It is fifty years since the members of the Migros Community gifted the sum of 200,000 Swiss francs to its founder, Gottlieb Duttweiler, to mark his 70th birthday on 15 August 1958. 

The idea was that he would use the money to establish a Gottlieb Duttweiler Award. Duttweiler subsequently transferred responsibility for administering the money and the award of the prize to his "Im Grüene" Foundation, to which the GDI belongs. .

According to the deed of foundation, the Gottlieb Duttweiler Award should go to people who have made "outstanding contributions to the well-being of the wider community and to a cultural, social or economic environment in which everyone can realize their potential and play an independent part in its development".

The award-winners include Václav Havel (1990) and Joschka Fischer (2004). The 2008 Gottlieb Duttweiler Award went to Kofi A. Annan.

The Gottlieb Duttweiler Prize 2019 goes to Watson

The 13th Gottlieb Duttweiler Prize goes to the artificial intelligence platform Watson. The award will be accepted on 7 May 2019 by John E. Kelly III, who leads IBM Research.

Watson is the world’s most powerful computing platform in the field of artificial intelligence. Developed by IBM, it became more widely known in 2011 on winning the US television quiz show “Jeopardy!”. Nowadays, Watson performs invaluable services, notably in the fields of healthcare, transportation, retail and more.

John E. Kelly III, Senior Vice President, Cognitive Solutions and IBM Research, will accept the 13th Gottlieb Duttweiler Prize on 7th May 2019 in Rüschlikon. "On behalf of everyone who has contributed to the development of Watson, we are honored to receive this prestigious recognition," says Kelly, whose team develops Watson.

Previous winners of the Gottlieb Duttweiler Prize include successful leaders such as Václav Havel, Joschka Fischer and Kofi A. Annan. Yet today, the era of lone warriors seems to be over; the future belongs to teams made up of humans and machines. Watson was thus the result of a collective effort. “Our future depends on how humans and machines work together,” says David Bosshart, CEO of the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute.

Watson stands for a future in which superhuman complexity will be mastered with superhuman intelligence. Without it, we will be unable to solve problems like global warming, diseases or poor education. But where and for which aspects of our lives does technology make sense? “With its consciously controversial choice of prize winner, the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute wants to contribute to this discussion,” says Sarah Kreienbühl, Chairwoman of the GDI Board of Trustees. The fact that Watson is co-developed in Switzerland also demonstrates the significance of this country as a research location.

SRF about Watson AI

CNN Money Switzerland about Watson AI

Tim Berners-Lee awarded the Gottlieb Duttweiler Prize 2015

The GDI Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute has honoured Berners-Lee for his pioneering invention of the World Wide Web. Sir Tim accepted the distinguished prize on 29 April 2015 in the presence of invited guests at the institute in Ruschlikon/Zurich.

Sir Tim was awarded the prestigious prize for his huge contribution to the most powerful means of communication known to humankind – as well as inventing the enabling technologies behind the web, he has worked tirelessly to ensure the internet is open to all. As part of his commitment to this cause, he has waived all potentially profitable patents.

"Today we honour the uncompromising, radically democratic actions of a man whom we can only admire," said David Bosshart, Head of the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute (GDI). "Far more important than the technological aspect of this development is the social impact," stressed Fabrice Zumbrunnen, a member of the Migros Executive Board and President of the Foundation Im Grüene (which is part of the GDI).

Sir Tim considers the social and democratic aspect of the web to be under threat. The risk of fragmentation, which he warned of as far back as 1999, continues to spread: nations and companies are working with increasingly closed networks and not even half of the world’s population has access to the internet. "Over 25 years ago, Sir Tim gave us a tool to communicate, cooperate and create a better world," said Urs Gasser, Professor at Harvard University and native of Switzerland, in his speech. "Now it is our turn to shape the future of the web together."

Pictures of the awardee

Berners-Lee at SRF Sternstunde

Ernst Fehr receives Gottlieb Duttweiler Prize 2013

The economics professor is awarded for his pioneering research on the role of fairness in markets, organisations and in individual decisions. The ceremony will take place in Rüschlikon/Zurich on 9 April 2013.

For almost two decades Ernst Fehr has been carrying out detailed and cutting-edge research into the social behaviour and economic preferences of people. In doing so, he has revised the traditional concept of man as «homo oeconomicus». Based on a number of experiments, Fehr has been able to document the «fairness preference» of people beyond cultural boundaries, in other words the fact that we are often driven not by selfishness but by a desire for fairness.

