Annual Plan 2021

As initiated last year we published again our annual plan in order show what we’re working on, what we aim to achieve and to help you – our community – to get involved. We’re more than happy to hear your feedback and learn how we might improve accessibility and comprehension.

Open Annual Plan 2020

Our annual plan 2021 was set up as an Open Google Sheet on January 19. Within this document you can find:

  • one tab called [original (19.1.21)] to which we won’t apply any more changes during the year and
  • one tab [living] that we will continuously update and complement.

Alternatively, you can find the annual overview above as jpeg (status: 19.01.2021). If you want the document in another format or provide us with feedback, reach out to us via .

Learnings at the Prototype Fund

GIF from TeamTumult based in Zürich.

Six months to develop a prototype to increase political participation in Switzerland. A daunting task. Who has accepted the challenge? 24 highly motivated people are currently tackling this endeavor in five project teams.

A few months into the program, it is time to look back. How did we fare?

Get to know the key learnings of the Prototype Fund team as well as the five project teams in six blogposts:

Meet the projects teams on the final Demo Day on 2 March

Are you ready for more fun and diversity in politics and tools for making digital participation realer? Then join us on 2 March 5.30-7.30pm to try out the Prototype Fund prototypes yourself and discuss with the project teams their plans and strategies. Register here and invite other Civic Tech enthusiasts via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or any other platform. You can find the detailed program on the Prototype Fund site.

Shape My City – Lucerne, the Results!

Almost in one breath following the Smart city Lab Lenzburg, we were happy to support the student team of the Master of Applied Information and Data Science at the HSLU in their organization of the Shape My City Hackdays – Luzern, a Hackathon revolving around smart city projects for Lucerne and its inhabitants.

Around 110 participants gathered online, ready to hear about the 15 so-called challenges awaiting for a solution. Those issues opened by either the industry, civil society or city of Lucerne itself, were prepared in collaboration with group of students who helped defining the framework of the question and to gather and prepare relevant datasets, providing the Hackdays-teams with the material to solve the challenge itself.

This event being a fully virtual workshop was not as vividly alive as what we are used to during the HSLU-student Hackdays, (melancholy…), still, the very funny slides and the clear engagement of the teams made for a very good event. Two inputs by Stefan Metzger CDO of the city of Luzern and by Benjamin Szemkus, Program manager of Smart City Switzerland, provided for background information about the strategies and perspective in the field. A lot of open data on the topic of smart cities was gathered, and last but not least and as always astonishing, the plethora of good results convinced us once again of the relevance of such collaborative endeavours.

The challenge topics nicely completed or confirmed those issues addressed a few weeks before in Lenzburg. There too it was obvious that those location and user-specific solutions are actually relevant for a much broader public and regions. Nevertheless, implementing them locally still seems to be a meaningful and challenging enough step before exploring those broader fields.
Strikingly many challenges express the effort of the challenge owners to identify the most problematic areas in term of energy consumption in order to leverage their interventions, as well as the willingness to identify the needs of various stakeholders in order to fulfill them better.
Most project-teams are now willing and ready to keep on exploring the challenges with their challenge owners, we are curious to see how far the projects go from there on!

Solar Energy in the City of Lucerne
Identifying similar buildings in terms of solar characteristics facilitates the approach to building owners to promote the installation of solar panels. The project group gathered over 15 different datasets, cleaning, preprocessing, analyzing and converting the datasets into desired shapes and Geospatial data formats. The prototype is as desired simply an excel file, containing the necessary information.  Disclaimer: data about the buildings are not publicly available and are to be considered as strictly confidential. Therefore, this part is private, however, the code is public.

Consumer Behavior in the City of Lucerne
The project group worked on identifying Personas that will help to address the target groups on the topic of environmentally friendly behaviours. They also worked on analysing datasets to find interesting correlations and patterns concerning existing consumer behaviour.

Quantification of Visitors of Cultural Events
The number of visitors from the surrounding municipalities attending events at cultural venues in Lucerne is not available yet. The project-team created a measurement tool that easily and efficiently registers the place of residence of the attendees of a cultural event.

Drug Sharing Ecosystem Driven by Blockchain
This group implemented a Blockchain technology to visualizes exchanges and flows of drugs between main health stakeholders, in order to increase transparency, security and automation of drug exchanges.

Open Social Spaces
Through the use of a web AR Application, locals can give a shape to their ideas. Users can place and visualize objects directly in a chosen location and vote for creations by others.

360° Stakeholder Feedback Analysis
Large urban transformation projects require thorough analysis of the needs and requirements of all stakeholders involved. This project-team therefore worked on a Dashboard allowing grouping, qualification and prioritization of the stakeholders-related needs and information, in order to make more of the available data and provide decision-makers with a fast overview by project.

2000 Watt Site – Reduction of Energy Consumption
This project-team worked on a gamification model and an app to inform and incentivize the reduction of energy consumption of households and help achieve the 2000 Watt Society goals. The system aims to compares households’ consumption as awareness is one of the motivations for new energy consumption strategies.

Reduce Car Rides at Traffic Peak Hours
The project-team worked with an Agent-Based Traffic Modelling and Simulation Approach to predict and analyse the forseeable changes in traffic load for an area in planning.
They produced a SUMO file with a modeled traffic flow integrating the new conditions on the project site, as well as reflected on the tools and incentives for future traffic regulation on the area.

Find Energy Inefficient Buildings in the City of Lucerne
As about 45 % energy usage is linked with buildings themselves, this team worked on a building-images database to identify potentially energy-intensive buildings, as well as on a gamified app-prototype to improve thanks to collective intelligence, the quality of the image collection, labelling and identifying.

Interactive Visualization for Neighbourhood Residents
This team worked on visualizing existing data of small sub-quarters to gain insights about the facts, needs and participation interests of the residents in those neighbourhoods. The insights and visualisation will be integrated in a website to make the findings accessible to all residents.

3D Geovisualization of building energy demands
In order to identify strategic leverage areas of high energy consumption, this team combined 3D data with energy demand data and revealed regions and buildings with potential for energy optimisation.

Flat finder for seniors:
This team tackled the issue of the specific needs of the elderly when it comes to finding a suitable house or apartment. They created a housing platform that analyses housing advertisements from existing platforms and filters out those fitting the needs of seniors.

Netto- Null in den Quartieren?
The demo created by this group allows to determine the current CO-2 emissions in the districts of Lucerne and to visualise which heating methods the buildings are using. This is a strategic information for decision makers for energy-production methods and for the inhabitants to visualize the impact of one or the other heating system on the environment.

Quality of Life in Lucerne
This working group focussed on generating new insights from an online questionnaire about Life Quality in Lucerne for the city administration. They identified personas, expectations and new variables from the citizens answers.

Smart City Lab – Lenzburg 2020, the results!

And there it went!
In the beautiful Aula Blecherain, blended by the October sun, the organizing committee gathered and broadcasted the announcements of the challenges to be worked upon during the Smart City Lab Lenzburg.

Meant to take place on site, this collaborative ideation-workshop about the future of how to live together, took place online. An online event actually feels very abstract: a lonely little number at the bottom of a computer screen tells about how many other screens are switched on as well…
But as groups start forming, Slack starts beeping and conversations start resonating through the computer speakers, it suddenly takes a sense of reality: it’s happening!
People are indeed thinking together to solve a problem.
The truth is, the setting itself is a challenge: almost each step of the workshop, from team definition to problem definition, from co-creation to presentation, requires until now a different software. But soon workflows were clear to everyone and the discussions focussed on ideas, processes and results.

During those two intensive days, we were happy to welcome five short presentations and inputs on different aspects of smart city tools and smart sustainability: one smart city tool is the successful „Züriwieneu“ app, presented by its project-leader for the city of Zürich, Christian Gees. Allowing citizens to report damages and issues in the city itself, it harvests collective intelligence and links it to the appropriate services of the city.
The potential of Data Analysis for planning and optimization in cities was presented by Luis Gisler von, introducing us to their data visualization platform.
Interesting insights in a new planning and evaluation tool “Smart Site” were presented by Regina Flury vor Arx from for Energiechweiz. The general development strategy of such areas was introduced by Daniel Kellenberger, Project leader for 2000W Areale in DE-Switzerland for Energieschweiz.
And a team from the University of Bern presented “Smart Town”, an overall concept for a better management of cultural events in small to medium cities.

