Stay up to date about this project.

Ready for the Digital Future?

Universities and competence centers focus on the application of new technologies; robots, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things are a mainstay in the news. But are we ready for the digital future? Do we have the necessary skills to take full advantage of new technologies? Or is digitalization and digital transformation just a normal process that began decades ago and will have few dramatic consequences?

Digital transformation is a multi-disciplinary topic—perhaps one of the most complex of our time— and much information on the topic exists. The purpose of this project is to make digital transformation easy to access and understand. This is the basis for a constructive dialog about the digital future of nations, companies and people.

Digital Transformation: The Project

Digital Transformation: Visions of Nations, Companies, and People is a documentary film that builds on an interview series beginning in spring 2017. The documentary completes by spring 2018. This film encourages the dialog about the global digital future, its most pressing challenges and biggest opportunities.

Economist and filmmaker Manuel Stagars conducts video interviews with visionaries, decision makers, technologists, leading scientists, entrepreneurs, artists, and others around the world about their views of the future. Full conversations and clips stream online ahead of the film, which makes this project an interactive video platform on the digital future.

A Film by Manuel Stagars

Manuel Stagars was born and raised in Zurich, Switzerland. He is an economist, film director, author, and serial entrepreneur with twenty years of experience in consulting and startups in Switzerland, the United States, Japan, and Singapore. His current film projects focus on the potential of technology for the economies of nations, societies, and the lives of people around the world.

His recent films include FinTech Made in Switzerland (2016) and The Blockchain and Us (2017), both of which received accolades internationally. Digital Transformation builds on Manuel’s research and global professional networks in different parts of the world.

Manuel has published books and scientific articles on startups, marketplace lending, impact investing, data quality, and Open Data. He has a degree in economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and several financial certifications (CFA, CAIA, ERP). Read longer bio on www.manuelstagars.com.

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What is Digital Transformation?

Digital transformation is a process, more so than a project. It begins with digitization and digitalization. Digitization is the translation of analog information into digital form. Digitalization is the process of using digital information. Both have enabled megatrends of our time, such as the Internet of Things, Industry 4.0, Big Data, artificial intelligence, robotics, 3D printing, blockchain, or cryptocurrencies. Digital transformation describes the stage where digital technologies reshape the way nations, economies, and societies function. This transformation is only now beginning and poses many questions, including the question if this process really has the dramatic impact many predict.

The digital future holds fascinating opportunities, but also known and unknown challenges for nation states, companies, and individuals. Within the next years, digital transformation may alter the way we have lived as a species for the last centuries. An exciting time in history, indeed.

Why This Project Matters

Many big changes are exponential: They build slowly until their effects show in a very short amount of time. This can be unpleasant if it hits us by surprise. Most of all, we need to think critically about technology and the future. This project provides an easy-to-understand global outlook on digital transformation and encourages a dialog about its promises and challenges. With its interactive format and shareable bites of information, this project is a step toward making the most of our talents in the future.

Technological progress holds great promise for those who keep an open mind. Knowledge creation is a bottom-up process that starts with each individual wanting to know more. If anything, this project shall inspire you to join the conversation and learn more about the digital future.

Interviews from the Film

Digital Transformation is in production at this moment. New video interviews take place until the end of 2017 and go live regularly. The first interviews go live in May 2017.

Interview Partners

Many thanks to all conversation partners. This list constantly updates as the project continues (list in alphabetical order).

David Edgerton
Hans Rausing Professor of the History of Science and Technology and Professor of Modern British History, King’s College, www.kcl.ac.uk
London, UK

Lino Guzzella
President, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), www.ethz.ch
Professor of Thermotronics
Zurich, Switzerland

Johann Schneider-Ammann
Head of the Swiss Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research, www.wbf.admin.ch
One of the seven members of the Federal Council, Switzerland’s executive body
Bern, Switzerland

Lars Thomsen
Chief Futurist & Founder, Future Matters, www.future-matters.com
Zurich, Switzerland

Production and Communications

Ruedi Maeder  
Agentur am Wasser, www.agenturamwasser.ch
Zurich, Switzerland

Many thanks to Ruedi and his network for making this film happen.

Special Thanks

Special thanks for your time, feedback, access to networks, and other help in the course of making this film! This list constantly updates as the project continues (list in alphabetical order).