# 1 / 2023

How Switzerland remains successful - the seven pillars of innovation capacity

Pillar 7: Living innovation ecosystems

Innovation ecosystems enable collaboration, networking, the exchange of ideas and knowledge, and thus the development of open innovation processes. The most important feature of functioning ecosystems is the interaction of the various players. Collaborative networks unleash new innovation potential by driving the flow of information, ideas, data and knowledge along the entire value chain.

Many countries are trying to harness these network effects with innovation parks, technocenters and innovation hubs to boost their innovation capabilities. A particular focus is being placed on start-ups. Various measures are being used to try to create a fertile start-up ecosystem. At the center of successful start-ups are always people with a special kind of talent: usually younger, well-educated, technically skilled people with creativity, ambition and entrepreneurial spirit. This type of talent is rare and highly mobile. Talented entrepreneurs quickly move to places that offer them the best mix of investments, tax and legal frameworks, and market access. With the advance of digitization and the rise of technology companies like Google and Facebook, awareness of the importance of startups has soared in recent years. This has prompted many countries to make targeted improvements to the relevant framework conditions. This includes the introduction of start-up visas. This gives people a residence permit for a specific purpose: the founding and further development of a start-up. The purpose of the measure is to attract talented young entrepreneurs to the respective country to realize their business idea.

While the existence of innovation ecosystems is important, it is not a silver bullet against innovation weakness. If the framework conditions are not right, the value of a government-supported innovation system will remain low. However, especially for SMEs that do not reach a certain critical size and struggle with the complexity of certain problems, network effects can be of great importance. A lack of systematic innovation processes and IP management can then be compensated by participation in innovation systems.

Takeaway 7: Innovation parks, technocenters and innovation hubs can help SMEs and startups to strengthen their innovative capacity through the flow of information, ideas, data and knowledge through their network effects.