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Innovation for Switzerland – now and in the future

Everyone’s talking about innovation today. But what does «innovation» actually mean? What does it have to do with armasuisse? And which role does armasuisse Science and Technology play in this? That’s what you’ll find out in this article.

Lucas Ballerstedt, Innovation and Processes specialist area, Science and Technology competence sector

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armasuisse Science and Technology endeavours to cover the needs of the DDPS in the best possible manner through innovation activities. Possible solutions are sought, developed, tested and ultimately utilised, by means of various different tools.

It seems as if the whole world is talking about innovation today. In the meantime, there are thus countless products which are described as innovative – from a wireless charger to a shoe with a sole made of banana skins. This spectrum makes the definition of «innovation» all the more difficult. These examples demonstrate how difficult it is to summarise all aspects of innovation into one universally recognised definition. However, some characteristic features exist with regard to innovation.

Change as a driver of innovation

According to the Gabler Business Dictionary, innovations arise through new developments or due to changes which cause reactions. What does this mean for your own organisation? If you want to drive innovation effectively, it’s important to create a common understanding of what it means to be innovative. The parties involved should therefore be clear in advance about the purpose of innovation and also ask themselves the question, how ready are we for change?

Innovation through technologies

An expression likewise often used in this context is «innovative capability». Innovative capability refers to the ability of a company to be creative and flexible, in order to develop and implement new ideas, products, services and processes. It involves the ability to anticipate changes and challenges and to react to them. Innovative capability requires a broad spectrum of skills including creative thinking, critical analysis, risk taking, cooperation, technical expertise and agility. Innovative capability can also be encouraged by an open corporate culture which supports collaborative work and experimentation. By the way, this paragraph on innovative capability was written by ChatGPT. That’s innovation too.

Innovation only if necessary

armasuisse Science and Technology (S+T) is seeking solutions and also supports the holistic innovative capability across the DDPS innovation environments. Here, the DDPS innovation environments are focused on technology-driven innovations which are primarily geared to the skills that will be required in the future by the DDPS. More than ever, innovations thus constitute an important mainstay in the activities of armasuisse S+T. In this context, armasuisse S+T has been instructed by the Head of Department of the DDPS, Viola Amherd, to implement the DDPS innovation environments as one of the recommendations from the report «DDPS Procurements» by the company Deloitte. An innovation environment does not describe a physical space or even an individual project. Rather, it is a demand-driven innovation tool used to identify, develop, test and ultimately utilise solutions to questions, depending on the required solution maturity. Depending on the problem, it should be possible to select the most suitable innovation environment in each case on a modular basis. Five innovation environments are distinguished: competition, booster, idea labs, sandbox and test runs. They are geared towards the available solution maturity levels as well as those which are required and desired and are constantly being initiated, implemented and utilised with internal as well as, if required, external partners.

As this article suggests, everything is revolving around the topic of innovation this month. Current armasuisse S+T innovation projects will be examined more closely in the following articles. The DDPS innovation environments mentioned above will also be further discussed.

«The most important thing is the utilisation of the knowledge gained»

Portrait photo of Dr. Thomas Rothacher, Head of armasuisse Science and Technology

Dr. Thomas Rothacher, Head of armasuisse Science and Technology, discusses about innovation and the opportunities for innovation in an interview.

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The development of the DDPS innovation environments

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The innovation environments as we know them today were the product of an external analysis of the DDPS procurement processes. The report written as part of this analysis recommended creating an «innovation environment».

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All good things come in fives: The DDPS innovation environments

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We will introduce you to the DDPS innovation environments and explain how these are related to the degree of maturity of the solution.

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DDPS innovation environments - from theory to practice

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In this article, we would like to introduce you to the projects and the paths they have taken.

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DDPS innovation environments in an international context

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You can find out which partners and networks are involved in projects at which points in time in this article.

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