Team picture with CEO Urs Schäppi

Urs Schäppi with Lukas Peter in front of the Pirates’ Hub

“The Outpost is an innovation tool for keeping us fit”

The Swisscom Outpost has been back in Palo Alto since mid June. The handsome blue building on Forest Avenue welcomes visitors with a pleasant working atmosphere. CEO Urs Schäppi made a visual inspection this week together with Roger Wüthrich, Chief Digital Officer, and Stefan Kuentz, Investment Director of Swisscom Ventures, and was clearly enthusiastic.

Marc Wälti, Palo Alto, 14 July 2017

The new Outpost can be recognized from a distance. The Swiss flag on the roof of the 5-room building brought a smile to the faces of Urs Schäppi and his traveling companions Roger Wüthrich and Stefan Kuentz. Together with the Swisscom logo at the entrance, the flag helps visitors feel right at home.  “The new Outpost is attractive, ‘cozy,’ and Swiss,” is Urs Schäppi’s first impression. In addition to the flag, he especially likes the wooden tables as well as the red and white wooden chairs. “Like a real Swiss chalet, which fits this area very well!”

Innovation Cluster

For nearly 20 years, Swisscom has had a presence in Silicon Valley. More than ever, having its own Outpost is an important pillar for Swisscom, as Urs Schäppi states: “Innovation does not take place just in Switzerland, but worldwide. And Silicon Valley in particular is an absolute innovation cluster for our industry.”

His four-day visit helps convince him personally how true this is. The drone capable of flying up to 1000 km impresses him just as much as the inspiring conversation with the Swiss-born Urs Hölze, who was one of the first ten employees at Google Inc. and today is the Senior Vice President for Technical Infrastructure.

Silicon Valley generates developments that might substantially influence the future on an almost daily basis. And that’s why, according to Schäppi, it’s so important for Swisscom to put out feelers here and tend its network so that it can jump in early and benefit from it.

Building Bridges

Since its foundation, the Outpost has also functioned as a connecting bridge between Switzerland and Silicon Valley. Not only Swisscom’s employees, but also its customers and its partner companies should profit from its presence in Silicon Valley. The team on the ground under the new leadership of Lukas Peter regularly receives and also attends to the needs of visitors from Switzerland.

Through the Outpost and its activities, according to Urs Schäppi, Swisscom is able to show that it is an innovative company. “Innovation is at the heart of our strategy and is crucial for the success of our business.  The Outpost is one of the tools of innovation for keeping us fit.” And he hurries along with his traveling companions to the next meeting, because the old saying is just as true for innovation: “No pain, no gain…”