GDC Summit 2022 - recreate. transform. be resilient.

10 November 2022, Stuttgart

Can good design increase the resilience of companies and entire economic sectors to crises? Are strong brands and companies with high design standards and adaptable products more resilient? The leitmotif "recreate. transform. be resilient" of the GDC Summit (formerly the German Brand and Design Congress) gets to the bottom of these questions.
Speakers from different disciplines will discuss what influence good design can have on long-term success and what the most important factors for resilience are. At the congress, experts from research and science will discuss with successful brand managers, creative people from agencies - and of course with the congress participants from a wide range of industries and professional fields.


Please mind: The event will be held in German language only!


Eberhard Becker

Eberhard Becker studied architecture and urban planning in Stuttgart and has worked for asp Architekten (formerly Arat-Siegel & Partner) since his studies. He has been a permanent employee at the architecture firm since 1997 and was subsequently appointed managing director at asp Architekten in 2017 and partner in 2020. In his role, he is actively involved in competition processing, project management as well as planning in all service phases and construction management. The selection of successfully completed projects includes a number of stadium buildings such as the new construction of the Neue Arena (large sports hall) in Leipzig, the new construction of the Galatasary football stadium in Instanbul, the conversion of the Mercedes-Benz Arena Stuttgart, (and expansion for EURO 2024) and the Liederhalle culture and congress centre in Stuttgart.

Astrid Fontaine

Astrid Fontaine is Member of the Board of Management People and Transformation at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. She has over 20 years of proven business experience and depth in areas of Strategy, Enterprise Digitalization and Information Systems, Human Resources and Business Innovation at Mercedes-Benz, Daimler AG, Porsche as weil as Bentley and VW where she operated in cross-cultural environments in Europe, North America and Asia. In addition to the corporate background she is bringing an academic and research understanding from a Ph.D. (Doctorate) at the Goizueta Business School, Emory University in Information Systems and M&A, taught MBA students at the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) in Post Mergers & Acquisitions Management as weil as engaged as an Adjunct Professor at Emory University for Digital Enterprise.

Marc Hadorn

Marc Hadorn is Head of Brand & Identity at Swiss Post. For more than 6 years, he has been responsible for the strategic and creative development and management of the DIE POST brand and the brand portfolio of the entire Group. Previously, he was on board at the Munich-based strategy and branding consultancy KMS TEAM for several years - most recently as Brand Strategy Director - where he was responsible for brand strategy consulting for clients such as BMW Motorrad, Canyon Bicycles, Diakonie, JINS, Osram/Ledvance, Schneider Schreibgeräte and Viessmann.

Marc Haines

Marc Haines studied architecture at the University of Applied Sciences in Stuttgart and has worked on large construction sites for clients in project supervision for the past 25 years. As project manager for Gassmann & Grossmann and Drees & Sommer, he was responsible for the construction of high-rise buildings as well as retail and life science properties. He was also active in this function in residential and office construction. At the same time, he and three partners founded 10 years ago and developed this internet platform into Europe's largest trading place for used building materials. With the experience gained in the process, a comprehensive ecosystem for circular construction was created in Germany with Concular GmbH 2020 to promote the reuse of building materials. Concular is active throughout the DACH region. As co-founder and circular construction expert, he is Concular's site manager in Stuttgart and oversees the Circularity Assessments in the Southern Germany region.

Julius Jäger

Julius Jäger is Executive Strategy Director at Jung von Matt BRAND IDENTITY. After several years at Hugo Boss, he switched to brand consulting, where he has now been helping companies from a wide range of industries to develop authentic brand identities and translate them into sustainable and customer-relevant experiences for almost 10 years. With his creative-strategic approach, he has worked for brands such as Swiss Post, Mig-ros, Mobiliar, Switzerland Tourism, Sidel, Model Group and ZF Friedrichshafen.

Antje Kruse-Schomaker

Antje Kruse-Schomaker is Design Principal and Executive Design Director at IBM iX. As a trained designer and business consultant, she has been concerned with the interplay between design, technology and business challenges for many years. In this context, she has built teams that combine technology and user-centricity. As a practice leader, she is responsible together with Marko Thorhauer for the leadership of more than 200 designers in DACH. As a member of the global Design Leadership, she develops the design profession at IBM. She advises companies throughout the entire transformation process on the introduction of Enterprise Design Thinking and Experience Design. She has received several international design awards for the results of her work. Her current focus is on service design, design management and design strategy.

Michael Lessmann

Michael Lessmann is Managing Director DACH+Nordics at Ritter Sport and, together with his team, is responsible for the business in the home market of Germany as well as Austria, Switzerland and Scandinavia. Here, significant progress from sustainability initiatives has been incorporated into Ritter Sport's brand positioning, marketing and sales strategy. He began his career in the consumer goods industry at Beiersdorf, where he held a variety of positions from Finance to Global Marketing to Corporate Strategy, most recently serving as Global Marketing Director with his team responsible for the global sunscreen and lip care businesses for NIVEA and Labello positioned at the core of the brand. He subsequently supplemented this experience as Commercial Director at KraftHeinz.

Viktor Mayer-Schönberger

Viktor Mayer-Schönberger has been Professor of Internet Governance at Oxford University since 2010. Before that, he taught at Harvard University for a decade. Mayer-Schönberger is the author of many professional publications and a number of books, including the award-winning "Delete", the international bestseller "Big Data" (with Kenneth Cukier), and most recently "Framers" (with Kenneth Cukier and Francis de Vericourt). He advises international organisations, directors and companies on data economy issues and has been a member of the Digital Council of the German Federal Government under Angela Merkel from 2018 to 2021.

