DIY Summit: The future is social, sustainable and still global

Global Summit DIY 2011 Brussels logo Last week, over 400 professionals from 32 countries joined the Global DIY Summit in Brussels's Congress Palace to make the Belgian capital the world capital of DIY. With North-America's numbers one and two in DIY (Home Depot and Lowe's) and the European leader Kingfisher (owner of Castorama), the top of global DIY was present. Emerging markets like India, Russia or Egypt also took the stage, joined by only one Belgian – to stress that this summit was truly an international event.

Store Tour shows the Belgian DIY Top

Before the summit, a Store Tour led over 50 foreign observers along stores of the Belgian Big Three in DIY: Hubo, Gamma and Brico. They were mostly impressed with Hubo's tidy organisation that allowed to display all 60,000 articles conveniently in 6000m². Gamma's brand new Vilvoorde store also scored, not at least because of its 280,000 euro turnover of last week. Brico's own new concept was also greeted with cheers, but its Plan-it store was rather empty and not very consistent in its signposting.

Summit: ‘What will shape the future of Home Improvement worldwide?’

Brico Plan-it logoStarting from this theme, EDRA (European DIY Retail Association) and Fediyma (Federation of European DIY Manufacturers) organised the day around two main topics: sustainability and successful strategies for the near future. After the usual introductions, twenty speakers took the stage – not all of them with the same level of success.

Talking about green

First on was prof. dr. Radermacher, member of the Club of Rome, whose speech about the correlation between sustainability and globalisation was very striking: he stated that, while everyone is using big words about 'being green' and is “very good in drafting gas emission regulations”, we all miss the point in this case.


Radermacher thinks the real debate is about responsibilisation: is a sustainable market economy even possible? Through concrete instruments to translate the will to be responsible into specific actions, the answer is – fortunately – 'Yes'. Sensible innovation strategies are the only path towards a sustainable DIY future.

Ladder to window Radermacher points to the fundamental difference between efficiency and effectivity: “innovation contributes to do more with less” is the key for progress – very aptly illustrated through a metaphor of a ladder against the wrong window. Professor Radermacher's final statement was that the battle between sustainability and globalisation will remain a 'prisoner's dilemma' if there is no global approach towards a sensible environmental future, in the form of an institution with supranational competences.

 

The next four speakers - from the US, Germany, Australia and Canada – demonstrated the way their retail organisations manage sustainability. It soon became clear that the main challenge will be in offering a range of green products at a price that is acceptable to the end user. Lowe's showed concrete examples of responsible construction and a remarkable feature of its parking lot designs, which include charging stations for customers' electrical cars. Bunnings Australia spoke of the success of rainwater recovery, which has enabled the assortment to be expanded with design items as well.

The DIY brain

BricoDay two focused on the worldwide growth potential for suppliers and distributors. Speakers from India and Russia earned applause, but none as much as Sandro Solari, CEO of the ambitious Chilean retailer Sodimac, and his moving, socially inspired exposé about offering the poor the possibility to have a roof over their head.

The last speaker was Robin Wight from London, whose notable attire and presentation earned him a standing ovation. His theme “The future is social, the future is bright” pointed towards the continuing meaningfulness of “old media” in this era of social media. His analysis of how our brain works: “brains respond to feelings more than facts.”

His message was especially hopeful for brand producers, as our brain makes brands a decisive factor in the consumers' process of choice. Social media are, according to him, essentially tools for reputation management and using scientific research and video fragments, he showed how the new media help to change behaviour. He concluded rather hopefully: technology helps us to become human again. 

Top level interaction

Networking

handshakeThe DIY Summit was of course not just about listening to speakers. The high-level opener was a VIP gathering including only the CEOs of the participating retail organisations – with the notable, but silent, exception of hosts and sponsors Henkel. The gathering proved to be a very interesting interaction about the worldwide novelties in DIY and Home improvement.

Debate

One of the highlights of day one was the debate with some of DIY's big shots in the panel led by Belgian moderator Thierry Coeman. The conclusion was crystal clear: producers and distributors need to offer their customers simple product solutions, accurate information and skilled guidance, but they should not forget how crucial the internet has become in the decision process.

To achieve this goal, the obsession with prices should be replaced by innovation and a better understanding of what the customer really wants. This should also be reflected in the negotiations between sellers and buyers. 

DIY Lifetime Award

In the impressing stage of the Royal Museum of Art and History at Brussels's beautiful Cinquantenaire Parc, Home Depot's founder Pat Farrah received the DIY Lifetime Award during the final gala night. The evening was a great success from a networking point of view – proving the use of these international congresses... starting with next year's Global DIY Summit that will take place in Paris on 31 May and 1 June. 

