The Challenge

With the challenge, digitalswitzerland brings interdisciplinary and cross-sector teams with convincing ideas in the field of digitalization to the fore. They are putting key projects of digitization into action in a faster, more sophisticated and effective way, thanks to the concentrated power of large companies, SMEs, start-ups, academia and politics. The ambitious program puts Switzerland at the heart of digitalization. And with full throttle.

Switzerland’s modest size is its opportunity. Nowhere else is the common effort of large companies, SMEs, start-ups and universities as tangible as it is here. The challenge is an invitation to the leading minds of the country to jointly develop innovative concepts and crazy ideas and to put them into action. It is based on collaboration and action rather than words, in order to promote the digitalization in Switzerland.

Roundtables form the starting point of cooperation on specific topics, e.g Mobility and eHealth. They formulate an ambitious but concrete goal: a bet, to which the proof of feasability has to be delivered by the members of the respective roundtable. As a result, the challenge offers the opportunity to work on the topical development of digitalswitzerland.
The challenge demonstrates the efficiency of Switzerland. It opens up potentials, adds networks to a whole and visibly positions Swiss strengths and values within the global competition.

The Bet

The goal of the Roundtables is to make a bet establishing a Swiss pole position or lighthouse project, which ideally would be fullfilled within a year. The bet:

  • builds on Swiss strengths and values, but is not satisfied with the status quo
  • relies on collaboration between start-ups, SMEs, digital shapers, large companies, academia and think tanks
  • is implementation-oriented, fast-paced and achieves directly measurable impact, for example, by newly established spin-offs, established MVPs (Minimal Viable Products), implemented pilots, ventures, research centres, collaborations, etc.
  • can be formulated, brooded and implemented by any relevant actors
  • Fail fast, fail forward: Inactive and unsuccessful bets are eliminated

Challenge Angels

The challenge sets new standards with its collaborative approach. In order to support the teams, they are accompanied by Challenge Angels in the process. During the development of the bet, they support the roundtables with advice, methodological inputs and their network. They advise roundtables on the development of the organization, the thematic framework and the focus on rapid impact targets.

The following Challenge Angels support the Roundtables:

  • Stephan Sigrist, W.I.R.E.
  • Nordal Cavadini, Oliver Wyman
  • Maximilian Stern, Foraus/crstl
  • Pierre-Yves Caboussat, INNOArchitects
  • Thomas Patzko, Impact Hub Zürich
  • Daniel Huber, Management Center Berner Polytechnic
  • Tobias Pforr, Repower
  • Mike Widmer, Boyden

The Timeline


January to March

Decentralized groups around a Table Captain formulate a bet

During this phase, the roundtables organize themselves independently, meet regularly, and carry on with the project work. They develop ideas, condense them and formulate a bet.



Pitch of the bets before the Jury

Now it’s serious. All roundtables present their bets and present themselves before a high-calibre jury and audience. To win, there is a tailor-made coaching accompaniment in the later acceleration-stage.


April to Nov.

Accelerated proof: the implementation of betting

During the acceleration stage, everything is about the implementation of the bet. The goal is to create the most impressive and at the same time lasting impact and win the bet. During the acceleration phase, methodological workshops and coaching sessions can be booked.

Demo Day

Presentation of the achieved impact

Demo Day is the hour of truth: have the bets been cashed or have the ambitious plans failed? Progress is analyzed, the achieved impact measured and error divided – before the next round of the Challenge starts.

The Rules

The digitalswitzerland challenge is not only open to its members, but also to all other relevant Swiss actors who want to promote digitalization in Switzerland.

  • To participate in the digitalswitzerland challenge, you must be connected to a roundtable or establish your own.
  • The Executive Committee of digitalswitzerland decides on the accreditation of Roundtables.
  • The Table Captain decides on the accreditation of members of a roundtable

The Roundtables organize the financing of their project themselves. They are supported by digitalswitzerland in terms of content and by the network of digitalswitzerland and the challenge angels.

  • Each roundtable is devoted to a clearly defined topic, with which it grapples; in particular, the roundtable explains why the topic is of relevance to Switzerland as a whole
  • Each roundtable has a Table Captain who heads the table; the Table Captains put company interests in the background
  • Roundtables have a tandem partner from the digitalswitzerland Executive Committee who represents the roundtable within digitalswitzerland
  • Each roundtable organizes itself
  • Each roundtable is accredited under; the digitalswitzerland Executive Committee verifies and validates the accreditation; it has the right to exclude roundtables which do not meet the formal and qualitative requirements of the challenge
  • Roundtables set themselves international benchmarks; also roundtables pledge to participate at the Pitch and Demo Day
  • Roundtables include at least one sparring partner (for example from Academia, a Think Tank or Startups) to think outside the box; Table Captains also have mutual visitor rights at other roundtables.

Why participate?

What is the value-added of the digitalswitzerland challenge?

  • Better results thanks to a broad base: Diversity Drives Innovation!
  • More Impact thanks to international networks: Scale!
  • Improved visibility thanks to these networks: Perform!
  • More convincing approach regarding the regulatory framework thanks to the cooperation by industry and academia – beyond individual companies and associations: Establish the digital framework!
  • Take an active role in shaping Swiss digitalization, instead of chasing after it.
  • Nobody does anything big alone, the comfort zone is best left together: Surf the digitalswitzerland spirit!