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Switzerland showcasing their digital strengths at GITEX Global 2022

The world’s largest tech showcase, GITEX Global, took place again from 10 to 14 October. This year, the world’s largest tech fair attracted over 4,500 companies and 100,000 attendees, ranging from visitors and entrepreneurs to scientists, state officials and more. A Swiss delegation of 20 C-level executives participated at GITEX Global to represent the innovative capacity and technological expertise of our country as well as to strengthen international bonds.

The Swiss Delegation of 20 C-level executives to GITEX Global in Dubai was warmly welcomed by Stefan Metzger, Managing Director digitalswitzerland and Andreas Kaelin, Senior Advisor digitalswitzerland. Together they laid out the economic relationships between Switzerland and the Arabian Gulf, which is the 10th largest Swiss export market. As IMD highlighted in the recently published World Digital Competitiveness Index, the UAE continues to knock on the door of the top 10 most digitally competitive nations, excelling at their regulatory and technological frameworks, which both rank 3rd in the 2022 report. The country therefore offers a great opportunity for Switzerland to learn from and improve our technology ranking.

Frank Eggmann, Consul General of Switzerland in Dubai, welcomed the delegation by highlighting how GITEX can catapult Swiss ventures looking to scale up their customer base, develop corporate partnerships, and win investment. GITEX Global is the world’s largest tech show in its biggest year ever, attracting over 4,500 companies and 100,000 participants from across the globe.

Safia Agueni, Chapter Founder of Women in Tech Switzerland, introduced a cohort of senior tech executives from multinational companies representing a range of industries, highlighting the importance of diversity in technology leadership and digital transformation projects. The local chapter of Women in Tech UAE joined the Swisstech SWISS Pavilion and toured the broad range of Swiss spin-off projects, startups, and scaleups.

The Swisstech SWISS Pavilion at GITEX Global 2022 was opened by Massimo Baggi, Ambassador of Switzerland to the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Groundbreaking applications in the fields of Metaverse, AI, Web 3.0, Blockchain, 6G, Cloud Computing, FinTech and Big Data are the focus of the action.

Stefan Metzger, Managing Director digitalswitzerland: “GITEX is an excellent opportunity for Swiss companies and especially for startups in the deep tech sector to generate attention, tap into new markets and establish contacts with potential investors. In this way, we support the main goal of the Swisstech initiative: to position Switzerland as an outstanding innovation and technology center and an attractive location for investors and foreign companies.”

Massimo Baggi opens the Swisstech SWISS Pavilion

eGovernment and digital health in the Gulf

One spacious hall in GITEX is a showcase of the latest tech being developed and deployed by national and regional governments. Many of these are based on the fundament of an electronic identity card (eID), where governments have put significant resources into streamlining the process of obtaining an eID and building eGovernment services that enable residents to quickly complete administrative processes online.

Ali Juma AlAjme, Director of Digital Health at the Ministry of Health and Prevention, presented some of the advancements in Electronic Health Records, including giving patients the right to share their health data, creating a unified protocol for digital health companies to use, unified supply chain interfaces, and introducing new guidance for telemedicine later this year. All of this with the aim of enabling faster and more interoperable innovation in digital health that will benefit the patient journey.

Ali Juma AlAjme with digitalswitzerland’s delegation

Innovation across Dubai and the UAE

To complement the extensive spectrum of tech on show at GITEX Global, the Swiss delegation also visited two key sites that demonstrate Dubai’s forward-looking approach to innovation and sustainability.

The Dubai International Finance Center (DIFC) is a free zone, home to an independent regulator, judicial system based on the English common law framework, and benefiting from the high labour mobility into the region. DIFC houses an Innovation Hub, where Ralf Glabischnig, Founder of Crypto Oasis, explained the bridge between Switzerland’s Crypto Valley and the Crypto Oasis of over 1,450 organisations making up the fast-growing blockchain ecosystem in the UAE. The Crypto Oasis 2022 report summarises the governments, investors, corporates and startups that operate in the DIFC, Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), and others.

digitalswitzerland’s delegation in DIFC

Swiss clean tech company Hitachi Zosen Inova is working in an international consortium including Dubal Holding, ITOCHU Corporation, BESIX Group and Tech Group. Under the leadership of Roni Araiji, Managing Director Middle East, they are building the world’s largest energy-from-waste facility, capable of treating 1,825,000 tons of municipal solid waste per year – an impressive 45% of Dubai’s current waste. The 200 MW of electricity generated will be fed into the local grid as baseload energy, in line with Dubai’s Integrated Energy Strategy 2030.