Finally, as Virtual the event was, as Real turned the results to be.
This time again, this collaborative workshop came with a harvest of very promising contacts, collaborations, blueprints and prototypes.

The very interesting aspect of the Smart City Lab Lenzburg is the bottom-up movement it involves: while made on measure for very local issues, the projects tackle national or at time even global issues.

Presented a concept for a Smart Waste collection station: Solar powered waste bins with RFID & reporting function as well as a gamified interaction with users (App, entry card including a reward system).

Belebung Altstadt or the Awakening of the sleeping beauty :
A concept for an App platform allows the different users of the city to find easily what the city has to offer: from everyday needs to leisure and culture, consumers find what they look for and more, while shop owners can identify the best spaces for their offer.

Lenzburg electrically independant
Working towards this far vision, the team analysed the present situation in an exhaustive overview and hypothesized scenarios.

Photovoltaics /ZEV im Lenz
The team produced an in depth analysis and model of the photovoltaic potential, usage and project feasibility on the roofs of a new buildings group.

Energy-counselling of the future
After assessing precisely the needs and potentials of individual/sur-mesure counselling for the stakeholders of the energy sector, the team set a roadmap to create a tool harnessing the new tools (Smart-meters, IOT, AI) for individual consumption analysis in order to enhance service and encourage energy transition.

Connecting neighbourhoods
The team created a blueprint for an open, modular city communication and services platform allowing inhabitants, service providers, shops, cultural and social actors to inform and exchange, motivating and enhancing fluid interaction between the city’s diverse neighbourhoods.

Toolkit for urban data collection
This team created an easy to use software for a set of low cost sensors in order lower the threshold for more continuous in-stream measurements of a city’s variables (such as traffic flows). Gathering high quality data allows assessing the current situation and supports decision making.

Would you like a free coffee?

Imagine yourself, walking through the city on a cloudy afternoon. You see a coffee truck in front of you. “Would you like a free coffee?” a woman unexpectedly asks. You nod and say yes, already having the smell of coffee in your nose. “Great, I just need you to share some of your personal data with me”, the woman casually adds. You stare at her and hesitate.

We asked this question at 11 locations in German-speaking Switzerland. The question and the free coffee are part of an awareness campaign called Data Café, which promotes a reflective understanding of the value of data in our society.

A deal most of us make online every day was brought to the streets -by using Google search, Facebook, Instagram, or WhatsApp, we “pay” for the  “free” services with our personal data. Unlike on the Internet, where you can use many services in exchange for personal data, at the Data Café, you get a coffee if you are willing to share your data:  first name, last name, gender, e-mail, date of birth, and canton. You can get a feeling for our campaign in this video, but continue reading to learn about our discoveries during the journey through Switzerland.

Anger, indifference & interest – a wide range of reactions

The reactions to our offer were diverse. A few were angry and ran off so quickly that we could not even explain the motivation of our offer nor ask them whether they used any free digital services. Some weren’t bothered by the deal at all, even if we tried our best to cause discomfort with critical questions like “Do you even know what we’ll do with your data?”. They just wanted to enjoy their free coffee. Most were interested in the offer, but critical. They asked: What will happen to my data?

One page of T&Cs is still too long

The coffee lovers could read our terms and conditions (T&C) on the back of the menu. However, most people were too lazy to read our T&Cs, although they were only one page long. Some people asked us to provide a summary:

  • The collected data is saved anonymously on servers of the University of Zurich. 
  • The participants receive one email with a request to participate in an online survey.
  • The data of the survey are collected through Qualtrics LLC, a firm located in Utah, and are deleted at the end of this project.
  • In addition to the data participants provide as payment, information about IP address, location and the device used will be stored. 

What do you think? Are you still interested in that free coffee?

35% of Data Café visitors are willing to pay with their data

We heard many reasons why someone wouldn’t share data for a coffee, from lazy excuses to serious privacy concerns, to contradictory answers such as not wanting to share data on the street at the data cafe, but simultaneously admitting  that they share much more data online without thinking twice.

Among the people we asked if they would like to have coffee, around 35 percent accepted the offer and enjoyed a coffee paid for with their personal data. When asked about the motives for revealing their data, many argued that their data is already available online, that they personally have nothing to hide or that they trust us. Are they aware of the potential misuse of personal data?

What about you? Do you belong to the group of people who would have accepted our offer and drank free coffee? 

Learn how to understand, protect and use data

Regardless of whether someone has shared their data, we have encouraged people to visit our website, where we have summarized several tips on protecting, understanding, and using personal data. 

For those who were interested in improving  their knowledge about data, we handed out the magazine “Wert von Daten” published by the Foundation Mercator. The magazine explores the topic through conversations with various experts taking on different perspectives.

Interesting and fun facts from survey

To gain further insight, we sent a survey to each person who shared their data.

The majority of people who had a coffee at the Data Café were between 18 and 34 years old, followed by people aged between 35 and 50. We found that 56% of respondents say it’s time to have a deeper debate about data and privacy. In response to the question about why we pay for so many services with our data, 69% say that we are not aware of it whereas 9% think that we do not pay for much with our data.

Thanks to the Data Café, we were able to talk to many different people about the value of data and the dangers of sharing them carelessly. We were able to reach an audience that normally does not discuss the topic of data security or data usage. Besides the decision of whether or not to get a free coffee, people had many questions about our data in general.

To name just a few: 

  • Why is it important to protect my data? Everyone has my data already anyways. 
  • How do companies earn money with my personal data? 
  • Are there alternatives to… Google, WhatsApp, Facebook? 
  • Should I stop using Facebook?

What’s next

For next year we plan on further developing our campaign and continuing in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. Thereby we hope to further improve our approach, deepen our understanding of the behavior of people towards data and finally to publish a Data Café handbook. 

This initiative is implemented by the non-profit association and enabled by the Mercator Foundation Switzerland.

Werde Teil vom Vorstand / Devenez membre du Comité

Für die nächsten Wahlen suchen wir Kandidat*innen für eine teilweise Erneuerung des Vorstands:

Zur Ergänzung suchen wir namentlich Vertreter*innen aus der Romandie, dem Tessin und Vertreter*innen aus dem Hochschulbereich – idealerweise eine Kombination dieser Merkmale. Damit möchten wir die Idee der offenen Daten in der französisch- und italienischsprachigen Schweiz stärker verankern und unsere Aktivitäten ausdehnen. Ein direkter Einbezug der Hochschulen interessiert uns, weil wir einerseits auch die Idee der open research data stärker betonen und andererseits die Nutzung von offenen Daten fördern möchten. Namentlich wüssten wir es zu schätzen, wenn sich Frauen melden würden, um dem gender-gap in diesem Bereich entgegenzuwirken.

Hier findest Du / finden Sie Informationen zum aktuellen Vorstand, den Statuten, dem Team und der Strategie des Vereins.

Wenn Sie sich / Du dich für die Open Data-Thematik interessieren/st, in diesem Bereich schon aktiv und vernetzt seid / bist, würden wir uns über eine Interessensmeldung bis am 17.01.2021 an freuen.

A l’occasion des prochaines élections de renouvellement partiel du comité de l’association, nous lançons un appel à candidature! Pour compléter et équilibrer le comité, nous recherchons explicitement des canditat(e)s de la Suisse romande, du Tessin et / ou issu(e)s du secteur universitaire ou des hautes écoles. Nous souhaitons ainsi développer davantage nos activités dans l’ensemble de la Suisse et y ancrer la thématique de l’Open Data / des données ouvertes.
Par ailleurs, nous cherchons à soutenir et améliorer l’accès, l’ouverture et l’utilisation libre des données pour et dans la recherche et espérons donc un rapprochement et une meilleure collaboration avec le monde académique. Les candidatures féminines sont particulièrement bienvenues: travaillons ensemble à l’implication de toutes et tous dans ce domaine.

