Making Switzerland a Leading Digital Innovation Hub. Worldwide!
2018 was yet another excellent year for digitalswitzerland
With the addition of an industry-focus and increased efforts to promote Swiss-made innovation internationally, we achieved significant progress in making Switzerland a leading digital innovation hub worldwide.
As we look back on an eventful year, we have continued to take wide-ranging action to support our mission to make Switzerland a leading digital innovation hub worldwide. 2018 was marked by the introduction of the new strategy 3.0 with an additional industry-specific focus. The four new topic areas are Fintech & Crypto, Life Science & Food, Infrastructure and Technology. The aim is to launch Swiss flagship projects that highlight our country’s leading role in technology and innovation. Three of these so-called Matterhorn projects were presented at the second Digital Day on 25 October 2018.
All in the spirit of dialogue
The second Digital Day was a great success. We actively pursued our mission to foster dialogue with the Swiss public on digital transformation. Over 250’000 people in 12 different locations throughout Switzerland experienced digitalisation up close and personal.
Launch Computational Thinking Initiative
In 2018 we highlighted the universal competence of Computational Thinking. At the Digital Day, the Computational Thinking Initiative (CTI) was brought to life to strengthen digital education in primary schools. The robot «Thymio» offers a playful and tangible way for children to learn Computational Thinking.
Moving ahead on a global scale
To further promote Swiss-made innovation abroad, we developed a dedicated workstream to build up Switzerland’s international visibility. The first success came at the VivaTech show in Paris where digitalswitzelrand was a strategic partner of the SWISS Pavilion.
Progress report and outlook
At the world’s largest consumer electronics trade show, CES Las Vegas 2019, digitalswitzerland participated again as a strategic partner of the SWISS Pavilion, showcasing exciting Swiss startups to a global audience and demonstrating Switzerland’s leading position in innovation and technology.
At the WEF in Davos, we organized an exclusive panel discussion, hosted by Credit Suisse, on opportunities and challenges of cryptocurrencies, with contributions from Ueli Maurer, President of the Swiss Confederation, and Thomas Jordan, President of the Swiss National Bank, among our guest speakers.
This year’s Innovation Challenge produced a surprise tie with two winners: The International Committee of the Red Cross that aims to use new technologies and publicly sourced data to find out the fate of persons separated by conflict and MontagnePro, a one-stop-shop for mountain professionals and customers to review and process mountain licensing. These two Bets tackled a societal challenge by finding the most innovative digital solution.
For the upcoming Digital Day on 3 September 2019, we want to further enable dialogue by introducing the world café method to help engage the public in conversations on the impact of technology in our lives.
Acknowledgments & change in the Board of Directors
We would like to acknowledge and thank all of our members for their dedication, commitment and invaluable contributions to our mission to position Switzerland as a leading digital innovation hub worldwide. Each member is part of Switzerland’s digital story and 2018 was a year of outstanding achievements in transforming our mission into reality. The new year 2019 started at a fast pace with exciting projects and events. We are dedicated to always achieve more impact and improve year after year.
The year under review brought along a change in the Executive Committee with Ivo Furrer as the new President of the Association and the Executive Committee (elected by digitalswitzerland’s General Assembly on 11 September 2018). On behalf of the Board we would like to thank his predecessor Christian Wenger for his dedicated commitment since our foundation in 2015 and we look forward to his continued engagement as a member of the Executive Committee. We would also like to extend our warmest thanks to our dedicated and hard-working Executive committee members and to the digitalswitzerland employees.
President of the Association & the Executive Committee
Facts & Figures
Our annual report presents highlights from our different activities in 2018. For more information on all our current projects and events, please visit our website.
- Public Dialogue
- Education & Talent
- Startup Enablement
- Politico-Economic Environment
- Corporate Enablement
- International Connectivity
The second Swiss Digital Day grew considerably in size. This nationwide day of action is intended to make digitalisation a tangible experience for the Swiss population, trigger a more in-depth debate on the subject and highlight the opportunities and challenges. Under the motto “experience digital together”,we reached people in over twelve cities nationwide.
During the Digital Day the Computational Thinking Initiative (CTI) was launched. This public-private partnership aims to enable teachers in all Swiss schools to introduce computational thinking to children. The first project focuses on schools in Swiss mountain regions. Five schools are equipped with everything they need to implement computational thinking in the classroom, like an easy-to-use educational robot called Thymio.
