Author’s note:  This post examines 2018 challenge bets who broke into the race exactly one year ago and are crossing the finish line April 15th. Check out seven more bets finishing the race in Race Predictions Part 1.

Wider view from Valais

The bet, MontagnePro is unique among challenge bets. Born of Federal legislation obligating cantons authorize mountain guides and organizers of outdoor adventure activities, it was entirely spec’d, staffed, funded and managed by the Valais Office of Economy, Tourism and Innovation. A story post published 02/2019, Digitizing Outdoor Uncertainty in Valaisrevealed how canton officials embraced digitalization to reduce admin costs, radically expand services and create value for stakeholders. Team member Frédéric La Sala, Coordinator for the mountain guides commission, canton Valais, explained, “E Government solutions like MontagnePro, simplify legal obligations and create business opportunities for partners, such as professional associations and insurers.”

This is a bet with upset potential. Valais may be a small corner of the world but their view of digitalization and innovation may be wider from the mountains which dominate their land. Office Head, Eric Bianco, told me he hopes others see, “That for every activity where the state or local community has to give an authorization, you could do it the same way we do it for mountain professionals.”

MyCV will

The myCV bet, announced last April, is iterating and rebranding. Reflecting lessons learned from months of market validation, the bet (and digital solution) going forward will be known as, Philipp DeAngelis, Swisscom Digital Business Unit, is taking over as Project Lead for the next phase of the initiative.

A few days ago, Philipp confirmed with me by phone their bet is still in pilot phase onboarding institutions and gaining commitments from more use cases than just universities. He describes the current iteration of as an “infrastructure platform” and offered me a journalist’s user account to test it. In reply to my request for a status update, he said, “Progress is positive yet slower than hoped for, but we’re still in discussions and looking at making a success next year.”

Even with Swisscom’s track record of intrapreneurs success, this bet will be a long shot against the competition. Unless their presentation reveals new evidence to verify its vision and business model, this is a bet better suited to wager on for next year’s challenge.

ICRC pulls out of competition – for all the right reasons

Twelve months ago, Charlotte Lindsey-Curtet, Director of Digital Transformation and Data at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), ventured they could leverage the power of big data analytics to interrogate publically available data and make a dent in a global humanitarian problem.

The bet, Digitalization as Enabler to Re-Connect Families in Time of War, clearly resonated with those on hand and went on to be voted “Audience Favourite 2018” that night.

Breaking the news in a January interview, “ICRC Bet Pivots to Do No Harm” bet Captain Charlotte conceded the ICRC would not attempt to complete its bet by April 2019 after weighing the dangers it could pose to individuals’ privacy. She explained, “The bet was a means for us articulating if we could get interest in something that was humanitarian, the use of technology in a very people focused way.” Despite extending the timeframe, Charlotte remains resolute, “We didn’t pick an easy challenge, otherwise I don’t think this would have been worthwhile to do, but we are in it for at least the next three years to see this through.”

Charlotte will be back on Kraftwerk stage April 15th to share lessons they’ve learned on the use of technology vis-à-vis paradigms of trust in a digitally-driven world … ensuring good intentions do no harm.

(My) pick to win Season Two

If there were an award for best practice challenge bet, my candidate would be Green Label for Data Centers (Green LDC). Starting from a principled desire to contribute more than membership dues to digitalswitzerland, the team has demonstrated to perfection how a challenge bet can be defined, partnered, collaboratively designed, built and delivered in less than 12 months. My last contact was before Christmas holidays and written up as Betting Green Clouds to Combat Climate Change. But already in December, it was evident (to me) this bet was running lengths ahead of the pack with a full three months to go.

A new crop of ideas is entering the challenge for Season Three. A common rallying cry during their pitching practice sessions was, “we have to do something!” followed by a plea for hundreds of thousands of Swiss Francs ‘to do that something.’ New bettors would do well to follow Green LDC example since it required no human behaviour changes, no political willpower, no new regulations and no significant monetary outlays. But its potential global impact will be massive.

Bet Captain Monica Gille, HPE Director Suisse Romande, summed up her team’s current and future outlook, “We cannot leave only for Switzerland. The label needs to be of an international scope. It has been designed to be extended to other countries. We want other countries applying it and it will end up importing even more work load into Switzerland.”

Eleven bet teams from Season One & Two will demo their bets at Demo & Pitch Day, 15 April 2019 (open to public from 14:00-15:30). Come check them out and compare your winning picks with the judges’ final selections.

Read –> Race Predictions Part 1 – Picks for Today and Tomorrow