Attention race fans!

Seventeen Bet teams are fast approaching the home stretch of the 2018-19 Innovation Challenge. Eight Bets from Season One and nine new Bets charged off the starting line April 9, 2018. Every Bet is training for Swiss corporates in cross-sector interdisciplinary collaboration AND positioning Switzerland as a global hub for digitalization.

But on 15 April, there can be only one winner —  despite the invaluable lessons learned inventing and implementing scalable digital solutions to solve national and global problems.

Eight Bets continuing from Season One Challenge

C-Shares – digital property (Runner-up winner)
Captain: Johannes Höhener, Head of Fintech Swisscom
Partners MME Legal 
It’s hard for private SMEs to acquire capital and financing outside of stock markets requires large efforts to legally secure digital property to create confidence. A platform enabling start-ups and SMEs to issue shares as digital tokens: “C-Shares,” provides access to equity for non-listed companies. An infrastructure based on blockchain technology can offer shares which can be easily transferred and is suitable for a secondary market and increases the attractiveness to invest in Swiss companies.

Case studies on digital transformation
Captain: Martin Geisenhainer, Learning Architect, Swisscom
Partners Fachhochschule Nordwest

Digitalization is driving industry transformation and increasing the competitive environment and forcing companies to adopt new processes to survive. Some SMEs fail to transform due to lack of experience or financial means to acquire knowledge. By publishing an online register with hundreds of case studies from SMEs who have mastered digital processes, Swiss SMEs can cost-effectively acquire the knowledge to stay competitive.

Digital democracy revisited
Captain: Stefan Klauser, Lead Strategist Digital Society, ETH Zurich
Partners: foraus– Swiss Forum on Foreign Policy

The world is still organized in nation states and when facing global problems, countries often try to solve them individually and decision-makers lack access to experts’ knowledge around the world. A crowdsourcing platform designed for foreign policy collaboration across countries could solve that problem. Developing a crowd-innovation app can increase the quality and quantity of solutions to foreign policy issues positioning Switzerland as the initiator of the first global democracy platform.

Digital founding process using Blockchain
Co-Captains: Christian Keller, General Manager IBM Switzerland
AND Johannes Höhener, Head of Fintech Swisscom
Partners: Grunder Rechtsanwälte, Kaiser Odermatt & Partner, Kanton Zug, Proxeus, VermögensZentrum, Zwicky Windlin & Partner

Founding a business in Switzerland is costly and slow, and a prime example where blockchain technology could significantly increase registration process speed and efficiency. Swiss law requires official document exchange between numerous parties including lawyers, bankers, notary, and commercial registrars that make it highly unlikely any one of them would attempt digitalizing the process. A blockchain product to allow paperless business incorporation would guarantee higher legal certainty and assure Switzerland’s economic competitiveness.

ICT-workshops in schools
Captain: Rolf Schaub, MD of ICT-Scouts / Campus
Partners: Codillion, SBFI, FHNW, UZH

Our world and this generation’s students face unprecedented challenges from digital transformations at every level and require digital skills to meet these new demands or risk falling behind international competition. Such skills like programming have never been taught in normal primary or secondary school curriculums. Providing teachers with MOOC style workshops to learn basic coding skills will help ready teachers and the next generations of students for the digital future.

Pictograms and bot for terms and conditions (Audience Favorite Season One)
Captain: Prof. Dr. Florent Thouvenin, Chair for Information and Communications Law, UZH
Partners: Wenger & Vieli, Zurich Insurance, Credit Suisse, NZZ, PwC, Julius Bär, Swisscom, SBB

In spite of GDPR, few of us know how our personal data is used and wish the terms and conditions of companies processing our data was easier to understand. The lack of effective standardization makes data protection clarifications long and complex. Establishing a Swiss standard for simplifying company’s data requirements using pictograms creates an international competitive advantage for Swiss companies.

Riva Digital – Making Switzerland Fit (Winner Season One*)
Captain: Claudia Pletscher, EVP Development & Innovation, Swiss Post
Partners: UZH, ETH, EPFL, USZ, CSEM, Pryv, Altran, BaselArea, biospectal, RedRock, CANOPEI, Galenica, Swisscom, healthbank, DayOne, VIPartners, Medgate, Medi24, Swiss Medical Network, Cedrus Therapeutics, Schulthess Klinik, BotsCamp, Wenger & Vieli, Migros, TopPharm, Gesundheitsförderung Schweiz, and others

The leading cause of death in Switzerland is hypertension and most people who have it are not aware of it. For decades this killer has resisted public health warnings and continues to kill one of every four Swiss. A purposeful digital ecosystem could enable and incentivize people to achieve healthier lifestyles. By building a digital ecosystem with partners and apps, +100K people could lower their blood pressure – potentially saving 25’000 lives.

Smart station
Captain: Philipp Leimgruber, Overall Project Manager Digitalization Zurich HB, SBB CFF FFS
Partners: Google, Valora, Migros, Schindler Lifts, Candrian Catering, inaffect AG

Zurich Main Station is a world-class stage for Swiss innovation in mobility, logistics, social interaction, retail and hospitality. Its operations, sales and digital assets are underutilized, limiting customer benefits and operational efficiencies. The SBB and its partners commit to establishing Zurich Main Station as the world’s most personal digitalized hub for customers, tenants, suppliers and other innovative partners.

