Technology flows in Switzerland
by Georges Haour
International Journal of Technology Management (IJTM), Vol. 10, No. 1, 1995

Abstract: Within a few decades, Switzerland has succeeded in developing a base for a sophisticated industry, at present worldwide, especially in the sectors of pharmaceuticals, specialty chemicals and engineering, as well as precision mechanics. Like other export-driven economies, such as those of Sweden, The Netherlands, the Helvetic Confederation counts powerful multinationals in number disproportionate with its size and population of 6.5 million people. It also presents numerous, technically-based medium-size companies, often extremely successful worldwide in narrow market niches. This interesting case of successful exploitation of technical resources finds its strength in a number of factors, cultural or otherwise. One such factor is a posture of pro-actively seeking to tap flows of knowledge running outside the country, crossroads of Europe. A current illustration of this is to be found in the considerable energy and tenacity deployed by Swiss organizations to be partners of the European Union R&D programmes. A related factor is the country's unrelenting effort in wisely investing in education and training, as well as putting high value on intellectual property. Technology management at the country level underlines the irony that, in a time of rampant liberalism, Switzerland is wondering whether it needs more of a federal science policy, in order to alleviate the fragmentation caused by its extreme decentralization.

Online publication date: Sat, 23-May-2009

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