Young talent in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)
The forces of existing STEM initiatives have come together for the first time to form a powerful national umbrella campaign. The aim is to foster interest in young people to pursue STEM training and professions. The national STEM campaign, co-initiated by digitalswitzerland and Pro Juventute also counts other partners, including ETH, SAV, and Swissmem and it is carried out in three national languages.
World changing career choices
STEM is part of the solution to face the challenges of the future. This includes exciting work to tackle climate change and health issues. Through pursuing a STEM profession, it’s possible to contribute to make the world a better place through academic activities or apprenticeships.
The advantage of STEM is that it spans a wide variety of professions. It also offers excellent career development opportunities with endless scope for interests. From an ICT perspective, students can learn cybersecurity and data science disciplines. There are also opportunities for a hands-on approach in the areas of civil engineering and infrastructure. When it comes to technology, machine tooling or innovative applied research might be of interest. It’s time to embrace a career path full of possibilities for growth and success.
Call to the ecosystem to develop a digital artefact
Master students from ZHAW created a great concept with suitable tools to create a smart and digital food guide for home usage called “kitsch”, serving as a food assistant for the consumers. WWF and digitalswitzerland support this project idea and would like to invite any player in the ecosystem to further develop this solution and start designing an MVP for the food waste reduction application. digitalswitzerland will continue with a supporting role to connect you with the relevant stakeholders, communicating the milestones to a wider audience and giving feedback along the innovation process.
Are you willing to take ownership of this project? digitalswitzerland and WWF would be very pleased to see this project developing further, please let Jade Sternberg know and she’s happy to coordinate with you. This is a project close to our hearts and we wish to follow the development from a far angle. The ideal scenario for the future would be for all retailers to offer this application to their consumers through their loyalty cards. It is only through a behavioural society mindset shift that Switzerland will be able to reduce food waste and meet its sustainable goals.
Interested to learn more about how it all started? Read through the article:
The start of a collaborative journey
In summer 2021, at digitalswitzerland we already discussed the challenge of fighting food waste with WWF, Swiss Food Nutrition Valley and Accenture. We were later approached by ZHAW professor Yann Blumer looking for corporate partners to work with the students on multi-stakeholder projects, tackling pressing systemic challenges. Our upcoming workshop centred around food waste was the perfect opportunity to involve the students. We started working with them to conduct a system analysis based on existing networks and projects with the purpose of developing a prototype of a digital artefact.
A holistic approach is needed: From research to expert interviews
Switzerland has set clear goals of reducing its food waste by the mid-2030s (bafu.admin). Each person in Switzerland generates 330kg of avoidable food waste per year. Considering this rather high number, it became clear that a holistic approach is crucial to enable a behavioural change of the consumer to avoid throwing away edible food.
Based on their research, the students created a complete overview of the consumer journey to identify the pain points where food was wasted the most (See image below).
To get different insights, the students interviewed key experts from WWF, ZHAW, Coop and Swiss Food Nutrition Valley to understand perspectives and expectations regarding the reduction of food waste on the consumer side. Based on this evaluation, they defined common ground for the multi-stakeholder workshop, which was summarised in a one-pager briefing and shared with all participants prior to the workshop.
On 18 November, multiple stakeholders such as BAFU, fenanco, WWF, Accenture, Eatable and more, met at Impact Hub in Bern to brainstorm together on the potential digital solutions to tackle the food waste challenge together. It is only through a transversal approach that we can identify the best-suited solution for this systematic challenge.
The workshop was structured according to the double diamond process (See image below), meaning that the stakeholders could ideate and expand their ideas first to finally prioritise and select the most promising ideas. The conceiving solutions would be further elaborated on by the students.
The following four key ideas came out of the workshop:
Measurability in households: a combination of a fridge camera to visualise your food ingredients and a smart bin to track food waste to support the consumer in having updated data on their daily food routine
Food waste awareness app: a food waste guide to improving your daily life with key inputs on where to find easy local and healthy food items in your surroundings as well as how to easily access it through delivery
National campaign: the implementation of a food waste awareness week in organisations and institutions contributing to a food day or week (e.g. posters, actions, podcasts, actions)
Support for expiry dates: an application that would alert the consumer about any items from their household that would soon expire. It would be directly linked to the consumers’ food shop loyalty card
“Kitsch” is born: Creation of the prototype
The students aimed to create a convenient, integrated solution combining multiple ideas in an easy-to-use artefact. They validated their concept through expert interviews with WWF, BAFU, Coop, Migros, Accenture and Kitro.
