Worldwebforum Pre-Unconference

Leaders from all corners of the world trooped to the alpine Swiss resort LAAX early on a Sunday morning.

The private transfers from Zürich airport  delivered scenic views and comfort in top of the range SUVs and sedans generously provided by Volvo Cars Switzerland. It is the so-called calm before the conference storm. A chance to unwind in an unbridled setting. A conducive environment to unite with fellows, speakers, partners, and members of the Trnsfrmrs Club.

As the leaders settled in their cozy rooms, they were welcomed with bright blue treats from Zurich Insurance, Worldwebforum’s formidable partner in pushing innovation forward.

The weather was cool and calm, a stark contrast from last year’s snow storm. Everyone was in positive spirits, looking forward to the events lined-up for the next three days.

Day 1 highlights

The first night was capped with an apero and a sumptuous dinner at Casa Veglia. Fabian Hediger, CEO & Co-Founder of Worldwebforum, welcomed the guests and introduced the gracious host, the man who made LAAX the prime destination that it is, Reto Gurtner. Reto emphasized the growing need for leaders to think more consciously about their impact on the environment and shared his vision for implementing Greenstyle practices in the spaces he manages. Philipp Stauffer, Co-Founder & Managing Director of venture capital Fyrfly also gave a few words of encouragement for the group. The night was filled with vibrant laughter and engaging experience exchange.

The leaders had an early call time the next day to prepare for snow adventures. For the experienced skiers and snowboarders, the slopes were divine. For the first-timers, it was a cool introduction to either skiing or snowboarding. The hiking team also had quite a day, as they went up the mountains with their experienced guide.

Everyone was treated to a gondola ride up to The Hangar  where the first panel discussion kicked off headlined by Brian Spears of New Age Meats, Charity Wanjinku of Strauss Energy, Brittany Kaiser of Own Your Data, Anita Roth of AirBnB, and Reto Gurtner of Weisse Arena Group. The discussion was facilitated by Ole Tillmann and Blair Christie. Sustainability topics spanning from environmental conservation to data and privacy ethics to renewable energy.

The issue of “Kleptocracy” was discussed.  Brittany Kaiser points out, “Human centered design equates to data privacy rights. We, as producers of the world’s most valuable asset, have no part of taking any of its value. I’m the creator, if you want me, then you ask me, tell me who you are, how long and what you will use it for, and we will agree on a price, same as the Airbnb model.”

The need for ethical, transparent, permission structures in handling data was highly-emphasized all throughout the discourse. When medical data for one clinical study is worth 28,000USD, consumers could have a universal earned income where it’s up to them where and when can they become a data input.

On the topic of environmental impact, Reto Gurtner reiterates, “Sustainability creates trust, trust creates value. Drive change by positive reinforcement.” He adds that the way businesses operate should not be a zero sum gain. The gains of a business should not be the loss of the environment, and vice versa.

And on the subject of food sustainability, Brian Spears remains optimistic but shares that engineered meat is still expensive to produce and hard to scale up. It will take at least a few years to make it “mass market” but the work is on-going and it’s heading towards the right direction. The discussion ended in a hopeful and inspiring note.


Day 2 highlights

It was another day of appreciating the snow-capped Swiss alps. Acquainted a bit more, breakfast was livelier brought about by the new-found familiarity amongst the PreUnconference participants. They had a full day to enhance their skiing or snowboarding skills. Some also discovered the Swiss game curling, a  sport in which players slide stones on a sheet of ice toward a target area which is segmented into four concentric circles.

The leaders ended their day with a torch walk along the Lanargs and night-sledding.

As they headed down to Zurich for the much-awaited conference on their last day in LAAX, they are recharged to go through the rigors of intense track sessions and debates, designed to inspire more driven leaders like them to empower radical change and create more value for the next generation.


Check out the Pre-Unconference gallery…