We are excited to announce that in 2021 we will host Digital Day for the 5th year in a row. It will take place on 10 November with a variety of events both in the digital and physical space.
Since digitalisation is such a multifaceted topic that can’t be possibly covered in a single day, we have decided to use the 6 weeks leading up to Digital Day to foster a nationwide discourse around digital topics, focusing on two main topics, learning and co-creation of the future.
We invite you to explore past events on digitalday.swiss, the same space we will use to publish our programme highlights when the time comes.
Are you interested in becoming a Digital Day partner?
In early March we hosted a Digital Day kickoff event with over 200 attendees interested in shaping Digital Day 2021. We revealed our concept, talked about changes we made to improve digital day to make it even more accessible and inclusive for the Swiss population and discussed ways to create an even bigger impact for everyone involved.
Are you interested in shaping this national event with global attention? We are still welcoming new partners who are ready to make an impact. Book a call with us now to see how you can get involved.
Would you like to attend Digital Day?
This year’s Digital Day is not until 10 November but there are plenty of opportunities to get involved starting today. We are curious to hear your answer to our guiding question – What kind of digital future do you wish for? – and welcome all of your thoughts here.
This is one of many ways we listen to those living with the consequences of an increasingly digital world. After all, Digital Day is an event for the public created to spark the biggest, most meaningful conversation around all things digital with all citizens of Switzerland.
For more information regarding the programme, speakers and information on last year’s event please visit digitalday.swiss. The 2021-programme will be released soon.
Innovative Switzerland is Primed to Become the Next Sports Digital Hub
Last month, Facebook signed an exclusive deal to broadcast the next three seasons of La Liga to fans across the Indian subcontinent. The social network already owns rights to screen Major League Baseball to US audiences on their platform. The fact that even a major player like Facebook wants a piece of the sports pie demonstrates exactly how tempting and lucrative investing in the sport tech industry has become in recent years.
It truly is an exciting time commercially when it comes to global sports because it’s never been possible to reach out to so many fans across the world so easily. As markets around the world wake up to this golden opportunity, the first one to corner this market and establish itself as the hub of digital sports will call the shots for years to come.
Tech is the Future of Sports
Back in 2014, a report by A.T. Kearney estimated that the global sports industry is worth around$700 billion, which is 1 percent of the global GDP. After the report came out, that year investors around the world pumped$1 billion into sports-tech startups around the world. Since then, the industry has grown by leaps and bounds, with every investor trying to predict the next big trend they should bet their money on.
The sports industry is constantly evolving, making it a challenging yet interesting space for both entrepreneurs and innovators. The industry’s biggest catalyst is clearly technology – from monitoring and improving the athlete’s performance through wearables to enhancing the fan experience with second screens, anything is possible. Even established brands like Nike and Adidas are investing heavily to digitize their product ranges in order to keep up and stay relevant in these rapidly changing times.
The Economic and Innovation Hub of Sports
As countries around the world scramble to get on the sports-tech train before it leaves the station, one country seems to be in the ideal position to bank in on this boom – our country Switzerland.
Since 1915, the Swiss city of Lausanne has been the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and many other federations have their headquarters around the country too, including FIFA, UEFA, FIVB and FIBA. Around 65 sports organizations call Switzerland their home, leading some to even call Lausanne the Silicon Valley of Sports. On top of it, St. Gallen is establishing an entire E-sports industry. The first Swiss Esports congress will take place during Digital Day 25th October.
The reason so many sports organizations are drawn to Switzerland is among others because of its political neutrality, the low taxes and its central location in Europe. Not just the sports organizations, Switzerland’s economy benefits from this arrangement too, as these organizations make most of their revenue outside the Swiss borders but spend a significant amount, more than $1 billion annually according to a study, within the country. This amount is growing, as earlier this year, the Swiss economics ministry actually announced the GDP excluding earnings from sports because it formed such a large part of it. A 2015 study by AISTS (International Academy of Sports Science and Technology) on the economic significance of International Sports Organisations in Switzerland found that every CHF 1 spent by these organisations spent in the country, created CHF 1.55 for the Swiss economy. The 45 organisations which were surveyed employed over 2,000 employees across the country.
Switzerland’s unique sports ecosystem is not the only factor that puts it in the prime position to become a sports innovation hub, it also has the benefit of being one of the most innovative countries in the world.
The Alpine land has very few natural resources of its own, which means that the country has had to take a Swiss knife approach to developing their economy by focusing on many sectors like agriculture, tourism, services at the same time. The Swiss have always had to be creative to survive and it shows, they’ve globally been on top when it comes to innovation according to a study by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).Over 43,000 patent applications were submitted by the Swiss in 2014 alone, which means per-capita, Switzerland ranks first globally. Switzerland has also moved up three spots in the ranking in the IMD World Digital Competitiveness ranking (5th). While Switzerland has focused on developing robotics, education and the financial sector through technology, it’s the right time for it to focus on sports.
