Driving Innovation

Mario Schmuziger from company Zühlke hold a refreshing presentation on the topic “driving innovation – how organization discover, select and execute on innovation.” But what is innovation and what’s not?
One definition of innovation says that it is “the process of translating an idea or invention a good or service that creates value of for which customers will pay”. No Innovations are ideas or services that sells well but the customer loses money. So there is no added value.
Global competition today puts all industries under pressure to be innovate. And there are some very popular companies like google, Uber, tesla that everybody knows. They are common for their innovations, which have a big impact and can changing the future.
Very important of driving innovation is the adaption rate. Mores Law implies the exponential growth. This law tells for example, that the performance of the processors doubles approximately every year.
One of the key things for innovation is to know as followed:

  1. Understanding target group: Because you have to know which are the drivers.
  2. Ideation: Be as creative as possible.
  3. Prototyping: The earlier the decision for an idea, the better and the lower the costs. For that
    you should go into discussion as soon as possible with customers.
  4. Testing: It is very simple and useful to do a testing. Furthermore, repeat the testing from time
    to time.
  5. Development: Ask customers, which added features they like.
  6. Operations: Be reminded that things are changing all the time.

In addition, Schmuziger gave us some take aways. He mentioned that digitally comes, if somebody wants or not. Go with the time and make use of opportunities but also be aware of the risks. Be brave because you can not lose anything and definitely go beyond borders.
Finally, he told how to hold up the innovation over the years as a company. It is simple, because the staff of Zühlke get educated in different topics so that they can expand their experiences. Keep people up to date and speed for driving innovation.

Blockchain Technology

Kevin Leuthard and Mirco Klaus introduced us to the processes of the blockchain. It was a complex but an interesting topic.

Blockchain is a distributed ledger. It works in a decentralized network and guarantees security through broadcasting all new information to all participants. Therefore, each transaction adds to the ledger. In order to get the hash value, you need all inputs. An immutable record with fine stamp is added each time a new transaction is added. After a block of the chain is filled the block gets a final value that is incorporated in the new one. Advantage is that there is no financial intermediary needed. The other big potential is the so called smart contracts. As all the regulations and transactions are recorded, and thus secured and controlled. Not all information (private) can be recorded on the blockchain, as it does not allow data to be deleted. There is however a private blockchain, where there are parties with more authority and the number of participants is limited. More suitable for industrial use or internal use.

This technology has a great potential for humanity. It is important to take this transition, and help people in their ordinary life.

Digital Health – From Hype to Impact

Christine K. Jacob gave us a thrilling lecture about the digital health sector and told us what it is about, and what the advantages and challenges are.

Two main factors differentiate between digital disruption and traditional competitive dynamics: the speed of change and the high stakes involved.

Some industries face greater risks than others. Industries poised for greatest disruption are those in which the most digitalization is taking place.

We had a brainstorming session within little groups and discussed a mobile health solution that can help kids to be more compliant with their medication.

She showed us the importance and improvements in the health sector by implementing the digitalization. Success of digital health relies on how it is done.

„It is a social and behavioral science.“

The Impact of Positive Appearance

What is your first impression? What are influencing factors? Corinne Staub was introducing us to the impact of a positive appearance in a very lively and personal way. The image that others have of you, is not controllable. But some factors you can impact. Self-branding is the key because you can control who you are, how and what you communicate, or the way you act and interact with others. Factors that help to leave a good first impression. Firstly, show positive emotions and gain trust. Next steps are to garner respect and show interest.

She showed us a model of Marc Bowden. Humans are scanning people whether they could be a friend or an enemy. She encouraged us to have the focus on the friend side and look for the positive, because the enemy side is mostly a personal problem in our head and not a real issue of the person itself. This is very crucial for doing business.

Corinne Staub made interactive sessions, in which the students could practice their skills in presenting themselves and how to introduce a group of people to a company in the right way.

Also, the culture, the environment, character and values are important elements that influence who you are. It is relevant to gain experience and catch the interest of the other party by being authentic and natural, making your listener curious, being interesting and beginning with why.

Partner Event Autexis IT AG & W. Thommen AG

Yesterday evening we had the great pleasure to welcome our partners Autexis IT AG and W. Thommen AG at the FHNW in Olten. This event was organized to provide our platinum and gold partners with our experiences from the On-Site Seminar 2017. But this event was also scheduled to show our high appreciation to the generous support and great partnership we could experience during that whole year.

The two partners had the chance to invite their employees and clients to this event. After welcoming everyone we started with the presentation of the two firms, held by Thomas Neuhaus (CEO Autexis IT AG) and Marc Thommen (Chairman of the board of directors of the W. Thommen AG). Then we introduced everyone what connectUS is in general. After that we came to the main part, the presentation of the firsthand experiences from six of our delegates. We talked about topics such as relationship between Switzerland and the U.S., startups/trends and IT/Internet of Things (IoT). Following this we had the chance to further discuss and answer questions during the apero.

