” declared Guy-Dominique Kennel in his opening speech.

“Although the building's architecture might seem simple, a reflection of the company's sober character, it is still an extraordinary technical achievement,” remarked the architect Professor Sauerbruch. “The structure, which is in the shape of a letter ‘H’, divides up the different spaces, but in a very transparent way. Indeed, the idea is that everybody should be able to see each other: colleagues, customers, the family, visitors and partners.” Comfort, aesthetics and energy efficiency were also taken into account by the many teams that worked on this Franco-German construction project.

At the end of the official ceremony, all the guests were invited to take a look inside Hager Forum, which was deliberately left “unfinished”, according to Daniel Hager, “because it's up to us to breathe life into it and make it our Forum.” Let's hope this space goes on to inspire as many people as possible!

Following this inauguration, almost 5,000 people - Hager Group employees and their families - participated in the 'Open Days' at the Obernai site on Saturday, 4th and Sunday, 5th July to celebrate the company's 60th year. Activities for both adults and children, concerts, different kinds of food, a video studio, 8 stands exhibiting not only Hager solutions but also the key themes for the group, factory visits and fun workshops to better understand modular device and residual current circuit breaker production were all part of a fun-packed programme where employees’ relatives got the chance to see family members’ everyday-life at work.

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