SWITCHhub – a retrospective

SWITCH maintains a systematic innovation process. This targeted procedure has thus far allowed it to bring a wide range of projects to life. One major example is the Community Service Hub, which is currently being brought into operation under the name SWITCHhub.

Text: Sebastian Sigloch, published on 29.11.2018

SWITCH understands innovation to mean the sustainable guarantee of added value for its stakeholders. We ensure this added value by improving our existing services and creating new ones. Innovation activities by SWITCH employees play a key role in the fulfilment of the foundation’s purpose. As an integral part of the Swiss university landscape, they work on collaboratively developed ICT solutions to empower users within and outside the academic world. 

The stages of the innovation process

All valuable ideas are primarily based on an understanding of the needs and problems of the university landscape. SWITCH employees identify this information either by proactively connecting with key figures and groups in the community, or by reacting to feedback from interest groups. Following a phase in which we deepen our understanding and develop ideas, these ideas are then added to the SWITCH innovation process, where they are continuously evaluated and discussed by the relevant divisions according to set evaluation criteria. 

If an idea is selected for the next step, it is transferred either to operational implementation or to an innovation project. In innovation projects, solutions are screened once again if necessary, and tested and verified early on using prototypes or pilot projects in the community – for example, with the help of business models and use cases. If a prototype meets a widespread need in the community, SWITCH can decide to put it into operation. 

We have only succeeded with an innovation once we have achieved a sustainable level of use at Swiss universities.

This step-by-step process saves valuable resources at SWITCH and allows them to instead be used where they can provide important added value for the community. 

By our definition, we have only succeeded with an innovation once we have achieved a sustainable level of use at Swiss universities.

From Community Service Hub to SWITCHhub 

Eighteen related ideas from the SWITCH innovation process underlie SWITCHhub. Hypotheses were created based on these ideas and then transferred into a service brokerage model together with universities from the community.  

This model was subsequently tested and successively refined in a cloud solution using selected use cases. A key factor in the success of the innovation project was the participation of nine university partners from the community.

Following the innovation project’s approval by the SWITCH Management Board, the Community Service Hub is now being put into operational service as SWITCHhub. This process was driven by our newly-founded Digital Solutions & Coordination division, led by Marco Dütsch. 

 

 

About the author
Sebastian   Sigloch

Sebastian Sigloch

Sebastian Sigloch joined SWITCH in February 2015 as Innovation & Business Development Manager. He concluded a Doctor of Philosophy research on Internet Economics in Cambridge and graduated in Business Development at École Superieure de Commerce in Clermont-Ferrand and Business Information Technology at Reutlingen University.

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