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Digital Society Initiative

National conference "Digitale Schweiz" - a milestone in shaping digital change

Invited representatives of business, politics and society as well as some people who were elected from a public waiting list took part in the first national conference "Digitale Schweiz" in Biel on 20 November - including several representatives of the DSI. The event served to determine the current state of affairs regarding the Federal Council's "Digitale Schweiz" strategy, presented trends and developments in the information society and discussed the new need for action to help shape the future digital Switzerland.

Two federal councillors were present in Biel. In her opening speech, Federal President Doris Leuthard called for the state to become an "enabler" of digitalisation. Attention was drawn to the keynote address of Taavi Kotka, the former CIO of Estonia, who showed how to connect numerous databases and services around an E-ID that are superior to conventional analog solutions in terms of data protection and cybersecurity. In the following panel on the digitisation of the relationship between state and citizens, however, various critical voices were also heard. 

The afternoon began with seven parallel panels in which the participants were able to comment on a wide range of questions in smaller groups. Each workshop was then asked to formulate a thesis for the final panel. In this round, which included representatives from the fields of trade unions, administration, business, science and civil society, there was then agreement on important points: Firstly, it was not technology that was at the heart of innovation, but society. Secondly, education is the key to coping with digital change - not only in science and technology. Thirdly, it is crucial to convince people of what digitalisation can bring to people. 

In his closing remarks, Federal Councillor Johann Schneider Ammann then also stressed that Switzerland cannot afford any social corruption; everyone must be able to benefit from digital change. Trust and education are the key to digitalisation.