What came out of their hard work is a smart and digital food guide at home called “kitsch”, serving as a food assistant for the consumers. The vision is defined on this landing page and serves to identify if consumers share a similar vision. This group of innovative students put in place this platform to look for stakeholders who are willing to co-create the solution. For the project to be successful, it is key to create a community of early adopters which support the idea.
In this video, the students show the advantages of the application through the full consumer journey. To outline how to best continue the development of the concept, the students also provide a clear handover document for the ecosystem.
The comprehensive documentation of the students’ digital artefact will be used as a baseline to build an MVP fitting the market’s demand. To start the development of “kitsch”, the students recommend starting with the implementation of the expiration date feature, alerting the consumers of the food which will soon not be edible.
We are pursuing this partnership with ZHAW and are currently working with a new group of students on sustainability topics in Switzerland.
Be part of something big
During the sixth edition of the Swiss Digital Days, which will run under the theme „Together we create the digital future!“, we will explore the technologies of AI-based art creation and the associated minting of NFTs. These two technologies will be combined in a touchscreen art generator, which will tour throughout Switzerland on a large-scale roadshow with 19 locations from 5 September 2022 until 27 October.
You have a chance to help create the largest digital artwork in Switzerland
We invite the public to participate in an attempt to create one of the world’s largest collaboratively created digital artworks. Here’s how it works: participants can choose two terms related to digitization and Switzerland. A state-of-the-art artificial intelligence then transforms them into a digital piece of art. We expect about 8,000 – 10,000 unique artworks to be created by the Swiss population during the Swiss Digital Days.
In the end, participants can download the corresponding artwork created with AI (for personal, non-commercial use) and become part of the next Swiss Crypto Stamps edition, issued by the Swiss Post.
Simply register via e-mail address in order to be informed by the Swiss Post of what is happening with the artwork and the project itself further along the road.
These artworks will be brought together in a large mosaic as the largest participatory NFT in Switzerland attempt, which will then be auctioned off for a good cause at the closing event of the Swiss Digital Days on 27 October.
In partnership with Bilanz, Handelszeitung 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.”
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 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 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 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 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 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 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.
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 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 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 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 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.
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.
One of Switzerland’s most important current challenges is how to digitalise its healthcare system. It is essential for Switzerland to find a common strategy and vision for it. It has been proven that this can only be solved through a joint collaboration of all ecosystem players. Switzerland must also address how to position the patient at the centre of the ecosystem, enabling them to have an optimised and efficient journey.
In the early lights of Tuesday morning, inspiring stakeholders exchanged around this topic at digitalswitzerland’s WEF Breakfast event, held on 24 May during the WEF 2022. Renowned experts arrived at 7am at the ETH Pavilion in Davos to discuss the different challenges and opportunities that Switzerland is currently facing to digitalise its healthcare system.
Setting the scene
The event was launched with opening speeches from our two hosts, Prof. Dr. Joël Mesot, President of ETH Zurich and Marc Walder, founder of digitalswitzerland. “eHealth is one of the core topics of digitalswitzerland and of every country. Imagine that my mother goes to the doctor and the doctor pushes a button and he knows the health story of my mother: how wonderful would that be and how far are we in our country,” remarked Marc Walder, CEO and founder digitalswitzerland.
Keynote: Federal Office of Public Health’s activities to promote digitalisation (FOPH)
Anne Lévy opened her speech by outlining the government 2030 Health Strategy which priorises digitalisation. “We are actually promoting digitalisation and the use of data in order to reinforce the public’s ability to take informed decisions about their health, improve quality, increase efficiency and improve research through data. Experts all agree, digitalisation gives a multitude of benefits for patients and the health system in general. This can include better health outcomes, better quality of treatment and increase patient involvement in the treatment processes.”