Swisstech @ GITEX Global 2022 hosted the following scaleups, startups, and research institutions:

From 10 to 14 October 2022, more than 4,500 companies and over 100,000 participants from 170 countries will take part in GITEX, the biggest technology convention of the year happening in Dubai. The SWISS Pavilion, organised by digitalswitzerland and T-LINK as part of Swisstech, will attend with 18 organisations and research institutions. This is where developers and pioneers meet to exchange ideas and present new products. Pioneering applications in the fields of Metaverse, AI, Web 3.0, Blockchain, 6G, Cloud Computing, FinTech and Big Data are the focus of the action.

Read the full press release in German and French.

In partnership with BilanzHandelszeitung and PME, we are delighted to celebrate the 100 Digital Shapers who have made a huge contribution to Switzerland’s digital future. Read detailed interviews with all 100 Digital Shapers in this dedicated Bilanz publication.

We also spoke to a selection of winners to find out more about their fascinating work, what motivates them, their greatest challenges and more. Read our quote series.

We extend a warm congratulations to all Shapers and thank them for their efforts and continued resilience and visionary thinking.

This year the following 10 categories covered:

1. The Infrastructure Builders
People who contribute to a solid digital infrastructure in order to allow digital change. Includes politicians & administration.

2. The Connectors
People who build ecosystems, connect actors and bridge regional gaps for collaborative projects in the digital sphere.

3. The Unicorn Breeders
People who are about to build or are of critical importance to build a startup company, which is now valued at over US$1 billion.

4. The Digital Manufacturers
Leaders of digital manufacturing companies or technology solution providers and subject-matter experts who are an inspiration for the future of Swiss digital manufacturing.

5. The Avatars
People who create or make use of new realities (Augmented, Virtual, Mixed) to enable great things.

6. The AI Masters
Masterminds who are revolutionising Artificial Intelligence.

7. The eMedics
People who use digital transformation to enhance different aspects of wellbeing, health and medicine.

8. The Foodies
People who use digital transformation to reshape our current nutrition towards healthier and more sustainable solutions.

9. The Nature Techies
People who use digital transformation for the sake of protecting, monitoring or enhancing nature.

10. The Cybersecurity Guards
People who, with protective solutions, regulations, awareness-raising and innovations in cyber space, enable us to move safely and not be victims of cyberattacks.

Discover more about the jury behind selecting our deserving winners here and take a look at past winners and interviews from 2021 and 2020.

*Image source: Matthias Schardt, Kombinatrotweiss.ch / Digital Shapers

In partnership with BilanzHandelszeitung and PME, digitialswitzerland is once again celebrating the 100 people changing the face of the Swiss digital landscape. Read the full interviews with all 100 Digital Shapers in their dedicated Bilanz publication. They are also featured in PME on 31 August and Handelszeitung on 1 September.

Driving the force of digital change

The 100 Digital Shapers 2022 are relentless in their pursuit of a digital future that serves all of us. Their continued efforts and commitment inspires and bring those around them on a journey to challenge what’s possible. We are delighted to celebrate and support this annual campaign. We took the opportunity to find out what makes these Shapers tick and what we can learn from their unique way of looking at the world.

And without further ado…let’s hear from some incredibly deserving winners!

People who use digital transformation to reshape our current nutrition towards healthier and more sustainable solutions.

Tobias Gunzenhauser is Co-founder and CEO at of Swiss FoodTech Startup yamo. This company produces plant-based, fresh and organic food for children of all ages. Established in 2016, yamo is one of the current top three FoodTech Scaleups in Switzerland.

Q: What is the biggest learning in your career to date?

A: “The path of a startup entrepreneur is one of constant learning. The moment you stop learning is the moment you stop moving. Naming the one and only ‘biggest’ learning is very difficult. So here’s one of my biggest: it’s all about the culture and the people (and it’s the people defining the culture). As a startup you’re the underdog, building something from nothing. You and your team need to have the mental strength to overcome all the obstacles in your way, always keeping the focus on your vision and having fun along the way.”

People who contribute to a solid digital infrastructure in order to allow digital change. Includes politicians & administration.

Dr. Florian Evéquoz is Dean of the Faculty of Business and Management at the University of Applied Sciences of Western Switzerland (HES-SO). He co-founded datastory.ch – a data science and visualization startup – and Youser – a UX agency. He is involved in various digital projects shaping the social and political landscape of Switzerland.