Vous trouverez / tu trouveras ici (en allemand) des informations sur le comité actuel, les statuts, l’équipe et la stratégie de l’association.

Si vous êtes intéressé(e), impliqué(e) et connecté(e) dans le domaine de l’open data, nous serions heureux de vous lire jusque au 17.01.2021! Contactez-nous:

Zeitfresser Datenbeschaffung: open by default bitte

Dieser Text von Dr. Vera Eichenauer erschien zuerst in der Kolumne «Das letzte Wort» im Bulletin der Schweizerische Akademie der Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaften.

Meine internationalen und Schweizer Gesprächspartnerinnen zeigen sich vielfach überrascht, wenn ich berichte, dass die Schweiz, was die Offenheit ihrer Regierungsdaten (Open Government Data, OGD) anbelangt, deutlich hinter der Weltspitze liegt: im Global Open Data Index der Open Knowledge Foundation belegt die Schweiz nur den 47. Rang, im Open Data Inventory (von 2018) den 33., im Open-Data-Barometer immerhin den 22. – allerdings im letztgenannten Index nur mit der Hälfte der Punkte von Grossbritannien und hinter Frankreich, Deutschland und der Tschechischen Republik. Dabei handelt es sich um die Offenheit von Daten, die öffentliche Verwaltungen auf Bundes-, Kantons- und Gemeindeebene bereits sammeln, bezahlt mit Steuergeldern.

Als Staatsbürgerin empören mich der beschwerliche Zugang zu öffentlichen Daten und deren schlechte Dokumentation. Daten sind eine wichtige Grundlage für die Meinungsbildung und der Ausgangspunkt für Entscheidungen – von Regierungen ebenso wie von Bürgerinnen und Bürgern. Dies zeigt sich gerade während der aktuellen Covid-19-Krise. Die an sich verbindliche Open-Government-Data-Strategie, Teil der Legislaturplanung 2019–23, muss nun zügig umgesetzt werden.
Als Forscherin sind die fehlenden oder unsystematischen Informationen über vorhandene Daten vor allem ein Zeitfresser: Ich brauche viel Zeit um herauszufinden, welche Daten es überhaupt gibt und noch mehr Zeit, um diese zu beantragen, auf Qualität, Zweckmässigkeit und Kombinierbarkeit zu überprüfen.

Es braucht einen mentalen Wandel

Eine zentrale und öffentliche Dokumentation von bereits verfügbaren Datensätzen, mitsamt ihren Eigenschaften, Zugangsbedingungen und -prozessen könnte den Zeitaufwand für Forschende enorm reduzieren. Dies fördert den gleichberechtigten Datenzugang für jüngere oder weniger vernetzte Nachwuchsforschende und ausländische Forscherinnen. Ein einfacher Datenzugang fördert zudem die Reproduzierbarkeit von Forschungsergebnissen.

Es gehört niemand an den Pranger gestellt: Überall wird fleissig digitalisiert. Wichtig ist der mentale Wandel hin zum Primat der Offenheit und Transparenz (open by default). Neue Verwaltungs- und Forschungsdaten als offene Daten zu publizieren, verursacht minimalen Aufwand – anders das Aufbereiten alter Datensätze. Dank solcher Offenheit steht den Sozial- und Geisteswissenschaftlerinnen und auch nicht akademischen Analystinnen und Anwenderinnen von Daten mehr Zeit für ihre Kernarbeit zur Verfügung: neue Fragestellungen zu untersuchen und Erkenntnisse zu generieren.

Wenn Publikationen (hoffentlich bald Open Access) die akademische Währung und Innovationen das Gold der Schweiz sind, dann sind qualitativ hochstehende Daten aus einem institutionell, kulturell und geografisch so vielfältigen Land wie der Schweiz ein quasi unerschöpflicher Rohstoff, den es nicht zuletzt für unsere Forschenden zu heben gilt. Ich wünsche mir dafür «volle Kraft voraus», da- mit ich mehr Zeit damit verbringen kann, Daten zu analysieren, anstatt sie zu sammeln und aufzubereiten.

Wem gehört Züri?

Wem gehört Züri? Unterstütze die Recherchearbeit von und die Debatte zur Öffentlichkeit des Grundbuches. Für mehr Transparenz über Besitzverhältnisse! #transparency

Smart Cities on the Rise

Cities take their innovation into their own hands! 

Three online hackathons in a row, tackling different aspects of urban life at different cities scales, show us how smart cities will be developed locally, by and for their inhabitants, with Open Data as raw material for reflection and solutions.

The first hackathon, Smart City lab Lenzburg, will take place online on the 13th and 14th of November 2020 and is strongly anchored in the local community and it will tackle questions specific to Lenzburg: for example after a new 2000W neighbourhood was build, the following questions arose: How to optimize this new way of urban living? Which lessons can we learn? Which solutions could be adopted by the rest of the city? Another challenge will be how to reunite the different parts of Lenzburg, which were cut up by the train tracks and the highway at different moments of its historical development? Could optimizing public transport to the different neighborhoods be part of the solution? Or making initiatives and activities in different parts of the city more visible to the rest of Lenzburg? Questions also arise from the side of the city administration and services, and from the energy provider. Solutions might be digital or not, but while their starting point is local, the solutions might concern us all.

Shortly after, on the 27th and 28th of November the Shape my City – Open Data Hackdays, organized for the second year by the students of the master’s degree course in Applied Information and Data Science of the Lucerne University of Applied Science and Arts, will also take place online. For this larger touristic and academic city, one of the focuses will be to understand the needs of the different types of inhabitants, users, visitors and stakeholders of the city. How can we shape the interaction for better communication and services? And how can we incentivise behavioural changes for a more harmonious and sustainable city life? The other topics revolve around exploring the potential of the urban fabric for energy production, climate change mitigation and here too, the model role of 2000W neighborhoods.

Then, also online on the 29th & 30th April 2021, the Energy and Climate Hacks will be held as a parallel event to the Decarbonizing Cities Conference. During this event, smart urban living will be addressed through the lens of energy efficiency not only in Bern but also in some british cities, throwing a bridge between common issues and needs across borders.

The beauty of this series of events is not only that it will allow us to go deeper in the development of solutions, but also that it exemplifies how bottom-up locally embedded initiatives actually tackle global issues and how those proposals, tested at a local scale, might help our society beyond their original purpose.

These events are open and free of charge, like all our other hackdays, so take part, you too have a take on how our future smart cities should be!

Smart City lab Lenzburg 13th and 14th of November 2020
Shape my City – Open Data Hackdays 27th and 28th of November 2020
Energy and Climate Hacks 29th & 30th April 2021

Energy Data Hackdays 2020, the results!

The excitement before the new edition of the Energy Hackdays in Brugg was a bit special this year. Besides the usual sweet little heart pinch of the leap into a new group, the discovery of the challenges and the satisfaction of seeing this particular event repeating for the second time in Brugg, there was happiness but also respect about having the Energy Hackdays taking place mostly on site at the Hightech Zentrum Aarau.

So we met in person and as far as we can say, it has been worth it! 13 really ambitious and technical challenges met 85 participants who were nonetheless ambitious and highly qualified! Two big themes emerged this year and predictions based on machine learning was one of them. Predicting performance, usage patterns, anomalies or even failure, in order to plan, use and maintain infrastructure more accurately. Reaching these goals of course allows a much better resource and production management. 

The other big topic covered by several challenges was the question of visualization and interfaces, especially for smart-meters: How to help users, scientists, producers or end-consumers to read flows of data and allow them to interpret and decide or react appropriately to a given data supported information? How can they analyse and control different aspects of their infrastructure or installation? Tangent to this topic were challenges that attempted to allow a market overview for the consumer, in this case the market of E-Car charging stations, or to visualize the overall live electricity consumption of Switzerland.

As far as I can judge and from what I heard from the challenge owners, the results blew us away! While the project descriptions might be a bit less accessible to the public than some from past hackdays, the approaches and results certainly correspond to a present need in the energy industry and comfort us in the conviction that hackathons and collaborative work with Open Data do support high-end innovation.
We were also very lucky to welcome the team of Campus 21 who harvested the visions of some of the participants for the future of Open Energy Data.

