Coaches & Speakers


Creativity, the ability to generate novel and useful ideas, is the seed of innovation, but unless it’s applied and scaled, it’s still just an idea. 

David Burkus


United by the passion for creativity and precise, targeted communication, our coaching team is there to support and empower participants in the creative process that drives innovation and creates impact. By guiding participants through the three-cycle co-creation process, work groups are equipped to maximise their innovation potential, to implement agile thinking methods, and to engage a startup mindset to their ideas.

Meet our coach team, a group of specialists in the fields of marketing, design, communications, concept development and creation:


Philipp Rufer

Since finishing his studies of economic sciences at University of Zürich, Philipp has been working in the field of organisational development. He is a creative problem-solver and supports with his own company all kinds of transformations and projects in organisations. He started his career in the automotive sector with several roles in strategy development, customer relationship management, sales development and cultural projects. After 8 years he shifted the focus on people and worked with psychologists in the field of behavioural change. Philipp is married, has two kids and a strong passion for surfing.



Christina Stent

Christina calls the world her home and has spent many years living and working in Australia, Costa Rica and in several European countries in the field of tourism and tour management. During the past 20 years she dedicated her talents to the Swiss live communication scene, as the co-owner of an event and incentive agency, the head of concept development and a project development specialist. In recent years she specialized herself in coaching and developing the future generation. Christina is working as a coach and creativity/co-creation faciltitator while finishing a master’s degree in coaching and organizational development. She is married, has two daughters and enjoys spending her free time close to the water and being a host for spontaneous get-togethers at her home on the Rhine.



Chris Wyer

Chris is the founder and design director of RAWCUT Design Studio, lecturer and author of several books as „the game of the future“. He has an affinity for financial services and worked amongst other for the top 3 banks in Switzerland in a role as UX/UI design lead.





Debbie Zedi

Debbie has been working in the field of marketing and communications, concept development and creation for 20 years. She started her career with a job at the idea factory «BrainStore», which notably influenced her approach to conceptual work, facilitating ideation/creation processes as well as leading and motivating heterogeneous teams. Another important station in her professional life was in live communications, where she worked as a concept developer and creative director. These positions in agencies and working freelance, gave her the opportunity to work for many different companies and institutions in various market areas. Her latter jobs took her to the education sector, where she’s at present in the position of head of marketing at the University of the Arts in Zurich.




Sarah Pietrasanta

Sarah is not into titles at all. Nevertheless, some of them do appear in her career:

– Programme Director, Radio RaBe
– Project Manager Media Department, Federal Office for Migration
– Creative Director, aspectfilm
– Mastermind, PS: Copy, Story & Concept
– Creative Director, Blue Spirit Communications
– Mastermind, diesarah

In other words: Sarah is a general store for advertising, communication and entertainment/culture. In these areas she’s in particular available for: Ideas, Strategies, Concepts, Copies, Content, Scenarios and Speeches.



Manuel Linder

Manuel (35) from Berne, married to Stephanie and father of Levin, has three professional mainstays. As a consultant at Bucher+Suter, he creates innovative customer experiences for major corporations such as Roche and Allianz. As a consultant, he supports INNOArchitects and Punkt Rufer in workshops on topics such as « Tomorrow Ecosystems“ or « Digital Economy » and accompanies companies such as Migros, Mobiliar and Swiss Post in their digital transformation. As co-founder of the start-up company SPOUD, he is revolutionizing the way we look at Data. Manuel is a passionate entrepreneur and networker.


Innovation Process

Creative and innovative thinking is key to tackling the main topic at this event! Supported by experienced moderators, innovation-coaches and media professionals, participants follow a structured, yet open process based on the principle of co-creation.

Preparation phase: before the Forum, selected participants connect as digital tribes in an online social network to get to know their fellow team members and to receive preparatory scientific materials relevant to their given Challenge.

At the Forum, Plenary Sessions inspire the ISTF participants in the main auditorium and set the tone through expert talks, impulse speeches, a creative session, one-on-one debates, and informal and formal exchanges with other groups. Our “Topic Leader”, a leading voice in the Artificial Intelligence research community, will open the ISTF with a keynote speech, and will engage the Challengers in a panel discussion, highlighting the event’s core messages by connecting the dots between topics and speakers in unexpected ways, adding additional layers of meaning.

Work Sessions are at the core of the symposium. Groups of seven participants engage with the five Challengers in three cycles of highly interactive discussions and debates, deliberating over the potential solutions or answers to their specific challenge.

