We often use this blog to dive deeper into rankings and statistics where Switzerland is in the lead or at least a close contender, as done here and here. But we’re not only reading up on what Switzerland is already good at but also where we need to get better. This time it was an article from the WEF, a member of digitalswitzerland, that caught our attention: These are the 25 most high-tech cities in the world. It is an article from this August, but it only just popped up in my news-bubble now. As I was scrolling through the listicle, I was somehow surprised that no Swiss City made the cut, while other European cities such as Barcelona (24), Copenhagen (23), Berlin (21), Amsterdam (15), Stockholm (13) and London (3) are featured prominently. So I dove deeper into the relevant criteria of what is considered a “high-tech city” in WEF-terms and why Switzerland is considered to not have any.

What constitutes as high-tech?

10 factors – including the number of patents filed per capita, startups, tech venture capitalists, ranking in other innovation datasets, and level of smartphone use – have been identified to determine how high-tech a city is. These are the  main reasons for other European cities to flourish:

  • Smartphone infrastructure (Barcelona)
  • Innovative urban planning (Copenhagen)
  • Green energy (Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Stockholm)
  • Startup culture (Berlin, Amsterdam, Stockholm, London)
  • Financial technology (Amsterdam, Stockholm)
  • Public transportation (London)

So to summarize, Swiss Cities need to focus even more on promoting a vivid startup culture while at the same time pushing the supply of  venture capital. Furthermore, efficient and mainly green energy will be one of the most important pillars of the future for cities. Financial technology as well as cashless payment are further driving forces for such cities.

Where is Switzerland at the moment?

Switzerland and its cities are – in my humble opinion – already quite far ahead on most of these factors. As the “water castle” of Europe and a country with a huge banking sector, we are ideally prepared to tackle the future of green energy as well as the financial technology sector. Where we could improve further is towards a more thorough startup culture in all of Switzerland. There are already several initiatives providing a lot of kickstart and seed money, but the achilles heel of Switzerland is probably the growth money to scale your company.

digitalswitzerland is on it and is pushing ahead with its diverse set of initiatives and members from business, politics and as academia towards a digital future for Switzerland, where all of the above mentioned factors are evolved and optimized.

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Author Daniel Scherrer

Head of Communications & Public Affairs @digitalswitzerland

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