Even as a non-profit association, digitalswitzerland has clear objectives to accomplish and continuously measures its activities. It is imperative to pursue our mission of making Switzerland a leading hub for digital innovation while evaluating our impact.

Our allies include our members as well as ecosystem stakeholders from the economy, science, politics and the general public. All of our members are committed to our initiatives, contribute to the realisation of our mission, and thereby gain new insights to bring within their own organisations.

In addition to the quantifiable measures, we also bring tremendous value to initiatives that are not so easily measured. Over the past six months, we have worked diligently on becoming a platform to enable dialogue and exchange within ecosystems and stakeholders, but also create momentum and raise awareness on specific topics. We strive to bring together the right people, at the right time and in the right place. 

Key highlights

New members to further enrich the exchange

We are pleased to have welcomed 35 new members since the beginning of 2019. This is an increase from 127 in January 2019 to 162 members to date. We are thrilled by the diversity of organisations supporting our mission, willing to play an active role in the digital transformation of our country and who are open to seize the new opportunities this collaboration brings.

Politico-Economic environment

Within the Digital Action Plan we focused on three main topics: Use of Data, Artificial Intelligence and Smart Cities. These subjects were discussed in 6 multi-stakeholder workshops. This collaboration between relevant stakeholders from science, business, the cantonal and federal administrations resulted in concrete projects, which were considered at the meetings of the Advisory Council on Digital Transformation.

Education & Talent

Our “nextgeneration” initiative that promotes digital educational opportunities, especially for children and adolescents, expanded from 4 to 14 cantons (BE, ZH, LU, AR, ZUG, VD, FR, NE, TI, GE, BSL Stadt and Land, SZ, VS). With our Computational Thinking Initiative (CTI) we currently reach 5 classes in Switzerland. This enabled us to establish a solid governance structure in the first semester. LifeLong Learning will be a key topic in the coming months to raise awareness on the need to prepare the workforce for the jobs of today and tomorrow, so stay tuned.

Startup Enablement

We established the Swiss Accelerator Network and already have over 11 accelerators participating. The Market Entry Bootcamp matched 41 scale-ups from 16 countries with 22 corporate members from digitalswitzerland, 3 of which made it to the Startup Days finals. This event took place on 28 May in Bern with over 1,000 participants from the Swiss startup ecosystem and we invited 100 corporate representatives to participate. digitalswitzerland also has contributed to the creation of the Startup Manifesto, which recommends ten measures to improve the framework conditions for Swiss start-ups. Within just a few weeks, over 700 signatures were gathered.

Corporate Enablement

In January, we organized a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum in Davos on the subject of “Opportunities and Challenges of Digitalisation of money”. 130 top-level participants attended. At the Innovation Challenge in April, ICRC and MontagnePro were chosen as winners and 11 new Bets were launched with approximately 40 partners.

These past six months, members have had the opportunity to join “Inspirational Sessions” which are knowledge exchange events including site tours, topical deep-dive workshops and panel discussions across Switzerland, from Geneva to Zurich. We enriched these exchanges by including stakeholders from the regional innovation ecosystems.   

Public Dialogue

Final preparations for Digital Day on 3 September are in full swing. We have 3 federal councils attending, more than 85 partners organising activities in over 12 locations throughout Switzerland. This is an invitation to the Swiss population to experience digitalisation and join the dialogue on how it is impacting our society. We are proud that this event has already inspired 2 other countries to follow in our footsteps (Sweden & Poland).

International Visibility

In January, we represented #SwissTech at the world’s biggest consumer electronics show CES in Las Vegas, in cooperation with 4 other partners (Presence Switzerland, Switzerland Global Enterprise, innosuisse and swissnex).  75,000 visitors stopped by our stand and for the first time, 30 Swiss startups joined to showcase the best of Swiss-made innovation. Swiss and international media coverage exceeded our expectations. This event was followed by the technology conference VivaTech in Paris, where we again joined forces with our partners at the SWISS Pavilion. 23 exhibition partners comprising of startups and corporates took part. In the past 6 months, we have also had the opportunity to present our activities and promote the Swiss innovation ecosystem to different international delegations from France, Calgary (Canada), Germany, Austria, Shenzhen (China), Singapore and Abu Dhabi who wished to learn more about Switzerland and digitalswitzerland.

Verticals

12 projects have emerged from our new industry-focused work streams. More than 50 members are directly involved. We have also invited 23 non-member organisations to participate in our workshops. Over 25 meetings and workshops have been conducted in the past six months.

“Digital starts with you – speak up!”

I would like to use the outlook for the second half of the year to draw attention to the upcoming Digital Day on 3 September! The dialogue with the public will be transformed to provide input for further activities and concrete demands for the economy and government. The world café format event called “tell” allows participants to take an active role in framing the dialogue on digitalisation and is an opportunity to speak up and foster collaborative dialogue. I would like to invite everyone across the country to discover the diverse digital worlds presented in their region. Be part of the digital movement! (Digital Day programme)

And finally, I would like to thank once again all of our members. Their engagement in our activities is impressive. I also want to express my gratitude to all ecosystem partners who contribute to our common mission to foster and promote Swiss-made innovation; Parldigi, VentureLab, Startup Invest, SICTIC, Kickstart Accelerator, Presence Suisse, Switzerland Global Enterprise, innosuisse and swissnex to name a few. Together we are very strong!

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Author Nicolas Bürer, Managing Director digitalswitzerland

Managing Director

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