The whole evening was a huge success and a great chance to wrap up the amazing time we spent together with the Autexis IT AG and the W. Thommen AG. We want to thank you again for the great collaboration and all your commitment. Without you we could not have spent such an amazing On-Site Seminar!

Application Project Managers 2017/18

Fellow students! Are you a disciplined and persistent person seeking an opportunity to challenge your managing skills?

Apply as a project manager for one of the most prestigious student projects of the FHNW – Insight China, Focus India, connectUS or exploreASEAN ! The deadline for the application is the 19 of May 2017!

A unique opportunity to grow and progress is ahead of you!

You find all the application information here!

Final wrap-up

It’s sad to say, but connectUS 2017 is already over. With the Closing Event on May 8, it officially came to an end. But we had a wonderful year with lots of interesting and amazing moments.


Everything started in summer 2016 with the planning. The first official event then was the Kick-Off Meeting for the Delegation at the end of December 2016. There, we got to know each other for the first time personally and learned more about the upcoming Preparatory and On-Site Seminar.


In February, the Preparatory Seminar took place. We had the pleasure to welcome different high-ranked people from various fields and companies. Furthermore, we had the opportunity to get an insight into the Google Offices in Zurich and the Swiss Embassy in Bern.


Then, everybody was really excited and looking forward to April 6. We finally headed off to the USA for our On-Site Seminar! Our first stop was San Francisco. With DocuSign, Swissnex, Swisscom, Microsoft and Xamarin we had absolutely fabulous visits there. Boston was our second city of our On-Site Seminar. We had a speech from the CEO of Swissnex, an MIT tour, a tour and speech by the CIC and the chance to network in the Venture Café as well as a speech from Bettina Hein, the CEO of Pixability. Moreover, we had the chance to visit the Cambridge Science Festival in Boston. Last but not least, we went to New York. The program was packed with insightful visits such as Google, Alex Goldberg – a venture capitalist, MoMA, Swiss Consulate, Brooklyn Grange and Livestream.


No doubt, we had a wonderful time. This was for sure a once in a lifetime experience. Now, everthing finished with the successful Closing Event.


Our last words are dedicated to all those people that enabled us to have that unforgettable experience such as our supervisor, accompanying lectures, delegates, speakers and of course, a big thank you to our partners!


There is one more thing we want to share with you: Lean back, fasten your seatbelt and enjoy our On-Site video 2017!

Second NeXus newsletter 2017

We are very happy to announce; we published our Nexus Newsletter today!

The FHNW International Student Projects Insight ChinaFocus IndiaconnectUS, and exploreASEAN have created a corporate newsletter to share the highlights of the On-Site Seminar.

There are very interesting articles about Swiss companies around the world, innovation and many insights into the On-Site Seminar 2017!

You can download the newsletter here: NeXus May 2017

Closing Event Invitation

You want to be part of connectUS or another International Student Project in 2018?
You think about applying for the project or PR team 2018?
Or you just want to know everything about this years edition of the student projects?

There is one opportunity to get answer to all these questions during one evening: COME TO OUR CLOSING EVENT 2017

See you there!

Wrap up New York

New York – established and still growing business hub

With a meaningful historical background (e.g. the wall street etc.) New York is already well known and one of the most famous (business) cities in the world. Anyways, there is still a lot of demand for office spaces in that area. Corporates still consider it as important to represent their firms at that popular place.

One good example is Google. Their office building has the same amount of square meters as the Empire State Building and we had the chance to visit it. The office tour gave us an impression on how they got the award of being the best employer in the world. The following event “Sprinting for innovation” showed us how one can shorten the innovation process. This full day visit was an amazing experience for us.

Alex Goldberg, a venture capitalist, and the invited two early-stage start-ups gave us an insight on how to decide whether you should invest in an company and which factors are relevant for start-ups to be successful during the funding process.

To be at the Consulate General of Switzerland and visit the Ambassador André Schaller was a great honor and of course also a valuable chance to ask questions about the relationship between Switzerland and the U.S. Did you know that according to statistics Switzerland is the country with the 6th best image in the U.S.?

The tour at the Brooklyn Grange was something completely different. The urban gardening institution tries to provide green spaces in urban areas and furthermore supports the usage of local products and therefore reduces the environmental pollution.

The firm Livestream hosted us for an absolutely interesting session. Their core business consists out of two parts. One is responsible to build the live videos, while the other distributes them. The high potential in the live video market is their main advantage.

Now the connectUS onsite seminar 2017 is over. But this does not mean we should be sad about it. The valuable experiences we gained have such a great value and we are lucky enough that we could be part of this amazing adventure

Many people supported us on our journey and this definitely deserves a big THANK YOU. You gave 24 students and 4 lecturers the chance to further broaden their horizons and make unforgettable experiences!