Text: Benoit Dubuis
Photo: DR

Excellence in innovation is a starting point rather than an end goal.

For the third year in a row, Switzerland ranks atop the Global Innovation Index 2013.


For the third year in a row, Switzerland ranks atop the Global Innovation Index 2013. The GII is a report published every year by leading international business school INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organisation. It is only one of the many rankings that highlight the dynamic strength of Switzerland, which boasts some of the most brilliant research institutions. That’s all very well, you say, but what’s in it for us, the citizens?

More than statistics and the momentum from well-earned pride, what counts is translating this innovation into economic value and jobs. With the competition between regions and between countries, innovation plays a key role for at least two reasons. Innovation stimulates growth, and most of the companies that will be driving innovation over the next few decades simply do not exist today. In our globalised world, knowledge crosses borders in a simple click of a mouse. Ideas do not necessarily transform into economic value and jobs where they originated, but rather where the motivation and most favourable conditions are found to realise them.

Our Helvetic Confederation has understood the role of innovation as a driving force and the need to support it. Whether they are at the federal, cantonal or regional level, or are topic-focused or cross-sector, countless initiatives and programmes have been set up to support innovation and strengthen the economic fabric.

Are the systems efficient? Judging from the current rankings, apparently so! However, if we listen to our entrepreneurs and project ourselves into a scenario of restricted resources, this cohabitation will have to evolve into coordinated efforts that rigorously promote synergies, streamline performance and clarify offers, which will benefit both backers and entrepreneurs.

Our Confederation, made up of organisations that take pride in their independence, will then become a Republic. This more centralised Republic of innovation*, while listening to and serving entrepreneurs, can promote the synergies between these organisations and break down the barriers that stand in the way of innovation. Although the mindset is changing, the ambitions remain to make sure that this new Republic maintains its leadership in innovation and guarantees its prosperity in an increasingly competitive world... focusing on the fundamentals: creating the optimal environment for the exceptional people who will be the cornerstone of our academic, industrial and entrepreneurial strength.