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!

Fifth day of the preparatory seminar 2017

Last day of our absolutely interesting preparatory seminar 2017. The day was spent together with the other three projects – insightChina, focusIndia and explore ASEAN.


Globalization – Prospects, transformation and challenges? – Jean-Pierre Lehmann

Jean-Pierre Lehmann (D.Phil, Oxon) is Emeritus Professor at IMD, Lausanne, Switzerland, where he was appointed to the Chair of International Political Economy in 1997. Prior to that he held positions in several European and Asian institutions. He is Founder of the Evian Group (1995), an international coalition of corporate, government and opinion leaders, united by a common vision of enhancing global prosperity for the benefit of all by fostering an open, inclusive, sustainable and equitable global market economy in a rules-based multilateral framework. He is on the board of several institutions.


He started his presentation by telling us what exactly globalization is. Globalization is the integration of markets through cross-border movement of goods, capital, information, technology and labor. It is based on comparative advantages, driven by enterprise strategies and through technologies. One famous key event in 1989 triggered the “21st Century” – it is the fall of the Berlin Wall. From then, the world got from a divided into an integrated world.


Furthermore, he spoke about the five major revolutions for the 21st Century. These are ICT revolution, the Chinese economic revolution, the global market revolution, the demographic revolution as well as the climate revolution. It is the fact that Asia will drive the global economy in the 21st Century with the massive increase in the middle-income class, massive urbanization and mammoth development of regional and global infrastructure.


Last but not least, the key 21st Century challenges were presented by Jean-Pierre Lehmann. First, our common planet with the climate change, biodiversity or environment is a key challenge. Second, our common humanity, such as tolerance and solidarity or poverty and inequality will influence the globalization. Third and last, our common rule-book like business rules or the governance will have a great impact.


The whole team and delegation wants to thank Jean-Pierre Lehmann for coming to the FHNW and this very informative talk.


Panel talk about current issues of the globalization – Jean-Pierre Lehmann, Dr. Rudolph Strahm, Dr. Jan Atteslander, Dr. Kristyna Ters

The last speech of the preparatory seminar was a panel talk with four absolutely well-known guests. Jean-Pierre Lehmann who was already introduced. Dr. Rudolph Strahm as a former member of the Swiss National Council and price controller. Dr. Jan Atteslander as a member of the management board and head of foreign trade by economiesuisse. Finally, Dr. Kristyna Ters as a lecturer at the FHNW and research adviser to the Czech National Bank.

We heard a lot about the globalization and its current issues. It was really interesting to hear different aspects and opinions of the speakers. Before closing this panel talk, the audience got the chance to ask questions.

We appreciated to have all of these speakers here in Olten and enjoyed it. Thank you very much Jean-Pierre Lehmann, Dr. Rudolph Strahm, Dr. Jan Atteslander and Dr. Kristyna Ters.

Career fair

In the afternoon, we had the chance to meet some interesting companies at the career fair. We could talk to them about possible jobs after our studies, do a CV-check or take photos for our applications.

The preparatory seminar was finally closed by a joint apéro where we could learn each other better. This was the perfect end of an exciting week and we are all very curious about our coming on-site seminar.




The preparatory seminar 2017 is over and everyone involved is very happy how it all went. Everything went as planed. The project and the pr team wants to thank every speaker for their time and effort, without them the preparatory seminar wouldn’t have been such a huge success. Special thanks to:

Third day of the preparatory seminar 2017

Today the motto was “expand your mind”.  the whole delegation went to Zurich and Berne to visit Google and the U.S. Embassy.



Dr. Javier Bargas welcomed us at the Google campus in Zurich. He holds a PhD in Cognitive Psychology. Since 2012 he leads the Video Ads UX research team at Google in Zurich and San Francisco. Before joining Google, he was the manager of the HCI lab at the University of Basel (Switzerland). He published over 25 peer reviewed papers in HCI journals and conferences, covering topics such as user satisfaction, mental models in website perception, website aesthetics, webform usability and internationalization of products.


Firstly, we got a tour through the office. We saw a lot of interesting way to design a special workspace. Fun fact, every employee in Zurich needs to be within 100 feet walking distance to the nearest coffee and snack bar. To enable and encourage the work-life-balance, Google provides hairdressers, massages, fitness centers and playing rooms for their employees.


After the coffee break in one of Google’s many coffee bars, Dr. Javier Bargas talked about what makes a product great and how important a user centered design is. The product needs to be accessible, usable and understandable for a lot of customers, thus, the design of a product is essential. Lastly, he presented us the process of how a real case project at Google is started and how the corporate culture is lived.

© Google

We thank Google and especially Dr. Javier Bargas for their time and effort to show us their work environment and giving us a glimps of how it is to work for the tech giant.