As one of the most influential economic scientists in the world, Fehr has made an important contribution to the «psychological turnaround in economics». Thanks to his transdisciplinary research approach he has managed to link economics with psychology, biology and neurosciences. The study areas of the award-winning researcher are diverse, ranging from the limits to the self-regulation capability of competitive markets to the role of the neuropeptide oxytocin in confidence-building and how to prevent female circumcision.

Ernst Fehr is yet another prize-winner whose work aims to create a better world. The presentation of the prize, worth 100,000 francs, will take place on 9 April 2013 at the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute in Rüschlikon/Zurich in front of invited guests. Professor Dan Ariely, lecturer in behavioural economics at Duke University, will pay tribute to his research colleague. The ceremony will mark the high point of the anniversary year of the GDI, which was founded in 1963.

SRF about Ernst Fehr

Jimmy Wales receives the Gottlieb Duttweiler Prize 2011

The Gottlieb Duttweiler Prize was presented to Jimmy Wales on 26 January 2011. The founder of the online encyclopedia Wikipedia accepted the award at the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute in the presence of some 300 invited guests from the arts, politics and business fields. The laudatory speech was delivered by Roger de Weck, Director General of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation.

Jimmy Wales was awarded the prestigious prize for his services in making access to knowledge more democratic. The award, which is endowed with 100,000 Swiss francs, was presented by Gisèle Girgis, member of the Executive Board of the Federation of Migros Cooperatives. In her speech she evoked the name of the encyclopedist of the Enlightenment, Denis Diderot, and compared Jimmy Wales with him: «Both of them have faith in the power of the critical public.»

Claude Hauser, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Federation of Migros Cooperatives (MGB), emphasised the parallels between the non-profit encyclopedia and Gottlieb Duttweiler's non-profit-oriented organisation, the Migros Culture Percentage.

Kofi Annan, a worthy awardee

Nobel Peace Prize winner and former UN Secretary General Kofi A. Annan was presented with the old-established Gottlieb Duttweiler Award at a formal ceremony held in Rüschlikon on the evening of 8 September 2008.

The event was attended by some 300 guests from the worlds of business and politics. The award, which is endowed with 100,000 Swiss francs, was presented to Kofi A. Annan by Gisèle Girgis-Musy, president of the "Im Grüene" Foundation. Swiss President Pascal Couchepin delivered an address on behalf of the Swiss Government, while the eulogies were delivered by two of the laureate's friends: former Swiss minister Adolf Ogi and the British-African entrepreneur Mo Ibrahim. Top management of Migros was represented on the platform by Herbert Bolliger, CEO of Migros Cooperative Federation (MGB), and Claude Hauser, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Migros Cooperative Federation (MGB). Daniela Lager, anchorwoman of Swiss Television's late-evening news programme, moderated the event.

Joschka Fischer

GD Awardee 2004

The Green Party politician was vice-chancellor and foreign minister in the government of Gerhard Schröder from 1998 to 2005.

Roger Schawinski

GD Awardee 1998

In Switzerland he is known as a media pioneer and television presenter. He invented numerous programmes on Swiss television and founded the first national private television channel.

Esther Afua Ocloo

GD Awardee 1993

The Ghanaian entrepreneur and co-founder of the Women's World Bank made a significant contribution to the fight against hunger and to the promotion of independent women in Africa. .

Václav Havel †

GD Awardee 1990

Czech writer and politician. From 1989 - 1992 President of Czechoslovakia. Havel accepted the Gottlieb Duttweiler Prize in Rüschlikon in 1992.

Award winners since 1970

1970 Prof. Bramstedt, Würzburg, nutritional scientist, efforts to combat dental decay

1972 Prof. Egon Kodicek, Cambridge, nutritional scientist

1975 Dr. Paul Fabri, nutritional scientist, efforts to combat obesity

1988 Lisbeth and Robert Schläpfer, St. Gallen, entrepreneurs in the textile sector

1990 Vaclav Havel, President of Czechoslovakia

1993 D r. Esther Afua Ocloo, Ghana, businesswoman and nutritional scientist

1998 Dr. Roger Schawinski, Zurich, radio and television pioneer, Radio 24, Tele24

2004 Joschka Fischer, German foreign minister

2008 Kofi A. Annan, UN Secretary General, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize

2011 Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, the online encyclopaedia

2013 Prof. Ernst Fehr, internationally renowned behavioral economist

2015 Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web

2019 Watson, AI platform