Influence of Digitalization on Innovation and Business

As our last presentation in the theme of technological innovation, the delegation could welcome Valentin Naegeli and Michael Schranz from Apps with love. This was a special honor, as Michael Schranz is one of the founding members of the connectUS project. When Michael was a student himself, he felt that he kept hearing how important networking is but could never gather any real experience. Therefore, he had the idea to create the project Networking New York. Before Valentin took over and told the delegation more about digitalization and innovation, Michael gave us one important advice for networking: “Give a lot, don’t expect to get much back”.

The following presentation was structured in three parts. Firstly, we took a quick look at how innovation and digitalization are influencing us today. Now, as we covered several topics during the week, Valentin just summarized the core points: The age of information has massively disrupted the way we conduct business. By showing us the most important companies, which only consist of tech companies, this point was made very clear to us. We also learned about the so-called network effect. This effect means that the more people use it, the more value it creates. If for example only a few people would use Facebook, the value for the people using it would be much smaller. The topics of blockchain, cryptocurrencies, innovation and transformation where only covered shortly, as aforementioned, these topics were already covered.

The second part of the presentation was about the Tomorrow. Interesting fields include AI, Smartness, the power of a company like Google (Alphabet), real-time communication and the Singularity. The discussion of these topics was very interesting, as Valentin added a critical view on the technologies. What are the social impacts of digital transformation? Will we always be recorded and all our data in the internet forever stored? What will happen if an AI that has a similar intelligence as a human will be created? With such questions and more, he gave us some food for thought.

In the third part, he talked about how to get from the today to the tomorrow. This can be summarized in a very short sentence: Innovate or die. Businesses cannot use the same business idea, same model etc. for decades, but have the need to constantly innovate.

Before ending the presentation, Valentin asked us to brainstorm some ideas, how we could innovate important Swiss business sectors like watches, banking, tourism or the chocolate industry and the delegation presented their ideas in groups.

The presentation of Valentin was very interesting, especially by bringing light to some of the ethical and social challenges we, as humankind, will have to face in the future.

Innovation in the Diagnostics

On Thursday, Dr. Dirk Schneider, the president of the Förderverein swissbiolabs, introduced us to the “Innovations in Diagnostics”. One of his main topics covered the personalized healthcare, which is stimulated by the possibilities arising from the use of diagnostics. By tailoring healthcare to patients’ needs, they are allowing the right treatment to reach the right patients at the right time and move away from a one-size-fits all approach. Personalized healthcare shifts health-systems from being treatment-centered to being comprehensively patient-centered. In this evolution the diagnostic industry plays an important role as it is growing at a rapid pace. Especially the molecular diagnostics has the potential to cut down on overtreatments, reduce waste in the practice of healthcare, and give physicians a new arsenal in their fight to treat patients. Molecular diagnostics is one technology of In Vitro Diagnostics (IVD), which can make an important contribution to make the healthcare systems more efficient. IVDs are tests on bodily samples like blood, tissue or urine and are used to detect diseases, conditions, or infections. IVD companies embrace technological innovations, e.g. remote monitoring through phones. The diagnostic testing play an important role in increasing the knowledge base, as they provide insights into the links between individuals, their illnesses and their treatment. Therefore, the scientific understanding of health and wellbeing is constantly improving. In future, we will not all be taking the same medicine for the same diseases, but we will have the best treatment for every individual patient.

The innovations in diagnostics have a high potential to improve medical services. They can lead to personalized medicines and treatments, what not only for institutions can be an interesting evolution as it reduces various costs but also for patients as they do not have to try multiple treatments with different side effects. As in the other fields, it will be a question for companies to adopt the innovation or stay stuck to traditional ways. Dr. Dirk Schneider provided us with some very interesting insights into the industry of diagnostics. He also added theoretical knowledge about genetics, different cancer types, and how they can be cured or at least be treated.