Education & Talent
Our Top Talent study 2018 indicates that Switzerland and its ecosystem need to gear up to fill the gap in top talent. Attracting and retaining top talent is a major concern for organisations based in Switzerland, particularly in the areas of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), ICT, and new modern technologies (e.g. blockchain, artificial intelligence, connected systems, encryption, etc.). Learning and Development (L&D) in the context of lifelong learning is a key element to be developed by organisations wishing to attract and retain top talent.
In 2018 two new Startup Bootcamps formats were introduced. The Scale Up Bootcamp already matched 20 mature Swiss startups with 20 Swiss corporates from a specific industry such as Fintech or Digital Health. The Market Entry Bootcamp connected over 50 international startups from 21 countries looking to do business in Switzerland with our corporate member base. digitalswitzerland intensified its collaboration with Startup Invest by supporting Venture Days, IPO Days and the Swiss Startup Days in Bern in September 2018. The aim of these events is to connect corporates, startups and investors. digitalswitzerland also supported other major activities in the Swiss startup ecosystem like the Top 100 Award and the Invest Summit.
Within the Digital Action Plan the three focus topics for 2018 were blockchain, cybersecurity and eHealth. digitalswitzerland brought together key stakeholders from the Swiss economy, society, academia and the cantonal and federal administrations. In working sessions and workshops, possible solutions and, above all, concrete projects and measures were discussed and worked on. The exchange of knowledge, best practice and opinions was of value for all participants and fostered collaboration and dialogue across sectors. The fields of action have points of contact with the “Digital Transformation Advisory Council” of EAER (Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research) and DETEC (Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications). Through coordination and cooperation, effective synergies between the advisory board and the digital action were ensured.
In 2018 the Innovation Challenge once again invited leading minds in Switzerland to tackle societal challenges by shaping digital solutions together. The winner, Riva Digital, created an app to measure blood pressure by simply using a smartphone camera. They successfully built a digital ecosystem that enables people to increase their health competency through participation. At the same time 10 new Bets have been placed in the following subject areas: Blockchain, eDemocracy, Smart City, Sustainability, Building and zoning codes, Outdoor, Humanitarian Aid and Legal.
In 2018, digitalswitzerland highlighted the need to promote Swiss made technologies internationally. Swiss startups should be supported beyond our borders. The focus areas are: Cooperation, Visibility and Connectivity. The first point was immediately put into action and digitalswitzerland partnered with the SWISS Pavilion at the VivaTech conference 2018 in Paris, which is hosted by Presence Switzerland and Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE).
With the 2018 addition of an industry focus, digitalswitzerland complemented its existing portfolio of activities. The aim is to identify new flagship projects, so-called Matterhorns, in the four sectors that emphasise Switzerland’s leading role in technology and innovation.
At the Power Dinner 2018 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.
In 2018 our members were able to participate in three different sessions to share best practices across the community. The first event focused on the fundamental importance of digitalisation, with EPFL, ETH and ICRC sharing their insights with our members. The second session was an excursion to The Circle at Zurich airport offering a glimpse behind the scenes of Switzerland’s biggest construction project. Last but not least our members exchanged their knowledge on how digitalisation and new technologies can help us act in a more sustainable way across different sectors.
The first edition of Digital Gipfel Schweiz attracted over 80 C-Level executives and representatives from government and academia. On stage, ABB, Zalando and others shared case studies, best practices and engaged with the audience through Q&A sessions. This peer-to-peer exchange represents an important milestone in the development of innovative ideas, allowing changes to be initiated and accelerated across industries.
At the WEF 2018 digitalswitzerland invited members to a panel discussion on the topic of «Switzerland, the world’s most innovative country at the intersection of technological innovation and social acceptance». Alain Berset (President of the Swiss Confederation), Alexander Karp (CEO and co-founder of Palantir), Philipp Rösler (former Managing Director of WEF) and Marc Walder (CEO of Ringier and founder of digitalswitzerland) discussed digital transformation in data ownership, education and ethics.
IMD Digital Competitiveness Summit
This unique event, jointly organized by IMD and digitalswitzerland, brought together over 200 Swiss executives and experts to learn more about the ranking of the IMD Digital Competitiveness Report 2018. Participants also gained insights into Switzerland’s performance and how it can improve its ranking.