See you all next year!

The 13 projects developed during the hackdays

District Heating Optimisation  

Decrease gas peak boiler runtime due to better storage operation: heat demand forecast, improved storage control, better storage operation.

PV self-consumption optimization

Evaluate and optimize trade-offs in the design of battery storage for PV systems, so our customer can select, whether they want the most economical battery solution or maximise their autarky. Our tools calculate the maximized economic benefit over lifetime.

Read your own Smart Meter

Read your Smart Meter through the local Customer Information Interface (CII) and visualize your consumption. Design a dashboard with the most useful information.

Cheapest Charging around

In order to develop the GIS platform of the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) further: Add price information to the charging stations and find the cheapest option around for electric car drivers.

Energy Data Visualization    

Creating a platform for strategic decision making based on data from the Energy Science Center of ETH Zürich.

e-mobility behavior analysis

We analysed the charging patterns of private vs public e-cars charging stations. This could provide good hints for a further automated customer segmentation, help prediction of behavior changes for the load-curve vs renewable electricity production & help customers optimize their charging habits.

Empower the People with Smart Meter Data

Smart Meter Additional Use Cases: Novel energy certificate assesses where and how strongly building / user behaviour causes deviation from theoretical / optimum behaviour.

ML Wind Power-Prediction

Machine Learning Wind Turbine Power Curve Prediction: we compared constructor provided production projections with actual production curves with the goal to improve site-specific  performance prediction of wind turbines.
– Development of machine learning algorithms  (or tools/aps) for improved site-specific  performance prediction of wind turbines.
– Development of alternative algorithms e.g. Artificial Neural Networks
– Inputs: wind velocity, turbulence intensity, shear factor (alpha)

Put CH on the Electricity Map

Help meet the Paris Convention goals to achieve net 0 by 2050, less than 2 tonnes CO2 per person! We want to raise awareness around energy use and consumption by putting Switzerland on the map at and put its open data API to use.

Distributed analytics for asset management

The goal is to create a decision support tool for asset managers, using AI to predict how power transformers will fail, and what to watch out for.

Anomaly Detection in Smart Meter Data

We developed EDA and algorithms for the Anomaly Detection in Smart Meter Data challenge. We developed several approaches for detecting anomalous days based on mean and std of the readings during the day and for detecting single anomalous readings.

These models can be integrated in the second part  of the challenge

MeterOS: Smart Meter Anomaly Detection

Create a model for Smartmeter Anomaly detector and their visualization.

Unleashing the Swiss Smartmeter’s CII

Empower citizens to use their energy data. Using the smartmeter’s CII beyond visualisation to steer local consumption.We developed a concept and PoC roadmap to provide a “universal” adapter from smart meters to home IoT platforms. Forum: From Data Visions to Action Points

Back in June we celebrated the 10th edition of our yearly forum. Where we talked about new data narratives and our visions for the data future. During the forum we held two workshops based on data visions to find concrete action points that we can do today to create a better (data) future.

New data visions

We called for our community to enter data visions which we then worked on in greater depth at the forum. From the 19 visions that were entered via our website, we selected eight to be treated during workshops. We are leaving the form open for entries, in case you would like to let us know about your data vision you can do so here.

You can find the notes on the eight workshops in the table below.

Filling Female Data GapsA world where data is available without gender bias and gaps
Research Data ConnectomeTo connect and organize (meta)data for research sustainably across disciplines, in order to make it widely accessible, interoperable and valuable.
Serving, not SpyingIn ten years from now, I don’t feel observed and manipulated through the Data being collected about me but I can rely on being served by data for better services, better policies and a better environment.
Large Citizen Generated Open Data SetsResearch institutes routinely use large open data sets, where individuals have securely donated their anonymous high quality personal data of different kinds (e.g. contact tracing data, spatial data, shopping data, media consumption, etc.)
Better use of data in Switzerland 1 Public and private sector data is open, shared, and used for public and private good within a trustworthy data ecosystem (“Swiss / European DataSpace“).
Better use of data in Switzerland 2Public and private sector data is open, shared, and used for public and private good within a trustworthy data ecosystem (“Swiss / European DataSpace“).
Solid basis for committed debate and innovationData creates a critically discussable basis for political analysis and joint shaping of our future just as they enable innovations in everyday life – free access and responsible use are indispensable for an enlightened information society.
Open decentralized data storageData is a new form of currency: It is too powerful to be controlled by centralized private entities – let’s build a decentralized system to store, share and use data.
Shared ecosystem of energy data in SwitzerlandData about energy production and consumption is shared openly by Swiss utility companies, promoting open innovation and helping to reach the “Agenda 2030” climate goals.

Defining pain points and action points

From the eight visions that were proposed at the forum, seven were treated in two workshops. Unfortunately not enough people wanted to work on the vision«Large Citizen Generated Open Data Sets». However, the vision «Better use of data in Switzerland» proved to be so popular, that we had two groups working on it. 

In the first workshop, the visions were first made more concrete, then the current situation was recorded and finally the pain points, i.e. the differences between vision and actual situation, were discussed and noted. 

Based on these pain points, the accountable stakeholders were identified in the second workshop. Then action points were noted for these stakeholders, which they can and should address.

You can read the overview of all pain points and action points here.

Pain points

The lack of data literacy was a pain point featured in most of the workshops. The lack of education on data appears to affect many areas. A further problem is the findability and accessibility of data. Even if you find a data set you need, doesn’t mean you can easily use it and integrate it into your research or project. This again is an issue that affects the whole data ecosystem. The second workshop picked up these pain points and after trying to assess the accountability for these developed several action points.

Choosing action points

Among the action points identified in the workshops, three were selected per vision and subjected to a vote on how urgently they should be tackled. Looking at the results of the voting process the following five action points appear to be the most urgent out of the 24 submitted to voting:

  1. Data Literacy: Stakeholder: Institutes and Departments & Research Support: Provide Trainings and Education Sessions. (111/135 points)
  1. Data providers: need to provide good data publication (e.g. publish high-quality data together with metadata), and secure unified open data licences. (110/135 points)
  1. Political decision makers: Provide an easy to understand  legal basis for clear data portability rules and for a decentralized data infrastructure (?). Enable (cantonal) pilots for digital participation. (108/135 points)
  1. Foster cooperation between data user and data provider. On the data user side this means  education (data literacy), good use cases und sustainable data Investment (not only Dashboards). (108/135 points)
  1. Public institutions (libraries, archives, educational institutions, data holders): Provide Infrastructure (as an alternative to Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, etc.) open for everybody. (107/135 points)
  1. Data producers: Be transparent about known flaws in data (it’s better to state/take on than “hide”) and actively seek feedback from data users, to provide better documentation, metadata, and to be able to curate data better. (106/135 points)

Improving data literacy, better data and documentation on it, better legal conditions, better cooperation between data users and data providers and better, more open source infrastructure, is therefore what we will be working toward in the future.  

Next steps

Thanks to the feedback we received, we are looking into ways to improve these priorities. 

If you have an idea on how to actively tackle one of the action points mentioned above or you want to start a working group around one of these topics please let us know via info { at }

On our side, we are already working on data literacy with our Data Café and school of data. We are routinely bringing together data providers and data users at our Hackdays where data providers can experience first hand how their data is being used. A guide on how to (better) publish open data is something we have been thinking about for a long time. It appears it’s not only our association that sees a need for this. We will try to find capacities not only to challenge but also to support data providers as far as that is our responsibility.

Open Farming Hackdays 2020

Vom 4. bis 5. September fanden die ersten Open Farming Hackdays am Landwirtschaftlichen Zentrum Liebegg statt.

Elf neue Lösungsansätze

In nur 36 Stunden wurden die folgenden elf neuen Prototypen für die Landwirtschaft von morgen kreiert.

Die gesunde Kuh: Früherkennung von Krankheiten zur Reduktion von Medikamenten-Einsatz.

Cow Value hilft bei der Entscheidung ob eine Kuh weiter auf dem Hof bleibt oder geschlachtet werden soll.

Decision Support Besamung hilft dabei den idealen Zeitpunkt für die Besamung einer Kuh zu finden.

