Together for a smart capital city

SmartCities Together for a smart capital city

Published on 14.09.2020, Jonathan Gimmel

How does a city like Berne develop sustainably? Find out how the capital city is shaping digital change in a forward-looking way and how important it is to work with economic partners to enable technological, economic and social innovation at the heart of the population.

The city of Berne is growing – and with it the demands of the population for online urban services. While in countries such as Estonia it is possible for foreigners and residents to start a company conveniently online within a short period of time, this step usually takes considerably longer in Switzerland and is partly linked to media breaks and official contacts.

Identifying such areas of life with high potential for efficiency gains through digitization is worthwhile and contributes to the quality of life of all stakeholders. But which trends and new technologies will really prevail in the long run? Virtual community assistants and/or e-voting through blockchain? How will online commerce change the cityscape? What are the priorities despite the pressure to save? How sustainable do we want to live in the future, how mobile do we want to work? How much will the limits of office work and leisure activities overlap in the future? Where do we need to invest today and build partnerships to shape digital change in a future-oriented way at the heart of the population?

These questions are currently being discussed by the City of Berne, as you will be able to see during the digital days in Berne from 2 to 3 November. A smart city is one that connects intelligently and skilfully combines technological, social, and economic innovation to create real added value for its population. This goes far beyond apps for smart parking cards or claims.

Let’s seize the opportunity to meet the challenges of digital transformation together and find future-oriented answers to current needs together with the business world. For example, the City of Berne is working with dedicated companies such as BERNMOBIL, BLS and Energie Wasser Bern on cross-organizational, innovative ideas. A joint culture app for people with a visual disability, for example, is in a pilot phase.

This does not mean that the city council is only agile and innovation methods such as design thinking are standard thinking in the minds of all employees. Where appropriate, the city continues to rely on continuity, proven methods and traditions. But the city has realized that true innovation can only arise between the silos, along with thought leaders like you. Even the electric light was not created by optimizing candles, as they say so aptly. It’s because smart minds rethought up the world. The city of Bern has reinvented itself several times, as the view in the history books shows, for example, when it became the capital. We are confident that Berne will become greener, more social, more efficient and more intelligent as it transforms into a smart capital. What can and would you like to contribute to this sustainable development?


Unfortunately, Connecta will not be taking place as planned. Jonathan Gimmel would have been one of the 80 speakers. An alternative programme is being offered with Connecta TV, Doc and Talk – find out more at:

Jonathan Gimmel

Jonathan Gimmel has been Head of Human Resources, Finance and Digital Development at the mayor’s office since 2019, and Head of the Digital City Berne. Since 1990, he has held various roles in the mayor’s office at the Berne city council, first as an administrative assistant in cultural support and later as a staff member and Head of Core Services.

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