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BREAKOUT SESSIONS

Our partners’ breakout sessions are a success because they foster active dialogue between delegates and speakers. Benefit from cutting-edge insight and experts’ personal opinions while furthering your own education in a target-oriented manner.

BS 1: Before the breakthrough: from automated to autonomous

BS 2: Purpose: passing trend or crucial for survival?

BS 3: The car is set for an electric future

BS 4: Design and unique client experiences

BS 5: Pushing boundaries – conquering new territory

BS 6: Data-driven business: Creating added value with data

BS 7: Negative interest rates – Walking a (thin) line?

Before the breakthrough: from automated to autonomous

Breakout Session 1

Artificial intelligence is about to make its big breakthrough: From automated to autonomous systems, which are increasingly self-acting and self-learning. Autonomous systems will fundamentally change the way people work, live and travel. This poses challenges for the economy and society as a whole, but also opens up previously unimaginable opportunities. Where is technical development heading? How can we prepare for this? And how can good use be made of the enormous potential? Melanie Zeilinger, Professor at the Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control Technology at ETH Zurich, Dr Kim D. Listmann, Head of ABB Future Labs Switzerland and Dr Christopher Ganz, Group Vice President ABB Future Labs, will discuss these questions in the breakout session using specific examples from research and practice.

(Language: German)

With:

Melanie Zeilinger received the Diploma degree in engineering cybernetics from the University of Stuttgart and the Ph.D. degree with honors in electrical engineering from ETH Zurich. She was a Postdoctoral fellow at EPFL, a Marie Curie fellow and Postdoctoral Researcher with the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Germany and with the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at the University of California at Berkeley. Later she was a professor at the University of Freiburg, before she moved back to ETH in 2019 where she leads the Intelligent Control Systems group.

Dr Kim D. Listmann is Head of ABB Future Labs Switzerland. He and his team are responsible for the development of radical innovations through research, development and use of new technologies, especially industrial AI. He has worked on many award-winning innovations since joining ABB in 2011 (e.g. YuMi, NiTemp) and has defined ABB’s strategy in automation technology. In the past, Kim Listmann worked as a group and department head within ABB’s corporate research in Germany.

Dr Christopher Ganz has been responsible for designing solutions for the future needs of ABB’s future customers since 2019 at the ABB Future Labs. This includes autonomous industries and industrial artificial intelligence. Having worked for ABB since 1995, he helped define ABB’s digital strategy. He was initially a Research Programme Manager and Product Manager for power plant control technology. As Group Service R&D Manager, he was involved in cross-divisional research and development projects for service and digitalisation.



Purpose: passing trend or crucial for survival?

Breakout Session 2

More and more companies and organisations are looking for their core meaning, their “purpose”. Today, economic success alone is no longer enough. “There is one and only one social responsibility of business – to increase its profits.” This thesis, put forward years ago by economist Milton Friedman, is unlikely to be openly accepted by many company executives today. Rather, a higher purpose should now be at the centre of corporate activities as the issue has gained significant importance among consumers, employees and investors.

For this reason, sustainability-oriented companies are increasingly defining themselves through a deeper meaning, to a certain extent with reference to the core of their raison d’être. But haven’t they always done exactly this? How do vision, mission and purpose differ from each other? Why has purpose become so important? Is it really worthwhile for companies to invest in their own purpose, and does it make a difference whether the company is run by its owner or a manager? Join the discussion on this exciting issue for the future!

(Language: German)

With:

Sibylle Olbert-Bock has been Head of the Competence Centre for Leadership and Human Resources Management at the University of St. Gallen since 2007 and is co-director of the “Sustainable Corporate Development” lighthouse. Her research and teaching focus on topics including organisational and staff development, shortage of skilled workers and changes in the world of work.

Monika Walser has been CEO and Partner at Manufaktur de Sede AG since 2014. Prior to that, she was CEO of FREITAG lab.ag and CCO and Deputy Managing Director of ETRANS AG. Since January 2016, she has also been CEO & Delegate of the Board of Directors of de Ligno AG.

Amin Casutt is a graduate of the SEF.NextGen Future Entrepreneur Camp. In his free time, the high school graduate promotes various entrepreneurial and political activities on his own initiative. In these projects he pursues economically and environmentally sustainable approaches that are intended to conserve natural resources.

Severin Moser has been CEO of Allianz Suisse since 2014. He joined the insurance company as a member of the Management Board in 2007. In 2010, he became CEO of Allianz Versicherungs-AG and managed the non-life business at Allianz Deutschland up to the end of 2013. He has a degree in economics from the University of St. Gallen.

Hans-Peter Nehmer (moderator) has been CCO at Allianz Suisse since 2010. He previously held the same position at both UPC/Cablecom and the Hotelplan Group as well as working as a presenter and editor at a private radio station and for Swiss Television for more than ten years. He has also presided over the Swiss Annual Report Rating since 2015 as Chairman of the Jury.




