IMPULSE: The Story of the founding of DAVUZ

On January 21st 2019, just before WEF 2019, we gathered over 60 human beings from around the world to intellectually hack the prevailing lines on the Digital Modern in regards to societal and economic progress. The goal was to collectively find strong narratives on system change. Furthermore, we aimed at inspiring the DAVUZ-citizens and let them travel to Davos or back home again, with a radically open mind and an understanding about system change.

We acknowledge that the paradigm shift coming with the Digital Modern results in significant change of agenda trends, methodical applications and electoral behaviour worldwide. Right-wing conservatives have successfully begun to exploit populism based on the idea of  “homeland” to increase their share of voice. In comparison the liberal-progressive, technological and globalisation affine community  seemingly lacks a narrative that could compete with this populism on eye-level.


First, we welcomed everyone at THE’s home, the old house on Landstrasse. With a fresh smoothie in their hand, everyone could explore THE, THE HUS.home, THE and all the interesting artwork, that can be found in the house, telling stories of transformation.

For the official part of the evening,  a panel and a workshop setting, we transitioned to THE next door. 

As Rudi and Christopher entered the stage, they both had their own interpretation of system change and what the evening might bring.

Rudi kicked of the event:
“In my opinion, there are three different layers of System Change: It emerges on the political, economical and societal level.
In order to influence politics or economics, we first of all have to challenge our mindset on our understanding of a sustainable culture. The two other layers will naturally follow! Changing societal perceptions will influence politics and the economy will adapt to the people’s needs.”

Everyone wants change but who is willing to change him or herself ?
Let us think without the box because today’s reality of global issues cannot be solved thinking within borders or boxes. Be courageous to contribute with your own perspective and be curious for the perspective of others.

Rudi Hilti, Davuz,


Christopher made one thing clear in his intro speech: If you want to develop and change, you have to take a stand. THE took a stand that night and made it clear, that if we want to bring change on a societal level, there have to be other populisms than the ones thriving these days. We came together to start developing such populisms, that, in our words, are stories we can tell to make people excited about the future again.

For our short panel, we could welcome Anna-Marie Harling (Co-Impact), Bruna Braga (MIT Solve), Malik El Bay (Dezentrum), Marc Buckley (UN SDG Advocate) and Richard Olsen (Lykke & Oanda) on stage.

The cross-generational and multi-disciplinary guests offered interesting insights on their approach of system change guided by Christopher who strictly asked for short, simple and straight-forward thesis.


Following the panel, we split up the audience in ten groups to work on an exercise:

“Please assume the necessity to create a populism aka „a captivating story“ for a systems change towards sustainability. Then formulate your thesis on how such a populism could be created: concretely.

Describe an idea that enables the aspects of system change that you see the world in need of. Define it through a „campaign title“, a tweet, some sentences, a poem –  whatever suits you best. P
resent it impassioned as you would do it presenting in front of a group of 1‘000 coal miners.”

Our findings among others were:

To have an inclusive conversation, we need to simplify the topic and find common denominators of change. Within our filter bubbles of lives, we easily forget that the majority of people still doesn’t know anything about for example blockchain or digital citizenship. There are as many approaches to system change as there are people in this world. Being adapted and nice won’t get us anywhere. Leading change has to be bold and simple. We need to develop captivating narratives that hold the balance against the fear-populisms that are taking over countries all over the world. It’s basically impossible for digital leaders to frame their ideas into simple sentences, that would be understood by a group of coal miners or non-digital baby boomers.

We founded a global village called DAVUZ: A place for a yearly gathering where we discuss futuristic topics and set impulses towards a more sustainable future. 

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