Technology Outlook 2019
Comparative studies of the performance of Swiss industry and the performance of our
global competition often yield results that are as positive as they are undifferentiated. As
a consequence, it can be tempting to rest on one’s laurels and to simply milk businesses
that are currently operating successfully without much need for investment in research
and development as “cash cows”. Lulled by bottom line results, one neglects to work on
renewal and innovation, squandering the benefits of a profitable line of business, whose
employees are oftentimes knowledgeable, experienced, motivated, and thus ideally suited
for research and development efforts. On closer inspection, however, it quickly becomes
apparent that change and adaptation are called for.
Observers of the global industrial landscape will have noticed that novelty has becomemore important. The pressure to innovate is steadily increasing on established companies.Available time between invention and market entry is decreasing. In order to survive,firms must decide faster than ever which path to take in renewing their productportfolio and how to successfully stand their ground in the race for innovation.In order to actively tackle the race for innovation at an earlier stage, one needs to beinformed at an earlier stage. To this end, in 2015 the SATW published its first TechnologyOutlook by way of experiment. It was well received, yet it had its weaknesses and blindspots. The Technology Outlook 2017 provided better coverage of “neglected” importantareas. The experience of these past four years has shown that publishing the TechnologyOutlook at two-year intervals provides the right and necessary distance with regard tothe twists and turns of a shifting industrial landscape and the accompanying mediahype. For the Technology Outlook 2019, the SATW Executive Committee took an importantstep and handed project ownership to the Scientific Advisory Board. This has certainlybenefited both the publication’s content and scope. Compared to previous editions,authors have deepened their research, improved the report’s structure and takena more quantitative approach. The SATW’s multi-step quality control mechanisms forthe material’s critical appraisal performed well. In its final form, the manuscript owesmuch to the SATW Secretariat’s editing work. I thank all contributors to this process!In the name of the Scientific Advisory Board, I wish you a stimulating read and hope theTechnology Outlook 2019 can provide valuable orientation and guidance.