New guidelines for digital Switzerland

Bern, 06.09.2018 - The Federal Council wants Switzerland to exploit the opportunities of digitalisation to the full. On 5 September it therefore adopted its "Digital Switzerland" strategy for the next 2 years. Within the framework of this strategy the Federal Council will, among other things, establish a working group on the subject of artificial intelligence and support initiatives in relation to Smart Cities. In addition, the federal administration is intensifying dialogue with participants which are interested or involved, especially the cantons.

The 2018 "Digital Switzerland" strategy defines the desirable goals and guidelines in relation to digitalisation in all crucial areas of life. It replaces the 2016 strategy of the same name and defines various new key themes for the next two years:

  • The Federal Council is setting up a working group within the federal administration on the topic of artificial intelligence. Headed by the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI), this group will facilitate the exchange of knowledge and opinions and coordinate Switzerland's positions in international bodies. It will submit to the Federal Council by autumn 2019 an overview of existing measures, an assessment of new fields of action and considerations for the transparent and responsible application of artificial intelligence.
  • The Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications, DETEC, will by mid-2019 draw up a concept and an action plan to support the towns and cities, the municipalities and the cantons in the development of Smart Cities, Smart Villages and Smart Regions.
  • Digitalisation is increasing the complexity of the tasks with which the federal administration is faced. The Federal Council therefore wants to promote the use of novel, interdisciplinary working methods and forms of cooperation. For this purpose, the federal departments and the FC will examine, until the middle of 2019, which specific topics are suited to an experimental approach which is independent of existing structures and appropriate to daily operations, and how this can be achieved.
  • Until the end of 2018, the Federal Council will be extending dialogue with the cantons on the overarching issues of digitalisation.

Concrete implementation

The federal administration's implementation activities in relation to the strategy will be published in an action plan. This action plan will be updated annually and concretises the strategy's orientation. It relates to a multiplicity of areas of life and areas of action, for example digitalisation in the sphere of transport or energy, education and research, the economy, the protection of children and young people, e-Government and cyber-risks. Digital Switzerland is a joint mission for authorities at all levels of the state, the economy, the scientific community, civil society and politics. The new strategy also enables nationally significant projects instigated by bodies outside the federal administration (e.g. for research initiatives, technology and digitalisation projects) to be mapped out in the action plan.

The Confederation's Digital Switzerland Interdepartmental Co-ordination Group (ICG), presided over by DETEC, will ensure the coordinated, targeted implementation of the strategy. As before, it will be supported in relation to content and administration by the Digital Switzerland Business Office of the Federal Office of Communications, OFCOM. The General Secretaries' Conference, GSC, will in future be more closely involved in the implementation work related to the strategy.

Joint ongoing development of the strategy

The federal administration cannot shape digital Switzerland on its own; the economy, the scientific community, politics and civil society in Switzerland must also be involved. The strategy is therefore conceived with a multi-stakeholder approach. The Federal Council invites the various stakeholder groups to make their contribution to a digital Switzerland by following the above-mentioned guidelines and by exchanging ideas about ongoing further development of the strategy and its implementation activities (the "Digital Dialogue").

The new strategy has been developed in several stages and in consultation with all stakeholder groups. Key themes of the strategy were discussed at the national Digital Switzerland conference on 20 November 2017. OFCOM conducted an online survey on the goals of the strategy in March 2018 and some 900 responses were received. The results of the conference and survey were discussed and evaluated on 10 April 2018 in an experts' workshop, with representatives of the Confederation, the scientific community and civil society. 


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