Fourth day of the preparatory seminar 2017

After a very insightful day at Google and the U.S. Embassy, today we were back at the FHNW Campus in Olten to listen to the next speakers.

Innovation in the Swiss industry – Robert Rudolph, Swissmem

We started with an interesting talk from Robert Rudolph about Innovation in the Swiss industry. Since 2012, he is the head of training and innovation at Swissmem. Swissmem is an industry association for the Swiss metal, electronic and machine industry. They provide individual services from legal advice to lobbying for their members. As an industry association, they are representing the MEM industry in politics and the public. Especially the SMEs (small and middle enterprises) are Swissmem’s focus.

As the Swiss euro exchange rate pegging was lifted in 2015, the industry in Switzerland had many challenges to overcome. Within a day, they lost about 15% of their margin by exporting their products. Due to the fact that 78% of the produced goods will be exported, the companies in the MEM industry must be competitive in the world market. Because of the strong Swiss Franc, the competitiveness of Swiss companies in the world market dropped significantly. Needing to keep their competitiveness, the companies must be more efficient and at the same time keep the Swiss quality high, as one of the unique selling points. To keep up with the world market, they need to constantly improve. Thus, innovation is a key task for their survival. Swissmem helps their members to establish an innovative working culture and recommend the following:

  • Collaborate to innovate
  • Create a new business model that includes the customer’s needs
  • With digitalization try to be more efficient
  • Push industry 4.0

To conclude, innovation is very important for the MEM industry and especially for the SMEs to keep their competitiveness in the world market.

We want to thank Robert Rudolph for his interesting speech and for his time.

CS Innovation Challenge – Enrico Salvadori, Credit Suisse

Enrico Salvadori, the COO of Products and Investment Service at Credit Suisse, holds a speech about their project “Innovation Challenge” at Credit Suisse. So, we could learn how new ideas for innovations are found in the banking sector.

Nowadays, the banks are confronted with different types of pressures, such as new technologies, new business models, enhanced client expectations and regulatory changes. He told about innovative products which are designed by Credit Suisse. The first one is called “SmartATM”. People are now able to take or deposit cash from a Credit Suisse ATM without using a card. This cardless possibility works with your smartphone and a produced QR-Code. Credit Suisse was actually the first bank in Switzerland who introduced this new system. The second product is “MyIBAN” where you can create your personalized IBAN number. Impressing, Credit Suisse was the first bank in the world with this innovative product.

Regarding their Innovation Challenge, which started in 2014, they motivate each employee to find new ideas for products. Therefore, it’s like a competition with a winner in the end. The idea must be simple, understandable for everyone and has to be pitched passionately in front of the upper management. For making it successful, there are several key factors to bear in mind. For instance, an intense internal and external communication must be provided, the top management pays attention to you and your idea or the winner will get attractive rewards.

Thank you very much, Enrico Salvadori, for coming and showing us how a Swiss bank can be innovative.

Innovation through automatization excellence and intelligent solutions – Thomas Neuhaus, Autexis

Autexis combines two different companies – Autextis Control AG and Autexis IT AG. With the CEO of the Autexis IT AG, Thomas Neuhaus, we had the pleasure to welcome our main partner today.

The core business of AUTEXIS is the following:

  • Control technology with Siemens-regulation and other systems
  • Automation in industrial plant
  • Integration of control and management systems
  • MES (Manufacturing Execution Systems) of SAP and other partners
  • M2M (Machine to Machine) communication and IoT (Internet of Things)
  • Consulting, development of strategies and trainings for the industry 4.0

He talked about how automatization processes are created and implemented. What are the qualities and innovations of the Industry 4.0 as well as what are central challenges of them?

Qualities and innovations Central challenges
Costumer product Increase flexibility
Competitive price Increase efficiency
Short delivery time Reduce time to market
New business model Cross enterprise and cross customer network


Furthermore, Thomas Neuhaus spoke about the key success factors of automatization. Corporate culture, security, usability and technology as well as benefits are these key success factors. Getting a successful implementation, design thinking, scrum and continuous integration are important. Besides, the digital transformation will have a great influence on the market success in the future. Also, a company needs the right people who introduce these changes in automatization. Integrate safely and user-friendly! In the end, innovation means always change, thus, the most important task when an innovation is implemented, is that everyone involved knows why and how the situation changes. Therefore, change management is essential.


We would like to thank Thomas Neuhaus for his time and absolutely interesting speech. We are glad to have such an amazing company on board of connectUS.


The day tomorrow will be together with the other three projects. Jean-Pierre Lehmann will start with his speech, followed by a panel talk of four experts in globalization. In the afternoon, there will be a career fair and the final apéro. We are looking forward to this last day of our preparatory seminar.


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