The car is set for an electric future

Breakout Session 3

In 2020, Volkswagen AG will launch its major electric offensive. The Volkswagen ID.3 is the first fully electric car to be based on the new “Modular Electric Toolkit” (MEB), a toolkit which will also be used by other brands of Volkswagen AG and other manufacturers. Thanks to economies of scale, this everyday electric car will also now be affordable for everyone. In addition, over the next few years Volkswagen AG will present 70 new electric cars. At the same time, according to chief strategist Michael Jost, the next generation of petrol and diesel cars at VW scheduled for 2026 is set to be the very last. Michael Jost, Head of Group Strategy Product and CSO Volkswagen Brand, will explain why at the SEF, while Prof. Dr Christopher Onder from ETH Zurich and Morten Hannesbo will discuss whether this plan will work and what framework conditions must be met.

(Language: German)

With:

Michael Jost Michael Jost has been in charge of Volkswagen’s strategy since the end of 2015. He manages and coordinates the realignment of the core brand of the 12-brand group, especially in relation to future-oriented topics such as electromobility. This graduate engineer started his career at Volkswagen in 2010. As Head of Product Management at ŠKODA, he crafted the repositioning of the brand from 2010 to 2015.

Prof. Dr. Christopher H. Onder is a Professor at the Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control in the Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering at the Swiss Federal Institute for Technology (ETH Zurich). He heads up the engine systems laboratory. His research focuses on the modelling, control and optimisation of engine systems, with an emphasis on experimental validation and collaboration with industry.

Morten Hannesbo has been with AMAG since 2007, initially as Managing Director of AMAG Import and since 2009 as CEO of the entire group. He has a wealth of experience acquired over many years with various automobile manufacturers in different roles and countries. Electromobility represents an opportunity for AMAG, but it also requires an adjustment to the existing field of activities.

Dino Graf has been with AMAG since 1989 and today he is in charge of Group Communication and Responsibility for the entire AMAG Group. In addition, he is President of the e’mobile unit and serves on the Board of Electrosuisse. He has already chaired various events and appeared as a speaker or participant in panel discussions. He previously worked in education.



Design and unique client experiences

Breakout Session 4

Companies that want to improve day by day focus on people. It’s about designing experiences, transforming communication and rethinking business models. Targeted innovation and transformational change are driven by co-creation with the speed of a start-up on the scale of a company, true to the motto “innovate like a start-up, scale like an enterprise.”

When these people-centred design practices are combined with proven business acumen, the results speak for themselves. Migros demonstrates this impressively with its integrated customer experience. Its brand experience combines added value from the online world with the established offline business. Find out how the Swiss Love brand remains digitally relevant and close to its customers.

(Language: German)



Pushing boundaries – conquering new territory

Breakout Session 5

The future belongs to the brave: they think laterally and cross boundaries, take risks and explore new paths to success. By doing so they are helping Switzerland to regain its reputation as a country of innovation. In the breakout session we will hear from courageous entrepreneurs and examine the roots of their pioneering spirit. We will ask them how they deal with setbacks and find the ideal balance between structure and chaos. And we will gain insights for our own explorations of new territory. During the session their entrepreneurial awakening will be examined in all its facets and in practical terms. The transformation of existing markets will be discussed alongside the invention of new business models. Questions will range from personal to strategic. They will encompass technology, management and leadership. Risks will also be considered: What happens when courage turns into recklessness? What dangers lurk in decisions that are right on the edge? How do you inspire motivation and creativity in a team? The answers may differ depending on industries and individuals, but one thing is certain: To achieve tomorrow’s success we must break through the boundaries of today’s thoughts and actions.

(Language: German)

With:

Gerold Biner is the CEO and a pilot at Air Zermatt. With his passion for flying, instilled in him since his youth, he guided the helicopter airline into a new era. His book “Flight for Life” provides insights into entrepreneurial and human experiences in life on the very edge: Gerold Biner has himself sat in the cockpit on 4,000 missions.

Marianne Wildi, the only woman at the top of a listed Swiss bank, has been in charge of Hypothekarbank Lenzburg since 2010. With Finstar, the digital ecosystem for the core banking system, the bank is pursuing a bold forward strategy. Marianne Wildi is also committed to the future of the financial centre. She serves, for example, on the Board of economiesuisse and is a Board Member for the Association of Regional Banks and the Swiss Bankers Association.

Tobias Rein is a co-founder and the Principal Engineer of GetYourGuide. With an idea developed in Beijing, he and four fellow ETH Zurich students have together revolutionised the tourism market and have already generated 30 million bookings as well as venture capital amounting to USD 650 million. As one of the few “unicorns” in Switzerland, GetYourGuide proves that Swissness and courage are a perfect match.

Nik Hartmann will chair the breakout session for PwC.



