WANTED: LEADER – How we discovered our Topic 2020 in the stars



Take a close look at the stars – and overcome brainless, emotionless routine.

Mars Ladnscape

50 years after Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, it’s finally happening again: billions of people around the globe are looking into the sky and into the stars. There is a race going on, whose fascination no one can escape:

The Chinese land on the moon. The US space agency NASA cooperates with the entrepreneur Elon Musk (Tesla) and his company SpaceX. Jeff Bezos (Amazon) plans his own pioneering work with Blue Origin.

Is the goal still the Moon, as the US president states? Or are people shooting further, all the way to Mars? The moment in which everything comes together seems nearer: people fly to the Red Planet in a private spaceship – and create their own lives in an ultimately unknown world.

Spacex 2

This advancement would eclipse the discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus in 1492.

Why is it that space travel exerts such an irresistible attraction and inspires our imagination? Could it be that the qualities that are lacking in our lives, can be neatly encapsulated in a single spacecraft?

The courage to leave the comfort zone. The ambition not to be held back by doubters. The trust that man and machine are only strong together. The ability to let go, to make the Leap of Faith, to literally reach for the stars.

And above all: leadership, the willingness to go one way with absolute conviction and to take others along with you.

People Control

Leadership (or Lack of Leadership) is a mega-topic of our time, especially in Europe. Why does the team leader hide in meetings, unable to make decisions in uncertain times?

How can British politicians convince the country to exit the EU, but leave the implementation to others? Why are the German car companies emerging from the diesel scandal without cleaning up after themselves and making a commitment to go electric?

For over three decades now, why have CEOs watched digitisation and globalisation turn their world upside down, while still believing they can muddle through? How can the boards of Finnish phone makers, Swiss power corporations, German technology conglomerates sit back while newcomers take over?  


Why do we build ourselves a bubble of comfort, with rigid rules and uptight norms that impede disruption?

All this is unthinkable in a space capsule.

Victor Luo and Marco Tempest from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory will give an insight into the world of space exploration at the 8th annual meeting of the WORLDWEBFORUM on 16-17 January 2020 in Zurich.

Luo – who is also a consultant at Google’s “X, The Moonshot Factory” – integrates new visualization technologies used in Mars missions. Tempest is a creative technologist working on prototypes of future technologies for immersive technologies.

With the adoption of such advanced technologies, the risk of making space travel a reality within our lifetime is transformed from reckless to courageous. The curiosity and commitment of the engineers and scientists in these moonshot projects are testament to brave, visionary leadership – those with conviction, those that are prepared to go all the way.


The star guest is Lars Ulrich, co-founder of the US band Metallica. With his driving drumming, he made a decisive contribution to the global breakthrough of a new genre of music in the 1980s: Metal.

It was also Ulrich who proved leadership when Metallica hit rock bottom at the turn of the millennium and the musicians only argued with each other. The documentary “Some Kind Of Monster” shows how he united the band in a kind of group therapy – proactively addressing toxic anger issues in a pre-meditation, pre-Headspace age of mental health awareness.

At WORLDWEBFORUM Track sessions take place between main stage keynotes. The following tracks are already confirmed:

  • “Digital Health” (Directed by: ETH Zurich and McKinsey & Company)
  • “Leadership” (Stanford Graduate School of Business)
  • “Women In Tech” (Diplomatic Courier)
  • “Artificial Intelligence” (SingularityNET)
  • “Food Chain” (V-Zug and Laboratory of Food Process Engineering ETH Zurich)
  • “Blockchain” (Everyware)
  • “Design Thinking” (Zurich Insurance Group)

With the theme “Wanted: Leader” the WORLDWEBFORUM 2020 returns to its roots.

At the beginning of 2007 there was the question of what one can do today, at the dawn of the Internet age, to be successful tomorrow.

This led to the conviction that a radical change in companies and teams was needed to master the second major transformation in the history of mankind: The collapse of hierarchical structures.

This radical change needs people with the right mindset, regardless of whether they are pioneers, nerds, thought leaders, entrepreneurs or lateral thinkers. The main thing is that they show leadership.