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Technogym claims global wellness leadership at Davos World Economic Summit
The recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland was notable for placing health and illness prevention as key priorities to ensure sustainable global social development.
Next to the industrial giants like Coca Cola, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson, and international fitness equipment supplier Technogym received recognition among leading companies of in the Forum's 'Wellness Alliance', not for its size, but because it has been recognised as the inventor of a new social and economic model based on wellness.
Technogym President and Founder Nerio Alessandri has created not only a globally successful business but has also taken social responsibility for providing perhaps the key element that people need: wellness.
In 1983, at the age of 22, Alessandri designed and built his first piece of gym equipment in his garage in Cesena, a small town in Italy. At the time, Alessandri recalls, fitness "was a muscle-driven market, focused on aesthetics."
In the early nineties, when an all-muscle vision of fitness was taking the world by storm, Alessandri launched a totally new vision. He called it 'Wellness', a profoundly Italian way of living, dating back to Ancient Rome and based on regular physical exercise, a healthy diet and a positive mental approach - 'Mens sana in corpore sano' (a healthy mind in a healthy body).
By transforming a business based on hedonism into a social business, Alessandri has created a revolution that has moved the focus of fitness from looking good to feeling good and from a small élite of body beautiful fanatics to the entire human population.
Technogym is today a leading company in the wellness and fitness field, operating in over 100 countries all over the world, with over 2,000 employees.
Official supplier for the London 2012 Olympics (and for Games going back to 1996), Technogym is a company that has already put its concept of "social business" into action around the globe.
It took years of cultural battles, work and daily commitment but at last Wellness, the true wellbeing of the planet and its inhabitants, is a top priority of governments, big business and a subject which is widely debated at major world-level meetings, from the World Economic Forum in Davos to plenary sessions of the United Nations.
Alessandri explains "wellness is an over-the-board social opportunity - for governments to reduce health service costs, for companies to stimulate their members to be more creative and productive and for all citizens to improve their health and daily lifestyle."
At a time when the obese exceed the number of malnourished, he sees wellness as a clear answer to global social development challenges.
Notwithstanding Italy’s economic crisis, Alessandri describes 2011 as a year of innovation and success for Technogym, while foreseeing 2012 as a a year of challenges.
Nerio Alessandri is interviewed here.
Australasian Leisure Management: “What was your most significant professional achievement in 2011?”
Nerio Alessandri: "The launch of Visioweb, the first integrated display available most Technogym cardiovascular products, offering internet, TV and iPhone connection during workouts. Visioweb represents a revolution for the club business model both in terms of new client attraction and retention of the existing clients.”
ALM: “What surprised you this year?”
NA: "In 1998, when everybody in the market was still talking about fitness, CBI magazine dedicated a cover story to me titled 'Nerio Alessandri, The Wellness Champion – This man is betting in a new trend'.
"Almost 10 years after this in 2007 and with great satisfaction, CBI came back to me on the topic with a story titled 'Winning with Wellness'. Today, wWellness has become a global trend. After years of commitment in raising awareness about wellness as a social opportunity to build a better world, the most important organisations at a global level are finally coming to our side and sharing our beliefs: physical activity and prevention represent the only way to create a sustainable society based on people health.
"In 2011, I was invited to the World Economic Forum in Davos to sit on the board of the Worldwide Wellness Alliance - to promote workplace wellness and in September the UN within the Annual Head of State session organised a forum on non-communicable disease prevention."
ALM: "Which one among Technogym's new products would you like to promote in 2012?"
NA: "In 2011 we launched Kinesis Stations, a very innovative functional training product line for gym users willing to try the Kinesis discipline in an easy, comfortable and intuitive way. Kinesis stations are the result of the combination between the stability offered by a seated exercise station and the movement versatility offered by free cables.
"Kinesis, patented by Technogym, is a totally new functional training discipline to train at the same time; strength, core balance and flexibility thanks to a complete product line catering for personal training, group training and individual gym floor training. "
ALM: "What is your goal for 2012?"
NA: "2012 will represent a milestone in Technogym history. The company is going to have two, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities: we will be Official Supplier of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games. Also we will be inaugurating the New Technogym Village, the first wellness campus in the world which will include the Technogym Global Headquarters, Research Centre and Manufacturing. It will also provide a destination venue open to all those willing to learn more about wellness and wellbeing.
"My goal is to fully capitalise this great opportunity to create value for our customers in terms of innovative products, educational contents, marketing and branding opportunities."
ALM: "What's the most pressing issue right now for you and your business?"
NA: “Helping our customers to make money!"
"Innovation in terms of products, design, programs and content has always represented the key factor behind Technogym growth; in this respect I believe it's very important to focus on the final result and not on the way to achieve it. That's why every day I share with my team the "obsession" of helping our customers to make money as the number one priority within our innovation process. "
ALM: "How would you like 2012 to be different?"
NA: "I'm positive and I don't like to complain, I'm working every day with my team within the company and in the international markets to give my contribution. I believe this is the best way to invest in a better future."
ALM: "How do you think the fitness industry performed in 2011?"
NA: "I believe this is our time! The request for health and wellness is growing very fast worldwide and I believe 2011 has been a great year for the industry: all the leading players both manufacturers and club operators have experienced interesting growths in their business."
ALM: "What's ahead for 2012?"
NA: "Even if the international financial situation has shown in the final month of 2011 some incertitude signals I believe that fitness and wellness operators should bear in mind that, consumer wise, wellness is an emerging trend: there is still a huge potential to be developed and unexplored opportunities to take advantage of."
ALM: "If you had your way, how would the industry change in the next five years?"
NA: "Technogym has always invested in the industry growth through innovation, training and communication. The price battle we have been experiencing in the last years, including dumping in some cases, is killing the club industry.
"To support the growth of our industry in the long term, I believe that suppliers and operators will need to invest together in innovation and communication to enlarge the consumer base to ensure that the industry continuously grows
"On this, when operators are investing in products and technologies for their club business, they should carefully analyze the investment and total cost of ownership in a long term perspective and not only focus on the purchase price. The total cost of ownership of the project represents the real value in terms of reliability, quality, buy back value and business model."
Lower image shows Technogym's Visioweb.
Click here to contact Technogym via their entry in the Australasian Leisure Management Supplier Directory.
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