Celebrating 150 years with an anniversary programme

by Tania Wannenburg
BASF celebration Jnl 2 15

Reaching a significant milestone, an international company introduces an interactive programme that demonstrates its corporate vision.

Formed in Germany in 1865 with the development and production of dyes, BASF has reached a magnificent milestone, turning 150 this year.  

Since its inception, the company has continually developed its portfolio which has evolved into its product range today covering a wide spectrum of industries: from chemicals, plastics, performance products and crop protection to oil and gas. Turning 150 and remaining successful are great achievements for any company and, for BASF, this number speaks to the creativity and determination of itsemployees, both past and present.

Since BASF is a science- and research-based company, its employees strive to be more innovative and progressive in celebrating their global and local anniversary. Their corporate purpose, namely “We create chemistry for a sustainable future”, expresses what has made, and continues to make, BASF successful. Over the years their winning recipe has not changed: They still recognise societal trends and the needs of people; and, as regards research and development, they still find innovative solutions to meet new challenges.

“Today’s requirements and the expectations of society are much more complex,” explains Laurent Tainturier, Senior Vice President for BASF’s ‘EUE’ region comprising Russia & CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States), Turkey, the Middle East and Africa. “But our focus is still on improving people’s quality of life. When we conduct research today, we keep one guiding principle in mind: sustainability. We treat resources with care and respect and strive to strike a balance between all three dimensions: economy, environment and society.”

Addressing energy, food and urban living challenges

According to Laurent, it is critical that a company such as BASF address the challenges facing the planet, including those of energy and food resources, as well as urban living.  In 2050, the world’s population will reach nine billion with 70% of the people living in cities. Resources are already scarce and that’s with only seven billion people. To feed nine billion people in 2050, twice as much food as today is needed. How can that be accomplished if one can’t double the amount of farmland?

Collaboration to innovate

From its early beginnings, BASF has always had an innovative and collaborative culture. Compared with the past, today’s joint endeavours involve many more disciplines. This means that, within BASF itself, they need to work across different divisions and combine the knowledge of many experts.

“We see our anniversary as an opportunity to open up in ways that go beyond these proven collaborations,” explains Joan-Maria Garcia-Girona, Vice President and head of BASF in South Africa and Sub-Sahara. “The way innovations arise has changed considerably compared to the past. This is because of new methods of communication as well as a different self-awareness and changed expectations of people. We want to initiate something new with our anniversary and try out new ways of working together over the next year – both within BASF and with people outside the company. We see the Creator Space* programme as an ideal opportunity to bring BASF closer to our target groups.”

The Creator Space programme

BASF’s global and local anniversary programme is envisaged as a virtual laboratory – the Creator Space programme, which enables new ways of working together over the next year and beyond – within BASF and with other stakeholders, i.e. customers, scientists, and other communities. It is interactive and brought to life by the ideas and discussions of its visitors. The three anniversary topics posted focus on urban living, energy and food. The ideas and solutions from the virtual discussions are then fed back into other collaborative and co-creative anniversary activities such as the Creator Space Tour, which will take place in India, China, USA, South America, Spain and Germany.

The South African anniversary programme
This programme sees a number of highly interactive events being hosted throughout the region involving scientists, customers, business partners and employees.  Again, the focus will be on the three strategic global topics of energy, food and urban living. Events will range from employee jamming sessions, which will challenge staff across all levels to come up with innovative solutions to societal issues, to participation in leading national science festivals and competitions.

*Creator Space is a Registered Trademark

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