On 25 October we hosted Digital Day in Switzerland. Isn’t every day a digital day, with smartphones, laptops, tablets, etc…? Yes and no – it was THE Digital Day and everything in Switzerland revolved around digitalisation. We offered countless activities in over 12 cities across the country and in Vaduz (Liechtenstein) to enable the public to learn, explore and experience digitalisation in all its facets. Over 70 partners from business, science, politics and education showcased innovations, new technologies and what the future might look like.

I am so happy about the engagement and interest of all the people who came by, asked questions and immersed themselves into this digital adventure. I would like to thank the population for their open dialogue and great interest. This dialogue should not be limited to one day, but continue and we also see the Digital Day as a trigger for each and every individual to reflect on the significance and impact of digitalisation for their everyday life.

Humans must always be at the centre

Federal President Alain Berset opened the Digital Day with the words: “With digitisation, the human being must always be at the centre.” Society needs to find answers to questions such as how to prevent a drift between winners and losers of digitisation and how to protect privacy. The Swiss Digital Day was a good opportunity to reflect on these political issues as well.

Digital Day was a time of dialogue. More than 100 experts made it possible to experience digitalisation locally and personally. The public was able to share concerns and questions with data specialists and exchange views on various aspects of digitisation at numerous discussions and roundtables in various Swiss cities. Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis called on the citizens to see above all the opportunities of digitisation: “Those who see the opportunities of digitisation can also better control the risks”.

Activities in over 12 locations

This year’s Digital Day increasingly focused on a decentralised location concept. This made it possible to demonstrate Switzerland’s innovative strength in a variety of ways, locally and throughout Switzerland. National and international companies, educational institutions, SMEs and start-ups formed the backbone of the digital presence that engaged with the public.

An initiative for the next generation: Launch of the Computational Thinking Initiative

During the day, digitalswitzerland launched the Computational Thinking Initiative (CTI), a public-private partnership, which is jointly supported by various public educational institutions and industries. It is also under the patronage of Federal Councillor Johann Schneider-Ammann. Computational thinking requires skills such as creative problem-solving and programming and is therefore a crucial core competence for future generations. Primary schools are an ideal place to teach these basic skills. With the teaching robot Thymio, the initiative uses a proven, simple and easily accessible tool that was developed in Switzerland under the leadership of the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) by Prof. Francesco Mondada. The initiative was jointly initiated by digitalswitzerland and the EPFL.