Immersion Days 2021

Re-imagining the future of International Cooperation – shaping up for stormy times and tapping into emerging potential

Online, 18, 20 & 21 January 2021

Covid-19 has challenged most of the certainties we had a year ago. The pandemic is a catalyst of what already existed but was hardly noticeable. This applies both to the positive (home office, telehealth, etc.) and less positive aspects, such as inequalities, lack of political cooperation, lack of sustainable management and effective leadership in situations of crisis.

Business as usual has no future. Tomorrow depends on technology and how we use it, on how we shape cooperation and succeed in building trust, and on our ability to adapt in stormy times. How will the “new normal” look like? All we can assume is that it will be marked by increased volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. A key success factor will be our ability to navigate the unknown and project ourselves into the emerging future. This is true for both individuals and organisations.

A key success factor will be our ability to navigate the unknown and project ourselves into the emerging future.

After our Immersion Day in November 2019, we invite you to continue our collective exploration of the unknown: Welcome to Immersion Days 2021.

Join us online for the kick-off of this new series of co-sensing, co-shaping and prototyping. "Shaping up for stormy times and tapping into emerging potential" consists of 3 initial online sessions. 

For whom

Be prepared for inspiring inputs, and space for individual and group reflection. We offer a platform; you define your field of action and what you take with you.

We welcome humanitarian and development professionals working in the field abroad or at headquarters – whatever their function and specialisation. 

We aim for a diverse group of participants, allowing for a rich exchange of perspectives and experiences. We encourage participation in all sessions to facilitate community building among participants.

Secure your seat →

There is one ticket for all sessions. Our advice: We recommend that you attend at least the first and one of the other two sessions. Of course, you will benefit most by attending all sessions.

Online sessions

Pressing the fast-forward button

Monday 18 January, 1 to 3 pm (Swiss time)

Embark with us on a lively exchange with the leading futurologist Gerd Leonhard, who will help us shake off the remaining dust of 2020. Awareness of our secret intuitions, concerns and hidden feelings will be the starting point to grow new seeds in the soil.

In his input, Gerd will take us on the path of "Total transformation: what to expect in the next 10 years – and what the impact on international cooperation will be". Gerd is convinced that "the future is better than we think". He will share with us his main observations and foresights for the next 10 years and what they might imply for geopolitics, international collaboration and the work of NGOs.


Gerd Leonhard will be keynote speaker for this session

"The future of humanity, of culture and society and of business in the face of exponential technological progress are my passions.

In a world dominated by technology, data and algorithms, by robots and intelligent machines, what does it mean to be human? Are humans and machines really meant to 'grow together'? What can we contribute today to ensure that human happiness and collective prosperity remain the most important goals? Is our current economic system fit for a future of truly unlimited technology?

Focusing on the next 5 to 10 years, I address such topics as digital ethics (ethics of technology), artificial intelligence (AI), the future of work, the new start of education, the digital transformation of business and society, the future of politics and many others during my keynotes, talks, presentations and seminars."

Mobility down? No worries – localisation, new formats of collaboration and networking are key

Wednesday 20 January, 1 to 3 pm (Swiss time)

Thank you, virus, for showing us the importance of strong local structures and roots. During the crisis, local employees were the most important actors, they kept things going. You also broke the illusion that travelling around the world was the best and only way to interact effectively with partners and stakeholders.

Theoretically, we wanted to build up capacity locally and shift power for years and technology would have allowed us to consult with colleagues, build teams, manage projects and data, and exercise our leadership remotely for a whole decade.

Now this theory must become practice: let's gather our collective courage to open our minds to new realities and prepare for localisation and human interaction online. Our shepherds Faye Ekong and Ernesto Izquierdo and other pioneers will lead the flock and protect us from paper wolves. 


Ernesto Izquierdo will be host for this session

"I have worked on collective intelligence projects since 2012: at the European Commission, Somos Mas, ICRC and have recently co-founded Possibilistes to support managers host more interactive and participatory online meetings. 

Having worked at the intersection between internal communications, innovation, change management, learning & development and operations helps me find the sweet spot where digital tools and social technologies enhance our collective efforts. 

Born in Mexico, and having inherited over 300 years of colonialism, I believe that the development and humanitarian sectors should take more of a facilitator role, where people closest to the issues have the capacity to propose their own solutions. Localisation can be a way to enable this transition from a savior mindset to more of a facilitator. The methodologies we practice, such as the Liberating Structures, are new forms of collaboration and hosting meetings that enable participants to express their ideas, voice them in a safe way, and ensure that everyone’s voice is heard.  

I am convinced that we can find better solutions to the challenges ahead of us if we learn to facilitate better conversations."

Withstanding in stormy times thanks to inner calmness 

Thursday 21 January, 1 to 3 pm (Swiss time)

In stormy times like the ones we are experiencing now, stability and calm must come from within – from within ourselves. This session is about YOU. Your inner place – not only your head, but also your heart and even your guts. This session comes with a warning: if you are addicted to looking for stability in strategic plans, power points, logframes and report sheets, this session could be detrimental to your current hairstyle. With the advice of experts for the inner world, we will explore and experiment with tools and approaches to enhance individual resilience – including body, heart and mind. And we will highlight how individual and organisational resilience go hand in hand.


Martina Wuethrich will be host for this session

"As a psychologist, I am convinced that people and organisations can and have to change. I follow certain principles in my work of counselling people, teams and organisations: to foster a systemic view of people in their environment and organisations, to have confidence that people are capable of finding their possible solution by themselves, to support and empower people in developing and strengthening their self-efficiency, to provide support in opening up and discovering new perspectives that allow for the creation of new options for action.

As I began my career in child psychology, I was confronted with resilience and what it makes possible for children and adolescents living in difficult circumstances. After these years, I took a step further in the field of organisational psychology and worked as a HR consultant for the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). During that time, the interaction of organisational and individual development caught my interest. I decided to engage as a consultant for teams and organisations in order to support their development and transformation step by step – with the positive energy they have – and to encourage them to get involved also in difficult and struggling times. I am motivated by my conviction that something good can be created."


Secure your seat →

There is one ticket for all sessions. Our advice: We recommend that you attend at least the first and one of the other two sessions. Of course, you will benefit most by attending all sessions.

Any questions?

Get in touch with...

Nina Prochazka
Project Lead Immersion Days 2021
+41 (0)32 365 80 02