DorpAdvisor empfiehlt Parzellengenau die richtige Bewässerungsstrategie um den Wasserverbrauch und den Trockenstress für die Pflanzen zu minimieren.

TRIVAtünder ist eine Austauschplattform für Hofdünger

Stop Erosion, eine interaktive Karte, zeigt auf wo das Erosionsrisiko besonders hoch ist, damit gezielte Gegenmassnahmen getroffen werde können.

Dank Open Source Felddaten können Neophyten erkannt, getaggt und automatisch auf einer Landkarte vermerkt werden.

Databndlr vernetzt Konsumentinnen direkt mit den Produzentinnen.

Farmpreneur hilft Bäuerinnen für die Zukunft zu planen

EVAS erfasst die Auslaufzeit der Kühe Automatisch und reduziert so den Aufwand der Bäuerinnen.

Mehr Biodiversität im Ackerbaugebiet zeig auf, wie man ebendiese erreichen könnte.

Begeisterte & engagierte Teilnehmende

Die Teilnehmenden hatten verschiedenste Hintergründe zum Teil ohne landwirtschaftliche Vorkenntnisse: «Motiviert hat mich, dass die zwei Bereiche Landwirtschaft und Hacking eher weit auseinander liegen und dass man daher extrem gut davon profitieren kann, wenn die zwei Bereiche näher zusammen arbeiten. Zudem habe ich keine Ahnung davon wie die Landwirtschaft funktioniert.» meinte einer der Teilnehmenden.

Eine Teilnehmerin meinte dazu: «Vom thematischen inspiriert es mich enorm was für Leute hier zusammen kommen. Es ist mein erstes Mal an einem Hackathon und mit dabei sein zu können und sich auszutauschen und zu sehen wie andere Leute arbeiten war sehr spannend.»

Markus Gusset, vom Bundesamt für Landwirtschaft, war als Challenge-Owner bei Stop Erosion dabei. 75% der Challenge hätten sie im Team lösen können. Zur Rolle von Open Data für seine Challenge meinte er: «Das war die Herausforderung. Nicht alles was wir brauchten um die Challenge anzugehen konnten wir mit öffentlich zugänglichen Daten lösen. Sogar beim Bund war es schwierig die Daten zur Weiterverarbeitung einzubinden. Du kannst sie nicht einfach weiterverarbeiten. Es gibt offene Daten die man ansehen und beziehen kann, aber man brauch zuerst eine Berechtigung für die Weiterverarbeitung. Das war eine Herausforderung für uns da man die Berechtigungen nicht einfach schnell an einem Wochenende erhalten kann.»


Open Data Stories 2019/20

Before and during the Forum we asked you to submit your open data success stories and failures. We think it is important to collect and publish these stories to show what our community has been up to, to reflect upon the successes to realise how far we have come and to think about our failures to pinpoint room for improvements.

During our Forum on June 23, we have received fourteen stories from you. If you would like to add your own story to our collection of successes, you can do so by using the following form: 2020

Findability of Open Government Data

To be valuable open (government) data has to be easily found and used a lot. Open data is published to be used and the easier it is to find a data set, the more it will be used.

Three of your stories feature the search for Open Government Data:

«With the Relaunch of the Website of the Canton of Zurich in the beginning of July 2020 all Open Government Data of Cantonal Organizations will be findable on our Website, too.»

«Road Names have been published as open data: Official index of streets (Federal Office of Topography swisstopo) Official dataset for “official index of streets”, ID196, as per the catalogue of basic geodata in accordance with Swiss Federal Law. The official index of streets includes all of the street names that have been officially declared in the Swiss Federal Register of Buildings and Dwellings (RBD). Responsibility for the completeness of the names in the official index of streets is governed by cantonal provisions.  Link: and»

«I needed a data set to practice ANOVA and went to to find one that would be suited for the task; I gave up after 90 min. I found the GitHub repository on COVID-19 data from the statistics department of the Canton of Zurich very reliable and useful for data mining.»


COVID-19 was the event that has been impacting all our lives since early 2020. The publication and use of data sets on the pandemic, as well as the fact that the importance of open data suddenly became visible is a success

«The COVID-19 data we gathered on GitHub was a huge success. It really showed the power of open data and a lot of people (including leading news outlets like NZZ and SRF) relied on that data when the BAG could not deliver. For the combination of different OGD publishers working together, joined by amazing people from the open data community to work together on this time of crisis was very inspiring. It showed, that we can “pull it off” when we have to. We were there and helped each other and created this amazing dataset for everyone to use. I think I will never forget the past 3 months and what they did to advance the open data movement in Switzerland.»

«Thanks to an excellent collaboration, we were able to open up our COVID19-data as open data much faster than expected. It was a really good example of who working together and examples of best practice helped to foster opening up data!»

«COVID-19 has raised awareness for timely, comprehensive, and machine-readable open data, which everyone is allowed to freely re-use.»

«Happy thought: the publication of data related to COVID-19 sensitized some of my friends to government data issues. In this context, it was nice to see individuals creating data visualisations for broader audiences, often during their own spare time.»

Open Data Projects

The completion of projects is of course always a success. Here are two examples of open data projects that were advanced in the past year:

«Simply generate coordinates of addresses in Switzerland and display them on a map (Success)  Calculating the coordinates of the addresses of teams, clubs, customers or any other group in a simple way and displaying the corresponding points on a map – that was the user-driven request we had again and again on 
We have created a simple Excel file that makes this possible:

  1. Download the XLSX file: 
  2. Open in Excel, follow any instructions for “Activate content”
  3. Fill in the addresses in column 1 from line 5 onwards. Click on Enter to calculate the coordinates.
  4. Select column 9 and copy the contents into a text editor – Save this new TXT file as a KML file (filename.kml)
  5. Go to
  6. and click on “Advanced Tools” on the left and then “Import”. 
  7. Click on “local” and upload your KML file. This simple file is downloaded by many government bodies, fire departments, postal service officials etc… and did not cost an hour to set up and publish on »

«I worked on quite an exciting project at the Open Tourism Data Hackdays last year which analysed the volumes of pedestrian traffic. This was exemplary both in its use of Data Science and in the way that the hackathon team – supported by the association which helped us access the data – petitions cities to implement foot traffic counters and share the data openly. This kind of analysis, by the way, was quite critical a few months later in attempting to combat the spread of COVID-19 in Swiss towns, and work on the open-source project that resulted at our Hackdays continues.  For my part, I am keen to see a #CivicUrbanism interest group start within to promote projects of this type.»


By facing challenges we always learn a lot. Here are some of the challenges you told us about:

«I have invited cultural institutions to open up some datasets, offering counsel, guidance, and practical assistance, but very few responded to my call.»

«I noticed (once again): Getting data cleaned in JavaScript is really, really hard.»

Personal growth and networking

Learning new things, making new connections, and expanding our horizons are some of the successes you shared with us. 

«I learned to work with WikiData in an introduction course by OpenGLAM and added data points regarding female directors of museums, which was fun and felt good! 🙂 This is definitely something that I want to do more often in the future and encourage others to do as well.»

«My success story as a new specialist librarian for research data management: I got to know people who are willing to share as much of their data as possible. They want it to be citable, they want others to work on it, they want others to analyse it. Unfortunately, it became also a bit of a failure story because difficulties arose in technical issues. Where to store it, where to publish it, how to manage access. Together, I want to give them the best support and they should have the opportunity to become seen and recognized in their field by publishing data. We share a vision for that.»

«Met a bunch of inspiring people passionate about Diversity & Inclusion in Open Data at the ODF conference»

Open Data Student Awards

Of course, we also consider the entries for our Open Data Student Awards as success stories. You can read all about the past winners and nominees on our previous blog posts: 2018 | 2019 | 2020

To whom do you want to give your data?

While we use WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook daily, giving our phone number to the local restaurant or downloading the contact tracking app is not an option for many of us. Covid-19 has revealed many things, including the ambivalent handling of our personal data. The nation-wide awareness campaign «Data Café» run by and the Mercator Switzerland Foundation is addressing a question that is becoming increasingly important in the current pandemic: “To whom and for what purpose do I want to make my data available?”.