Q. You have been involved in re-writing the constitution of Valais, which includes digital transformation and our relation with robots. What is your biggest learning from this work?

A: “Writing a Constitution offers a chance to state our long-term common ambitions, taking into account for instance robots and ubiquitous digital technologies. On the one hand, it lets us invent new tools to protect society and institutions from potentially detrimental effects. Individual rights to digital integrity and to an interaction with human beings (not just artificial agents) are responses to these risks. On the other hand, anchoring in the Constitution that government data should be freely available opens new horizons for innovation.”

Leaders of digital manufacturing companies or technology solution providers and subject-matter experts who are an inspiration for the future of Swiss digital manufacturing.

Anna Valente is Head of ARM automation, robotics, and machines laboratory at SUPSI-DTI, Member of Swiss Science Council SSC and an expert at Innosuisse. Her vast fields for expertise count the manufacturing of complex shape components in composite materials for Aerospace, to Design of intelligent and reconfigurable manufacturing systems and robots.

Q. What technologies are you most excited about at the moment?

A: “At ARM laboratory, we’re currently immersed in an extremely challenging activity targeting a new generation of robotic platforms. We call them Deliberative Robots. Deliberative robots adapt their behaviour from cobot to industrial arms as a result of the interaction dynamic with the human operators, especially considering their cognitive and physical loads, as well as the surrounding production context. This powerful capability is instrumental to boost robots’ adoption within typically manual manufacturing contexts, by enhancing productivity while preserving human safety and job quality.”

People who build ecosystems, connect actors and bridge regional gaps for collaborative projects in the digital sphere.

Charlotte Axelsson is Head of the subject area E-Learning @ZHdK. She initiated and co-developed the federal project LeLa, Lern Labor Hochschuldidaktik (Learning Laboratory for Higher Education Didactics), and also launched the international art university exchange “Exchanged”. She is a member of the Koordinationsgremiums Bildungsförderung of the Digitalisierungsinitiative DIZH (Education Funding Coordination Committee), has developed the podcast platform Modcast and is committed to digitality in the educational ecosystem that can be experienced sensually and tenderly.

Q: You are head of the subject area E-Learning at the ZHdK. What is the biggest opportunity or challenge for Switzerland when it comes to this topic?

A: “Digitality is in a transformation itself – to be digital is no longer a separate world, it becomes a part of our DNA: especially in the future generations which are still in primary school. They don’t distinguish between analogue and digital – they learn and think in a different way. We in the subject area E-Learning at ZHdK try to prepare our teaching and learning culture for this transformation. Because we need strong creative, unconventional solutions and strategies for a future-oriented Swiss educational system.

Masterminds who are revolutionising Artificial Intelligence.

Nadja Braun Binder is Professor of Public Law, University of Basel. Nadja has worked on numerous reports that are shaping global discussion on how to advance the infrastructure for AI. This forward-thinking approach is contributing to a debate about how to use digitisation and AI for the public good.

Q: You are a main author of the TA-SWISS report “Wenn Algorithmen für uns entscheiden: Chancen und Risiken der künstlichen Intelligenz”. What legal framework is needed for AI to thrive?

A: “I think that we do not need a comprehensive “AI law”. But we should examine which existing regulations are applicable to new technologies and methods, for example by taking them into account when interpreting existing norms. In addition, sector-specific regulations will be needed. For example, in the context of public administration to ensure the legitimacy of automated decisions or to create transparency about the use of automated decision-making systems.”

Photo by Mirages Photography

People who create or make use of new realities (Augmented, Virtual, Mixed) to enable great things.

Laetitia Bochud is Director at Virtual Switzerland. Laetitia is structuring the XR industry with professionalism and continued enthusiasm. She is a catalyst for XR development within Switzerland (XR = eXtended Realities, comprising of Augmented, Mixed, Virtual Realities, virtual/immersive/interactive environments “Metaverse”) and abroad, while fostering a qualitative ecosystem.

Q: You work at the crossroads of government and public entities, academic institutions, and the private and associative sectors. What are the biggest challenges that you encounter in your work?

A: “Funding is the main challenge: we seek to gain more financial support for the creation, distribution, and promotion of immersive and/or interactive, narrative formats. The ongoing structuring of the XR industry and its lobbying are key, and we do this at the European and Swiss levels. In Switzerland, public institutions, and their funding instruments, are organized in silos; yet digitization is cross-disciplinary, horizontal. As a result, funding mechanisms can be ill-suited for XR developments. I would also stress the sustainability aspects: the recycling and upcycling of head-mounted displays and other gear, sending them to low-capacity countries for example. I would like to engage in such initiatives.”

