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Global Business Anthropology Summit
Virtual Summit
June 14-18, 2021
in cooperation with:
Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology
Freie Universität Berlin

Are we ready for 2030?

How about 2080?

Join a growing global network of anthropologists, organizations, and businesses.

Exchange experiences and strategies.

Learn from each other and prepare for new challenges of a sustainable future.


Business anthropology is a collaboration that yields healthy futures for humans and ecosystems.

Integrating anthropological insights, businesses are seizing opportunities for innovation in product development, diversity and inclusion, safety culture, UX and beyond.

The Summit offers hands-on workshops, keynotes by luminaries in business and business anthropology, and discussions about what we want tomorrow to look like.

Bring your ideas, concerns and interests about these and more ...

Digitization    Privacy    Supply chain    Technology   

Mobility    Taxation      Marketing       Innovation

... and come away with new knowledge, new tools and new ways to prepare for a sustainable future.


The summit starts with a broad view examining models that are being used in business to prepare future outcomes, including  exploration of mega-trends and cultural drivers and shifts, followed by a session on the role of taxation in shaping business decisions.

The next session sharpens our perspectives, one looking at the extent of human centricity in business models that allow needs of the planet to be overlooked. Our networking event aims to build bridges and live inclusivity.

The Summit concludes with two sessions that focus on immediate fields that call for business anthropologists’ attention: understanding shifts in complex behaviors within organizations; and identifying ways to make the contributions of the discipline recognizable for businesses in different cultures and countries.


Making Sense of the Future: How Anthropologists "See" It

We will explain how anthropology can add cultural richness to the field of foresight and future studies and allow for a more comprehensive understanding of how micro and meso phenomena and macro forces interact and may play out.


Through a “mobile” approach to sensemaking and knowledge, with examples from science fiction, COVID-19, and technology, we will show how engaging in intentional and strategic observation to challenge predominant assumptions, especially from big data, can illuminate different future(s) realities.  


We will discuss various perspectives, frameworks, and methodologies currently used in commercial, design, and anthropological environments.  We will demonstrate how to sense anomalies and weak signals, trace them, and compare them with past and present patterned behavior to gain understanding about shifts in practice and meaning to both explain them and anticipate their future paths.

Session Contributors:

Lucia Laurent-Neva, Semiotician, Anthropologist and Cultural & Design Strategist, Visual Signo, Greater Brighton and Hove Area, UK

Carsten Claus, Business and Future Anthropologist, OBERKORN, Hamburg, Germany

Dominique Desjeux, Anthropologist, Professor (Emeritus) at the Sorbonne (University of Paris), and International Consultant for Daiz and Co, Paris, France

Julia Gluesing, Anthropologist, Research Professor at Wayne State University, President Cultural Connections, Inc., Detroit, Michigan  USA

Allen Batteau, Anthropologist, Professor (Emeritus), Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan USA

Session contacts: Carsten Claus and Lucia Laurent-Neva

Tax Culture in Business

We will explain how cultural values influence how we think about taxes. How do different (tax) cultures impact business behaviour and community engagement? 

Through business examples, we show manifold aspects of taxation, beyond making financial contributions to community and society. 

We will discuss how our individual and collective tax cultures are changing due to the world-wide increase of exchange relations — goods, services, labor and ideas. What is the future role of corporate tax in creating sustainable communities?

Session Contributors:

Pavle Menalo, University of Belgrade, Serbia

Niccolò Marino, Beyond Research srl, Milano, Italy

Lotta Björklund Larsen, University of Exeter Business School, UK

Hera Brown, Fulbright-Schuman Researcher to the European Union, USA

Christine B. Avenarius, The Central Agency for Continuing Vocational Education and Training in the Skilled Crafts (ZWH), Berlin, Germany

Beyond Sustainability

We will explain how the extent of human centricity in technology and business makes us overlook the needs of other types of life on and beyond the planet – to the detriment of all.

Through a business example we will show how building for the broadest ecosystem leads to behavior change among consumers using the case of Mobistyle energy design systems.

We will discuss implications for the future by showcasing how overcoming the concept of sustainability might enable us to integrate the needs of all elements of ecosystems.


Session Contributors:

Pablo Mondragón Valero, Antropología 2.0, Spain

Dan Podjed, Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (ZRC SAZU), Slovenia

Veronica Reyero Meal, Antropología 2.0, Spain

Lucia Laurent-Neva, Visual Signo, UK

Session contacts: Dan Podjed and Veronica Reyero

Serendipity Wednesday:

Building Bridges and Networking

(To Be Announced!)

Change + Diffusing Behaviors within Organizations

We will explain how roles in business respond to internal and external forces that bring new managerial practices and technology.

Through business examples we will show how the need for internal change is identified and managed in two cases: AB InBev and ACR Corporation.

We will discuss implications for the future by revealing ways organizations communicate the need for change across sectors, motivating individual, societal, and governmental commitments with concern to technology access, environmental sustainability, equality, and wellness.


Session Contributors:

Kyle Gibson, University of Nebraska, Center for Entrepreneurship, USA  
Natalia Usme
, Flipa Consultora, Colombia

Melissa Vogel, Business Anthropologist at Hanover Research, USA

Karen Smits, Organizational Anthropologist at Practical Thinking, Australia

Laura Korculanin, Design Anthropologist at Give a Shit, Portugal

Session contacts: Natalia Usme and Kyle Gibson

Business Anthropology for the Future + Building a Knowledge Commons

We will explain how business anthropology can work in different industries in the future.


Through business examples, we will show the ways companies manage transitional conditions and unimaginable futures, using a case from the logistics industries, and the case of branding business anthropology across all sectors.

We will discuss implications for the future by exploring how business anthropology contributes scope and rigour to innovation in the business of different industries/sectors. A growing knowledge-commons of business anthropology practices globally can help businesses become future-proofed.

Session Contributors:

Allegra Pochtler, TraceMap, Berlin, Germany

Robert J. Morais, Columbia Business School, USA

Susan Kresnicka, Kresnicka Research and Insights , USA

Alberto Guglielmone, Marketing Innovation & Business Anthropology, Milan, Italy

Session contact: Alberto Guglielmone


Monday, June 14

Keynote by Joana Breidenbach

(Founder, Betterplace)

Keynote by Carlo Colpo

(Marketing Communication Director, Lavazza)

Tuesday, June 15


Making Sense of the Future: How Anthropologists "See" It


Tax Culture in Business

Wednesday, June 16

Serendipity Wednesday:

Building Bridges and Networking (TBA)

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