The Perfect Mix
As sports becomes more commercial and technology driven, the size and influence of international sports organizations is on the rise. Switzerland has the perfect mix of ingredients to become the sports innovation hub the world needs. Switzerland is a neutral ground and located in central Europe, has over 65 sports organisations, all main stakeholders are on site, and the country is seen as one of the top players in innovation in the world.
Even though all the sports organizations present in the country are already directly benefiting the local economy, through employment and the amount they spend for their operations year-on-year, they are also making a difference indirectly when it comes to Switzerland’s image as a business and sports-oriented nation.
It sends out a very clear message to sports entrepreneurs and startups – that Switzerland is the place to be when it comes to sports related businesses.
The Change is Here
The seeds of change are already being laid by forward-thinking Swiss outfits like ThinkSport. Their initiative The SPOT was one of the first international events (where I was honoured to be one of the startup juries) which combined innovation, technology and sports in the Olympic Capital of Lausanne. The event brought together creators, brands, entrepreneurs, academics, media, NGOs, the public and digitalswitzerland to explore innovation and the role of technology in sports. The best part was that it included people from the sports industry as well as people who’re not part of it, to create a unique collaborative mix. While the US has always been at the forefront of sports innovation with its numerous startups and incubators, traditionally Europe has been reluctant to embrace change and technology, but thankfully this is changing.
The Future is Digital
digitalswitzerland was founded with the aim of positioning Switzerland as a digital hub to the rest of the world. By creating a cross-industry network which is more than 125 members strong, digitalswitzerland is working towards making Switzerland future-ready through our 6 core pillars – politico-economic environment, education & talent, start-up enablement, corporate enablement, public dialogue and international visibility. Sports innovation is a crucial tool within this multifaceted plan as we’re in the right place at the right time to become a global digital leader in sports technology and innovation.
The stage is set, and the world is watching as we’re living in interesting times which could go on to define the future of sports. The work seems to be cut out for Switzerland if it wants to become the sports digital hub of sports but the spirit of challenging the status quo is on our side and so are some of the biggest international sports organizations and businesses. Switzerland has to do is what it does best – innovate.
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Recently I had the opportunity to attend two digital & innovation conferences with totally different vibes, roots, purpose and learnings. One of the conferences was Re:publica that took place in Berlin and already exists more than 10 years. The second one is the first Swiss innovation conference in the sports industry, organised by ThinkSport, SwissTech, and EPFL. As a former FIFA employee and having worked almost my entire career in the sports industry, I am keen to give you an insight and share my experiences I made during the two different conferences.
Insights from Republica:
Mike Schwede, one of the Swiss digital influencers, highlighted the Republica Berlin as a must-go-conference for all digital fans. Re:publica is one of Europe’s biggest conference with focus on digitalisation, society and politics. The event is a bottom-up-movement and is now a conference with over 9’000 national and international participants coming from 71 different countries. Another unique thing is that the speakers are recruited from the blogger community. Nearly 50% of the speakers are female, a number that is not often reached at digital conferences. The conference this year was located in an old warehouse close to Postdamerplatz with the positive claim POP (Power of People). When I entered, I noticed the relaxed atmosphere, people sitting in chairs, chatting in the sun and eating their Berlin sausage. People wore relaxed clothes, looked hip and most men wore the so called “Hipsterbart”, high heels and suites were nowhere near.
Mike Schwede introduced me to the Swiss re:publica community, a community that meets every year at this conference. I was happy to be part of this conference, representing digitalswitzerland. For us it was important to get in touch with the Swiss digital community and to get a sense for what is on people’s mind with regards to digital developments.
500 Hours of Speeches, Panels and Inspiration
Entering the main hall I first saw many booths where exhibitors presented their newest digital gadgets such as VR experiences, apps, vehicles of the future, alternative currencies, and many other things. It reminded me of a smaller Digital Day, where companies show their current digital developments to society. In addition, Re:publica created many network and cafe areas with comfortable seating possibilities and charging stations.
The agenda for the next three days seemed to be overwhelming: Over 500 hours of programme were planned on 11 different stages and additional workshops. The main topics presented during the conference were blockchain, data security, ethics and AI. I attended several presentations, but one particular speech of Martha Lane Fox made me dream even bigger about our upcoming Digital Day on 25th October.
Martina Lane Fox presented the results of a survey she undertook and highlighted that people in the UK do barely know how digital advertisements works or how tech companies make money. She addressed the importance to teach basic skills to everybody in order raise the digital knowledge bar, gain trust in technology but also being able to ask the right questions to develop sustainable policies. The main stakeholders that can make this shift are tech companies, the government and individuals. England is ready to become a forward-thinking nation.