People who, with protective solutions, regulations, awareness-raising and innovations in cyber space, enable us to move safely and not be victims of cyberattacks.

Adrian Perrig is Professor at ETH Zurich, Co-Founder Anapaya Systems, SCION next-generation Internet Evangelist. For more than a decade, Adrian has been driving the next generation (secure) internet initiative SCION. His work has the potential of considerable security improvements in the critical infrastructure for digitalisation.

Q: You work with both private industries and governmental bodies in the United States, Western and Eastern Europe. What’s the biggest learning from these negotiations to date?

A: “Everyone struggles with achieving security. At many places, an economic approach is used: so if the economic impact of attacks is less than the cost of a security system, then the security system is
not deployed. It was reassuring to experience that in Switzerland, especially financial institutions strive to achieve strong security, even if the cost is higher than the expected damage. This strategy
will likely provide higher trust with consumers and market success in the long run.”

People who are about to build or are of critical importance to build a startup company, which is now valued at over US$1 billion.

Wiktor Bourée is CEO & Founder at Technis. This French-Swiss technology company provides a sensor-to-dashboard comprehensive solution for real-time infrastructure performance management. It is the most successful Software as a Service (SaaS) for SMEs in Switzerland.

Q. Your platform is incredibly successful and well adopted by SMEs. How does Technis help them?

Ans: We collect all types of data useful to physical stores (occupancy rate, time in store, receipts, product category, etc.). Our dashboard communicates in real time this processed data and provides useful information to retailers such as the conversion rate, the product engagement, or the customer journey. Our customers can now act directly and in real time on their productivity and customer experience in order to increase the average basket.

Find out more about the jury behind selecting our deserving winners here and take a look at past winners and interviews from 2021 and 2020.

*Image source, header: Matthias Schardt, Kombinatrotweiss.ch / Digital Shapers

We are delighted to once again launch into the exciting quest to find and celebrate this year’s 100 Digital Shapers. This would not be possible without our strong partnership with Bilanz, Handelszeitung and PME. The 2022 edition of 100 Digital Shapers will be published in late August. In the meantime, our jury members have been busy assessing more than 270 applications.

A changing digital landscape

2022 is a particularly interesting year for our 12-strong jury to assess and narrow down hopeful nominations. Innovative minds, deep thinkers and action-oriented digital enthusiasts have been busy pushing boundaries. These are the people that our jury will take pleasure in identifying. Without their thoughts and actions, Switzerland would not stay on course for digital success Since these individual powerhouses make rapid advancements possible. We look forward to shining a light on the many digital strides and achievements that have taken place over the last 12 months.

And now it’s time to meet our esteemed jury members, who with their unique skills, extensive knowledge and finger on the pulse of digital change, can appoint our winners.

Marc Kowalsky

Marc Kowalsky has been Deputy Editor-in-Chief at BILANZ, Switzerland’s biggest business magazine, for 14 years. His journalistic focus includes digitalisation, IT and telecoms as well as the start-up scene. He has interviewed personalities such as Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Eric Schmidt. In the course of his career, he has written for Fortune Magazine, SPIEGEL and SPIEGEL Online, BILANZ Deutschland, Die Welt, Facts and Weltwoche, among others.

Stefan Metzger

Stefan Metzger is the Managing Director of digitalswitzerland. Until 2021, Stefan was the Country Managing Director of Cognizant Technology Solutions, responsible for the company’s business in Switzerland as well as the Market Leader for the Insurance Vertical across Continental Europe. Stefan has worked in the ICT Industry for more than 30 years, with focused experience in Insurance, Technology and Consulting. Prior to his current position, Stefan held various sales management and consulting roles at IBM Corporation across different countries, including Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Central Europe.

Thierry Vial

Thierry Vial has been editor-in-chief of the French-language business magazine PME for seven years. He studied political sciences at the University of Lausanne before working in asset management (BCV), then as an economic journalist for Bilan. He then managed Inédit Publications SA, an SME active in custom publishing, which belonged to the Gassmann group before joining PME.

Caroline Widmer

Caroline Widmer is the Director of -Pulse Incubateur HES, an incubator for talents coming from the six Universities of Applied Sciences of HES-SO Geneva. She previously held strategic positions in the public administration, in the areas of Security and Economic Development. She has conducted major digital transitions while also participating in the elaboration of the State of Geneva’s digital and innovation Policy.

