Coaches & speakers



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. The last station at BMW Group Switzerland was as project manager for the market launch of electric cars in 2014. 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 her younger 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 was a part of the Swiss live communication scene, as a co-owner of an event and incentive agency, head of concept development and project development specialist. In recent years she specialized herself in coaching and developing the future generation. She is currently going back to school to get her master’s degree in coaching and organizational development. Christina 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 Zeddi

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.



Remo Brunner

After his studies of communication science in Winterthur, Remo worked for many years as a consultant in renowned Swiss communication agencies, until he joined the celebrated digital agency Hinderling Volkart in 2011, where he was leading the consulting departement. After working for different swiss agencies, international companies and exciting start-ups, he decided in mid-2017 to come up with something new. He founded “nueva – the always new agency“, a digital agency specialized in the needs of start-ups and creative web projects. Remo Brunner knows how target-oriented communication works and what it takes to ensure that messages are disseminated and received in the interest of the sender. Remo knows how to write and present business plans, pitches and concepts and how (digital) projects need to be designed to be successful. He can lead the entire process from the idea until the launch and beyond. His secret weapon is the effective processing and spreading of content via multipliers such as journalists or other influencers (formerly known as Public Relations).



Innovation Process

Creative and innovative thinking is key to tackling the main topic at this event! Supported by experienced moderators and coaches, participants get inspiration for their work through experts, a Keynote speech, short speeches, as well as informal and formal exchanges with other groups.

Participants follow a structured yet open process based on co-creation principles. Within Cycle 1, each group is briefed by their Challenger and then defines their project work to build a research commitment. Within Cycle 2, there will be plenty of space for dreaming! Using various innovation techniques, 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, which might – in the end – effectively influence livability in Future Cities. On the last day of the Forum, each group presents at least one of their ideas in a 15-minute pitch. The format of the final presentation is free. 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 closing ceremony

In addition to the final presentation, each group will create a blogpost after each Cycle (each day) in order to share vital information with the other teams.



Prof. Stephen Cairns | Topic Leader

As a recognised global leader in the field of urban research, Prof. Dr. Stephen Cairns will take the thematic lead for ISTF 2018. In his role as Topic Leader he will introduce the overarching urban theme of the conference with a keynote speech and chair a panel discussion with the five Challengers.

Stephen Cairns is an architect, writer and teacher whose work concerns the interaction of buildings, cities and society. The geographical focus of much of this work is on Asian megacities such as Jakarta, Dhaka, Kolkata, Chengdu and Shanghai. His writing tackles theoretical aspects of urbanisation from an Asian perspective (3-dimensional cities, urban pluralism and technological convergence, urban-rural systems, kampung urbanism). His design work focusses on projects such as the ‘Tropical Town’, a test bed for decentralized technologies (rainwater harvesting and energy generation systems, productive landscape and mosquito traps, incremental housing types) to seed integrated development models for urbanizing Asia.

Cairns is Director of the Future Cities Laboratory (FCL) in Singapore, Professor in Architecture at ETH Zurich, and Principal Investigator of the Urban-Rural Systems research team at FCL. He authored Buildings Must Die: A Perverse View of Architecture (with Jane M. Jacobs) (MIT Press 2014), and edited Future Cities Laboratory: Indicia (with Devisari Tunas) (Lars Müller Press 2017). His work has been widely exhibited, including at the 2016 International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR).


Prof. Ralph Eichler | President of the foundation board Swiss Youth in Science

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).