AI could significantly boost innovation within the Swiss economy by making innovation management more efficient and effective, leading to substantial savings for businesses. However, successful AI adoption requires overcoming barriers and implementing effective innovation practices. With a strong innovation culture, AI education, and strategic investment in AI research and start-ups, Switzerland can harness AI to drive innovation and solidify its leadership position in the global AI landscape.
SwissCognitive Guest Blogger: Kilian Woods, Sustainability & Technology Educator, Data & Analytics Strategist, Systems Innovator. “Can Artificial Intelligence increase innovation within the Swiss economy?”
Artificial Intelligence (AI) can revolutionize the Swiss economy. One of the many ways it can do this is through transforming innovation management practices within Switzerland. For example, AI would make the innovation process more efficient and effective. Nevertheless, businesses should not mistake technical innovations with effective implementation of innovation management practices within their companies. For example, many financial companies have now realised the importance of big data for predicting risks and adhering to regulative practices, such as ESG reporting, non-financial reporting, etc. The analysis and gathering of the data necessary to streamline these processes would benefit from the application of artificial intelligence to improve the company’s operation. This would help companies save millions by adhering to regulations, such as the new Swiss non-financial reporting obligations (Baumgartner, 2023).
There are hurdles that must be overcome to use artificial intelligence to accelerate innovation. An example would be companies that hire software engineers and expect them to build artificial intelligence that will revolutionise the industry without having effective innovation management processes. This leads to software engineers working in silos and producing poor-quality work that does not benefit the end user or having to wait endlessly for approval from executives.
The application of AI in businesses should be approached as an experimental and incremental process. Companies should have effective and efficient innovation management practices in place that will then make it easier to implement AI and then increase AI-driven innovation. The Swiss economy is well placed to lead AI-driven innovation. For example, the Global Innovation Index has ranked Switzerland as one of the most innovative countries (WIPO, 2022). Zurich is a research hub for artificial intelligence and can help industries innovate. An example would be how AI can be used for condition monitoring of wind turbines or solar farms. Such as how Aerones is implementing AI to check for material damage in wind turbines (Allinson, 2023).
Another indicator that Switzerland would be able to drive innovation within Switzerland using AI is Microsoft’s 2023 Annual Work Trend Index. According to this index, 65% of Switzerland’s workforce wants to do as much work as possible to AI to lessen their workload (Microsoft, 2023). AI can also be used by the Swiss government to make sure companies are adhering to regulations and that their practices are not destroying the planet. An example would be to use AI for checking ESG reporting’s by companies.
Therefore, AI can revolutionize the Swiss economy when it is used alongside effective and efficient innovation management practices. Switzerland must promote education in artificial intelligence/ data science. Switzerland must continue to promote innovation and invest in research in AI to lead innovation worldwide. There must be enough investment that AI start-ups will stay in Switzerland and help to drive innovation in the economy. This will help to solidify Switzerland’s place as a leader in AI expertise and innovation.
Baumgartner, Hannes, 2023, New Swiss Non-Financial Reporting Obligations apply as of Business Year 2023 | Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law (pestalozzilaw.com)
WIPO, 2022, Global Innovation Index 2022: Switzerland, the U.S., and Sweden lead the Global Innovation Ranking; China Approaches Top 10; India and Türkiye Ramping Up Fast; Impact-Driven Innovation Needed in Turbulent Times (wipo.int)
Kilian is passionate about driving systemic change towards solving the climate crisis. He has facilitated workshops on climate change with decision makers at COP26, over 45 different schools and universities such as IIT Delhi. He communicates the importance of artificial intelligence to transition society to renewable energy sources and for countries to achieve their climate goals. He is also in the ACE working group in YOUNGO, which is the official UN youth organization – behalf of which, he has been chosen to go as representative to the United Nations conference SB56. Last but not least, he analyses risk exposures of renewable energy projects at AXIS. Kilian, it is really nice to have you with us today – especially on such a short notice. Our world can turn upside down sometimes where flexibility become fundamental.