U.S. Embassy

In the afternoon, the delegation visited the official United States Embassy in Berne. We were welcomed by Stephanie Morimura, Alexander Sigrist and Kim Hunziker. During an introduction, we learned what the main tasks of an Embassy are. These are the followings:

  • Official representation of the U.S. government
  • Diplomatic relations between two countries
  • Protect and help U.S. citizens
  • Represent interests of the United States regarding education, development, political and financial affairs
  • Explain U.S. policies

It was very interesting to hear how the diplomatic system in the U.S. works. For example, there are two different diplomats in the State Department: Career Diplomats and political appointed Ambassadors. After 3 years in one country, a career diplomat must change the country and task. So, you should love changes!

Thank you very much for having us at the U.S. Embassy and answering all our questions.

Tomorrow we will have an interesting day with talks from Autexis, Swissmem and Credit Suisse.

Second day of the preparatory seminar 2017

Today, we had our second day of the preparatory seminar. It was full of interesting presentations and we learned so much more. The afternoon talks with Michael Schranz and Dr. Andrea Braga were hold together with the project „Focus India“. So, we could discuss with the others and enjoyed it a lot.


Lessons learned from the 2016 U.S. presidential election – Dr. Louis Perron, Perron Campaigns

The second day of the preparatory seminar started with an interesting and important topic. Dr. Louis Perron holds a PhD in political science from the University of Zurich. As a political scientist and consultant, he has advised politicians all over the world. In his speech, he talked about the U.S. presidential election 2016 and what we could learn from this happened event.


The 2016 U.S. presidential election were very special and after everyone thought that Hillary Clinton will win the election, it was a huge surprise that in the end Donald Trump made the race. But why was the outcome of the election unpredictable and why did Donald Trump win? Obviously, the survey institutes were wrong with their forecasts. Experts give different explanations about it:


  1. A few surveyed people lied about their voting intentions
  2. The raw data was wrongly weighted
  3. During the last few days, there was a shift towards Donald Trump


The polls didn’t represent all the people in the country. Also, one of the first indicators were the Exit Polls, shortly before the election. Both candidates were hugely unpopular on both sides. Even 18% of voters found both candidates were bad, but they needed to decide for which “evil” they would vote. In the end, more of those voters decided to vote for Donald Trump and made the difference in the swing states.


“Choose between the evil they knew & the evil that promised a different course, enough voters in the crucial swing states went for a change!”





A lot of American citizen wanted change and with Donald Trump they got it. In his message, he clearly stated to change the government and its goals for the country. He promised to bring a change for the forgotten middle class. He will make America great again. Especially the blue-collar worker class in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin voted for Donald Trump because he promised to look after them when he is elected. These Reagan Democrats voted traditionally for the democratic candidate but changed. The Clinton campaign underestimated the working class in the swing states and finally lost the election.


It was a pleasure to have Dr. Louis Perron by our preparatory seminar and we would like to thank you very much.


How digitalization is influencing innovation processes and business models – Michael Schranz, Apps with love

Michael Schranz, former FHNW Student and head of Business Development at Apps with love, showed us how the digitalization is today and will be tomorrow, or in the future. Therefore, he started by the status quo. The first Topic was about the age of information. This means, the world is one huge platform which everybody uses. Secondly, the network effect plays a big role in the modern world. Only with enough users, a platform like Facebook or Google creates value and leads to growth.


World leading companies like Apple can set up their own rules. For instance, Apps with love have to send their created apps to Apple and then they decide, whether it will be uploaded to their store or not and to which conditions.


The key point is that a company has to adapt the digitalization. Otherwise the company will fail in the future.


Regarding the future, there will be some changes, probably within the next 15 to 20 years. Some of them are:

–    Smartness (e.g. self-driving cars)

–    Google for everything

–    The world of the platform economy (e.g. AirBnb)

–    The era of real time communication


Furthermore, he told us what makes a company creative. People, process, product and climate/environment are the main aspects. Besides, you have to separate the process of finding ideas and valuating ideas.

The great speech of Michael Schranz was completed with some videos of their created apps which showed us some interesting insights.


We would thank him again for this absolutely interesting speech. It was also great to see how successful FHNW students can become. Also, many thanks to Michael Schranz for organizing the second speech of that afternoon. More about it right below.


Start-up live case – Dr. Med. Andrea Vincenzo Braga, eedoctors

What’s important for a start-up company? This and other questions answered today Dr. Andrea Braga from eedoctors in his speech. He is one of the Co-founders of this start-up and brings a lot of experience in. He holds a PhD, is a lecturer at four universities and now he is also an entrepreneur.


“Each start-up company needs a good marketing because the people have to know you.”


Not only takes the digitalization place in the economy, also in the medical sector. Clients no further have to go to a clinic anymore due to the digitalization, which changed the way of communication.


