On Tuesday evening, digitalswitzerland had several reasons to celebrate: first of all, its third anniversary! The initiative was launched in September 2015 as Digital Zurich 2025 and was rechristened digitalswitzerland the following year to include the whole country. In less than three years, digitalswitzerland comprises more than 125 members, growing from a local to a national movement that is now active throughout Switzerland, with offices in Lausanne and Zurich. It has become one of the most important voices in Switzerland calling for digital transformation and innovation.
Secondly, during the General Assembly on Tuesday, its members elected as a new President Ivo Furrer. Mr Furrer was previously at Winterthur Insurance, the Credit Suisse Group and Zurich Insurance. As one of digitalswitzerland’s founding members, he was actively involved in the initiative since 2015, when he was CEO of Swiss Life Switzerland. He will take over from Christian Wenger, partner at Wenger & Vieli Attorneys at Law, at the end of 2018. Marc Walder, founder of digitalswitzerland: ”Christian Wenger has played a key role in shaping the digitalswitzerland initiative for the first three years. Thanks to his tireless efforts, digitalswitzerland has developed into the most important initiative in the country.”
Thirdly, we celebrated these joyful events together with our members at our annual Powerdinner, our biggest member event. Let us share some insights from our General Assembly and the Power dinner with you.
The revised Federal Strategy ‘Digital Switzerland’: A strategy for the Swiss people
It was a great pleasure to welcome Mr. Philipp Metzger, Director of the OFCOM, as a guest speaker at our General Assembly. He presented the revised Federal strategy ‘digital Switzerland’ and outlined some of the main results:
- An AI working group
- Concept and measures for smart cities, smart villages and smart regions
- Innovation within the government
- Dialog about digitalisation between the government and the cantons
- Some other fields like Fintech, Smart Farming and Cyber-Hub Geneva
Welcome our new digitalswitzerland President, Ivo Furrer!
During the General Assembly, Ivo Furrer was elected as the new President.
His reaction to the unanimous election result: «I am delighted by the trust shown in me and by the task ahead. digitalswitzerland’s goals have always been a labour of love that deserves – and demands – personal commitment. Together with our strong member network, my aim is to develop Switzerland into a leading innovation hub internationally.»
Why are you the right person for this position?
«The Initiative digitalswitzerland has grown very fast in a short period of time and thus, needs more and more structure and result-oriented action, for which I have been responsible for my work as CEO over the last years. I am a down-to-earth guy who stands with both feet on the ground and as such will not only actively seek access to the larger, but also smaller and medium-sized companies and to the extremely important start-up community, where we want to create win-win situations in conjunction with the corporates.
As CEO of Swiss Life Switzerland, I was a founding member of digitalswitzerland and committed to its goals and strategy from the very beginning. Besides, I also supported individual initiatives. Yet, I am independent and don’t pursue a hidden agenda. For me, this new task is first and foremost a commitment for Switzerland itself.»
What are you most looking forward to as President of digitalswitzerland?
«I am most looking forward to working with young people and those who are young at heart, be it in the most entrepreneurial start-ups or with my colleagues within the digitalswitzerland business community.
Further, I am looking forward to the interaction and dialogue with different stakeholders, from the startup and business community, academia, politics and very important, to the Swiss people. We aim to create a mature and open culture of digitalisation.
Finally, I am pleased to hopefully be able to make a contribution to the fact that we in Switzerland can continuously improve ourselves in the application of new digital applications and technologies, and that Switzerland can further increase its already high level of competitiveness. Because: “Only those who improve permanently will stay on top.»
What do you think it will take for Switzerland to become a digital innovation hub?
«First of all, we need a high degree of commitment from all interested parties and individual contributions within our own possibilities. In addition, optimal interaction and collaboration between politics, economy and society. Finally, some conditions of the Swiss startup ecosystem have to be further optimized, be it through political support, creation of additional investors opportunities (keyword Venture Capital) or the targeted strengthening of education and development.»
digitalswitzerland celebrates its 3rd anniversary
Following our General Assembly, our members celebrated the election of the new President and the 3-years anniversary of digitalswitzerland. In a short period of time, more than 125 renowned Swiss and global companies, institutions, organisations and universities, as well as innovative locations, are on board. With this cross-sector alliance between business, science, politics and civil society, digitalswitzerland aims to incite a broad and inclusive dialogue about digitalisation, which affects us all.
We are pushing forward specific projects jointly with our members:
- In the digitalswitzerland challenge, innovation is at the heart
- Educational programmes for SMEs, pupils (nextgeneration) and students, teachers and adults
- Promotion of the startup ecosystem through programmes such as the startup bootcamps
- Collaboration and alignment between the federal and cantonal administration, economy and sciences within the Digital Action Plan
- One highlight is the second national Digital Day, which will take place on 25 October 2018 under the patronage of Alain Berset, President of the Swiss Confederation, and Federal Councillor Johann Schneider-Ammann, with the support of Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis
At the Assembly, we showcased our projects to our members and allowed them to experience what digitalswitzerland is all about, ask questions, exchange insights and network within the member community. It was a lively evening and we are proud to have such committed, inspiring and passionate organisations and individuals supporting us in our mission to make Switzerland a leading digital innovation hub – worldwide!
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