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Digital Day goes public

On Wednesday 22nd of August 2018, we presented the organisation and programme of the second national Digital Day, which will take place on October 25th, at a press conference in Zurich main station.

Many of you, dear readers, may know this feeling when the time has come to reveal one of your pet projects. Whether in personal life or at work, there is always this time of mixed feelings between doubt and excitement. How are people going to react? Have I done enough? That is human and even when we talk about digitalisation, in the end, people are behind every project. After months of preparation, the Digital Day team still has a lot to achieve. However, we can count on the support and the active participation of some 70 committed partners. On D Day, we will be ready and we invite you to participate under the slogan:

What to expect in 2018 Edition

Birgit Pestalozzi, Digital Day Head Project Manager, is delighted by the momentum: ‘New companies and organisations are constantly joining us as partners, and more and more cities and regions are expressing their interest in participating. The Digital Day is clearly in tune with the times – digitalisation is a topic that captures people’s attention. This only makes us more committed to the Digital Day motto, “experiencing digital together”. The Digital Day aims to be a day of action for the Swiss population, bringing digitalisation out of the online world and into reality.’ Throughout the whole day, Zurich main station will feature a curated programme covering seven different topic areas, broadcast live on YouTube.

To be in closer proximity to the Swiss population, in addition to the three main stations, decentralised hubs and partner’s activities will showcase different technologies all over Switzerland. Throughout the whole day, Zurich main station will feature a curated programme covering seven different topic areas, broadcast live on YouTube. You will also find online SRF live programme, the Startup Pitching stage and TEDtalks.

To open the dialogue, The Digital Day proposed some activities before October 25th. Part of the pre-campaign, a “Tour de Suisse” aims to meet Swiss employees to collect their thoughts about digitalisation. The videos will be shared across our social media. Pupils are also part of the event through a video contest. The theme this year is centred on what a digitalised playground (“playground 4.0”) looks like. Children and teenagers in primary, secondary I and secondary II can enter the competition alone or with their class.

Have you ever wanted to ask questions about digitalisation? Digital Day Brain is an AI technology that connects Swiss citizens with our partner’s experts ready to help you to better understand the current digital transformation. We have already started, do not be shy and join us.

New Edition, New website

To gather all information about the Digital Day, and to celebrate the second edition, we have launched a brand new website. The programme content is provided by our partners and may be subject to change. Our partners are incredibly creative, as is our team, and so the ideas are still coming thick and strong. What has been decided is that the Digital Day programme is divided into 7 “thematic worlds”. These themes have been defined from last year’s feedback and during the several workshops we organised with our partners. Thus the navigation of our website allows the visitor to consult the programme according to these “thematic worlds”. You can also filter by location, which narrows your search to the activities near to you. Don’t hesitate to regularly visit:

On the October 25th, the website will be the heart of the event: we will broadcast the live stream to connect people from all over the world to our Swiss Digital Day. And don’t forget, all social media from Digital Day and our Partners will share the day’s excitement with you all. #SwissDigitalDay

Main localisations, decentralised hubs and Partner’s activities

The Digital Day has grown significantly since its first edition last year. As already mentioned, some 70 companies and institutions have already joined as partners alongside the key partners Google, Ringier, SBB, SRG and Swisscom – an increase of 60% compared to last year. In 2018, the Digital Day can offer activities in over 12 cities, where different technologies will be showcased – more than double the geographic coverage of last year. The day of action, which is unique in Europe, is, therefore, able to address the population even more directly than before. The seven “thematic worlds” will be covered at the three main stations Zurich, Geneva and Lugano.

Digital Day hubs will cover specifics topics:

Some partners will organise activities in their companies in Bern, Fribourg, Lausanne, Lucern and Schaffhausen.

We don’t want to give away too much information about the scenography. However, after having visited the project manager of the hubs, we can already say that the decentralised hubs and partner’s event are going to be a real journey. Switzerland has awesome innovation forces and our partners are eager to present them to you.

Please jot down in your calendar #SwissDigitalDay on October 25th 2018 and stay tuned. So you do not miss any information, don’t forget to subscribe to our Newsletter.

On June 28th, the third Digital Day workshop took place at the EPFL in Lausanne. We did not need to test the commitment of our partners: having 50 representatives there, out of 61 partner companies and mostly Swiss Germans having travelled to Romandie, was a clear statement of interest. The workshop was focused on presenting the set up of the various locations throughout Switzerland and the content of the general programme of the second edition of the Digital Day, which takes place on October 25th this year. On the actual day, we will welcome visitors to the different sites all over Switzerland, as well as reach out to our fellow citizens to tease their curiosity and spread the word.

