We sat down with our Swiss Match-Maker Dr. Daniel Heller, Partner and Vice President of the Board at a leading Communication Consulting agency Farner Consulting AG.
With over 25 years of experience in Strategic Consulting, Public Affairs, Campaigning, Change Communications, Litigation PR and Governmental Relations, he shared his insights on the state of innovation in Switzerland and Farner’s perspectives on startups and corporates.
Looking at the Swiss market, in which area (industries) do you see most of the progress being made when it comes up to innovation? And where do you see the biggest challenges?
I see most progress in Innovation in Switzerland around the technical universities ETH / EPFL (Federal Universities in Zürich and Lausanne), then in the field of Life Sciences and Health Care (around the pharmaceutical industry in the Basle Area) and growing in Fintech (around Zurich).
You are a member of Innovation Board at Farner. Can you share some of the objectives and experiences so far?
Each business should be aware of the innovative potential of his own staff and give incentives for good ideas. Farner’s Innovation Board supports and evaluates innovative projects coming from our staff on base of approved business plans. Until now, we realised in the first year two successful projects: The Farner Issue Manager – an automatised search engine to monitor key issues in the parliaments on communal, cantonal and federal level and a full influencer data bank.
On the startup side, how is communication helping startups at an early stage of their business idea? And to what degree do you see startups really leveraging the impact of communication?
Investors must understand new business ideas before they invest. Many founders are not aware, that the view of the investor differs from the perspective on the business of the entrepreneur. So the right equity story plays a key role in successfully funding a business idea.
On the corporate side, to what degree do you see companies sharing openly their innovation experiences and lessons learned with others to improve? And how is Farner helping companies in this regard?
In Switzerland we have meanwhile a lot of corporate venturing. Farner has a dense network to big corporates as clients for communication services. We offer this network to startups to help them, to find access to big companies.
What are your views on corporates driving innovation with startups? Is it working? Are there best practices out there?
There are mixed experiences. Some corporates are too slow and too cumbersome to successfully scout startups. That’s why we are looking to cooperate with partners like Match-Maker Ventures to provide professional B2B connecting services.