Swiss Craftsmanship - The Skilled Trade

Switzerland's Contribution to a World of Innovation

Are we really aware which innovations and inventions originate in Switzerland? First of all, both chocolate and cheese are not amongst them - but many resourceful Swiss entrepreneurs have helped develop these two inventions to perfection and turned them into international bestsellers. Nevertheless, there is still enough of Switzerland's own innovations that can be attributed to that famous resourceful and entrepreneurial spirit.

Most Swiss inventions originate from businesses in the skilled trade and are the product of a task or problem solving assignment – the pocket knife, for example, which allows almost any problem to be solved with a single handle. Or the agenda-tool Doodle, which has become part of the Google Group. It even seems that every region in Switzerland has its own inventions, rooted in the specific skilled trade that exists there. The zipper, for instance, was invented in 1923 in St. Gallen, famous for its garment and lace industry, and has an estimated global market of 8 billion US dollars. Or the Tourbillon, the pinnacle of mechanical watch craftsmanship, invented in 1795 by Abraham Louis Breguet (Neuchâtel) and a synonym for Swiss precision.

Switzerland also plays an important role as a pioneer in the culinary world. This is hardly surprising with such a high number of luxurious tourist destinations. Or how about Cellophane, aluminium foil, the "Sparschäler" (swivel-bladed peeler) and the hand blender, to name just a few more popular Swiss inventions for the cuisine. And in the category of popular gastronomy, you will find the Bircher Müesli, Néscafé and even the Cordon Bleu.

In Switzerland today, the concept of innovation is not just an empty slogan. Ground-breaking inventions are regularly published by our universities, technical colleges or art schools (Synhelion - The Solar Fuel). Hardly surprising then that Zurich is home to Google's second largest location in the world and as such attracting new technology companies on a regular basis. By the way, the World Wide Web was invented at the CERN in Geneva and Apple's corporate typeface "Helvetica" originated in Zurich.

It is no coincidence that Switzerland, despite its small size, is able to provide the world with sustainable innovations. A country poor in raw materials, Switzerland was forced from the outset to be inventive on one hand, but also to cultivate acquired know-how on the other, in order to pass the spirit of skill and innovation onto following generations. A contribution to our success is our dual education system, where academic skills are as important as manual and trade skills, and which Suzi LeVine, the former US ambassador, called "a great discovery". Long-term political and economical stability as well as the somewhat prudent approach of Mr. and Mrs. Schweizer are further qualities in high demand.

Corona has affected our country and will certainly continue to affect and change it, but we are confident that Switzerland will find a way through this crisis in its own innovative way.

July 30, 2020


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June 08, 2021

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