Spotlight on:

Christian Crews
SNIC Speaker and Futurist

Give us a sneak peek about what you have planned for your conference session! How will your talk benefit attendees in their day-to-day?
We are planning a highly interactive session that will educate attendees on the how’s and why’s of thinking ahead, and give them an opportunity to work with their peers to discuss both short-term issues in school nutrition, and long-term assumptions about how it will evolve over the next ten years. The conversation will be supported with highly designed trend cards and innovation worksheets to help attendees find insights about the future and explore what it means for their organizations today.

Why is learning about the future so important?
Often the future is presented in ways that makes it difficult for leaders to connect it to their business. My concentration as a professional has always focused on translating future trends and scenarios into tangible strategy and innovation implications for leaders. Thinking about the future is not just a thought experiment -- to be successful it needs to drive decisions and investments.

In your opinion, what are some of the most significant future trends and how they will have an impact on the business of school nutrition?
Environmental impacts such as drought or cold snaps will drive up the cost and reduce availability to the food most needed in schools today. How can the entire ecosystem from growers, to industry, to school leaders, create an efficient way to reduce food waste, enhance nutrition and shelf-life across minimally processed products?

New technologies are arriving that could dramatically change how nutrients are grown or processed, including vertical farming, advanced genetic editing techniques, and automated growing and delivery systems. These technologies may have large implications for school nutrition.

Describe a little bit about your background.
My education has been focused on studies of the future, which allows me to apply many tools of foresight across different business and non-profit sectors. These include consumer products, technology services, manufacturing, foundations, and member associations. I have worked inside organizations, performing foresight for strategy and innovation. I run AndSpace Consulting, a foresight, innovation, strategy, and design research firm serving Fortune 500 companies and large non-profits. Selected clients include PepsiCo, Disney, Goodyear, and the Institute of Food Technologists.

What are you most excited about for the conference?
I’m looking forward to hearing the interaction of the attendees as they discuss how global trends will be impacting school nutrition. The attendees will be representing organizations of all sizes from school districts and companies, so the mix will encourage a diverse conversation that should result in very rich conclusions.

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