Creating space for innovative ideas for the future
An anniversary world of celebration and co-creation
Connectedness is BASF’s core brand value and the central theme of the anniversary program. Connections between neurons are what enable us to remember things and relive the past in the present. The company’s 150th anniversary celebrations are also about connectedness: The past is connected with the present just as BASF is connected with employees, customers, and a wide variety of social groups and partners. Celebration and co-creation are the underlying themes: The company celebrates its 150-year history with employees and partners while combining the anniversary of the company’s founding with an in-depth look at the challenges of the future and innovation processes. Following the model of social networks, BASF has developed Creator SpaceTM, a space for new ideas in collaboration with others.
BASF establishes Creator Space
We – together, counts for a lot. BASF’s connectedness with employees, customers, scientists and the public was a traditional part of the company’s ethos and remains so today. As a globally operating company, BASF appreciates the value of this connectedness in the search for solutions to current and future challenges. To mark the anniversary, BASF is taking things a step further: “Our aim with Creator Space is to open up room for creative ideas and go on to act on those ideas, for our business and for society – in fact, we want to make BASF itself a kind of Creator Space,” says Elisabeth Schick, Senior Vice President, Communications & Government Relations BASF Group. The company’s logo expresses this more clearly from now on with the new claim: BASF – We create chemistry.
A virtual lab
BASF promotes the energy that comes from connectedness and co-creation with an interactive anniversary platform on the internet: Creator Space online. As a kind of virtual lab, it opens doors or online discussion on the themes: urban living, smart energy and food. It is intended to appeal to anybody who wants to be involved in co-creating the future. Thus, the interactive platform grows and evolves in real time in response to input from individual contributors to the debate.
Stopping in Mumbai, Shanghai, New York, São Paulo, Barcelona and Ludwigshafen, an accompanying Creator Space tour will breathe life to the anniversary themes. In a creative and inspiring environment, BASF discusses specific challenges with customers and partners combined with local celebrations. These co-creation activities with employees, customers, scientists and the public include jamming sessions where people are invited to join in the discussion and work out new solutions collectively. Topics discussed, for instance, are solutions to organic waste management, ways to build sustainable housing for people on low incomes, or the generation of ideas for improving water supply in cities.
Other formats include idea contests, customer co-creations, and conferences with scientists, NGOs and government representatives. Links connecting event outcomes with the relevant online debates are provided. Inspiring and receiving new ideas everywhere is the aim, and the other co-creation activities going on around the world have their place on the platform too. The various activities are captured in short video clips accompanying a documentary by Thomas Grube (see interview).
Cultural and social events including parties for employees at BASF sites will contribute to the festivities all around the world. Celebration and co-creation: these two elements in combination are the essence of BASF’s 150th anniversary.
New dimensions in collaboration
The way we handle knowledge and creativity is undergoing radical transformation. The new logic is based on openness, cooperation and interaction. Networks give rise to innovative ideas, a new understanding of interaction, and new markets. Specialists will not be the only generators of new ideas in future. New concepts are just as likely to emerge from lively exchange between people, with employees, stakeholders and non-experts all contributing their input to facilitate networked value creation. Valuing and utilizing diversity of opinion: Inclusion of expertise on all levels across the various disciplines is becoming a key success factor.
How do we live in the 21st century? The key themes
BASF seeks to collaborate with employees, customers and partners to make a contribution to societal challenges that have significant impact on how we live in the 21st century.
- the cities we live in
- the energy powering our industry and our lives
- the food we eat.
The anniversary – and then?
Co-created visions for the future will become reality. The most promising ideas will be selected by an expert team in early 2016 and transformed into lighthouse projects with BASF’s support. Thereby innovation can be taken to new levels beyond the anniversary year. This provides a long-term contribution toward solving social challenges and strengthening BASF’s ties and collaboration with partners.