Anne Lévywanted the audience to reflect on the lessons learned from COVID-19 and how FOPH already improved in terms of digitalisation during the pandemic. The government is currently working on three projects to reduce the digitalisation backlog in the healthcare sector:
Implement measures to improve data management by launching interdisciplinary projects
Shaping the future of Electronic patient record (EPR) to collect the data only once and make easily accessible to all stakeholders
Digitalise their own internal processes
She stated that the healthcare system will face high investment costs in the coming year to implement new technologies, leading to more patient empowerment. There are three distinct categories of technologies to mention:
Solutions directly including the patient in healthcare management to overcome hurdles and maintain data privacy
Solutions aimed at professionals and targeting efficiency
Solutions and systems to support all stakeholders and the entire healthcare ecosystem, such as Electronic patient record
Anne Lévy concluded with a strong statement: “We want to create regulatory frameworks that encourage and support innovation. We are very aware that the pace of this development and innovation is extremely high. We need hospitals, doctors, pharmacies, insurers, the pharma industry, researchers, medtech companies and other players in the healthcare sector to work together to establish a useful ecosystem that we can benefit from. And I would be delighted if digitalswitzerland is willing to work with us to reach this goal”.
eHeath panel: how to transition into the digital world?
“eHealth” top-notch panel, moderated by digitalswitzerland’s Managing Director Stefan Metzger, was an insightful exchange between an insurance leader, a pharmaceutical leader and a medical tech-savvy doctor:
Philomena Colatrella, CEO of CSS
Christoph Franz, Chairman of the Board of F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG
Dr. med. Conrad E. Müller, President of the Foundation Pro UKBB (University Children’s Hospital Basel) and former Director Clinic Hirslanden Zurich
Trust in digitalisation and transparent communication on data usage
Philomena Colatrella, CEO of CSS stated, “Trust is the main issue when we talk about digitalisation strategy in the healthcare system because the data is very sensitive. We have to explain WHY and make sure the BENEFITS are given and make this through transparency.” CSS has launched an initiative to start a dialogue with their insurers to make sure they understand how their data is being handled within the insurance. CSS also build up small ecosystems to connect the different stakeholders, such as MyCSS platform to interconnect insurers with the stakeholders and Well, a joint initiative from CSS, medi24, Visiana, Zur Rose Group and Alliance Care, which create an ecosystem that can become scalable at a federal level.
Education in digitalisation
Digitalisation is already present in Switzerland. Doctors have multiple applications but rarely know which ones are really useful.“We have a big gap in education in the hospitals and for the doctors,” said Conrad Müller, President of UKBB. Apart from ETH medical school, there is no education in AI and digitalisation. The big problem identified by our tech- savvy doctor is that there is a lot of data but no place to connect the data together. “We have to educate the systems and not the products.”
In the Digital Pill, co-authored by Christoph Franz, it was stated that “digital literacy is now a prerequisite of health literacy”. Digitalisation happens inside each industry but Switzerland lacks the tools to exchange these data within the overall system. His book shows how the healthcare system could look like if we were already using these tools. “We could connect the dots and make electronic health records become a reality and not only a plan which will be implemented next year and this since ten years. In that sense, it’s something that should open the willingness of the public to want to make this a reality.”
Artificial intelligence key to a robust system focussed the patient
Artificial intelligence is important to set up a robust system which will help the patient be aware of what diagnosis is to follow, what treatment to prioritise and who has the decision power over the shared medical information. As mentioned by Conrad Müller,“We have to build up an Electronic Patient Record, which is empowering the patient and it must be built from the bottom up.”
Digitalisation for exchange of data
According to Christoph Franz, in order to have large data sets of health data for research, we need to hurry. “The first step is that we put them on a PDF and one day, we might even have a standardised format to use these data for example for research in an anonymised way.” It is very important that this data can be easily exchanged in the ecosystem and be stored in the next version of the electronic patient record.
Three reforms which support digitalisation
Philomena Colatrella outlined three key ongoing reforms which will support digitalisation:
Outpatient tariffs structure, Tarmed are being updated to make digital therapies accessible
Digitalisation of alternative insurance models where data exchange is enhanced
Uniformisation of outpatient and inpatient therapies financing
Electronic Patient Record, a solution to renew or to change?
