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Thinkathon challenges announced

18 Dec 2018

The Otto Group, Bikini Berlin and the EU project Textile and Clothing Business Labs – this year’s three challenge hosts of the Thinkathon held by Messe Frankfurt during Neonyt have announced their challenges. They are focused on the highly topical subjects of the circular economy, new relationships between consumers and the retail trade and industry 4.0.

A marathon of thinking: The “Thinkathon” is taking place once again this coming January, behind the scenes of Neonyt. This successful format brings together forward-looking companies with the Neonyt network, which is unique in its diversity and professional expertise. The companies involved – in January, the Otto Group, concept shopping mall Bikini Berlin and EU project TCBL (Textile and Clothing Business Labs) – are the so-called challenge hosts and set a specific task for the Neonyt community. Within just 48 hours, the participants work on prototype solutions for the set challenges and then hand them over to the challenge hosts for further interpretation.

In order to guarantee solution-oriented working and a high-quality result, Sourcebook, who are organising the Thinkathon on behalf of Messe Frankfurt, has already put together six multidisciplinary groups of small teams prior to the event. Under the professional guidance of a coach and a knowledge partner, using design-thinking methods they each take on a task, meaning that every challenge host will be presented with two completely different solutions on 16 January 2019.

The 40 participants have been selected from more than 120 applications and over 50 other network nominees. They come from a total of 19 countries including India, the USA, Japan, Ghana, Israel, France, the UK and Germany. The interdisciplinary teams are made up of experts from areas as diverse as research, development, academia, consultancy, design and business development. In Old Smithy’s  Dizzle, an old barn in the heart of Berlin, they will work in the system-thinking format for two full days. They will present their solutions to the challenge hosts behind closed doors at the end of the workshop and then to the audience of the Fashionsustain conference on 16 January 2019.

With the Otto Group, Bikini Berlin and TCBL, this year’s challenge hosts represent the contemporary fashion aspects of circularity, consumer empowerment, experience retail and short runs/industry 4.0. In challenge #1 – The Circular Experience – the Otto Group will be asking how the concept of the circular economy can be made more accessible, appealing and tangible for its customers. Under the title “The Future of Retail – for Good”, challenge host #2 – Bikini Berlin – will be asking the question: in a time when sustainability is a key factor, how can shopping centres change the whole shopping experience to involve and activate customers? “Sustainable Short Runs” – challenge #3 and host TCBL are looking for approaches to map European manufacturing capacities for sustainable nearshoring, small-batch production and short delivery times. The challenge hosts of the two Thinkathons in 2018 were: Fashion Council Berlin, Hugo Boss, KPMG, Microsoft HoloLens, Techtextil/Texprocess and Zalando.

At a glance
The ideas think-tank of the future – the Thinkathon is a space for open exchange and creative thinking processes during the global hub Neonyt. In this collaborative design-thinking format, twice a year multidisciplinary teams develop neo-new approaches for the sustainability transformation of the fashion and textile industry. Industry experts work intensively on the tasks set by leading industry, retail and technology companies as well as associations and organisations, which revolve around the topics of fashion, sustainability, innovation and technology. In the shortest time and ensuring mutual confidentiality, the Thinkathon teams come up with highly innovative and industry-relevant solutions. The result is an interdisciplinary discussion about the future of fashion – today.

Technology, sustainability and innovation are important drivers of the fashion and textile industry that will revolutionise the sector and its processes and production methods. On 16 January 2019, international conference format Fashionsustain will be dedicated to precisely these topics, with a particular focus on the omnipresent challenges regarding sustainable water management currently facing the textile industry. The conference, organised by Messe Frankfurt, will be showing how the interplay of collaboration and competition for new and sustainable technologies is leading to innovations that are driving the paradigm shift of the industry.

Neonyt, the global hub for fashion, sustainability and innovation (from 15-17 January 2019), is made up of the Neonyt Trade Fair, the conferences Fashionsustain by Messe Frankfurt and #Fashiontech by the Premium Group as well as the design-thinking format Thinkathon, the Neonyt Fashion Show, Showcases, the influencer and blogger event Prepeek, networking events and last but not least, the Neonyt Party. The hub is taking over from the former trade fair duo Ethical Fashion Show Berlin and Greenshowroom.

16 January 2019
10:00 am – 6:00 pm

Kraftwerk Berlin
Köpenicker Strasse 70
10179 Berlin
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Press contact:
Alex Vogt
Tel: +49 69 65 00 88 65

Background information on Messe Frankfurt
Messe Frankfurt is the world’s largest trade fair, congress and event organiser with its own exhibition grounds. With more than 2,500* employees at 30 locations, the company generates annual sales of around €715* million. Thanks to its far-reaching ties with the relevant sectors and to its international sales network, the Group looks after the business interests of its customers effectively. A comprehensive range of services – both onsite and online – ensures that customers worldwide enjoy consistently high quality and flexibility when planning, organising and running their events. The wide range of services includes renting exhibition grounds, trade fair construction and marketing, personnel and food services. With its headquarters in Frankfurt am Main, the company is owned by the City of Frankfurt (60 percent) and the State of Hesse (40 percent).
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*preliminary figures 2018