Andri Silberschmidt

Andri Silberschmidt is an FDP National Councillor, Vice-President of the FDP.Die Liberalen Schweiz and gastro-entrepreneur from Zurich. Today, Andri Silberschmidt works as an assistant to the management of Planzer Transport AG. Furthermore, Andri is co-founder and chairman of the board of kaisin. – a catering company with branches in the cities of Zurich, Basel and Zug, a member of the board of directors of Jucker Farm AG and president of FH SCHWEIZ, the umbrella organisation for graduates of universities of applied sciences.

Luciana Vaccaro

Luciana Vaccaro is an Italian-Swiss physicist and Rector of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Western Switzerland (HES-SO) since 1 October 2013. The HES-SO comprises 28 institutions of higher education spread across seven cantons, with more than 22,000 students. She is also vice-president of Innosuisse and president of the chamber of HES of swissuniversities.

Arijana Walcott

As the founder and managing partner of DART Labs | Ventures, Arijana accelerates and invests in early-stage startup founders using deep-tech solutions with a positive impact on people and planet. In addition, she is the Director of Studies at Zurich’s HWZ, leading the Disruptive Technology program and is engaged as a Board Member at the Swiss Startup Association and at Somniacs AG.

Eric Saracchi

Eric Saracchi is the Chief Digital & Information Officer at Firmenich, the largest privately owned Perfumes & Flavors house globally. With an innovative and strategic mindset, Eric transforms businesses by converging purpose, people and technologies together. Eric was awarded “Swiss CIO of the Year (2018)”, “Digital Shapers of Switzerland (2020)”, and received the “Digital Innovation of the Year (Digital Economy Award 2021)”.

Domenico Scala

Domenico Scala has served as President of Basel Area Business & Innovation since 1 January 2016. He has been Chairman of the Board of Directors of Basilea Pharmaceutica AG since April 2016, Chairman of the Board of Directors of BAK Economics AG since May 2014, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Oettinger Davidoff AG since August 2017. He is also a member of the Bank Council of the Basler Kantonalbank. In addition, Domenico Scala is a member of the Healthcare Advisory Board of an equity investment and M&A company and a board member of two private US biotech companies.

Roland Siegwart

Roland Siegwart is professor for autonomous mobile robots at ETH Zurich, founding co-director of the Wyss Zurich and board member of multiple high-tech companies. He was professor at EPFL and Vice President of ETH Zurich. He is among the most cited scientist in robots worldwide, co-founder of more than half a dozen spin-off companies and a strong promoter of innovation and entrepreneurship in Switzerland.

Aleksandra Laska

Aleksandra Laska

Aleksandra Laska started her career on the Goldman Sachs trading floor in London. She went on to co-found a mobile payments platform, followed by a stint in VC and as an angel investor. She has built the enterprise division for Improbable, supporting the business in its $600m fundraise and hyper growth from 20 to 400 employees. Before joining Redalpine, Aleksandra set up US operations for a Swiss multi-million dollar robotics software company. She sits on the boards of Razor Group, Portify, Beams and 9fin.

Jelena Tasic Pizzolato

Jelena Tasic Pizzolato is Managing Director at the LifestyleTech Competence Center. Jelena is a digital leader, specialised in corporate and science-based innovation. Actively collaborating with corporates, start-ups and researchers internationally, her sectors of expertise include digital & e-commerce, ICT, fashion, retail, lifestyle and finance. She has 15+ years of international business experience across several European markets, including UK, Italy, and Switzerland.

Nomination Categories

In 2022, we again have 10 categories that Digital Shapers can be nominated for. As digitalisation continues to evolve and change the way we live, so do our categories. This year we have six new categories including; The Connectors, The Unicorn Breeders, The Digital Manufacturers, The Avatars, The AI Masters and The Foodies. Along with our partners, we sent out a public call on social media for those who identify themselves as Digital Shapers. The big question is: Which digital leaders will make it into the top 100? Only time will tell…

1. The Infrastructure Builders
People who contribute to a solid digital infrastructure in order to allow digital change. Includes politicians & administration.

2. The Connectors
People who build ecosystems, connect actors and bridge regional gaps for collaborative projects in the digital sphere.

3. The Unicorn Breeders
People who are about to build or are of critical importance to build a startup company, which is now valued at over US$1 billion.