Where will the events take place?

The Digital Day will take place throughout Switzerland. The main centres will be located at Zurich, Geneva and Lugano railway stations. More importantly, and what should be hugely successful this year, individual hubs are organised throughout the country by digitalswitzerland’s partners, so that the day is accessible to everyone. These new locations are part of the programme and will be recognisable with the branding of the day. Most hubs decided to focus on a specific topic such as for example Cybersecurity, eGames or eHealth. They are a good reason to jump on the train to pay a visit wherever your curiosity leads you. You, who are parents, students, employees, companies, start-ups and so on, you will find answers to your questions and thirst for knowledge at the Digital Day events. So far, the Cantons of Basel Land, Fribourg, Grisons, St. Gallen, Valais and Vaud are working hard to build an enriching programme on their territories. Furthermore, given its success, the Swiss Digital Day has inspired others to follow suit. Vaduz and Poland have also decided to organise a Digital Day on October 25th.

One day, seven main topics

Like last year, to help visitors navigating through various off- and online experiences, the Digital Day programme is divided into seven thematic worlds.

Message to Mom: « Experiencing digital together »

“I know your age, I know you think you do not understand what is going on but I know you went through several changes in your life and this day is also for you! And believe me, we will give you time, explanations and the possibility to experience some technologies.”

The uniqueness of Digital Day lies in its physical presence and offline platform to jointly experience what digital is. Digital Day is an enrichment to the existing dialogue in the virtual space. Therefore, the population is invited to take part in the conversation before and during the day and to consider what contribution they can make to a successful transition towards integrating computational thinking, digital skills and competences and digital models. And because the challenges of change should be experienced and mastered together, in solidarity and collectively, digitalswitzerland and its partners invite everyone to:

• Explorer ensemble le digital
• Digital gemeinsam erleben
• Condividere un’esperienza digitale

If you have not yet done so, please jot down in your calendar #SwissDigitalDay on October 25th 2018. Stay tuned for the new website coming soon and the activation campaign. So you do not miss any information, please subscribe to our Newsletter.

“Go Switzerland – Hopp Schwiz – Allez la Suisse – Forza Svizzera”

These days, most of us are following the World Cup 2018. Cheering, putting bets, predicting and assuming we would do better if only we could be on the field. In parallel to this, another competition is acted out on a daily basis: Switzerland’s digital competitiveness. A match where each of us is a player.

First Summit on digital competitiveness

On Wednesday, June 20, in collaboration with  digitalswitzerlandIMD business school hosted the first Digital Competitiveness Summit 2018 on digital competitiveness and the latest digital trends. More than 250 business leaders as well as representatives from governmental and international organisations active in the digital sphere, were brought together. Based on the IMD World Digital Competitiveness Rankings 2018 by the IMD World Competitiveness Center, we examined what contributes to the success of the top-ranking 63 countries.


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Marc Walder, CEO Ringier and founder of digitalswitzerland, highlighted the sense of urgency Switzerland needs and the importance of coming on board the digital train. The time we live in sends him back to the time he had to make a critical choice regarding the company he was leading and the possible futures it faced after many years of activity, given the fast pace of change the media market was facing:

“10 years ago, when I took over a media company, I faced two choices: selling it or radically transforming it. This, in order not to be irrelevant. Today, I don’t want Switzerland to be irrelevant.”

Strategy vs. Agility

In an energetic presentation, Michael R. Wade, IMD Professor and Director of the Center for Digital Business Transformation, challenged the audience about organisational change through the use of digital technologies and business models to improve performance. After multiple shows of hands to know how many participants thought that “more digitalisation” or “a digital strategy” were good objectives, he revealed the ultimate secret: “Strategy is easy, and it requires only 3 points: Where are we? – Where do we want to be? – Build a plan to achieve it. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work if we planned a strategy on a 3- or 5-year basis. Even, on a 2-month basis. Today, in a fast-changing world, long-term strategies are an anchor.” The issue is that often companies develop a digital strategy in parallel with a business strategy, whereas the idea is to integrate the digital strategy to achieve business objectives.
Michael R. Wade pointed out the difficulty to be agile when a strategy is planned. Companies allocate resources, technologies, build their organisation around an approach, and therefore they cannot shift from it easily. Today, the ultimate challenge is to take the right amount of time to get the strategy right, including digitalisation if relevant, before someone faster does it.