All panelists gave perspectives on the Electronic Patient Record and agreed that there is room for improvement:
In Philomena Colatrella’s opinion the EPR should be used as the nucleus of a data trust centre architecture. This architecture would be made up of different health regions with different providers where data can be exchanged. The government would need to implement a legal framework for this.
Anne Lévy believes that the EPR is highly needed for Switzerland, as for all the other countries which already have one in place. Standardisation needs to be implemented. She stated that EPR should be mandatory for everyone: for patients, doctors, pharmacies etc. and that the solution should come from the government to augment trust. A big issue comes from the law which was put in place 15 years ago. She mentions that, “we have to make laws that are agile, which are flexible enough to adapt to innovation which is not the case for the moment.”
Christoph Franz believes that in order to speed up the process, we need to define minimum standards which need to be followed for the implementation of a digital solution.
For Conrad Müller, it is critical that the law and the Electronic Patient Record are coordinated in order to run the system smoothly.
Denmark: a digital health nation based on a trustful mindset
Denmark is a very digitally-advanced nation in terms of digitalisation of its healthcare system. The big difference between Switzerland and Denmark lies in the population’s attitude towards data usage. Switzerland needs to become more digitally literate. This would induce a population mindset-change and a more positive attitude towards data usage.
A participant from the audience, Soren Mose (Chairman of Twint) also shared his perspective on the difference between both countries as he holds both nationalities. Switzerland should take inspiration from Denmark’s e-ID and digital healthcare system, which would bring more trust and help the country move forward. Swiss citizens also need to realise that the highest threat to data is paper and not digitalisation.
Importance of prevention
“Currently, we don’t have a health care system, we have a “sick care system” and we need to make sure that the incentives are designed to specifically help people live healthier for longer,” mentioned the Chairman of Roche. Prevention will play a key role in the Swiss population which is continuously becoming older. By 2050 more than 1.1 billion people will be over 80 and have multiple comorbidities mentioned Conrad Müller. We need to take action and digitalisation can help.
Working together for a digital healthcare system
At the end of the panel, Stefan Metzger, the Managing director of digitalswitzerland echoed this momentum. He quoted a Swiss Author, Friedrich Dürrenmatt “An individual approach to collective problems will fail”.We have seen this today, we need to all work together to change the ‘illcare system’ to a healthcare system. This is what digitalswitzerland stands for. We will not initiate one single new initiative. Our aim is to bring all the existing initiatives together to foster collaboration and orchestrate it.”
To find out more about our work in eHealth, contact our topic lead Jade Sternberg.
The most inspiring digital innovators and trailblazers were celebrated at The Digital Economy Award at the Hallenstadion in Zurich on 11 November.
In an inspiring opening speech, Federal Councillor Karin Keller-Sutter declared, “Digitalisation must serve people – and not the other way around.” This is also the declared goal of the Federal Council’s ‘Digital Switzerland Strategy’. The first principle of this strategy is: “Putting people at the forefront.’
The winners of the Digital Economy Award 2021 were selected by a 40-member expert jury. Adding to the celebratory atmosphere, 1,000 guests from the digital industry, research, business and politics gathered to watch winners take to the stage as the most inspiring digital innovators of 2021. The audience also honoured two young people who were crowned this year’s NextGen Heroes. These inspirational digital leaders are changing the world with innovative digital solutions.
Next Global Hot Thing: Labster
Labster offers virtual labs to support the increasingly complex science curriculum through game-based learning, engaging stories, and 3D visualizations. Their aim is to engage students’ interest in learning at a deeper level. Jury President Pascal Kaufmann, founder of Starmind, paid tribute to the winners: “Labster has impressive growth figures and millions of users worldwide. Science and knowledge transfer are accessible to the whole world via state-of-the-art virtual reality, mobile, and desktop technology. With over CHF 100 million in fundraising to date, this has also inspired investors from all over the world.”
Digital Innovation of the Year: Firmenich
Firmenich is a 125-year-old privately-owned Swiss company and one of the world’s largest developers and manufacturers of perfumes and flavours. Jury President Lukas Bär: “Together with EPFL Lausanne, Firmenich developed a digital lab where the world’s first AI flavour was developed in Switzerland. The combination of people and technology (augmented perfumer) in an emotional area – the sense of smell – is daring, courageous and innovative. This co-creation makes digital work a highly emotional one. Firmenich has reinvented itself! And this in a traditional luxury sector: anyone who wants to reinvent the profession of perfumer must have a phenomenal amount of courage.