Nowadays, the healthcare is confronted by several problems such as demographic changes or insufficient services. In contrast to this, the healthcare from tomorrow will include a higher service level, more individualization as well as digitalization. Moreover, an analysis has shown that 70% of the clinical issues could be treated by videos.


But what is the advantage of such a new business model like eedoctors? First of all, you have no longer any waiting or travel times. You do not need any appointments because of the 7x24x365 system. Furthermore, the best doctors are available in any case and from anywhere.


Finally, we learned that social presence is especially important in the launch phase. This will help to build on an online community by sharing engaging relevant content and building deeper relationships with networks, industry peers and influences in order to grow awareness and brand perception.

Another warm thank you for coming and introducing this interesting topic to us. #eedocsGoLive


Partner 2016/17 of connectUS


Now, we are ready and really excited about our visits of Google in Zurich and the Embassy in Bern.


First day of the preparatory seminar 2017

This year’s preparatory seminar 2017 started with three absolutely interesting presentations. But first of all, we got a short introduction by Prof. Dr. Ruedi Nützi, the director of the FHNW. Now, we would like to give you some insight into our key learnings from today and share it with you.

Influence of a Positive Appearance – Corinne Staub, ONE

The first presentation of Corinne Staub from “ONE” was the perfect start in this preparatory seminar. The aim was to transmit some great insights into the business world in terms of appearance.

“You cannot control what other see in you. But you can control who you are, how and what you communicate as well as the way you act and interact with others.”




She transmitted her statements involving members of the delegation to show how you can build up trust or how you have to correctly introduce yourself and colleagues. You should think about what makes you likeable to the others. Aspects of getting likeable are smiling, eye contact and body language. Surprisingly is that 55% of the first impression is due to the outfit.

Moreover, she talked about different categories when we see somebody for the first time. These categories are designed from Mark Bowden. The first one is “Friend” and this is also the best category. Enemy and Indifferent are the other ones.


She designed her presentation on a very interactive way, including a pleasant mix of theory, examples of experience in real life, funny anecdotes and gave some historical background to explain where some current customs come from.


Furthermore, she highlighted the importance of preparing yourself about who you are going to interact with and which message you want to transport with your introduction. It’s important to have a tailored description of yourself that is short and meaningful. You have to walk your talk and your message should always be consistent. Additionally, you have to consider the environment you are in, such as habits, values, customs and does and don’ts. Everything depends on the country and their culture.

Last but not least, we focused on dress codes for men and women. She gave us some concrete recommendations and showed us good examples. Dealing with rank, gender and age in business and private life were also discussed. Now, we feel well prepared for all upcoming events and situations as well as are aware of the impact our appearance.



We want to thank Corinne Staub for the amazing talk.

Driving Innovation – How organizations discover, select and execute on innovation by – Harm Flik, Zühlke

The second talk of the day was about innovation in an organization. Harm Filk, employee of Zühlke, is a consultant for organizations on how to make use of digital and mobile technologies and innovative business models to create profitable and sustainable competitive advantage in a digital and connected world.


In his speech about driving innovation, Harm Filk talked about the process of being and staying innovative to help keeping the company competitive. As an organization, it is essential to constantly change their exposure. There are four key skills that drive innovation forward.

  1. The only constant in an organization is change
    Organizations need to keep moving, otherwise they will cease to exist
  1. Disrupt yourself, or otherwise someone else will
    Organizations actively need to seek and explore ways to disrupt their own business, in order to be prepared when the time comes and someone else is disrupting the organizations business model.
  1. An explosion of exponential
    Competition is global, and well-funded. People and organizations should think big, not the next 10%, but the next 1 million %, and embrace a culture of experimentation (fail fast, but fail forward).
  1. Your mindset matters
    An organization has to live an experimental and innovative enabling culture. To enable the employees to be innovative and working on their own projects is a key point.

In the end, as an organization you need to be on top of your game, be active and try to constantly evolve who the organization is and where the organization is going. Therefore, enabling and living innovative thinking.

We want to thank Harm Flik for the incredible talk.

Innovation politics – Dr. Fabian Schnell, Avenir Suisse

The last speech of the first day of the Preparatory Seminar was held by Dr. Fabian Schnell. He is a senior fellow and the head of the department “Smart Government” at Avenir Suisse. Innovation politics is a very important topic for Switzerland.


He talked about the strengths and key factors of the success of Switzerland’s innovativeness. But why is Switzerland the most innovative country in the world? Past political decisions enabled Switzerland to be the world champion in innovation.