4. The Digital Manufacturers
Leaders of digital manufacturing companies or technology solution providers and subject-matter experts who are an inspiration for the future of Swiss digital manufacturing.

5. The Avatars
People who create or make use of new realities (Augmented, Virtual, Mixed) to enable great things.

6. The AI Masters
Masterminds who are revolutionising Artificial Intelligence.

7. The eMedics
People who use digital transformation to enhance different aspects of wellbeing, health and medicine.

8. The Foodies
People who use digital transformation to reshape our current nutrition towards healthier and more sustainable solutions.

9. The Nature Techies
People who use digital transformation for the sake of protecting, monitoring or enhancing nature.

10. The Cybersecurity Guards
People who, with protective solutions, regulations, awareness-raising and innovations in cyber space, enable us to move safely and not be victims of cyberattacks.

The deserving winners will be celebrated in a dedicated Bilanz publication on 26 August, in PME on 31 August and Handelszeitung on 1 September.

Take a look at past winners and in-depth interviews from 2021 and 2020.

The winners of the Digital Economy Award 2021 were announced this evening by a 40-strong jury: Labster, Belimed, Mobiliar, the Finance Department of the Canton of Zug, Firmenich and Värdex Suisse.

With the NextGen Hero Award, the audience also honoured two young personalities who know how to change the world at a young age. At the Award Night, 1000 guests from the digital industry, research, business and politics celebrated the year’s digital feats. The ceremony took place at the Hallenstadion Zurich in the presence of Federal Councillor Karin Keller-Sutter.

Read the press release in German and French.

For high resolution images visit our Flickr.

GITEX Technology Week, the Arab Emirates’ most important trade fair in the electronics sector, will be held at the Dubai World Trade Centre from 17 to 21 October.

Among the 4,500 exhibitors and over 750 startups, the SWISS Pavilion, organised by digitalswitzerland, Swisstech and T-LINK, will be showcasing over 12 companies.

In partnership with Bilanz, Handelszeitung and PME, digitialswitzerland is once again celebrating the 100 people changing the face of the Swiss digital landscape.

An eye to the future

The 100 Digital Shapers have shown bravery and commitment to digitalisation in extremely challenging times. As we transition into this post-Covid period, we asked our Shapers about their views of the digital future, how Switzerland can stand out and what advice they would give to their 16-year-old selves.

1. The Coders

Corina Schedler is the co-founder of Code Excursion – a female coding school. A self-taught web developer, Corina has developed a community that teaches women the basics of programming. She is passionate to support women who wish to make a career shift into the tech industry.

Q: If you could give your 16-year-old self one piece of advice (career or life), what would it be?

A: “Success is what you define it to be. So define it as the sense of wonder or joy you feel while doing something. Don’t study for good grades but for what interests you. In the longterm people pleasing will lead nowhere. Get to know yourself, notice the moments of passion and trust your intuition. Be intentional about your decisions because your choices have a bigger impact than you think.”

2.The Creatives

Raphaël Brunschwig is the Chief Operating Officer at the Locarno Film Festival. He focuses on how digitalisation plays a transformative role in the strategic development of the festival, a process which has been sped up due to Covid-19. An exciting future lies ahead for events that no longer follow a traditional framework.

Q: Where do you think Switzerland can make the most impact on the digital innovation stage?

A: “Switzerland’s great strength lies in its neutrality, its expertise, and its tradition as an abiding place for reflection and exchange. We are therefore faced with an opportunity to present ourselves as a place that poses the question of ethics with respect to the digital revolution. And this puts us in a unique position. As Kissinger put it, if the Enlightenment was an ideal in search of the tools by which we might realize our potential, the digital revolution is an incredible toolkit desperately in search of a guiding philosophy. We therefore have the strength and credibility to be a land that reflects and engenders reflection on the great changes taking place in the world and the digital realm.

3. The Scalers

Melanie Gabriel is Chief Marketing Officer and Co-founder of Yokoy, the all-in-one spend management platform. Melanie is passionate about streamlining and simplifying payment processes using AI. Last year, Yokoy secured 1.7 million Swiss francs in seed funding which has allowed for scaling and exciting market expansion.

Q: What are you most excited about for digital innovation for 2021 and beyond?

A: “There have been many breakthroughs in artificial intelligence recently. A firework of innovation can be observed. Increased computing power and the availability of large amounts of data are opening up gigantic new possibilities for machine learning. This will revolutionize many areas. Think about medicine or the financial sector. Especially in fintech things will change rapidly.”