The leading Internet currency is personal data

The principle of the «Data Café» is simple: Visitors receive a coffee in return for providing their full name, gender, e-mail address, birthday and canton of residence. Thereby, the commonplace online deal of “data for services”, is transferred to the analogue world and thus made tangible. “We invite people to reflect on the value and role of data in our society and make them more aware of the opportunities and dangers of data.” explains Nikki Böhler who initiated the Data Café.

Reactions could not have been more diverse

The Campaign was officially launched at the beginning of March at the Helmhaus Zürich. We have seen many different reactions to our offer to receive a coffee in exchange for personal data. From “my data is everywhere already anyways” to “paying with my data?! this is terrible!” we heard all kinds of reactions to our offer. Get a feeling of our the Data Café experience in our video trailer:

Visit one of our upcoming data cafés

After long break due to Corona we are now ready to get back on the road and continue our tour de Suisse. Our next stops are:

  • 08.08.20 – Weekly market, Lucerne
  • 13.08.20 & 15.08.20 – Kino im Kocher, Bern
  • 18.08.20 – Frau Gerolds Garten, Zurich
  • 18.09.20 – Rathaus für Kultur, St. Gallen
  • 27.09.20 – Literature festival “Literaare”, Thun
  • 03.10.20 – Café Mitte, Basel
  • 17 – 18.10.20 – Museum for Communication, Bern

Learn to understand, protect and use data
If you have not done so already, make sure to visit our website for short tips on how to better understand, protect and benefit from data. Sign up here if you are interested in joining one of our workshops where you can talk to data experts and ask all your questions to gain practical data knowledge.

Open Data Student Award 2020 Winners

On June 23, 2020, we announced the winner of the 2020 Open Data Student Awards at the Forum. For the third consecutive year, we called for students to enter the Open Data work they created as part of their education.

First of all, we would like to thank everyone who entered one of their works. All of your ideas were an inspiration to us and are valuable contributions to promote the use of open data.

This year’s jury consisted of the following people: 

Daniel Krebser; Founder/Owner/Managing Partner ATIZO 
André Golliez; Co-Founder / Managing Partner Zetamind, Vorstand 
Jannis Valaulta; CH Open Vorstandsmitglied 
Prof. Stefan Keller; Informatik-Professor, HSR Rapperswil 
Kirsten Dolfus: SBB Technologiemanagement / Enterprise Architektin

They had the joy of looking at all contributions and the difficult task of choosing the winning entry.

We congratulate Ueli Isenschmid, Anian Pleisch, Janik Sievert, and Severin Spörri for their winning project: Fahrgastzahlen VBZ interaktiv visualisiert

You can find the full list of all entries below:

Winner: Fahrgastzahlen VBZ interaktiv visualisiert

Ueli Isenschmid, Anian Pleisch, Janik Sievert, and Severin Spörri, ETH

The aim of this work is to present the traffic flows over the day in terms of volume as the number of passengers traveling and the percentage utilisation of the network of the transport companies in an interactive map. In addition, this report examines the traffic flows in the public transport system of the city of Zurich during peak times, with particular emphasis on the local bottlenecks at morning and evening peak times. 

Open Data Visualisierung: Landwirtschaftliche Betriebe der Schweiz 

Laura Christina Utz and Rahel Luder, University of Bern

Using a data set with 45’000 data sets from the Federal Office for Agriculture (BLW), the students used bubble charts to group and evaluate all 45’000 farms in Switzerland.


Franziska Suter, Tarik Mohamed, Helena Appenzeller, Clemens Widmer, ZHdK

This project investigates the spatial development of the former western tangent. The west tangent connected the motorway exit Shilhölzli in the south with the motorway entrance Aubrugg in the north and thus once crossed the whole city. 

Visualize the right thing

Boris Djakovic, University Bern

Which raw data should be processed? What makes sense to visualize at all? Which data generates the greatest added value? This project is intended to help identify and locate “important” data collections and to show which important data are openly available.

Studierende an schweizer Fachhochschulen

Luca Fluri and Koray Oezkaynak, FHNW

This project visualises the development and distribution of students at Swiss universities of applied sciences, focusing on gender differences.

Effizienter Zugverkehr dank künstlicher Intelligenz

Dano Roost and Ralph Meier, ZHAW

The aim of this project at the ZHAW was to control trains using reinforcement learning, an area of artificial intelligence. A neural network was created using so-called Curriculum Learning and open data from SBB, which increases the difficulty of the generated rail networks, once a certain rate of arrival has been reached.

Thanks to the Sponsors of this years Open Data Student Award:

Die Post Logo

Five Projects Selected for the Prototype Fund

The Following five projects have been selected by the Prototype Fund Jury to be funded for the first Swiss edition of the Prototype Fund. They will each receive up to CHF 100,000 in funding, at least 5 hours of individual and need-based coaching (e.g. in coding or user-centered design) during the funding period, amongst others. The selected projects promote smart participation in Swiss politics by providing open source solutions and by using open data.


E-Collecting wird das sichere und einfache elektronische Unterschreiben, Validieren und Zählen von Volksbegehren auf Kampagnen-Plattformen ermöglichen.#ROUND 1 


FairElection crée un outil pour les organisations politiques pour choisir des candidat-es en fixant des critères de représentation. Le grand public peut simuler les résultats d’une élection passée en modifiant ces mêmes critères de diversité.#ROUND 1 


Projekt CH+ Games for Democracy uses game mechanics for political self-education and helps voters select their ideal candidates during elections. CH+ is based on co-design and invites users to be part of the design process.#ROUND 1 


Q&A Bundeshaus entwickelt eine Crowd Source-Plattform, über die Bürger*innen Fragen oder Anliegen direkt und öffentlich an Parlamentarier*innen richten können.#ROUND 1 


Voty brings democracy to schools and promotes the understanding of democracy among the youth in a sustainable way through three modules: learning  + testing + living democracy.

The Prototype Fund is a joint initiative by and Mercator Foundation Switzerland.

GLAMhack 2020 – an online success

GLAMhack 2020 – an online success

The 6th edition of the Swiss Open Cultural Data Hackathon, carried out as an online event, took place on 5 and 6 June 2020 and gathered people from all over the world! The teams worked on 15 exciting projects, which are shortly summarized here.

1914 in a Timeline puts newspaper articles from 1914 in relation with media contents of today. The historical articles are drawn from two newspapers from the Romandie (French-speaking part of Switzerland) and can be read either in French or German. Culture in Time is an event calendar using existing linked open data (LOD) on productions, venues and dates to feed both contemporary and historical data into a cultural calendar.

Europa meets Europe is an artistic project that connects the Jupiter moon Europa with the European continent through the help of APIs: random images from the NASA archive are overlaid pixel by pixel with current webcam images… in rhythm with the Jupiter Symphony by Mozart.

Art exhibitions, 1945-2020 visualizes art exhibitions with Switzerland related artists on a map. It allows you to filter by person, by group or solo show or by year. Another type of map is provided by the Swiss Name Chart, displaying the most common family names in a selection of Swiss cities.

Another team working with maps focussed on Georeferencing and linking digitized archival Documents. During the GLAMhack, they analyzed ways of georeferencing a historical map showing the network of Swiss postal connections back in 1851.

SwissAR is a compass, a cultural signpost, a fun tool to help you orientate yourself when you’re outdoors! This web app uses augmented reality to display relevant information about your surroundings.

Interactive Storytelling Across Generations is an educational project which uses old childrens‘ drawings for different kinds of digital learning scenarios. It creates a bridge between generations and encourages children to interact and activate their creativity.

MountainHunt and Match with the Mountains are both inspired by images of mountain landscapes in Graubünden provided by the Fundaziun Capauliana for the GLAMhack. While „Mountain Hunt“ invites users to search for the mountain depicted on a painting and replicate the same image, „Match with the Mountains“ is map displaying the districts of Graubünden and giving an overview of the local mountains.

One team worked on the creation of a Swiss GLAM inventory, comparing existing lists of heritage institutions and defining a model of collaboration between the Swiss National Library and the umbrella associations for each archives, libraries and museums.

