Behind the scenes of the Digital Festival

Behind the scenes of the Digital Festival

A little over 18 months ago, we decided that we wanted to develop a completely new and modern event platform. After countless talks and discussions, at the end of 2015, we decided to hold the inaugural Digital Festival in Zurich in September 2016.

We approached the project with a great deal of idealism, motivation and respect, and succeeded in launching the festival on schedule. It was a huge success: we really tapped into the current way of thinking in the industry. We are currently in the middle of planning and organising the second Digital Festival, which is being held in Zurich from 13 to 17 September 2017.

Once again, the Digital Festival brings digital movers and decision-makers from all over the world to Kaufleuten in Zurich. At this one-of-a-kind gathering, the CEOs and IT officers of world-renowned tech companies, entrepreneurs, researchers and hackers share their expertise, experience and visions with the festival’s visitors. The Digital Festival in Zurich is conceived as an incubation platform for plans and ideas, with a huge range of exciting speakers, workshops, labs and parties that will provide real inspiration and plenty of networking opportunities. Come and experience 5 days of new ideas and answers to the most important question being asked right now: What’s next? In addition, the fourth edition of HackZurich – Europe’s largest hackathon – takes place from 15 to 17 September 2017.

Five days filled with ideas, insights and inspiration

All those who see themselves as part of this global transformation will share in fresh ideas, insights and the opportunity to play an active role in the festival for five days. The inspiration visitors take away from the festival is to be for the long term and not simply wear off after a short time. It surely helps to keep the focus on one thing: it’s all about actual challenges and opportunities for the Swiss economy in the international context. The confirmed keynote speakers include Daniel Sennheiser (CEO of Sennheiser electronic), Bracken Darrell (CEO of Logitech), Prof. Carlo Ratti (Director of the MIT Senseable City Lab), Dr. Martin Hofmann (Group CIO at Volkswagen), Max Stossel (poet and film-maker), Marty Weiner (Founding Engineer of Pinterest and former CTO of Reddit) and Martin Eberhard (founder and former CEO of Tesla).

The key to success

Our team is the ideal mix of fresh young talent with new ideas and experts with years of experience and a great deal of knowledge – this allowed us to establish a solid format within a short space of time. Intensive and constructive discussions are regularly held regarding content and strategic decisions. Our team is driven by a shared mission and values, and by an incredible passion for the subject and the platform. We are privileged to be able to count on the support of our community, countless volunteers, the wider digital ecosystem (educational institutions, unions, associations, other events, etc.) and our partners. Our innovative partners come from a wide range of different industries. We don’t view them as sponsors, but rather as collaborators, we work together with them and both learn a great deal from one another.

The Digital Festival is more than just an event – it is a product that constantly needs to be adapted to its environment, developed and improved. In addition to a wealth of expertise, this also requires the courage to take new and perhaps unconventional approaches and question established best practices without neglecting your values or the needs of the participants. It is also crucial to remain flexible, exchange ideas with others and constantly cast a critical eye on yourself and the format. We want to thank everyone who has contributed to our work and provided valuable input and feedback – they have all helped to make the Digital Festival possible.

The future

One question has always been central to the development of the Digital Festival: Are we doing something that goes beyond what has been done before? A lot of events have rapidly growing participant numbers across all channels, but we believe a format can develop without doubling the number of participants year after year. At this year’s Digital Festival, which takes place from 13 to 17 September, we will be breaking a lot of new ground. We are putting on a completely new type of event, with lots of goodies and gadgets, inspiring evening events, meet and greets with our speakers and even free childcare for any parents who are attending.

Come and join us to share ideas and learn and experience new things at the Digital Festival – an active gathering of like-minded people looking at one of the key issues currently affecting all of us: the digital world.

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About the author

Jonathan Isenring is co-founder and CEO of the Digital Festival whereas HackZurich is part of. Jonathan obtained his masters degree in business administration at University of Zurich and has a wealth of experience in supporting innovation projects in diverse industries.


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