Research Topics

Retail and Consumption

The Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute has been involved in research on trade and consumption since its foundation in 1963. As a consumer, people's behaviour and decisions are decisively influenced by new technological, economic and social developments. Once a trend is established in the mainstream, it can turn entire industries and business models upside down. The GDI examines such shifts in the system, analyses the consequences for the retail sector and identifies new models.

Technology and Digitisation

Since industrialization, no development has changed society and the economy at the global level as much as digitisation. It makes entire industries obsolete and new ones possible. Digitisation is penetrating our most private spheres, "personal technology" is already changing our actions, our expectations and our needs. But these developments do not follow a linear pattern, they develop exponentially. This increases their complexity. Moreover, even the most sophisticated innovations require social acceptance. What will prevail now and what won't? In cooperation with the most renowned research institutions such as MIT in Cambridge or ETH Zurich, the GDI is investigating the possibilities and consequences of existing and future technologies.

Food and Nutrition

Food occupies us all and goes far beyond simply satisfying our needs. Food in its many facets penetrates all areas of life today. Food can be a means of self-optimisation, a substitute religion or an expression of one's own identity. The Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute deals with food and nutrition trends at all stages of value creation. What exciting innovations will change the way food is produced and processed in the future? How will these then be transported and distributed? How will trade and gastronomy change? How, when, where, with whom and what do people want to eat in the future? What efforts, innovations and concepts are there with regard to sustainability? And how does all this fit together to form a functioning holistic system?

Self-Optimisation and Health

Health is no longer just the absence of illness. Keeping fit, eating healthily and helping one's physical and mental performance has long since arrived in the mainstream. Health and well-being have developed into a global growth market in aging societies. Digitalisation is adding tools for self-optimisation that make our well-being and performance individually measurable. The GDI is interested in the pioneers of a new industry that follow more a hacker mindset than a mindfulness ethos. Will their developments break the boundaries of being human?

Grafik Körpertopografie GDI
Technology

From selfie to digital double

In the future, data-enriched selfies, will be much more than an image of an external state. Algorithms will soon be able to read us better than any psychiatrist.

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Health

Jo Marchant on how beliefs shape health

Microbiologist and science journalist Jo Marchant describes the influence of positive thoughts on our health and how placebos work, even when we are aware of the fact, that we are taking them.

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Fashion and Beauty

How we dress, groom ourselves, style – strongly influences our public image. We can consciously play with it in order to express our own identity(s). The Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute is researching current and future trends: consumers today often want to lead a more sustainable lifestyle – but when it comes to buying clothing, accessories and cosmetics, price is (still) often the most important criterion. How will fast fashion change in the future? Will the fashion giants also have to change their business models and make them more sustainable? How long can and will consumers continue to support animal testing and microplastics in beauty articles? Which alternatives and innovations are being developed or even already on the market? And what role does the wellness trend play in this system? In the future, will we concentrate more on our inner beauty than on our outer beauty?

Tourism and Mobility

Shopping in London, working in Geneva... Never before has mobility been so cheap, and never before have so many people travelled so much as today: as commuters, explorers and tourists. At the same time, online shopping and delivery services are creating new concepts in micrologistics. Will swarms of drones soon bring our orders home? Will autonomous vehicles drive us to our appointments tomorrow? Does this make public transport a thing of the past? Or is the key to clever networked solutions without access barriers? The GDI addresses such questions at the interfaces between mobility, motif and infrastructure.

Globalisation, Economics and Society

The global population is growing and the world is becoming denser. At the same time we are experiencing a fourth industrial revolution: work is changing, the division of labour between man and robot, artificial intelligence and human intelligence must be negotiated. This creates new fronts and polarities. Existing social operating systems such as democracy are increasingly being called into question. New operating systems for a digital society must first be found. What will they look like? Which markets are prepared for change? Where do disruptive business models emerge? How will the interplay of forces between society, business and politics change in the future? The GDI examines the burgeoning fractures and classifies them.

Stämme Sloterdijk MigrosMagazin
Society

Peter Sloterdijk: “Tribalism is fundamental to being human“

Our reality has always taken place in the setting of a large family or a circle of friends. But this fact was covered by the myth of the nation. German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk explains why today's group of nationalists will fail. On 22 January, Sloterdijk will speak at the GDI.

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The Return of Tribes

Silicon Valley: The Gambling Tribe

Home to countless start-ups and place of longing to all tech nerds – in the Silicon Valley, a society arises with its own history and social structures. Sociologist Olivier Alexandre takes a critical look at this community. He will be speaking at the GDI on 22 January.

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