Another team analyzed art provenance texts in order to Detect Looted Art. Using red flag names as well as key expressions, the team developed a system to automatically classify and rank art provenance texts according to their „suspiciousness“.

Sir Dridbot Glamhacker is a chatbot which was implemented on Slack, the real time collaboration platform used by the participants during the GLAMhack. You can ask Sir Dridbot Glamhacker for film recommendations or for open data sources.

One team worked on a prototype for the web application Extra Moenia which connects heritage institutions to the outdoors. The user can indicate preferences such as the topic, the distance or the duration of a tour to receive suggestions for outdoor itineraries.

Finally, a team of students in Multimedia Productions at the FHGR Chur gathered video material to produce a #GLAMhack Aftermovie. The film will combine interviews with the participants as well as recordings from the live sessions to document our existing online adventure! Stay tuned for the finished movie!


Die Webseite bietet eine Suche in allen publizierten Gerichtsurteilen von Schweizer Gerichten aller Instanzen. Die Urteile wurden zuletzt im Dezember 2018 von den jeweiligen Webseiten kopiert. Für ein systematisches, regelmässiges Ernten von Urteilen fehlten dem Trägerverein bisher die finanziellen Mittel. Deshalb läuft bis Ende Juni eine Crowdfunding-Kampagne mit dem Ziel, 10’000 Franken einzusammeln. Bitte unterstützt doch dieses Open-Data-Projekt mit einer kleinen Spende und leitet den Link in Eurem Umfeld weiter, damit die angepeilte Summe erreicht wird.

Link zum Crowdfunding:

On the Way to the Digital Utopia

This year’s Forum – New Data Narratives is all about the future of open data. But when we talk about the digital future, too often the conversation drifts off into very bleak, dystopian scenarios: transparent citizens, US Conglomerates leeching on our personal data and ubiquitous control enabled by Artificial Intelligence.

But we refuse to believe that this is what the future has in store for us. As Erik Reece, Author of Utopia Drive, puts it: “…things will only get worse if we don’t engage in some serious utopian thinking.”

And that is exactly what we (Francesca Giardina from Operation Libero and Nikki Böhler from did on Saturday, 22 February, at the Winterkongress 2020, and it’s also what will do at this year’s forum by collecting data visions and working on them during a workshop at the forum.

In our Winterkongress workshop ‘On the way to a digital Utopia’ we asked around 80 participants to turn negative future scenarios around and instead think about what a digital utopia might look. 

We gave participants 10 frequently mentioned dystopian visions, each connected to an overarching theme, and asked them to imagine utopian counter examples and the measures necessary to make them reality. The results of our experiment (transcribed during the workshop) can be viewed below in German.

Coming up with better solutions for our digital future is also the focus of our Forum. We want to create new data narratives that steer away from dystopian scenarios and instead highlight the positive potential inherent in data technology. Come join us on 23 June online.


Gesellschaftlicher Bereich

Dystopisches Szenario (vorgegeben)

Utopische Umkehrung (durch Workshop Teilnehmende)

Zu ergreifende Massnahmen (durch Workshop Teilnehmende)

1. Ehrlichkeit

In der digitalen Dystopie sind wir nicht ehrlich mit unseren Mitmenschen, denn das digitale Denunziantentum hindert uns, Vertrauen ineinander zu fassen. Da wir uns ständig selbst zensieren, wird es für uns immer schwieriger, ehrlich zu uns selbst zu sein.


In der Utopie herrscht ein Netz mit verlässlichen Informationen und Austausch. Die Daten-Souveränität wird zurückgewonnen und dadurch das Recht über die eigenen Daten. Entsprechend können wir uns wieder sicher im Internet bewegen. Verlässliche Informationen sind verfügbar. Es wird transparent kommuniziert, was im Welt-Klimarat passiert, damit man weiss, wie man handeln kann. Transparenz ist ein zentrales Stichwort. Wir wissen, wie Informationen und Meinungen zustande kommen. Es existiert ein Recht auf Vergessen.


Die Datensouverenität wird gewährleistet, zum Beispiel über einen digitalen Avatar. Man kann selber bestimmen, wer die eigenen Daten auswertet. Es braucht in der Bildung mehr Schulung für Kritikfähigkeit. Wir müssen konferieren statt ausschliessen. Es gibt keine Zensur, sondern Einbinden. Die Technologie muss nachvollziehbar sein für die breite Masse, nicht nur für Programmiererinnen. Und es braucht einen Reset-Knopf mit Recht auf Vergessen. Der Staat darf sanktionieren (auf eine positive Art). Transparenz wird gefördert und vorgeschrieben.


2. Kriminalität

In der digitalen Dystopie sind wir alle sicher, weil Verbrechen vorhergesagt und die Täter/innen präventiv in Arbeitslager gesteckt werden. Hackerinnen haben keine Chance. Biases werden aufgelöst, da den Algorithmen alle Daten zur Verfügung stehen.


Es gibt keine Verurteilung ohne Tat. Durch die Datenlage wird die strukturelle Ursache von Kriminalität bekämpft, zum Beispiel durch freiwillige Präventionsmassnahmen auf gesellschaftlicher Ebene. Dadurch werden die individuellen Daten nicht gefährdet.


Die konsequente Einhaltung von Grund- und Menschenrechten wird garantiert. Strukturelle Ursachenbekämpfung ohne totalitär zu werden ist schwierig, weshalb es “open processes” braucht. Legiferierungsprozesse sollen transparent sein. Die Nachvollziehbarkeit ist wichtig. Was ist mit denen, welche die Dystopie als Utopie wahrnehmen? Mit denen müssen wir in einer politischen Entscheidungsfindung klar kommen.


3. Gerechtigkeit /


In der digitalen Dystopie hat man keine Möglichkeit, Entscheide anzufechten oder vor die nächste Instanz zu ziehen, denn die Rechtsprechung wird durch den vorprogrammierten Einsatz menschlicher Betätigung obsolet.


In der digitalen Utopie versteht jeder Mensch seine Rechte und wie sie sich auf die eigene Situation anwenden lassen. Juristische Informationsgewinnung ist zugänglich und effizient. Sinnlose und alte Gesetze werden über Bord geschmissen. Die Technologie hilft uns (der Bevölkerung) zu koordinieren, damit wir gemeinsam unser Recht einfordern können.


Es braucht ein Jus-Google Translate. Das bedeutet, Gesetzestexte können in verständliche Texte übersetzt werden, damit sie jeder verstehen kann. Zudem benötigen wir eine Rechtsberater-App oder ein Netzwerk, damit jeder Unterstützung erhalten kann. Dafür braucht es eine Software, welche open source ist. Zudem muss der Mensch “on the loop” oder “in the loop” sein. Und es muss sichergestellt werden, dass jede Entscheidung nachvollzogen werden kann.


4. Gesetzgebung

In der digitalen Dystopie ist die Gesellschaft nicht durch demokratisch erarbeitete/legitimierte Gesetze reguliert, sondern durch den fest einprogrammierten Code in der Gesellschafts-Betriebssoftware.


In der digitalen Utopie gibt es keine Gesellschafts-Betriebssoftware, sondern eine Vorschlagssoftware, welche die Interessen bewertet und Ratschläge gibt. Dabei wird ein Lobby-Filter angewandt und ein transparentes Informationssystem gewährleistet. Zudem dominiert die menschliche Kontrolle.


Es braucht einen agilen Code. Die Software dafür muss in interdisziplinären Teams mit Ethikexpertinnen, Sozialwissenschaften und Technologieexpertinnen entwickelt werden. Die Software muss frei und offen sein. Auf gesellschaftlicher Ebene braucht es einen Rahmen, mit sichergestellten Menschenrechten. Das Narrativ ändern. Der Staat ist gefragt: Die entsprechende Bildung und dazugehörigen Kompetenzen müssen sichergestellt werden. Der Journalismus ist dafür auch sehr wichtig, weil viele der Narrative momentan von den Firmen stammen. Die Frage stellt sich: Wie kann die Software überwacht oder kontrolliert werden? Eine behördliche Instanz überwacht das und vergibt vielleicht auch Aufträge. Zusätzlich braucht es eine gesellschaftliche Instanz, die über alles wacht.