4. The Cybersecurity Guards

Theodora Dragan is Data Protection Officer and Legal Counsel at the CyberPeace Institute. As Chairperson of the Swiss section of the International Association of Privacy Professionals and co-founder of the Swiss DPO Association, Theodora’s mission is to strengthen data protection systems against cyber attacks, and to support organisations in striking the right balance between their own interests and individual rights and freedoms.

Q: If you could give your 16-year-old self one piece of advice (career or life), what would it be?

A: “Show kindness and compassion to yourself and others, and do not allow yourself to be defined by your success or by your defeat. Accomplishments are just as fleeting as failures – so try not to take either too seriously. In the famous words of celebrated Austrian psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl: “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

5. The Transformers

Luc Haldimann is Founder and CEO of Unblu, a Conversational Platform for Financial Services. It empowers financial institutions to increase online conversions and deliver better customer experience. As a board member of the SwissICT association, Luc promotes the exchange between software providers, users and specialists, and as a consultant he supports software companies in offering their digital solutions.

Q: Where do you think Switzerland can make the most impact on the digital innovation stage?

A: “Besides biotech and pharma, Switzerland provides a great environment for innovation at the intersection of financial services, privacy, and security. The accelerating need for digital transformation provides a massive chance for us to build software based services for the future of trust between people and machines. We have lived through two decades of online and mobile automation. It’s time to add the human factor back in.

6. The Nature Techies

Naomi MacKenzie is Co-founder Kitro, a state-of-the-art imaging solution that provides instant analysis of your food waste. Initially focused on the catering industry, Kitro has now further expanded its customer segment to work with medical centers. As a trainer and speaker at Venturelab, Naomi also trains and supports start-ups on their way to future success. 

Q: If you could give your 16-year-old self one piece of advice (career or life), what would it be?

A: “Learn how to code ;). Don’t stress about things you can’t change.”

7. The Decentralisers

Harry Halpin is CEO of Nym Technologies, which has the mission to establish privacy as a default for online communications. When Harry worked at World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) / Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with every major Silicon Valley company on web standards, he saw how badly companies managed to protect the privacy of customers. In his opinion, there is only one way to maintain the right to privacy: with cryptography. It is his aim to make the advantages of encryption available to everyone.

Q: Where do you think Switzerland can make the most impact on the digital innovation stage?

A:  “Switzerland is a country remarkable due to its decentralization of government and its focus on privacy. It’s self-evident that cryptocurrency is the future of financial technology, and that less and less people trust Silicon Valley due to surveillance. As the world enters crisis, let’s not forget chaos is a ladder. As an American entrepreneur who left MIT to found a startup in Switzerland, this could be a benefit for Switzerland, as long as it increases it is favorable regulations for fields such as cybersecurity and cryptocurrency.”

8. The Infrastructure Builders

Denis Morel is Head of the eGovernment Business Unit at Swiss Post. An exciting time for Denis’s team, Swiss Post’s e-voting project should be ready to launch in early 2022. Denis places key importance on trust and transparency for the project to be a success. He believes that eVoting will improve opportunities for participation in the voting process.

Q: What will be the biggest change in the world of digital and the way you work in the next 10 years?

A: “Digital innovation requires the ability to accept mistakes and to learn from them. It is particularly important for the government and state institutions, which are building high, secure critical applications. In Switzerland, the “Mistake Culture” (or better the “Improvement Culture”) is mainly missing. All actors in Switzerland (Politics, Media, Government, Enterprises and People) have to change to this culture. This will be, from my point of view, a big change in the next ten years for a successful digital transformation in Switzerland.”

9. The Robot Masters

Agnès Petit Markowski is founder and CEO of Mobbot. Agnès’s mission is to help reduce the impact of the massive use of concrete in infrastructure. Mobbot has created innovative technology for the robotization and automation of sprayed concrete. As a result, a concrete element weighing one tonne can be printed in less than ten minutes.

Q: What are you most excited about for digital innovation for 2021 and beyond?

A: “Crisis helps the adoption of a change. The pandemic has favoured the digitalisation of many sectors. Now, the most exciting time will be the post-Covid era. What surprises me however, is that we still have “Chief Digital Officers” or ”Digital Director” roles or departments within companies. Digitalization should be part of our DNA. It is neither a department nor a job title.I think the post-Covid era will help to accelerate this change for many companies.”

