ETD 14

14th European Trend Day

Super You: The Growing Self-Optimisation Market

Super You: The Growing Self-Optimisation Market

Picture: © Cary Wolinsky

Yoga, chia, Fitbit – the self-optimisation business is booming, from no-tech and low-tech to high-tech. Wellness has an annual turnover of almost USD 4,000 bn. We’re perfecting our nutrition and digestion, caring for wrinkles and muscles, flying halfway around the world for wellness courses. Trendsetters are experimenting with ayahuasca and LSD microdosing, and Elon Musk is researching a brain-machine interface.

There’s no end in sight for the boom. People want to transcend themselves. Once basic needs are met, self-optimisation becomes a raison d’être and happiness an obligation. Self-promotion is compulsory in the era of Instagram and selfies. Appearance becomes reputation; status makes us happy. The only limit placed on our transformation is our own imagination.

  • What new self-improvement products await us?
  • Will brain hacking make us superhuman?
  • Health, nutrition, beauty, tourism: which industries will profit most?
  • What impact does self-optimisation have on the working world?
  • What are the societal consequences of the pressure for perfection?

We’ll discuss answers to these and many more questions at the 14th European Trend Day.


Wednesday, 14 March 2018, 08.30 – 17.30

Welcome Coffee

David Bosshart (CH), CEO, GDI Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute
Super You: The Growing Self-Optimisation Market

Steven Kotler (US), Co-Founder and Director for Research, Flow Genome Project, author of «Stealing Fire»
In the Flow: Hacking the Brain for Ultimate Performance


Paul Austin (US), Founder, The Third Wave
Microdosing: Integrating Psychedelics into Modern Life

Neil Harbisson (UK), artist and cyborg activist
Becoming Cyborgs: A New Age for Our Species

Networking Lunch

Jo Marchant (UK), microbiologist and award-winning science journalist
Mind over Body: How Beliefs Shape Health

Anna Bjurstam (SE, TH), Vice-President, Six Senses Spas, Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas
Wellness: How Science and Technology Are Changing the Industry

Dr. Verena Buchinger-Kähler (DE), Director, Clinic Dr. Buchinger
The Cult of Abstinence: Why Fasting is Booming

Conversation with Anna Bjurstam and Verena Buchinger-Kähler
When Science Meets Romance: The Future of the Wellness Industry


Stefano Mancuso (IT), Professor and Lead, International Laboratory for Plant Neurobiology, University of Florence
True Aliens: How Plants Think and Behave

Will Storr (UK), award-winning journalist and novelist
Selfie: Why We Are So Self-Obsessed

Norbert Bolz (DE), Professor of Media Studies, Technical University, Berlin
The New Goal in Life: From a Good Life to the Pursuit of Happiness

Networking Apéro

Stephen Kotler

Stephen Kotler

Author, award-winning journalist and Co-Founder and Director for Research of the Flow Genome Project. He is one of the world's leading experts on ultimate human performance and lectures to companies such as Google, JP Morgan and Omnicon Media. Author of “Stealing Fire” and the New York Times bestseller “The Rise of Superman”.

Neil Harbisson

Neil Harbisson

Contemporary artist focusing on cyborgism, co-founder of the Cyborg Foundation and best known for having an antenna implanted in his skull. His artwork investigates the relationship between colour and sound and examines the boundaries of human perception. He is the first human being officially recognised as a cyborg by a government.

Jo Marchant

Jo Marchant

Award-winning science journalist with a PhD in medical microbiology and author of the New York Times Best Seller “Cure: A Journey into the Science of Mind over Body”. As Former senior editor at New Scientist and Nature, Marchant has written on topics from the future of genetic engineering to underwater archaeology.

Paul Austin

Paul Austin

Founder of The Third Wave, an online platform to educate people about the intersection of science, self-optimization, and psychedelics. Austin is a world-traveling entrepreneur with extensive experience in building online audiences and has focused much of his public efforts on the relevance of micro-dosing to a changing business world.

Stefano Mancuso

Stefano Mancuso

Internationally renowned plant scientist, professor of plant physiology and behavior and head of the International Laboratory of Plant Neurobiology at the University of Florence. Founding member of the International Society for Plant Signaling and Behavior and author of Spiegel Best Seller “Brilliant Green: The Surprising History and Science of Plant Intelligence”. His latest book is “Plant Revolution”.

Anna Bjurstam

Anna Bjurstam

Vice president of Six Senses Spas at Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas. Co-founder of the wellness consulting company Raison d’Etre, which developed spa brands for hotel chains such as Taj Hotels Resorts, Kempinski Hotels and Capella Hotels. Strategic Advisor Pegasus Capital Advisors. Bjurstam is a also a founding board member of the Global Spa Summit.

Will Storr

Will Storr

Award winning writer, journalist and photographer. His features have appeared in various publications, including Guardian Weekend, The Times Magazine, Observer Magazine, and GQ. Storr has been named New Journalist of the Year and Feature Writer of the Year. His latest book “Selfie“ discusses our self-obsession.

Verena Buchinger-Kähler

Verena Buchinger-Kähler

Senior physician and associate of the Buchinger Klinik in Bad Pyrmont. The plastic surgeon continues the tradition of Buchinger therapeutic fasting in the 4th family generation and focuses on the principles of mind-body medicine: self-efficacy and attentiveness.

Norbert Bolz

Norbert Bolz

Professor of Media Studies at the Technical University of Berlin, zeitgeistphilosopher and trend analyst. Bolz is an important thinker on cultural development and author of numerous publications on media, marketing and communication.

Julian Thorner

Julian Thorner

Moderator. Until 2015 Thorner hosted his daily news show "Noiz" on the youth channel Joiz. Since 2016 Thorner can be listened to on Radio SRF 3 in his own show "De Samstig – mitem Julian Thorner".


14 March 2018

Full price: 1200 CHF
20 % early bird rebate until 22 December 2017: 960 CHF
10 % early bird rebate until 2 February 2018: 1080 CHF
Price for startups: 390 CHF (Request for voucher code: etd(at)

The conference fee includes all food and beverages. Participants registering less than two weeks before the event can pay by credit card only.

Event location
GDI Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute
Langhaldenstrasse 21
8803 Rüschlikon


German/English (simultaneous translation)

Changes to the programme
The programme is subject to change. If an event does not take place, fees will be refunded. Further claims are ruled out.

If you are unable to attend, please let us have your cancellation in writing. The fee will be reimbursed on cancellation thirty or more days before the event. After this term and until five full working days prior to the event we will charge 75% of the fee. In the event of later cancellations we will charge the full participation fee. Substitute participants welcome.

Hotel reservation
To benefit from special rates, please use the following email adresses and refer to the following code: ETD2018
Hotel Sedartis, Thalwil:
Hotel Belvoir, Rüschlikon:

There will be a free shuttle bus service between the GDI and the Hotel Sedartis Thalwil and Thalwil train station.


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