Co-Creation: Within Cycle 1, each group is briefed by their Challenger and then defines their project work to develop their research commitment. Within Cycle 2, there will be plenty of space for innovation. Using a variety of techniques to encourage out-of-the-box thinking, participants will draw on their creativity to find novel and visionary ideas and solutions relevant to their designated questions. In Cycle 3, participants will describe and visualise their best ideas, aiming to create meaningful changefor a constructive, sustainable, and livable future.

Output: On the last day of the Forum, a representative of each group presents the group’s ideas in a 15-minute pitch at the public closing event. The format of the final presentation is largely open. The Coaches and Media Team will be happy to share potential presentation ideas, techniques and formats with you.

  • Cycle 1: briefing => defining the problem => researching the topic
  • Cycle 2: dreaming => ideation => possible solutions
  • Cycle 3: building a story => visualizing concepts & ideas for public presentations






Topic Leader | Prof. Roland Siegwart, ETH Zürich


Roland Siegwart (born in 1959) is professor for autonomous mobile robots at ETH Zurich and founding co-director of the Wyss Translational Center Zurich. He is member of the board of directors of Komax, NZZ, Evatec and Sevensense. He studied mechanical engineering at ETH, brought up a spin-off company, spent ten years as professor at EPF Lausanne (1996 – 2006), held visiting positions at Stanford University and NASA Ames and was Vice President for Research at ETH Zurich (2010 -2014).

He is IEEE Fellow, recipient of the IEEE RAS Inaba Technical Award and officer of the International Federation of Robotics Research (IFRR). He is in the editorial board of multiple journals in robotics and was a general chair of several conferences in robotics including IROS 2002, AIM 2007, FSR 2007 and ISRR 2009. He is among the most cited scientist in robots world-wide, co-founder of more than half a dozen spin-off companies and a strong promotor of innovation and entrepreneurship in Switzerland.

His interests are in the design and navigation of wheeled, walking and flying robots operating in complex and highly dynamical environments.




Short Speakers | Prof. Sara Rubinelli and Pascal Kaufmann

Sara Rubinelli holds a degree in Classics and Philosophy from the Catholic University of Milan (I) and a PhD from the University of Leeds (UK) in the areas of argumentation theory, persuasion and rhetoric. Since September 2009 she is Scientific Coordinator of the Human Functioning Unit at Swiss Paraplegic Research (CH) and leads there the Person-Centered Healthcare Group. Since September 2012 she is Assistant Professor in Health Sciences with a focus in health communication at the Department of Health Sciences and Health Policy of the University of Lucerne (CH). Since September 2016 she is President of the European Association for Communication in Healthcare (EACH), she is scientific consultant in health communication for the World Health Organization (WHO). Sara Rubinelli’s research and teaching interests centre on three main pillars: Communication Sciences, with a focus on: rhetoric, argumentation theory and persuasion; Health Communication, with a focus on: health professional-patient communication, health literacy, eHealth and technologies for health communication and empowerment; Communication and education: critical thinking and communication skills in academic/professional curricula.


Pascal Kaufmann is a neuroscientist-turned-entrepreneur and founder of Starmind. He holds a Master’s degree in Neuroscience and Economics from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich and Northwestern University in Evanston, IL (USA), where he was part of a pioneering team that created one of the first cyborgs. Pascal has worked at the prestigious Artificial Intelligence Laboratory of the University of Zurich, Switzerland. He founded Starmind in 2010 together with Marc Vontobel. Starmind infuses artificial intelligence with neuroscience to break the barriers limiting true human and organizational collaboration. The Augmented Intelligence SaaS solution lets people think with the power of a million brains. In 2017 he founded Mindfire. The foundation is focused on understanding the foundational principles which make up human intelligence and applying those principles to the development of artificially intelligent organisms.


Closing Speech | Prof. Ralph Eichler: President of the foundation Board SYiS/

Schweizer Jugend forscht


Ralph Eichler received his PhD in physics from ETH Zurich. He went on to pursue post-doctoral research in California, Hamburg, and at ETH Zurich, and was a project manager at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI). In 1989, he became professor of physics at ETH Zurich. In the course of his career in science, Eichler returned to Hamburg from 1995 to 1997 as head of the international collaboration H1, before being Director of the Paul Scherrer Institute from 2002 to 2007. From September 2007 until December 2014, he was President of the ETH Zürich und member of the ETH Board. He is a member of the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences (SATW) and President of the Board of Trustees at Swiss Youth in Science. In addition, he is on the Board of Directors of Belenos Clean Power Holding Ltd. in Biel, a member of the Venture Foundation, of the Oberwolfach Foundation, and on the Board of Councilors of the Okinawa Institute for Science and Technology (OIST).