Stefan Ponikva

Stefan Ponikva began his professional career in 2004 after completing his Master's degree in Business Consultancy in Vienna, at the in-house creative agency of BMW AG in Munich. Between 2009 and 2017, he held various project manager and team leader positions in international marketing at BMW AG. Marketing at BMW AG, including the development of the electric sub-brand BMW i. In 2018, he moved to the function of Head of BMW Group Events and Trade Fairs and established the international communication platform #NEXTGen, as part of which BMW launched the virtual world "Joytopia", among other things. Since 2019, as Vice President BMW Brand Communication and Experience, he has been responsible for global marketing communication with the classic, digital, physical and virtual brand channels. Under his leadership, engagements with the music festival Coachella, the lifestyle label KITH, various esports teams such as Fnatic and T1 or the Coldplay cooperation including virtual concert experience (Joytopia) were created.

Room Zero

The only constant is change. This well-known adage has proven its validity since time immemorial. And yet, we don't really seem to be prepared for the much more complex challenges ahead for society, the economy and politics.

Room Zero is the result of a collaboration between students at the University of Design Schwäbisch Gmünd and Tangity, NTT DATA's Design & Innovation unit. The Room Zero system helps us to identify existing and future dependencies and complexities, and serves as a catalyst to rethink organizational structures from the ground up, and to visualize target images as motivation and impetus for upcoming transformations.

Christopher Stillings

Dr Christopher Stillings is Head of Colour & Design (CMF, Color Material Finish,) for the Engineering Plastics business unit at Covestro. Dr Stillings' previous roles at Covestro, one of the world's leading producers of high-tech polymer materials, include responsibilities for Marketing, Strategic Planning, Business Development and Innovation Management - both at Group and Business Unit level. Dr Stillings worked for the company in China from 2012 to 2021. Before joining Covestro, then Bayer MaterialScience, in 2008, Christopher Stillings co-founded a nanotechnology start-up, worked as a research assistant at Philipps University Marburg and in innovation management and entrepreneurship consulting. He studied and obtained his PhD in polymer chemistry and physics at the Universities of Marburg and Galway in Ireland and completed a master's degree in innovation management at EBS University in Oestrich-Winkel.

Marko Thorhauer

Marko Thorhauer is Executive Creative Director and Design Principal at IBM iX, IBM's experience agency. Together with Antje Kruse-Schomaker, he leads the IBM iX design team in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. With around 200 designers, he advises companies and organisations on digital strategies and designs experiences, products, services and digital communication. He is a member of IBM's global Design Leadership and supports initiatives such as the IBM Design System Carbon, the IBM Spark Design Congress or the Brand Experience of IBM iX.Prior to his current position, Marko Thorhauer was Executive Creative Director at the digital agency Aperto in Berlin. Before that, he was a freelance creative director, co-founder and design consultant for agencies, start-ups and companies, as well as a lecturer for digital media at the University of Applied Sciences Europe, Berlin. His work has won numerous national and international awards. He is a juror for design and creative competitions.

Maren Urner

Maren Urner is a neuroscientist and professor of media psychology at the HMKW University of Applied Sciences for Media, Communication and Business in Cologne. She studied Cognitive Science and Neuroscience, among others at McGill University in Montreal, and received her PhD from University College London. In 2016, she co-founded the first ad-free online magazine "Perspective Daily" for constructive journalism. She led the editorial team as editor-in-chief until March 2019 and served as managing editor. Her two books "Schluss mit dem täglichen Weltuntergang" (Droemer 2019) and "Raus aus der ewigen Dauerkrise" (Droemer 2021) are SPIEGEL bestsellers.

Christina Widmann

Christina Widmann is a graduate communication designer and design director at Jung von Matt BRAND IDENTITY. She gained her comprehensive understanding of brands over years in various branding and design agencies in Zurich, Stuttgart, Berlin, London and Chicago. Her work has regularly won national and international awards. With her unconventional approach, she has had a significant and creative influence on renowned brands such as Swiss Post, Zurich Airport, the Model Group, the luxury hotel Les Trois Rois and the payment app Sonect.


Ines Marbach

Ines Marbach holds a PhD in environmental science and is a specialist moderator for sustainability. She worked in higher education for many years, intially as a student and research assistant of the master's programme "International Information Management" at the University of Hildesheim. After successfully completing her studies, she was offered the opportunity to start writing her PhD dissertation. Following her interests as an environmentalist, she chose the field of environmental sciences. Entitled "Cultures and climate change: an empirical study on the climate awareness of German and Spanish students", she investigated the climate awareness of German and Spanish students as part of her doctorate.
Ines Marbach is a presenter at congresses, events, trade fairs, award ceremonies and galas related to sustainability and climate protection. She has also hosted programmes on German TV and is the host of the YouTube series "Grüner wird's nicht" (It's not getting any greener), in which she interviews people and companies who present innovative ideas in the field of climate protection.

Additional Information

Walking Panels

In addition to the main stage, "walking panels" are planned this year, in which relevant cases and best practice examples will be presented and discussed during short, relaxed walks through the Porsche Museum. A network area on site will make it easier to get to know each other and support the exchange among participants.

Target audience

The GDC Summit is addressed to all decision-makers and creative professionals for whom brand and design are relevant topics in their work - from start-ups and agencies to medium-sized companies and established brands.

Location in 2022

The venue will be the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, which, with its iconic architecture by the Viennese firm Delugan Meissl, is a vivid example of brand visions with sustainable added value.
The German Design Council is organising the event to the best of its knowledge and belief under the safety and hygiene regulations that apply at the time of the event.

Partners 2022