It’s this time of the year again, where we search for this year’s 100 Digital Shapers. Thanks to our long-standing partnership with Bilanz, Handelszeitung and PME, and this year supported by Innosuisse – the Swiss Innovation Agency, we are able to celebrate these outstanding individuals once more. The 2023 edition of 100 Digital Shapers will be published in late August. Until then, our jury is putting their heads together to select the 100 Digital Shapers from the hundreds of nominations received earlier this year.
A dynamic digital landscape
In 2023, visionary entrepreneurs and digital business leaders have continued transforming Switzerland into a leading digital nation. Groundbreaking ventures drive innovation, bridge the gap between research and applications, and elevate Switzerland’s position as a digital powerhouse. We eagerly anticipate celebrating their outstanding achievements, recognising their transformative contributions to the nation’s thriving digital ecosystem.
And now it’s time for us to introduce you to our esteemed jury members, who with their unique skills, extensive knowledge and finger on the pulse of digital change, can appoint our winners.
Marc Kowalsky has been Deputy Editor-in-Chief at BILANZ, Switzerland’s biggest business magazine, for 15 years. His journalistic focus includes digitalisation, IT and telecoms as well as the startup scene. He has interviewed personalities such as Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Eric Schmidt. In the course of his career, he has written for Fortune Magazine, SPIEGEL and SPIEGEL Online, BILANZ Deutschland, Die Welt, Facts and Weltwoche, among others.
Stefan Metzger is the Managing Director of digitalswitzerland. Until 2021, Stefan was the Country Managing Director of Cognizant Technology Solutions, responsible for the company’s business in Switzerland as well as the Market Leader for the Insurance Vertical across Continental Europe. Stefan has worked in the ICT Industry for more than 30 years, with focused experience in Insurance, Technology and Consulting. Prior to his current position, Stefan held various sales management and consulting roles at IBM Corporation across different countries, including Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Central Europe.
Thierry Vial has been editor-in-chief of the French-language business magazine PME for seven years. He studied political sciences at the University of Lausanne before working in asset management (BCV), then as an economic journalist for Bilan. He then managed Inédit Publications SA, an SME active in custom publishing, which belonged to the Gassmann group before joining PME.
With a doctoral degree in law from the University of Zurich and postgraduate studies at Duke University Law School, Dr. Christian Wenger is an experienced partner at Wenger Vieli, specialised in private equity, venture capital, and start-ups. Christian primarily supports and coaches entrepreneurs and founders in all kinds of legal and entrepreneurial matters. In 2011, he launched the Blue Lion incubator for start-ups. In spring 2017, he was elected to the Board of Trustees of the UZH Foundation of the University of Zurich. Christian is also Chairman of Swiss Entrepreneurs Fund, which created a Swiss fund for venture and growth capital.
Katrin is a Council and Board Member of several mandates in Switzerland as well as in Germany. She holds a Master of Business Administration, multiple post-graduate certifications in business and IT and speaks six languages. Katrin is a Lecturer at the University of Technology Cologne and the Swiss Kalaidos University of Applied Sciences, lecturing the Masterclass Leadership in a Digital Age. She is an influential Keynote Speaker at corporate and industry conferences, encouraging AI, digital innovation, creativity and a data-driven approach.
Gabriele Dobenecker holds a Master in Computer Science from the University of Hamburg. She spent over 20 years in the IT and high-tech industries. At the beginning of 2007, she started at Empa, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, heading their Marketing, Knowledge and Technology Transfer section. Today, Gabriele is responsible for Entrepreneurship & Industry Relations.
Alicia Mazzarella is Head of Digital Strategy & Solutions for the World Economic Forum. In her role, she leads the strategy, implementation, and continuous improvement of internal digital platforms. Alicia has 25 years of international business experience with expertise in project and product management, digital implementation, and internal and external communications. Prior to the Forum, she led initiatives and operations for multinational, private equity, and startup organisations. Passionate about the intersection between people and technology, Alicia also serves on several digital and cultural task forces, including Future Skills and Future of Work.
Caroline Widmer is the Director of -Pulse Incubateur HES, an incubator for talents coming from the six Universities of Applied Sciences of HES-SO Geneva. She previously held strategic positions in the public administration, in the areas of Security and Economic Development. She has conducted major digital transitions while also participating in the elaboration of the State of Geneva’s digital and innovation Policy.
Karin Taheny is an experienced independent board member and Chief Digital and Technology Officer, steering organisations successfully through the turbulent waters of digital transformation. Having worked both at Google in Dublin and San Francisco, as well as in executive roles in leading technology companies, Karin has an in-depth understanding of the digital global landscape, and the challenges companies are facing today. Karin has served on the non-executive board of Switzerland Global Enterprise from 2018 to 2022. Currently, as Chief Digital + Technology Officer and Deputy CEO, she continues to lead the organisation’s digital transformation strategically into the future.
Mike Baur is a Swiss venture investor and has been investing in startups for more than 10 years. With his long-lasting private banking experience, he introduces private and institutional investors to venture asset management. He is Co-Founder and CEO of Swiss Ventures Group, one of the most active venture platforms in Switzerland and is engaged as an Advisory Board member at the Startup Days to strengthen the Swiss Startup ecosystem.
Michael has published ten books and more than a hundred articles and case studies on a variety of topics, including digital business transformation, innovation, strategy, and digital leadership. At IMD, Michael directs a number of executive programmes related to digital transformation, including Digital Execution, Digital Transformation for Boards, Digital Disruption, Digital Transformation in Practice and The Digital Transformation Sprint. Michael provides consulting services, executive education, and expert evaluations to several public and private sector organisations on strategy and digital transformation, and he sits on a number of corporate boards as an advisor on digitization and business model disruption.
Once again, the Digital Shapers can be nominated within 10 categories. Digitalisation and its impact on our daily lives is in constant motion, and so are our categories. Among familiar categories, in 2023 you will find new ones as well. Along with our partners, we called upon the public on social media to nominate Digital Shapers from across Switzerland. The big question is: Which digital leaders will make it into the top 100 this year? Stay tuned, the result will be seen.
1. The Spin-off Founders
Entrepreneurs who carve out their idea from a big organisation into a startup
2. The Incubators
People who help digital startups to grow – with money, advice and connections
3. The Internationalisers
Founders and advisors who help their startups to establish a foothold in foreign markets
4. The Nature Techies
People who use digital transformation in order to protect, and preserve nature
5. The Decentralisers
They distribute data around the world leveraging technologies like Web 3.0, distributed ledger, blockchain, cloud & Co.
6. The eMedics
People who use digital transformation to improve various aspects of wellbeing, health and medicine
7. The AI Generators
Masterminds of putting Artificial Intelligence to use
8. The eTeachers
Helping to educate the world using digital tools is their mission
9. The Mobilisers
People who transport mobility into the digital age
10. The Smarties
Experts in the Internet of things that make dumb devices smart