10. The eMedics

Florian Falleggger is Co-Founder at Neurosoft Bioelectronics. Florian and his team are developing the next generation of soft implantable electrodes to interface seamlessly with the nervous system. Advances in this field offer the potential for medical devices that can restore the impaired functions of the nervous system through electrical stimulation or recording of neural tissue.

Q: What are you most excited about for digital innovation in 2021 and beyond?

A: “I believe medicine will see a revolution in the standard of care by integrating new digital solutions in the treatment pipeline. By accumulating and combining different data streams directly from patients, new personalized and more precise therapies can be achieved. Additionally, data that is collected from large groups of patients can be used to discover new bio-markers for novel treatments.”

Read the full interviews with all 100 Digital Shapers in this dedicated Bilanz publication.

The fourth edition of the Digital Competitiveness Summit took place yesterday, co-organised by digitalswitzerland, EPFL and IMD.

What does it take to make a sustainable digital future?

As part of this event, the IMD World Digital Competitiveness Ranking 2021 was presented, with a special focus on Switzerland. Switzerland defended a strong position with its 6th place overall ranking and remains in an excellent standing in an international comparison. Analysis focused on the results and discuss how Switzerland can stay competitive within a fast-changing environment.

Switzerland’s ranking positions

An evening of inspiration and engagement

A warm introduction and welcoming words was offered by Rüdiger Urbanke, Dean of the School of Computer and Communication Sciences at EPFL, Jean-François Manzoni, President of IMD and Natacha Litzistorf, Municipale de la Ville de Lausanne.

Jean-François Manzoni

The welcoming speech was one to trigger question and debate: “To digitalise or not to digitalise? That is not the question” and delivered by, Nuria Gorrite Présidente Conseil d’Etat Vaudois.

The Summit welcomed Prof. Arturo Bris, Director of the World Competitiveness Center and Professor of Finance at IMD who gave a Presentation of the Digital Competitiveness Ranking 2021, with a specific focus on the Swiss results.

Prof. Arturo Bris

Three leading experts in digitalisation also took to the stage and shared key statements from the academic, economic and political fields in a panel discussion.

It was also an exciting launch of Digital Day 2021 with a special video message from Guy Parmelin, President of the Swiss Confederation.

Guy Parmelin
Diana Engetschwiler, Senior Director / Head of Public Dialogue + Digital Day

The last six weeks have been very busy with a wide variety of learning and dialogue activities leading up to Digital Day on 10 November. One of the most important initiatives during this period is the ‘Upskilling Commitment’ made by our partners. 

We invited partners to dedicate 1-4 hours of time to all or a selected number of employees to join in Digital Day activities. This means anything from online talks to physical events happening at more than 20 Swiss-wide locations. We extend a warm thank you to the following partners for their dedication and commitment to our learning initiative: Accenture, Amt für Wirtschaft Kanton Schwyz, APG SGA, Atos, Chain IQ, Cisco, Civic Lab, Club de Ginebra, Cognizant, digitalswitzerland, eFachausweis, ELCA group, ewz, EY, Federal Council (Foreign Ministry Switzerland, FDFA), Green.ch, Hays, Heads! International, HES-SO, Huawei, IBM Switzerland, IMD, JobCloud, KPMG, Kudelski, LEXR Law Switzerland, Microsoft, Migros-Genossenschafts-Bund, Miraex, Moneycab, Pro Juventute, Ringier, RUAG, Sherpany, Siemens, Sir Mary, Snowflake, Swiss21.org, Swisscom, swissICT, SwissSign, UNICEF, Università della Svizzera italiana, We Talents, Wenger&Vieli, Zentralbibliothek Zürich.

By reaching a very high number of Swiss citizens, we can have a real impact on the upskilling of the Swiss population. To date, 45 members have committed and in addition 156,000 employees have been reached.

Explore all results of the World Digital Competitiveness Ranking here.

All images courtesy of Alain Herzog.

In partnership with Bilanz, Handelszeitung and PME, we are delighted to celebrate the 100 Digital Shapers who are driving digital innovation and change.

A huge congratulations to these inspiring thinkers and doers who continue to push boundaries and are working to transform the future of Switzerland.

Read the full interviews with all 100 Digital Shapers in this dedicated Bilanz publication.

What makes a Digital Shaper?

Switzerland is proud to have a rich and diverse community of innovative digital thinkers. Here is the list of all ten categories:

Explore previous editions of the 100 Digital Shapers and take a look at the nominees from 2019 and 2020.