Digital Excellence SME: Belimed
Belimed supports the smart hospital, which relies on optimised and automated processes. Jury President Samy Liechti: “In a challenging, highly regulated and international environment, Belimed has enabled a transformation from a hardware provider to a service provider. The company presents a convincing vision with a clear strategy, including a roadmap and satisfies an effective customer need. This is reflected in a clear data strategy, in which data is seen as the basis for further innovation. Belimed is working on the hospital of the future with a lot of courage and innovative spirit – and we are proud that a Swiss company is shining out into the world as a beacon with its work. They call themselves “Engineers of Confidence.”
Digital Excellence NPO & Government: Finanzdirektion Kanton Zug
Digitalization in the canton of Zug does not just mean tools and technology, but a different mindset and the courage to embrace cultural change. Jury President Anke Bridge Haux: “The Canton of Zug has achieved far-reaching digital development with “Digital Zug” – for the entire cantonal administration and inhabitants. A broad portfolio of diverse, concrete projects has been implemented, based on the Zug ID. The jury was impressed by the large scale of implementation and the courage of the canton to play a pioneering role. The inclusion of cultural elements, such as the “Customer Chair”, which represents the perspective of the inhabitants was highly regarded by the jury. The canton drives the development in the municipalities and offices of the canton with a holistic view.
Digital Excellence Large Enterprises: Mobiliar
Mobiliar invested in IT and digitalisation early: since 2018 alone, CHF 300 million has been invested in related projects, and 150 additional specialists have been recruited. The insurance company relies entirely on the public cloud and builds its solutions. Jury President Bramwell Kaltenrieder: “Mobiliar is strategically investing in ecosystems that will ensure customer access along the customer journey in the future. Mobilar is set up according to the most modern principles and skilfully combines digital and traditional sales channels cleverly with each other.”
Highest digital quality: Värdex Suisse
With the sale of cryptonow vouchers in retail outlets in Switzerland, Värdex Suisse SA enables easy access to cryptocurrencies even for non-experts. Jury president Marcus Dauck: “CryptoNow creates a simple bridge between digital and analogue with a voucher for Bitcoins. Highest quality and security in a regulated environment, combined with Swissness (Designed, Hosted, Engineered in Switzerland), good branding, high market market penetration through existing distribution channels (kiosks, retailers, etc.) provide a very strong overall package. The strategic focus on a business case offers the possibility to fully integrate the customer journey completely into one’s own hands.”
NextGen Heroes: 2021 digital trailblazers
The NextGen Hero category was created to showcase the extraordinary potential of young people who are helping to actively shape the digital future of Switzerland. The audience chose two young personalities under 25 years of age via live voting. In a public vote on 10 November during digitalswitzerland’s Digital Day, a broader public already participated by means of telephone voting.
Alessandra Capurro is working on the development of Ecolens, a database-linked rating system that allows restaurateurs to calculate the carbon footprint of dishes on their menus. In its other commitments, it is committed to sustainability in the space industry.
Alexander Corin works with Mindfuel to implement digital innovations in international companies. The start-up is focused on innovative approaches in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and business intelligence.
Digital Economy Award Certificate holders
During the gala awards, additional Highest Digital Quality certificates were awarded to the following companies and organisations:
o Bronze: Neosis Solutions, Vaud cantonal compensation fund AHV
● Customer Experience:
o Gold: Zeix
o Bronze: Värdex Suisse, Greenliff, Xappido, Zurich Airport, SVA Aargau,
● Process Automation:
o Bronze: Neosis Solutions, Vaud Cantonal Compensation Fund AHV
For high resolution images of the awards, visit our Flickr.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Öykü Işik, Professor of Digital Strategy & Cybersecurity, IMD
Cédric Moret, CEO, Elca
Adèle Thorens, Member of the Council of States, Les Verts, Vaud
It was also an exciting launch of Digital Day 2021 with a special video message from Guy Parmelin, President of the Swiss Confederation.
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.
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.