The Digital Society Initiative (DSI) is a bottom-up initiative developed within the University of Zurich (UZH) by a working group of professors and involving members from all seven faculties of the UZH. After the concept was drawn up, the DSI was launched in an official ceremony in September 2016 in the presence of the Director of Education of the Canton of Zurich Silvia Steiner and the President of the Swiss Confederation Johann Schneider-Ammann.

Since its foundation, the work of the DSI has evolved: In the first year, the DSI focused on working out the formal aspects and in the second year on setting up the related structures. In this phase, the rules of procedure, the structure and the thematic orientation of the DSI were defined in a bottom-up process and the various committees were set up. Since the third year of the DSI, the activities of the DSI have increasingly focused on reflection and research on issues of digital transformation. The focus is on interdisciplinary and cross-faculty structures and projects.