Nine New Bets competing in Season Two challenge

Brain-controlled TV

Captain: Martin Kathriner, Head of Corporate Affairs, Samsung Electronics Switzerland
Partners: Jose del R. Millan, EPFL (this bet is actively seeking more partners)

Brain-controlled interfaces (BCI) are an important global mega trend and offer hope to people with complete physical disabilities. People are increasingly uncomfortable in their relationships with technology like BCI. We want to stimulate dialog about interacting with machines and help the disabled regain partial independence by demonstrating a television purely controlled using the brain.

Digital building standard
Co-Captains: Alexander Muhm, Head of Real Estate for SBB AND Manfred Huber, Head of Institute for Virtual Design and Construction at FHNW
Partners: Zumtobel Group, Swiss Life, Steiner, Wincasa, SIA (Swiss Society of Engineers & Architects)

Developers and construction companies all use different plans of the same building according to their own needs and no individual real estate stakeholder can make a business case to create a digital modeling standard that everyone uses throughout the lifecycle of a building. A universal Swiss digital modeling standard would solve the problem. The Construction Roundtable intends to increase construction efficiencies by creating a digital modeling standard allowing continuous plan iterations and updates.

Digitalization of building and zoning Codes
Captain: Matthias Standfest, CEO & Founder Archilyse AG
Partners: Archilogic, EKZ, Hochschule Luzern, Raumgleiter, Dietikon, Halter, Hosoya Schaefer Architects, Hauser Orte

Building and zoning codes in Switzerland are currently not in useful digitized formats and impede feasibility studies and create costly time-consuming interpretations by developers, architects and authorities. By mapping the codes into a machine-readable open source language, municipalities will be able to view scenarios of development projects and speed up the entire development process. Digitalized codes make for better long-term sustainable development planning, increased efficiency and cost savings.

Digitalization as enabler to re-connecting families in times of war (Audience Favorite Season Two)
Captain: Charlotte Lindsey-Curtet, Director Digital Transformation and Data, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
Partners: EPFL

Reuniting millions of families who have fled war zones and regional conflicts is difficult due to victims’ transient status and would likely benefit from a data analytics solution. A solution must be usable by non-technical experts and comply with data privacy and other safety requirements. A year-long effort will be made to identify and resolve three missing person cases to learn more about the potential of data analytics to find missing persons.

From proof of concept to industrialization

Captain: Benoit Ratier, Business Lead Innovation Lab, BNP Paribas
Partners: Vaudoise, Swisscom, ICRC, Iron Mountain, Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Proof of Concept (PoC) is an established relatively efficient way to test if new technology or innovation will add value to an enterprise and assist in its value chain transformation. Medium and large organizations’ legacy systems often inhibit PoC industrialization. A pragmatic guidebook suggesting best practice for PoC implementation can ensure organizationsdo not miss out on new innovations, assist in assessing if an application makes sense, and if so, how new technology can be implemented.

Green label for data centers
Captain: Monica Gille,Director Suisse Romande at Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Partners: EPFL/EcoCloud, Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE),ASUT,VigiSwiss and others

IoT, data analytics and cloud offerings consume 5% of world’s electricity, emit 3% of total CO2 and usage is growing exponentially. This is not sustainable. The creation and implementation of a “green label” for Swiss data centers (DC) can reduce their energy consumption by 30%, making Switzerland’s DCs a model for other countries while attracting more (data) work loads.

Montagne Pro – A digital platform for outdoor professionals
Captain: Christophe Darbellay, State Councilor in charge of economics and training, canton Valais
Partners: To be announced soon

When hiring an outdoor professional to guide them in their mountain activities, customers want to be sure that he or she as the right skills and meet all legal and regulatory obligations. It is becoming more and more difficult for those customers to ensure the true status of the professionals they hire. By creating the digital platform: “MontagnePro,” based in part on blockchain and smart contract technologies, we can offer all customers real-time access to accreditation status of all +1500 recognized outdoor professionals in Valais.

Smart City digital ethics council
Captain: Mario Facchinetti, Initiator & Representative, SwissPropTech
Partners: Bouygues S.A.

City dwelling stakeholders live and interact in confined spaces and must define and debate ethics underpinning “smart cities” application of new technologies. City-wide data exchange networks can cause uncertainty and fear due to their future unknowns. A think-tank is needed to promote dialogue between society and business on ethical aspects of a smart city and proffer solutions to mutual concrete problems. (formerly MyCV)

Captain:Eva Luethi, Swisscom, Manager New Business Dev/ Digital Business Building
Partners:Dominic Schlegel Swisscom, Pascal Honold Wenger & Vieli, Ronnie Brunner Netcetera

Educational and employment certificates are mostly in paper form and proof of authenticity is an inefficient process and employers/employees desire easily verifiable digital certificates. Currently there is no widely accepted secure digital alternative for issuing diplomas or course certification. commits to building a blockchain product where certificates of employment, diplomas and further training can be shared transparently and securely between stakeholders, making the labor market more efficient

Join us

On April 15, 2019, these seventeen bets will Demo for the jury and a first-place winner crowned. The same night, the best ideas from Open Challenge will Pitch for their chance to win recognition and heavyweight backing. Might it be yours?

Author’s note:

Look for more challenge stories where I take you on a deep dive below the words of a bet. Often the truth about creating digital innovation is not pretty. But those hard-won – sometimes ugly lessons, are frequently the most valuable and bring the greatest rewards. Which is why my digitalswitzerland story posts are written for intrepid innovators attempting to overcome the obstacles that Switzerland may continue to play AND win.


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