Global Summit DIY 2011 Brussels logo Last week, over 400 professionals from 32 countries joined the Global DIY Summit in Brussels's Congress Palace to make the Belgian capital the world capital of DIY. With North-America's numbers one and two in DIY (Home Depot and Lowe's) and the European leader Kingfisher (owner of Castorama), the top of global DIY was present. Emerging markets like India, Russia or Egypt also took the stage, joined by only one Belgian – to stress that this summit was truly an international event.

Store Tour shows the Belgian DIY Top

Before the summit, a Store Tour led over 50 foreign observers along stores of the Belgian Big Three in DIY: Hubo, Gamma and Brico. They were mostly impressed with Hubo's tidy organisation that allowed to display all 60,000 articles conveniently in 6000m². Gamma's brand new Vilvoorde store also scored, not at least because of its 280,000 euro turnover of last week. Brico's own new concept was also greeted with cheers, but its Plan-it store was rather empty and not very consistent in its signposting.

Summit: ‘What will shape the future of Home Improvement worldwide?’

Brico Plan-it logoStarting from this theme, EDRA (European DIY Retail Association) and Fediyma (Federation of European DIY Manufacturers) organised the day around two main topics: sustainability and successful strategies for the near future. After the usual introductions, twenty speakers took the stage – not all of them with the same level of success.

Talking about green

First on was prof. dr. Radermacher, member of the Club of Rome, whose speech about the correlation between sustainability and globalisation was very striking: he stated that, while everyone is using big words about 'being green' and is “very good in drafting gas emission regulations”, we all miss the point in this case.


Radermacher thinks the real debate is about responsibilisation: is a sustainable market economy even possible? Through concrete instruments to translate the will to be responsible into specific actions, the answer is – fortunately – 'Yes'. Sensible innovation strategies are the only path towards a sustainable DIY future.

Ladder to window Radermacher points to the fundamental difference between efficiency and effectivity: “innovation contributes to do more with less” is the key for progress – very aptly illustrated through a metaphor of a ladder against the wrong window. Professor Radermacher's final statement was that the battle between sustainability and globalisation will remain a 'prisoner's dilemma' if there is no global approach towards a sensible environmental future, in the form of an institution with supranational competences.

 

The next four speakers - from the US, Germany, Australia and Canada – demonstrated the way their retail organisations manage sustainability. It soon became clear that the main challenge will be in offering a range of green products at a price that is acceptable to the end user. Lowe's showed concrete examples of responsible construction and a remarkable feature of its parking lot designs, which include charging stations for customers' electrical cars. Bunnings Australia spoke of the success of rainwater recovery, which has enabled the assortment to be expanded with design items as well.

The DIY brain

BricoDay two focused on the worldwide growth potential for suppliers and distributors. Speakers from India and Russia earned applause, but none as much as Sandro Solari, CEO of the ambitious Chilean retailer Sodimac, and his moving, socially inspired exposé about offering the poor the possibility to have a roof over their head.

The last speaker was Robin Wight from London, whose notable attire and presentation earned him a standing ovation. His theme “The future is social, the future is bright” pointed towards the continuing meaningfulness of “old media” in this era of social media. His analysis of how our brain works: “brains respond to feelings more than facts.”

His message was especially hopeful for brand producers, as our brain makes brands a decisive factor in the consumers' process of choice. Social media are, according to him, essentially tools for reputation management and using scientific research and video fragments, he showed how the new media help to change behaviour. He concluded rather hopefully: technology helps us to become human again. 

Top level interaction

Networking

handshakeThe DIY Summit was of course not just about listening to speakers. The high-level opener was a VIP gathering including only the CEOs of the participating retail organisations – with the notable, but silent, exception of hosts and sponsors Henkel. The gathering proved to be a very interesting interaction about the worldwide novelties in DIY and Home improvement.

Debate

One of the highlights of day one was the debate with some of DIY's big shots in the panel led by Belgian moderator Thierry Coeman. The conclusion was crystal clear: producers and distributors need to offer their customers simple product solutions, accurate information and skilled guidance, but they should not forget how crucial the internet has become in the decision process.

To achieve this goal, the obsession with prices should be replaced by innovation and a better understanding of what the customer really wants. This should also be reflected in the negotiations between sellers and buyers. 

DIY Lifetime Award

In the impressing stage of the Royal Museum of Art and History at Brussels's beautiful Cinquantenaire Parc, Home Depot's founder Pat Farrah received the DIY Lifetime Award during the final gala night. The evening was a great success from a networking point of view – proving the use of these international congresses... starting with next year's Global DIY Summit that will take place in Paris on 31 May and 1 June. 

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