Strengths & key factors

  • Switzerland is the most competitive country before Singapore and USA
  • Openness to trade: Switzerland is high depended on trade with other countries but also benefits a lot from trade.
  • Openness to people: Switzerland is one of the most international country with a lot of resistant with a foreign passport.
  • Excellency in education: Switzerland has with the ETH and other Universities an excellence source of education and knowledge. With the successful dual education system, Switzerland has a unique education system.
  • A high number of investments in research & development from companies (mainly private expenditures)


  • Little knowledge absorption: Foreign countries invest less in Switzerland and thus create less jobs than Swiss companies invest in foreign countries.
  • In Switzerland, it is difficult of getting venture capital as a start-up.
  • The labor market is less flexible than it used to be, therefore generating more structural unemployment.
  • Lack of qualified workers
  • Falling behind in ICT and E-Government

But how can Switzerland overcome those weaknesses and keep its leader position as the most innovative country in the world? Switzerland has to reform its self. First of all the economy needs more qualified workers (especially specialists), thus the migration is a very important topic and should be enabled. Also, the access to foreign direct investments should be improved. Thirdly, the access to the labor market must be simplified and labor market regulations should be adopted to the digital economy. Lastly, the environment for start-ups has to be improved and start-ups should be better supported to bring their ideas to market.




We want to thank Dr. Fabian Schnell for the very educational talk.



The whole connectUS team had an incredible first day and the team is looking forward for tomorrows speaker Dr. Louis Perron and Michael Schranz.

First Nexus Newsletter 2016

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

The FHNW International Student Projects Insight China, Focus India, connectUS, and exploreASEAN have created a corporate newsletter to share the highlights of the Preparatory Seminar week.

In the newsletter every project has its own sections that gives insight into the different projects and its current editions topic. Furthermore there are joint pages talking about the company visits, the Joint Friday and the Career Fair.

Finally you also get the chance to get to know more about some selected delegates from each project in the section “Key Learnings”.

We hope you will enjoy reading through the Nexus Newsletter.

First day of the connectUS16 Preparatory Seminar


The Preparatoy Seminar week 2016 started with a varied agenda including three very interesting presentations. We would like to do a review of what we have learned today and share with you the most important insights we gained today.

Influence of a Positive Appearance (Corinne Staub // ONE)

During the first presentation of the preparatory seminar of Corinne Staub from „ONE“ we got some great insights into the business world in terms of appearance.


She transmitted her statements involving members of the delegation to show how you can build up trust or how you have to correctly introduce yourself. She designed her presentation on a very interactive way, including a pleasant mix of theory, examples of experience in real live, funny anecdotes and gave some historical background to explain where some current customs come from.

Furthermore she highlighted the importance of preparing yourself about who you are going to interact with and which message you want to transport with your introduction. It’s important to have a tailored description of yourself that is short and meaningful and will be reminded by your conversational partner. You have to walk your talk and know your magic sentence. Additionally you have to consider the environment you are in, as habits, values, customs and does and don’ts depend from the environment or country you are in.

We all were very glad about her concrete dress code recommendations as well as her explanations about how to deal with rank, gender, and age in a business context. We now feel well prepared for all upcoming events and aware of the impact of our appearance.

Work Culture @ Google (Javier Bargas // Google)

In the afternoon we had the opportunity to follow our road of talent focus and could happily welcome Javier Bargas from Google Zurich as a speaker. Javier Bargas who calls himself a Zoogler (Google employee from Zurich) works as a Staff User Experience Research Manager and gave us some really interesting insight into the work culture of Google and how the hiring process is handled.


Free Food, a gym at your disposal, no fixed working hours and a creative working environment with space to relax and treat yourself. Why not?

For Google the most important thing is that their employees enjoy their workplace and have a good life at the workplace since this improves the employees‘ output. Therefore several incentives are given to their employees.

Furthermore Javier Bargas introduced the delegation to Google’s interview process. They seek the smartest people of the world and therefore their hiring process is quite unique when compared to the hiring process in Swiss companies. Almost the entire hiring process in Google lies on the shoulders of the employees. And just on the final stage HR gets involved.

Personal Success Story (Christine Ledergerber // Ledergerber Hinderling Consulting)

The closing presentation of the day was hold by the guest speaker Christine Ledergerber who shared her personal experiences of the establishment the startup company Power Plant, that aims to establish themselves on the solar panels market with their project called „Marine Solar Islands“.

Everything started in 2010 with the inventors vision of Thomas Hinderling, a very well known and recognised nuclear phisisist, started to share his vision of a revolutionary solution of floating solar panels. The concept Marine Solar Islands brings solution to three prevailing problems countries with land scarcity, high rates of water vaporation and scarcity of electricity sources face.

Sharing her experiences and personal success story was a great example of how challenging the establishment of a startup can be even if you have a great idea. Being a visionary is very difficult, because you are confronted with a lot of challenges you have to be able to overcome and constantly adapt your approaches with every new insight gained.

You need to be resilient and patient enough to take all the steps needed, identify the window of opportunity it, be supported by a network that backs up your project and well prepared to be able to deal with intercultural differences.

She gave adequate recommendations if you want to successfully establish yourself as an entrepreneur, taking in consideration the defiance’s of operating in foreign markets.