“In the Executive Circle, an important direction for the future can be set”
In October, the EUROGUSS Executive Circle will meet in Frankfurt. Top-level decision-makers from the entire value chain have been invited and initiated by NürnbergMesse to discuss the future of the casting industry and develop a shared understanding of it. We spoke about the preparations and preliminary research with Methods & Analytics Lead Raphael Shklarek from the Zukunftsinstitut, as well as Johannes Messer, Managing Director at Johannes Messer Consulting.
Raphael Shklarek: At the end of July, we had a very productive and exciting preparatory workshop where a small group of leaders from mechanical engineering and die casting met with the core team of EUROGUSS and the Zukunftsinstitut. From various areas, we gathered perspectives and voices that give us a deeper insight into the industry. We are now processing this in preliminary research, which will be the starting point and springboard for the event in October. There, all participants will continue to develop scenarios based on a canvas in interactive sessions.
Now we are working on creating a customized, individual trend research and pre-filling this canvas. Then we will re-enter the conversation with the core team, where we want to decide on the topics we want to further develop at the event.
Johannes Messer: In addition to the workshop mentioned by Mr. Shklarek, regular consultations are underway with the installed program committee. This committee, comprised of members from the entire value chain, thus completes the holistic view.
How do you as trend researchers proceed to condense all this information into realistic future perspectives?
Shklarek: For one, we can draw on 25 years of our own research. Added to this is systemic qualitative social research. Normally, we would have conducted interviews with experts, including people from the die-casting industry and their suppliers. In this case, we had our Circle Workshop for this. We complemented this with our own research. Qualitative research consists of inductive processes of condensation. You start with a lot of material that you continue to condense, deriving essences from it.
Scenario analysis offers the opportunity to safely explore different futures. The approach reveals the influencing factors within an industry and what external factors are affecting it: societal and economic trends, but also nature and humans. This way, we can provide an outlook to a company, an entire industry, or a social system in general and generate common emotions and images.
What is the schedule for October 5th?
Shklarek: We start with a keynote speech by our CEO Harry Gatterer, one of the partners of the Zukunftsinstitut, followed by various interactive workshops moderated by participants from the first meeting in July. Everything then comes together again for a joint dialogue and comparison of the results. It's important that the result comes from the group, from the industry itself, and not from outside in. So, as the Zukunftsinstitut, we don't say: These are the trends for your industry. Afterwards, we process the material created on that day, further condense it, and develop scenarios from it that are primarily narrative and possibly also form an image, in the truest sense of the word: an image.
You've already gained insights into the industry. Can you share anything about that, or is it too early?
Shklarek: I don't want to get ahead of myself, but some interesting tendencies we find in other industries apparently exist in the casting industry as well: especially in the industries whose main market is the automotive industry, we currently see a reevaluation of growth. Another tendency is the formation of alliances and the rethinking of internal and external communication.
Messer: Reevaluation of growth, formation of alliances, and communication are currently topics that indeed significantly concern our industry. In a recent publication titled "Restart," I address these topics in the context of the current situation in the aluminum casting industry in more detail.
Why is the Executive Circle an important approach?
Shklarek: The Executive Circle is about shaping different perspectives participatively with the participants based on a well-founded trend document. This not only has content value but also serves to build networks and alliances. And that is a very interesting focus: it's about listening to each other, understanding, and benefiting from each other. Recognizing these synergies is a form of what we also call "Coopetition." You're in competition but have realized that you can benefit from each other. In the Executive Circle, an important direction for the future can be set because it will be recognized that one does not have the answers alone for complexity and multiple crises.
Messer: I would like to add in this context that I find the current timing of the event very good. The aluminum foundry industry is currently faced with an extremely complex environment of challenges. The corresponding answers and reactions are still partly open. For this reason, too, the event comes at the right time.
When would the Executive Circle be a success from your point of view?
Shklarek: For me, the event is successful when people leave at the end of the day feeling they know their group better and can share more of the perspectives for the future. A successful future is one where you have relationships that you can shape together because it is too big to manage alone.
Also, read the interview with Johanns Messer and Christopher Boss about the EUROGUSS Executive Circle. A format for the C-level of the die casting industry that addresses questions about future viability. To the interview.