5. Wettbewerb

In der digitalen Dystopie entfällt der wirtschaftliche Wettbewerb, da sich durch Skalierungs- und Netzwerkeffekte 3-4 globale Unternehmenskonglomerate herausgebildet haben, welche nun die Volkswirtschaften einzelner Nationen diktieren.


Wollen wir Plattformen aufbrechen? Oder erbringen Plattformen Nutzen? Will man die Plattformen regulieren? Wir sind auf der zweiten Schiene. Plattformen sollen Infrastrukturen sein (wie Strom oder Verkehr), welche staatlich zur Verfügung gestellt werden. Dieses Konzept wird verbunden mit dem souveränen Eigentum an Daten.


Als Pendant zum Plattform-Kapitalismus entsteht “Digital Commons”. Plattformen bleiben bestehen, aber tragen zum Gemeinnutzen bei. Datensouverenität ist ein grosses Thema. Auf gesellschaftlicher Ebene wird der Aspekt der digitalen Kompetenz sehr relevant (man weiss, wie die Mechanismen funktionieren, was sie wollen und, dass man Kunde ist). Dafür braucht es die entsprechende Bildung. Auf technologischer Ebene herrscht “Privacy by Default” mit Opt-in Charakteristik. Es gibt klare Standards für Neutralität. Dadurch wird findet Chancen-Nivellierung statt und Interoperabilität existiert. Aggregierte Intelligenz soll nicht “festkleben”. Auf staatlicher Ebene heisst das, dass wir Bereitstellung von anonymisierten Datensätzen (Datensouverenität) für geprüfte Dienstleistungen sicherstellen. Dafür müssen Frameworks erarbeitet werden, um zu definieren, welche Daten wo erhoben werden dürfen. Daten sind nicht böse, sondern müssen rekontextualisiert werden.


6. Lohnarbeit

In der digitalen Dystopie entscheidet ein Algorithmus, wo welche menschlichen Fähigkeiten am effektivsten eingesetzt werden. Wir haben keine Wahl und werden mal hier mal da eingesetzt, um der internationalen Wirtschaft zu dienen.


Dank der Automatisierung oder der Besteuerung können wir ein bedingungsloses Grundeinkommen einführen. Dadurch wird Arbeit neu definiert: Die wenigen Ziele, die Mann / Frau erreichen muss, sind für das Allgemeinwohl und unter gesicherten Arbeitsstandards zu vollbringen. Eventuell kann der Algorithmus Angebot und Nachfrage meiner Fähigkeiten prüfen und matchen (mit transparenten Kriterien).


Bedingungsloses Grundeinkommen schafft die Basis, um von der Dystopie wegzukommen. Dadurch kommen wir hin zu einer Utopie, in welcher wir bestimmen können. Wir haben Geld zur Verfügung, um Jobs nicht notwendigerweise anzunehmen. Der Staat gibt die gesetzlichen Rahmenbedingungen vor. Arbeit wird neu bewertet und Fähigkeiten werden neu bewertet. Es geht um Gemeinwohl, statt um finanzielle Rendite. Dafür sind Schulen und Schulungen gefragt, um individuum zu ermächtigen. Bereits in der Kita muss man anfangen. Die Technologie wird wieder Dienstleister. Es existiert ein transparenter Open-Source Filter, um unsere Jobwahl zu unterstützen, wobei keine Entscheidungsgewalt beim Algorithmus liegt.


7. Vertrauen

In der digitalen Dystopie haben wir keine Möglichkeit und Befugnis, Rechenschaft zu verlangen. Wir vertrauen weder der Regierung, noch einander, da sich alle hinter den technisch unterstützten Entscheiden verstecken können und digitales Denunziantentum gefördert wird.


Auf einer Regierungsebene muss Transparenz herrschen, um Vertrauen zu stärken. Entscheidungen müssen transparent gefällt und von Menschen getragen werden.


Die Sozialkompetenz ist wichtig, um Vertrauen zu schaffen. Diese Kompetenz soll an der Schule gestärkt werden. Dafür müssen auch die Lehrerinnen Sozialkompetenzen trainieren, in der Lehrerausbildung. Das reicht nicht fürs ganze Leben, weshalb Weiterbildung sehr wichtig ist. Vor dem Bildschirm verändert sich die Anforderung an diese Kompetenz nochmals. Deshalb braucht es zusätzlich eine Sensibilisierung für die Spezialitäten des digitalen Raumes. Es muss möglich sein, Rechenschaften einzufordern. Das geht bereits, aber ist sehr kompliziert. Hürde für Rechenschaftsablegung senken mit Digitalisierung, anstatt auf Briefpost warten.


8. Demokratie

In der digitalen Dystopie ist die Demokratie faktisch überflüssig geworden, denn durch demoskopische Datenerhebungen weiss die digital gestärkte Regierung immer schon im Voraus, wie wir über welches Thema denken.


Digitale Mittel werden für dezentrale und inklusive Meinungsbildung genutzt. Zwischen Experten und politisch Gebildeten findet mehr Austausch statt. Die Datenerhebung ist demokratisch öffentlich und transparent.


Das Problem ist, dass ein Spannungsfeld zwischen Anonymität und Transparenz besteht. Es muss die technische Möglichkeit bestehen, eine anonyme Stimmabgabe sicherzustellen. Sonst muss es analog passieren. Es werden Technologien und Plattformen gefördert, welche die dezentrale Meinungsbildung ermöglichen. Diese darf nicht privatwirtschaftlich verzerrt sein. Es soll möglichst niedrige Hürden geben, um sich politisch zu beteiligen. Es braucht staatlich gesetzliche Rahmenbedingungen, wie Lobby Control. Die Gesellschaft muss bereit sein, diese Chancen wahrzunehmen und das dystopische Denkmuster zu verlassen.


9. Gesundheit

In der digitalen Dystopie haben wir keine Befugnis, unsere Gesundheit selbst zu managen oder eigene Entscheidungen zu fällen. Individuelle und gesellschaftliche Gesundheit-Massnahmen werden massgeschneidert vom internationalen Health-Algorithmus vorgegeben.


In der digitalen Utopie haben wir die Befugnis, unsere Gesundheit zu managen. Massnahmen werden von einem offenen Algorithmus vorgeschlagen. Eigene Präferenzen können angewandt werden.


Es braucht Open-Source Software, Datenhoheit, Wahlfreiheit und Anonymisierung. Die Krankenkassen müssen entsprechend eingestellt werden, damit es nicht mehr um Kostenoptimierung sondern um Solidarität geht. Für die Datenhoheit sollte eine Zweckbindung der Daten technisch sicher umsetzt werden (es wird technisch sichergestellt, dass Daten nur dafür genutzt werden, wofür sie freigegeben worden sind). Wenn ein gutes elektronisches Patientendossier da wäre, wäre das eine gute Grundlage. Transparenz und Aufklärung der Bevölkerung sind auch wichtige Punkte.



In der digitalen Dystopie ist die Digitale Kommunikation in jedem Falle und von allen einsehbar, weder Verschlüsselungstechnik noch neue Formen der Kommunikation bieten wirklich Schutz. Unsere Kommunikation ist zudem eingeschränkt und in vorgegebene Bahnen gelenkt.


In der digitalen Utopie sind unsere Kommunikation und unsere Daten sicher verschlüsselt. Dennoch greifen Mechanismen zum Schutz der Menschenwürde. Gar keine Kontrolle kann auch gefährlich sein.


Es wurde eine Debatte über die Infrastrukturanforderungen geführt. Es braucht die Verschlüsselung der Kommunikation. Müssten wir die Plattformen (die hinter der Kommunikation stehen) so weit runterbrechen, dass es wieder Peer to Peer ist? Auf der technischen Seite braucht es Kryptologie ohne Backdoors. Wie kriegen wir das hin, dass sich die Toleranz in der Gesellschaft so weit verbreitet, dass Hate Speech kein Problem mehr ist und Minderheitenschutz automatisch gewährleistet ist.