digitalswitzerland Annual Report 2019

back to our mission

Opening words from our President, Ivo Furrer

Our mission is what drives us. Since the foundation of digitalswitzerland in 2015, our projects have demonstrated our full commitment towards creating a future-oriented and competitive digital and innovative Switzerland.

As a non-profit association, our vision is for a prosperous Switzerland that benefits from digital transformation and our role is to help navigate the challenges and seize the opportunities of this transformation. We accomplished this by mobilising business, academia, government and society to take action and cooperate. digitalswitzerland has used a multistakeholder model since day one. Since its foundation in 2015, it has been able to establish a cross-sector exchange to launch important initiatives.

In 2019 the association counted more than 160 members. These come from non-profit organisations, universities, cities, cantons, corporates & SMEs from all over Switzerland. It is our aim to have a diversified membership community because we believe that we need all actors of society to collaborate together.

In its fourth year of existence, digitalswitzerland, with 15 employees in Zurich and Lausanne, ensured that the dialogue on digitalisation continued in all regions of Switzerland.

2019 Highlights

Presented by our Managing Director, Nicolas Bürer. Main points include:

  • Digital Literacy
  • Data Ethics
  • Fostering Innovation

In 2019, digitalswitzerland introduced 4 major initiatives that focused on the topics of digital literacy, data ethics and fostering innovation:

Digital Literacy

Today, it is more important than ever to reinforce digital inclusion by building up the skills to stay informed, engaged and critical in a rapidly changing and technologically advanced world. Participation in the new digital age is only possible with digital skills. This principle is reflected in two of our initiatives:

  1. Lifelong Learning

Lifelong learning represents an essential mindset for both individuals and employers to take full advantage of tomorrow’s opportunities. The campaign #LifelongLearning aims to promote this attitude and to inspire the Swiss population and employers. It began as an awareness campaign and was launched under the patronage of Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin at Digital Day 2019.

The campaign reached well over 1 million people throughout Switzerland. The initiative is accompanied by an employer pledge to promote lifelong learning, which has so far been endorsed by over 130 employers representing over 550,000 employees (Status 2019).

  1. Digital Day, building a digital future together that benefits us all

The nationwide event, promoting dialogue and exchange with the Swiss population about our digital future, was held for the third time on 3 September 2019. Since its launch in 2017, around one million people have attended this major event throughout Switzerland. In 2019, the Swiss population was able to experience, but also question, forward-looking innovation at 12 different locations in all language regions.

More than 40 free-of-charge courses and 300 events were dedicated to digital transformation. The dialogue with the population was at the heart of Digital Day from the very start and is strengthened every year. Over 1,000 people participated in the newly introduced “tell” series to actively discuss fears and hopes in these times of digital change.

Data Ethics

The need to prioritise digital ethics is becoming increasingly urgent for all organisations. 

  1. Swiss Digital Initiative

Without trust, all technologies and laws fail. This is why digitalswitzerland, under the patronage of Federal Councillor Ueli Maurer, launched the Swiss Digital Initiative (SDI), which promotes ethical principles in the digital age.

The SDI was launched on 2 September 2019 at the “Swiss Global Digital Summit” in Geneva together with two dozen high-ranking representatives of the global and Swiss economy and leading representatives of Swiss universities.

SDI aims to safeguard ethical standards and promote responsible action in the digital world through concrete projects. The focus is on the implementation of common values and principles. The ethical challenges of digitisation must be addressed together with the private and public sectors, academia and civil society.

Fostering Innovation

It is of central importance for Switzerland to make the best possible use of the opportunities created by digitalisation. Education, research and innovation play a central role in the development, application and utilisation of new technologies.

  1. SwissTech

In 2019 Switzerland made its first-ever appearance at the world’s largest consumer technology trade fair, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. By participating at this event, digitalswitzerland and its partners Presence Switzerland, Switzerland Global Enterprise, Innosuisse and swissnex are supporting the mission to promote Switzerland’s innovative strength and establish the country as a leading international technology hotspot.

The Swiss pavilion under the label “SwissTech” impressed with its strong presence among numerous international exhibitors. Innovation from over 30 Swiss start-ups in the fields of fintech, life sciences, IT, drone technology and gaming were represented. Swiss start-ups are at the forefront of Swiss innovation and the Swiss Pavilion made a strong first appearance at CES to showcase them.

COVID-19: a digital stress test

Covid-19 accelerated awareness for the digital transformation overnight – how well prepared was Switzerland?

No sector is immune to the effects of COVID-19. For many, the crisis itself posed an existential threat. The pandemic is shaping up to be an enormous stress test for all social and economic sectors. While transportation is in the eye of the storm, other sectors like digital infrastructure, healthcare and education are likely to gain importance. 

Outlook 2020

We want to empower everyone in Switzerland to participate in and benefit from digital transformation.

digitalswitzerland continues to support the mission to create a digital future that serves us all. COVID-19 exposed the importance of digital transformation our mission is more relevant than ever. We must ensure that our initiatives are Swiss-wide, impactful, ambitious, inclusive and scalable.

Like everyone else, digitalswitzerland also needs to look further into the future to anticipate how the crisis will continue to affect us and what will be the needs of the economy and society in the months and years ahead. 

  • We want to empower everyone in Switzerland to participate in and benefit from digital transformation
  • Our vision is a thriving Switzerland that benefits from digital transformation 
  • We must ensure that our initiatives are Swiss-wide: reach all areas of the nation, not only cities, but also rural areas and all language regions equally
  • We want our initiatives to be impactful: moving from awareness to behaviour change
  • We want to be inclusive: mobilise the various players of the digital transformation so that they can actively participate in building our digital future
  • Now we have to ensure that our initiatives are scalable
  • Our role beyond COVID-19 is to anticipate new trends and emerging technologies that will disrupt our society and in collaboration with leaders from our ecosystem, help all areas of Swiss society to be prepared to tackle the challenges ahead

Facts & Figures

Numbers per 31. December 2019

Become a member

As a member of digitalswitzerland you are part of a high-level network and will actively shape and receive support in all things digital.

For more information please get in touch.

Alina Schönenberger
Head of Relations & Operations
alina@digitalswitzerland.com