The Swiss Digital Day on 25th October is exactly based on Lane Fox’s calling. We want to start the dialogue with Swiss citizens, companies and the government to equip our country for the future where we need to become familiar with the ongoing digital changes, to make informed decisions and ask the right questions.
So let’s take the opportunity starting with the Digital Day! Let’s start the dialogue with society, let’s better understand current developments, open up to new things and ask the right questions. Together we will be able to understand how to build a better tomorrow for Switzerland.
Insigths from the Sport’s Conference ‘TheSpot’
While the conference in Berlin developed as a bottom-up movement, the sports conference “TheSpot” was carried out for the first time in Lausanne at EPFL. However, with my 20 years of experience in the sports industry, as well as working for FIFA the last few years, I am delighted to see that Switzerland started to act on topics such as innovation and digitalisation in sports. While the United States is spearheading sports innovation with an overwhelming number of sports start-ups and sport accelerators, Europe’s traditional sports environment unfortunately lags behind with only few sports related innovation hubs. One successful example of sports accelerator is leAD that grew from the legacy of Adi Dassler, the founder of adidas. leAd nurture early-stage sports start-ups and is based in Berlin.
Insigths from the Sport’s Conference ‘TheSpot’
I strongly believe that Switzerland, being ranked several times as #1 in innovation World-Wide (WIPO Global Ranking 2012-2017) is predestined to become the world’s sports innovation hub. Not only because Switzerland is named as #1 but also because Switzerland has a unique sports ecosystem with over 67 international sports organisations (like FIFA, IOC, FIBA, FIBA etc). To become a sports innovation hub, Federations need to invest more in innovation, connect more strongly with sports start-ups, help build up accelerators and provide entrepreneurs the right environment.
Bringing Sports and Innovation together
Back to “TheSpot”: It was nice to see over 40 sport start-ups pitching. As a member of the jury, I noticed a high number of companies that build their start-up around body tracking measuring device, a very though environment to survive at the moment. (-: I was asked to sit in as a jury for the final pitches on the main stage, as only woman. While feeling honored I again realised how male-dominated this industry still is. Another challenge that not only sports need to solve these days.
As winner of the final we chose a young start-up from Germany called “ForwardGame”. The start-up is focused on creating outdoor and physical activities gamifications solutions motivating kids to move and play outside again using new technology.
Overall, the conference was a a success and I am looking forward to seeing Switzerland pushing sports forward.
Heads were fuming at our second Digital Day partner’s workshop and it was not because of the warm weather. Or not alone. The aim of the second workshop on 8 May was to connect Digital Day partners to create the content of the «Theme Worlds», which revolve around the topics of My Data, Mobility, Education, Work 4.0, Health, Lifestyle & Sport, Media & News. The workshop was kindly hosted by Aroma. Partners were welcomed also by Christian Wenger, President of the digitalswitzerland Executive Committee. His message to the partners and members: «Be creative, think big and make Switzerland an eye catcher!»
First, there was a crazy idea
Founder of digitalswitzerland Marc Walder was also present at the workshop and recalled the very beginning of the Digital Day. When the idea of the Digital Day was brought up for the first time in 2017, no one really believed in it. Some thought that it was just “another crazy idea of that guy” (meaning Marc Walder). However, the success of the Digital Day proofed the opposite: The event became bigger than expected and a true dialogue with the public has been started. For the first time ever, representatives from industries, politics and associations could enter into live conversations with the public and learned about their hopes and worries with regards to digital transformation. Young and old could experience and see, what digitalisation means for every one of them. It was like a journey to the future. Except that we already are in the middle of the future and the digital transformation has only just begun.
The Digital Day wants no less than empower and equip the Swiss population for a forward thinking nation
Doing something for the second time isn’t that simple. Even though more experienced, expectations are most likely higher. And believe us, dear reader, they are. The public and we ourselves are having high expectations. Because we want to really have a lasting impact and do something big and relevant for the public. That is why this year’s partners and the Digital Day team is working hard to put into reality all ideas and visions around the next Digital Day. Initiatives and events will take place already before the actual event on 25 October, in all regions of Switzerland, in all official Swiss languages. «We are very happy to confirm that this year, besides Zurich, Lugano and Geneva and Chur, we also have Vaduz, St. Gallen and Valais on board», so Birgit Pestalozzi, overall project lead Digital Day and Head of Public Dialogue at digitalswitzerland. More cantons and cities might follow. Another focus this year will be on startups. They will pitch and present themselves and inspire us with their passion and power.
«Theme Worlds» are taking shape
During the workshop, partners sat together, brainstormed, discussed and challenged in a constructive way. And finally, ideas are becoming more concrete. Now, the Digital Day doesn’t seem so far away and we can’t wait for the big day. The next step will be the main workshop on 28 June in Lausanne. Creative phase, check. Next: bringing concepts to reality.
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Registration to become a Digital Day Partner will close soon. If you are interested to be part of this exciting journey, go to partner.digitaltag.swiss.
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