Data-driven business: Creating added value with data

Breakout Session 6

5G is about much more than just greater speed – the new generation of mobile communications is now reality. Network expansion and the launch of the fifth generation of mobile communications has driven digitalisation forward and laid the foundation for new, innovative business models. Data are becoming more and more important with growing digitalisation. Storing, analysing and protecting data and making it available for commercial use is becoming a key value for Swiss companies. Data-driven business is the success model of the future. A fast, reliable, high-performance network provides the necessary infrastructure for the Swiss economy to become data-driven.

Due to the growing importance of business-relevant data, protecting these data is becoming increasingly important. Swisscom not only offers secure infrastructure for transporting these data but already consistently backs security when developing products by applying the principles of security by design.

Take advantage in this session of the valuable experiences of other companies and find out how you can smoothly master the route to data-driven business.

(Language: German)

With:

Urs Schaeppi has worked at Swisscom for 15 years. He was the Head of Corporate Business from 2008 and has headed Swisscom Switzerland since the beginning of 2013. The Swisscom Board of Directors elected Urs Schaeppi as CEO of Swisscom (Switzerland) AG at the beginning of November 2013. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering from ETH Zurich and a Master’s degree in Economics from the University of St. Gallen. Before joining Swisscom, Urs Schaeppi worked in various management positions at Iveco, Ascom AG and Papierfabrik Biberist.

Urs Lehner has been Head of Swisscom Business Customers and a member of the Swisscom Group Executive Board since July 2017. He has a degree in IT engineering from the University of Applied Sciences and an Executive MBA in Business Engineering from the University of St. Gallen.

Tobias Müller is the knowledge communicator at Swiss Radio and Television. He has hosted the magazine programme “Einstein”, which tackles everyday phenomena and secrets and examines Switzerland as a research location, since 2011. He specialises in digital transformation and has hosted numerous special SRF programmes on this topic, including “SRF Digitaltag” and “SRF Mensch-Maschine”.

 

Negative interest rates – Walking a (thin) line?

Breakout Session 7

What does the future look like for the Swiss economy? Following a boom year in 2018, growth has slowed considerably. Additionally, entrepreneurs are concerned about interest rates. Five years after the SNB introduced negative interest rates, nothing indicates a change of direction. In contrast, central banks around the world are returning to their expansionary monetary policy. What does this mean for Switzerland?

Local entrepreneurs need to address the long-term impacts of negative interest rates on the economy. The negative interest rate policy also plays a key role for Swiss savers and banks: For example, there is the question of whether and to what extent the SNB will cut interest rates and for how long this policy will continue. Crucial issues here include negative developments in the real estate market and the strain on the Swiss pension system. The concern is therefore not what is in the rearview mirror but what lies ahead – a delicate balance between those holding mortgages, depositors, banks and the SNB.

Take this opportunity to discuss with Axel P. Lehmann, Isabelle Amschwand and Georges Kern questions such as “Five years of negative interest policy – what now?”.

(Language: German)

With:

Axel P. Lehmann has been President of UBS Switzerland since 2018. In 2016, he was appointed a member of the Group Executive Board of UBS Group AG and Group Chief Operating Officer. From 2009 until 2015, he served as a member of the Board of Directors of UBS Group AG. Prior to that, he worked for more than 20 years at Zurich Insurance Group, the last 14 years in the capacity of a member of its Group Executive Committee.

Isabelle Amschwand is Chair of the FCT Trianon Collective Foundation. A qualified lawyer, she has been in charge of the collective foundation, which was established in 1998 and is active in occupational pensions in the Swiss social security system, since 2014. Between 2013 and the start of 2019, she was CEO of Trianon AG, a company specialising in business process outsourcing in the area of human resources, including pension fund. In 2019 she founded her own company, the ASTIA AG.

Georges Kern has been CEO of Swiss watchmaker Breitling, in which he is also a shareholder, since 2017. He joined luxury goods company Richemont in 2000 and was appointed CEO of IWC Schaffhausen two years later. He was then promoted to Head of Watchmaking at the Richemont Group.

Reto Brennwald is a freelance journalist, film-maker and moderator. He founded Talk&Film GmbH für Kommunikation, Moderation und Filmproduktion in 2015 after having spent almost 18 years at SRF, most recently as a documentary film-maker. From 2000 to 2007, he hosted “Rundschau” and from 2008 to 2011 presented the political programme “Arena”.



BS 1

Before the breakthrough: from automated to autonomous

BS 2

Purpose: passing trend or crucial for survival?

BS 3

The car is set for an electric future

BS 4

Design and unique client experiences

BS 5

Pushing boundaries – conquering new territory

BS 6

Data-driven business: Creating added value with data

BS 7

Negative interest rates – Walking a (thin) line?

BREAKOUT SESSIONS

Our partners’ breakout sessions are a success because they foster active dialogue between delegates and speakers. Benefit from cutting-edge insight and experts’ personal opinions while furthering your own education in a target-oriented manner.