27 August 2018
f.l.t.r.: René Brugger (President, Senior Partner at SWISS IPG PARTNERS GROUP), Johann Schneider-Ammann (Swiss Federal Councilor) f.l.t.r.: René Brugger (President, Senior Partner at SWISS IPG PARTNERS GROUP), Johann Schneider-Ammann (Swiss Federal Councilor)

At the Annual Conference of INDUSTRIE 2025, IPG Group Senior Partner René Brugger had the chance to conduct an interview with Swiss Federal Councilor Johann Schneider-Ammann on the state of digitalization in Switzerland.

“We are in the front” – Interview with Johann Schneider-Ammann on digitalization

With Federal Councilor Johann Schneider-Ammann, a prominent speaker appeared at the annual conference "Industry 2025" in Brugg-Windisch. IPG Senior Partner and President René Brugger took the opportunity to interview the head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research on the subject of "digitalization".


René Brugger: What's going on in your department regarding digitalization?

Johann Schneider-Ammann: My department is the department of the market, the reason why we are here, what makes us what we are today and what we bring to the way forward for the future. Therefore, Doris Leuthard and I have set up a digitalization initiative, to which we have gathered 40 people, mostly from the business sector at a table. Digitalization must be a priority in the coming years which we have already started.


The state is sometimes held that he does too little in terms of digitalization. Why do we take a different approach in Switzerland than, for example, in Germany?

You here in the hall are the ones who understand this topic and are affected by it. We try to regulate the issue with the existing capacities, but we do not see a need for a State Secretariat. For me, who comes from the industry, it is unpleasant to have to say "no" constantly, but for more than the framework conditions, it does not need the federal government.


You travel a lot and see what is happening in digitalization in other countries. How is Switzerland positioning itself in this area compared to other countries?

We are in the front. For example, we visited a trade fair in Argentina and gathered the digital aspects there to get a sense of how far Argentinians are in this area. They are on the way, but they are not there where Swiss products and services or even our research are.


If I look at the interaction between politics, authorities and ourselves from the Industry 2025 initiative, is that enough, in your view, or does it take more effort?

The development is so fast that you have to orient yourself again and make adjustments. In general, however, we are well positioned for this with our SME landscape. I think that systems, from bottom to top, where everyone first has to understand what it is about, before something is triggered and pushed back down, are certainly missing out on this development.


Today, key people from Swiss companies are gathered here. What message do you want to give the ladies and gentlemen here in the room?

You are well on the way, keep it up! I enjoy every company and every product that I meet in the world and that comes from Switzerland. I can tell you, we are respected and they want to be like us. In our SME landscape, the entrepreneur is compensated for his performance and determines for himself what he does with this compensation. He can invest this back in his company or buy a yacht with it. But everyone sitting here today is obviously not on the yacht, and that's good for our country.



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