Making the case for lifelong education

What about the next generation? Pierre Vandergheynst, EPFL Vice-President Education and Professor at EPFL, gave an inspiring and optimistic talk. He started his speech on the gradual loss of importance of obtaining a final degree and the need for lifelong education. What is increasingly important in today’s world is to have cumulated experiences and knowledge and to ensure that one stays professionally attractive thanks to lifelong education.
Companies do not look at degrees anymore; rather they look for soft skills and technical capacities. As an example, digitalisation has changed the way engineers work and how they have to be educated. It is not engineers who calculate or evaluate a project; they set the specification for powerful machines to design the systems. This is the reason why education needs to be reviewed: the skills are different and require different ways of approaching problems. Pierre Vandergheynst then shared with us the tectonic lines of education for the next 10 years. To him, university should provide continuously updated portfolios of competences and projects. Also, training will be perpetually accessible, from anywhere at any time. Programmes will focus 50% on learning core competencies and 50% on the USP of being human. “What makes us different from a robot? What is our Unique Selling Proposition?” said Professor Vandergheynst, “Creativity, ethics (asking good questions, setting limits) and identifying problems. Things that only humans can do.”

Listening to @trekkinglemon on the future of #education at the @IMD_Bschool summit on #digital #competitiveness! @EPFL_en @EPFL @EPFLevents @agepoly @dgt_switzerland

— Martin Vetterli (@MartinVetterli) June 20, 2018

Switzerland has moved up three spots

Christos Cabolis, Chief Economist and Head of Operations at the IMD World Competitiveness Center, commented: “The IMD World Digital Competitiveness Ranking assesses the capacity of an economy to adapt and explore digital technologies leading to a transformation in government practices, business models and society in general.” This index is based on three main criteria:

– Technology: the overall context through which the development of digital technologies is enabled.
– Future readiness: the level of preparedness of an economy to assume its digital transformation.
– Knowledge: the “infrastructure” that underlies the process of discovery, understanding and learning of new digital technologies.

“Switzerland ???????? is very strong is terms of #digital #talent”, says @IMD_Bschool Chief Economist @ChristosCabolis.

— Greater Geneva Bern area (@GGBa_Invest) June 20, 2018

Read the full report for more insights: IMD World Digital Competitiveness Rankings 2018

Key messages from presentations and panel

For Jean-François Manzoni, IMD President, Switzerland’s fifth place is obviously good news. The goal of the IMD World Digital Competitiveness Ranking is not to compare countries. It is rather a vocabulary for countries to reflect on what they do and help them to work with their natural advantages and challenges.

Switzerland can’t rest on its laurels as far as these good results are concerned; it must work on its weaknesses. Martin Vetterli, EPFL President, pointed out the lack of women’s participation in the technology field.

“There is no reason that we can’t do in Switzerland what California did ten years ago to include more women in Silicon Valley.”

digitalswitzerland supports digital transformation.

“Our country has made major progress to better prepare Switzerland for digital transformation. The public is now engaged with digitalisation-related topics and is keen to use new technology more and more in their everyday lives.”

Nicolas Bürer, digitalswitzerland Managing Director. Driven by our Digital Action Plan for Switzerland, established in 2017, we push concrete projects. Also, on October 25th, and for the general public, we are organising the second edition of the Digital Day under the claim “Experiencing digital together”. Early July the first Summer Nextgeneration camps will start to support digital education for youth. To help entrepreneurs to grow and scale their companies, we launched Startup Bootcamps this year. This reflects only a part of our various activities, managed by an enthusiastic and professional team.

Are you team Switzerland? Stay informed about what is happening by subscribing to our bi-weekly newsletterand welcome to the “digital Nati”.

After a full year of hard work, we are delighted to present our Annual Report. We kept it short enough to not take too much of your precious time and complete enough to provide you with a deeper insight on what we are actually moving forward everyday.

A year of impact

For many reasons, 2017 will remain in our memories as an impactful year. As you will read in the “Welcome word,” last year was our first full year under our new name and brand digitalswitzerland. From a city-focused initiative, we became a national movement.

Each one of our five pillars, listed in our Annual Report, has deployed concrete actions. We are proud to enable, develop and execute innovation projects.

Projects, like the Digital Manifesto for Switzerland, which made waves throughout Switzerland at the beginning of the year and evolved a few months later to become the Digital Action Plan for Switzerland. From there, tangible implementation projects were developed in six areas.

On its part, with the launch of and the platform Nextgeneration, our pillar “Education & Talent” have laid the foundation to prepare both workers and kids for a new era of digitalisation. Offering summer camps and vocational training.

We have got closer

We kept our mission all the way through the year of 2017, and we are making Switzerland a leading digital innovation Hub, worldwide. Of course, we are grateful to our members and partners for their trust and support, but also to everyone engaging with us, our Swiss-wide initiative and our impactful projects.

Meet our team

Visit our Annual Report Archive to view more reports.