As every year, the German Packaging Institute invited for their big congress in Berlin through March 3rd. and 4th. This years subject was “Digital Business” and I felt quite honored to have been asked for a speech on digital transformation and the future of digitally empowered packaging. My biggest motivation though was to understand how far the industry has already adapted to digital packaging, the technology and its impact on consumers.

The 250 plus visitors came form all over the packaging landscape. Retailers, logistics companies, packaging manufacturer and brand owners had the chance to discuss the, in my eyes, biggest change in their industry ever. In many chats before my speech I realized that hardly anyone had yet understood the opportunities that lays in front of their eyes. Most of them consider the digital change rather towards optimizing internal processes (logistics, procurement, etc.) and yes there were a few that offered displays with lights.

My speech was geared towards to huge business opportunity of digitally empowered
packaging. I explained that through the digitalization in all of our lives big gaps in the UX of products and services open up that can only be bridged via smart and intelligent packaging solutions. Just a short example: In a world where we all wear smart watches and our fridge is able to talk to our air-conditioning, digitally empowered packaging could help us to count the real calories we eat and make sure we never run out of milk.

Packaging is the missing link to any holistic and seamingless brand- / user-experience.

I further explained that in order to achieve this shift, the industry has to rethink their value proposition. Where in the old days packaging was about protecting and selling the enclosed product – the future will be about completely new offerings where product and packaging is integral part and maybe only relevant with a service.

At the end I was overwhelmed on the intense and fruitful discussion I had at the evening
reception. Half of the people were arguing with me that my vision was not going to work. The other half were excited and wanted to learn more or understand how we could move on from today.

Interestingly enough none of the participants were working on solutions today. Or they kept
it to themselves…

All Pictures: DVI, Fotograf: André Wagenzik, Verpackungskongress 2016

Karel Golta

Karel J. Golta

CEO + Founder

Karel, CEO and founder of INDEED, is Swiss but far from being neutral. When he's not planning "the next big thing" with clients, you can controversially discuss with him the value of design.

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