The Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute (GDI) is an independent think tank in economics, society and consumption. The trend research institute based in Rüschlikon near Zurich is the oldest think tank in Switzerland. The GDI is part of the "Im Grüene" Foundation.
In keeping with the wishes of its founder, Gottlieb Duttweiler, the non-profit organisation GDI is a "place for reflection and encounters" for the purpose of conducting "scientific research in the social and economic fields".
GDI researchers analyse megatrends and countertrends and develop future scenarios for the economy and society. Their findings are reported in studies and books and discussed at conferences and events. The GDI is a practice-oriented, independent institution with a focus on the early identification of trends in the retail sector.
As a place for encounters, the GDI hosts conferences with leading thought leaders and decision-makers to develop novel ideas about future developments. In addition, the institute also organises events on current topics for a broader public. Over and above this, the GDI also rents out spaces and infrastructure for business and private functions.
TIMELINE (in German)
In 1946 (on Christmas Day), the legendary Migros founder and his wife Adele transferred their enormous Rüschlikon estate, Langhalden, to a foundation. The aim of building an institute on this site was already enshrined in the first deed of foundation.
Inaugurated in 1963 – an event Duttweiler was no longer around to experience – the GDI was Switzerland's first independent think tank. With its choice of often controversial topics, it soon made a name for itself, also outside Switzerland. As far back as 1964, the GDI hosted a conference on late-night opening for stores, and it held others on "Cashless shopping in the retail sector" in 1969, "Are our cities suffocating in traffic?" in 1970 and "Organic farming" in 1974.
A new office wing was built in 1988, and a second expansion was completed in 2008 when an additional floor was added and the entire infrastructure was thoroughly modernised.
1888 – Gottlieb Duttweiler is born in Zurich on 15 August
1907 – Completes commercial apprenticeship
1913 – Marries Adele Bertschi
1923 – Farmer in Brazil
1925 – Founds Migros AG
1935 – Enters politics as a member of the Lower House of the Swiss Parliament
1941 – Migros AG is converted into a cooperative society and transferred to the customers
1944 – Founds Migros Club Schools
1962 – Lays foundation stone of GDI
1962 – Gottlieb Duttweiler dies in Zurich on 8 June
The Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute is part of the «Im Grüene» Foundation. It was created on 24 December 1946 by Gottlieb Duttweiler, the founder of Migros, and his wife Adele. The Foundation's assets include Langhalden, the Duttweilers' four-and-a-half-hectare estate in Rüschlikon near Zurich, and an endowment. At the time it was made, the donation had a total value of 520,000 Swiss francs, which, after adjusting for inflation, is equal to about 2.6 million Swiss francs today.
The Foundation was tasked with making the Langhalden estate «available to the general public as a place of recreation», as the deed of foundation puts it. The donor's intentions were realised by turning the estate into the «Im Grüene» Park (known locally as «Dutti-Park»). The GDI is located on the edge of this park.
Furthermore, the Duttweilers' aim was to create an institute for the purpose of scientific research on topics of relevance to business and society and of organising events and activities necessary to promote it. This is still the basis of the GDI's activities.
The Board of Trustees is composed of eight members; its chairperson is Sarah Kreienbühl, member of the Executive Board of the Federation of Migros Cooperatives.
Migros Culture Percentage
The Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute finances itself through the sale of its publications, fees for conferences, speakers' fees and renting out its premises. In addition, the GDI also co-financed by the Migros Culture Percentage.
The Migros Culture Percentage funds Migros' voluntary cultural, social, educational, recreational and business activities. The Culture Percentage was Gottlieb Duttweiler's idea that Federation of Migros Cooperatives and the individual Migros cooperatives should undertake to make an annual contribution of one percent of their revenues.