swissnex Fireside Chat: Imagining New Realities 003 [Recording]

Bringing experts together to speculate what a ‘new normal’ might look like.

Image: Instant Space: a series of curtains designed by Zurich-based architects Nele Dechmann and Ortreport

Event Details


Online Event


Wednesday, July 15, 2020
08:00am to 09:00am in San Francisco 05:00pm to 06:00pm in Switzerland


Free. RSVP below.

Work, education, economy, social life: the corona crisis is rapidly accelerating the digitization of important areas of society, and it is deeply impacting every aspect of our lives. How will this structural transformation of society play out in the long term? In a series of fireside chats, the trending informal yet structured interview discussions, swissnex SF will match two thought-leaders with diverse perspectives, from innovation, science, arts, policy or technology, to exchange ideas and insights, and speculate together what our post-COVID-19 “new normal” might look like.

The third edition of swissnex San Francisco’s digital initiative, hosted by our CEO Gioia Deucher, matched two great foresight thinkers from the USA and Switzerland: Ajay Chander, VP, Research (AI, Prosperity, Foresight) at Fujitsu Labs of America, and Thierry Duvanel, Director of Collaborative Innovation at Bühler Group.

This event is taking place online. Register via Zoom to get our swissnex Fireside Chat: Imagining New Realities 003 Zoom link.


San Francisco
08:00am — Introduction by Gioia Deucher, CEO swissnex San Francisco
08:05am — Discussion with Ajay Chander, VP, Research at Fujitsu Labs of America, and Thierry Duvanel, Director of Collaborative Innovation at Bühler Group
08:35am — Q&A
08:45am — Conclusion  

05:00pm — Introduction by Gioia Deucher, CEO swissnex San Francisco
05:05pm — Discussion with Ajay Chander, VP, Research at Fujitsu Labs of America, and Thierry Duvanel, Director of Collaborative Innovation at Bühler Group
05:35pm — Q&A
05:45pm — Conclusion


Gioia Deucher
Gioia Deucher is the CEO of swissnex San Francisco. Gioia’s professional journey has taken her to various countries, from Colombia and Switzerland to the U.S. and Palestine, and most recently Brazil. Starting her post-university career in microfinance and sustainable investing working for small and large investment firms, Gioia has dedicated the last decade to fostering cross-continental collaborations with a view to inspire and strengthen Switzerland’s innovation ecosystem. Before setting out to build the first Latin American swissnex office Brazil in 2013, she headed the Startup and Innovation team at swissnex in San Francisco, where she returned to as CEO, in July of 2017. A curated innovation platform hosting 40+ startups, designers, scientists and corporates, swissnex’s Bay Area office acts as a convener for thought-provoking conversations on how technology and innovation shape our world, and fosters international connections and collaboration for meaningful action. Gioia holds a Master’s degree in International Relations from the Graduate Institute (IUHEID) in Geneva, Switzerland, and a second Master’s in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School in Medford/Boston, USA, and has completed continuing education courses in Design Thinking and Venture Capital. She acts as the President of the cancer survivor storytelling platform MySurvivalStory and is an advisory board member of DART Labs.


Ajay Chander
Ajay Chander leads R&D teams in imagining and building new human-centered technologies and products. His current focus is on designing technology and transformations for Prosperity, along dimensions such as Health, Education, Food, Finance, Management and other aspects of our experiences and economy that impact our sense of prosperity. His work has spanned transparent AI, AI life assistants, digital healthcare and wellness, software tools design, security, and computational behavior design. He has received several best paper awards, as well as the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM)’s Most Influential Paper of the Decade award. Previously, he received his PhD from Stanford University. Currently, Dr. Chander serves as the Vice President of Research at Fujitsu’s R&D lab in Silicon Valley and provides technical and strategy leadership for all aspects of the interplay between technology and the human experience.

Thierry Duvanel
Thierry Duvanel is a seasoned executive within the technology sector, with 20 years of multidisciplinary management experience in highly technical environments. His core expertise lies in operations that require deep understanding of the critical business drivers across markets and industries. After exiting his last company in 2016, Thierry  led the startup accelerator MassChallenge in Switzerland, building up a program attracting 1’000+ startups each year, and supported by a large group of corporations. Since 2019, he is in charge of the open innovation for the Bühler Group, the leading global food technology provider. Thierry has lived and worked throughout Europe and Asia, with further international business experience in the US. When asked about is leadership style, he says “I am not an armchair quarterback; I am fully prepared to roll my sleeves up. I have been in the trenches – and I am still, every day”.