We like “Breaking Boundaries,” the theme chosen by the organizers for the next European Outdoor Summit (EOS), scheduled be held in the Swiss city of Interlaken on Sept. 26-27. We find that it goes well with the typically adventurous spirit of outdoor enthusiasts as well as with the disruptive nature of the challenges that our industry and others are facing in an era of rapid change in technology and consumer behavior.
As the organizers put it in a press release, existing business models need to be reassessed in ways that support innovation and dynamic change, with an eye toward more collaborative approaches that will take advantage of the partners' experience, creativity, diversity and economies of scale.
After its sponsorship of the new Retail Lounge at the OutDoor by Ispo show, The Outdoor Industry Compass has been chosen to be the main media partner of the EOS. One of its senior editors, Wolfgang Greiner, will act as moderator at some panel discussions.
One of the keynote speeches at the start of the program will deal with changing boundaries in consumer engagement. Pippa Goodman of Foresight Factory will explain how consumers are becoming more selective about the leisure activities, stores and other places that engage them. Beyond the purchase of an item, they want to be rewarded in new and intriguing ways.
Another keynote speaker, Anne Skare Nielsen of Future Navigator, will show how businesses and consumers are shifting from a craving for “more” of everything to a desire for “better” things to do in the world. “The competitive win/lose game is ending. If you want great, visionary, sustainable success you need to stop obsessing over beating your opponents and start improving the game,” she says.
Donna Carpenter, the well-known chief executive and joint owner of Burton Snowboards, will talk about pushing boundaries in the areas of sustainability and women's leadership, which have become very important to improve our sector. As for companies such as Patagonia and Vaude, we would say that these values are rewarding differentiators in a relatively flat market.
In another interesting speech, Marcus Dapp will talk about “combinatorial innovation,” based on collective intelligence, to find the best solutions in an increasingly complex environment. Dapp, a senior researcher and lecturer at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, will explain how this new approach will be beneficial as boundaries gradually disappear in the age of the internet and other networks.
As at the OutDoor by Ispo show, Chris Doyle of the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) will call on outdoor companies to collaborate with the adventure tourism community, creating new distribution solutions such as gear rental and lending programs, aimed at the same consumers.
In fact, the European Outdoor Group created the EOS specifically for networking, among other things. A networking evening on the first day of the conference will again be part of the program. It will be accompanied by some inspirational films from the Kendal Mountain Festival and, for those so inclined, by a night in Interlaken's Casino, with free tokens to get started.
Our readers are invited to sign up to participate in the EOS on its website, www.europeanoutdoorsummit.com, where they can see the full program for the convention and get a discount on their hotel accommodations.
The program will end with an inspiring keynote speech about going “beyond boundaries” by Jamie Andrew, the first quadruple amputee to have climbed the Matterhorn in Switzerland and Kilimanjaro in Africa, as well as the first one to have completed a marathon and an Iron Man triathlon.
He will explain how to break down big challenges into small achievable steps, and how to use goal-setting and motivational techniques to cooperate with other people. We recall the extraordinarily stimulating presentation made at the EOS in Malmö last September by another highly disabled personality, David Lega, a former Paralympic swimming champion who became deputy mayor of Gothenburg in 2011. He was elected earlier this year as a member of the European Parliament, where is he now serving on the committees on foreign affairs and on human rights.