We believe that strategy, design and technology make a beautiful combination. To prove it, we invited some friends we really look up to, to talk about the latest & greatest on topics which are very close to our heart and our company values! 

After month of preparations, it was finally time for the first Above Fusion event. Over 160 expectant listeners showed up to the beautiful settings at Färgfabriken in Stockholm.

After a short intro by our own CoCeo's Claes Lundin and Filip Sauer, it was time for our technology and trend Analyst, Anna Frankzen Starrin to enter the scene and to talk about Upcoming mega trends in the world of technology.

"You are're not supposed to give people what they want, you give them what they don't know that they want yet". Diana Vreelands quote is more relevant than ever. In the digitizing era, what all of us want, need and wish for changes very quickly, and this is why all companies need to look into the future to stay relevant. Megatrends are shifts in society that affect us for a very long time, and therefore it is an important tool for companies to use when looking into the future. Neocollectivism, individualization, Experiences and transparency are a few of the megatrends that Anna presented for us. But it is even more important for companies to keep up in their innovation speed, and the way to do that is to collaborate with others, creating ecosystems with a clear common vision. Anna told us about her hidden agenda, which is to explain the need for companies to be value driven. Identifying a value worth fighting for, and Anna stressed the importance of sustainability.

Simen Knudsen, Founder of Nordic Ocean Watch, shared his thoughts on How surfers and ocean folks are coming together and taking action for a healthier ocean. 

The ocean is on the verge of collapse, and everyone who uses the ocean needs to contribute to a healthier ocean. A new culture needs a new narrative and new word. Our word is Tavaha - take care of the ocean. 

Tavaha is the Nordic expression for taking care of the ocean. The ocean is what connects the world. It has always taken care of us and we cannot live without it. It's time we return the favour. Tavaha is about looking at ourself as a contributor instead of a consumer

NORDIC OCEAN WATCH (NOW) is a Nordic environmental organization which is dedicated to taking care of the ocean. The organization aims at building a culture where nobody uses the sea without giving anything back.

Constantijn Belderbos, Interaction Designer at Scania, talked about Virtual Reality in the Automotive Design Process

The Driver Vehicle Interaction group of Scania's R&D is implementing Virtual Reality in different stages of their design process. It can be used for creating immersive storyboards, exploring different concepts and user roles, and evaluating and testing those new concepts and experiences with users in a quick and easy way. VR prototyping has the advantage of, compared to a higher fidelity simulator, being low cost, quick, mobile, and having an open development structure. And although the challenges of motion sickness and computer resource draining simulations, there are some very promising future possibilities. Multiplayer VR interaction, designing on the go, and mixed reality are ways of integrating VR even more in the design process and using its potential fully.

From Stockholm Resilience Center, a research centre with an emphasis on sustainability, we had the pleasure to learn from the deputy science director Victor Galaz how Technology has shaped planet Earth, and its role in shaping its future

He started off by telling us 2 stories. In 2016, James Vlahos decided to create a chatbot to maintain the memory of his dying father. An example of how a clever use of simple code can create very deep emotional responses and attachment.

The second story is when humans as a species, almost disappeared from planet Earth. At one point in history, we were down to roughly a thousand reproductive adults. Why does this matter? Because we have proven to be able to quickly bounce back and not only bounce back, but to today dominate the behaviour of planet Earth. The expansion of human civilisation has depended on an unusually stable climate system. It is only in the last 10,000 years when the behaviour of the Earth system has been stable enough that we have managed to create modern societies - agriculture, complex economies, democracy, beautiful art.

The problem is that we are now tinkering with this stability. This challenge is captured by the term "planetary boundaries".

Where does this lead us?

- Let's stop talking about "the environment", but rather as the biosphere as the basis for human security and prosperity. 

- Beyond reducing carbon footprint, but rather technologies and design that creates more Nature (biodiversity, ecosystem services, carbon mitigation) as we move into the future (example cities).

- The only way for us to avoid a future of sad Homo sapiens walking around together in pitiful little clumps hunting and gathering for thousands of years.

- Beyond big tech - just like the chatbot, simple and clever uses of data that creates deep emotional attachment to each other, and Nature.

Volumental is known for its sophisticated 3D foot scanning technology, used by footwear brands and retailers worldwide. Their CTO Alper Aydemir, tought us about Tomorrow's product customisation and how custom-built is becoming the new standard. 

Breakthroughs in computer vision and machine learning combined with abundance of data means we're on the verge of a world filled with personalized products and services. Bringing these technologies to mainstream is a difficult from a technical and design perspective.

Volumental is leading the pack in the footwear vertical, they're 3D scanning hundreds of thousands of people to find them the right products. The very near future contains products that utilizes their 3D scanning technology to build truly custom-made footwear, that people will love and cherish.

Last topic topic for the day, Gender equality effects in the tech world. Sandra Bourbon, founder of Future Feminist, told us that gender equality can add $12 trillion to global GDP and be the answer to the talent gap by adding 240 million workers to the global workforce by 2025. Also, gender equal companies have better financial performance and leadership behaviours more frequently applied by women strengthen organisational performance. The biggest challenge in tech is not to attract women: it is to keep the women since they are twice as likely as men to leave the industry due to lack of advancement opportunity. We can all do things for a gender equal future today: involve men in the cultural change and create a workplace where everybody feels welcomed, help your wife at home with unpaid work and taking care of the kids, challenge your unconscious biases and make your workplace flexible by removing the “anywhere, anytime” expectations.

The first part of the Fusion event had come to an end. Now it was time to celebrate the fusion between Frankly and Howl together with over 500 people from the design, tech and startup scene. And what a night. What a crowd. Thank you all for celebrating, sharing, dancing and partying together with us. A big up to all of you who participated and made this to a success.