In times shaped by rapid, fundamental change, organisations and society alike require sound knowledge as to what the future will look like. They need speed and a bird’s-eye view so they can recognise and forge the right path towards an age that is currently shrouded in uncertainty.

Our think tank is an independent future research institute that generates trend insights relevant to decision-makers and with a positive benefit for the future of people, society and the planet.

Our interdisciplinary team of trend researchers critically scrutinises the future and reveals new scope for a sustainable tomorrow. Our trend research focuses on changes in structures, processes, behaviours and values – and their impact on business, politics and society. 


We conduct research on trends concerning the industries of retail, food and health and examine them from the perspectives of society, technology and the environment.  


We’ve been looking at the future of retail and consumerism since the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute was founded in 1963. We research how technological, economic and social trends impact retail; we identify and evaluate new business models for retailers; we analyse how consumers’ behaviour is shaped – and how it can be changed. 


Food and nutrition are core components of every person’s day-to-day life. We research trends at every level of the value-creation network: from production and processing, to transport and sales, through to the eating habits of the future. We explore these questions from the perspective of consumers and producers, retailers, distributors and catering operators.


In our increasingly ageing society, health and well-being have become a global growth market. Alongside this, digitalisation is creating new self-optimisation tools that are changing our health and our behaviour. As a result, our research is particularly focused on the touchpoints between health, nutrition, fitness and self-optimisation.




Our work is interdisciplinary in nature and scientifically backed. The trend research we undertake is based on systematic literature reviews that take into account various specialist areas and perspectives. We draw on established theories and models from the social sciences and economics, for instance, to understand the drivers and dynamics of change. Our analysis looks at primary and secondary data, generating empirical findings using qualitative and quantitative research methods such as interviews, surveys and experiments. We use scenario techniques and storytelling to obtain a well-grounded glimpse of the future and validate our findings in workshops with renowned experts and relevant stakeholders.

What sets our research apart: 

  • We don’t work in an ivory tower. Instead, we provide concrete recommendations for action and new ideas to help shape the future.
  • We encourage knowledge transfer and collaboration between the various stakeholders and disciplines.
  • We create space for discussion and inspiration.


We share our findings with our partners in the fields of academia, business, politics and civil society in the form of studies, books, ​podcasts, Videos and trend updates. We invite experts and thought-leaders from around the globe to our conferences conferences so we can jointly discuss the challenges and opportunities that the future will bring.


Dr. Johannes C. Bauer

Head of Think Tank, Member of the Executive Board

 +41 44 724 62 08 


Research assignment

A research study provides you with future scenarios as well as options for action for your company.


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Our conferences

The GDI organizes conferences on trends in trade, consumption and society.

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