The Digital Campus

The Digital Campus

Digital Campus Study Tour – Day 1

UC Berkeley

By Tanja Von Rotz, Head of Marketing and Communications, ZHAW School of Psychology (@indira2007)

San Francisco welcomes the Study Tour Group with beautiful sunny and warm weather, leaving the fog behind. After exploring the exciting city on Sunday we are given a warm welcome by the swissnex team at the Slanted Door, a popular Asian style restaurant in the Ferry Building. We got to know the group members better while facing the beautiful Bay Bridge, and started to get sense of the California spirit. Continue Reading →

Meet Roger Stupf, Head of Web & Information Management at the University of Zurich

This blog post is part of a series of posts highlighting social media champions in Switzerland. We’ve previously portrayed Katja Wenk, Web and Social Media Officer at the University of St. Gallen and Yan Luong, Social Media Manager at Radio Télévision Suisse (RTS). This time we have the pleasure to introduce you to Roger Stupf and his team at the University of Zurich (UZH), who manages the university’s social media presence during a one-year pilot project.

Roger Stupf, Head of Web & Information Management, in front of the University of Zurich

Continue Reading →

Meet HSG’s Social Media Officer Katja Wenk

With more and more universities hiring a full-time social media expert, we think it is time to put the spotlight on these faces and give you a glimpse into their daily work. During the course of the next months, we will interview various social media officers in Switzerland in a new series of blog posts. Today we meet Katja Wenk, Web and Social Media Officer at the University of St. Gallen. 

Katja Wenk, Web and Social Media Officer at the University of St. Gallen

Still impressed with the professional launch of HSG’s official social media channels at the beginning of this year, I make my way up the hill to campus to meet one of the main players in that launch: Web and Social Media Officer Katja Wenk, who started in this newly-created position at the end of last year.

It has been a few years since I last set foot on the campus when I was still a student waiting to get my master’s degree in communications. Social media was definitively not the main topic of our studies back then. We touched on the subject and our professor pointed out that this would be the next big thing in communications, but that was five years ago and social media was basically nowhere. At least in Switzerland. I hadn’t heard of Twitter and official company or university Facebook pages were extremely rare to non-existant. Needless to say, at that time, my alma mater had no intentions to join Facebook or start tweeting. Today, 27 percent of Swiss universities and universities of applied sciences have a social media manager and 42 percent intend to hire one in 2012.

So here I am, approaching the campus and getting ready to meet HSG’s first full time social media officer. I am eager to ask questions about her daily routine, barriers she is facing, or which Facebook posts get the most comments.

My knock on her office door is answered by her co-worker Markus Zinsmaier, whom I met last fall during the first social media study tour. Katja is sitting behind her desk, concentrating on her screen and my first guess would be that she probably has Hootsuite open to quickly monitor or send tweets before we sit down for coffee and a chat. A few minutes later, Katja and I make our way towards one of the coffee spots in Building A, surrounded by students who grab a quick coffee before their next class begins at 10:15am.

Increasing awareness and knowledge

“I usually start with screening all social media channels to see what has been going on,” says Katja when asked about what she does first thing in the morning. But she quickly points out that her usual position is not in front of her computer screen, ready to tweet or answer comments on Facebook.” I have a lot of meetings to explain to my colleagues what my job entails and how we intend to develop the social media strategy.” Her calendar is filling up quickly with these meetings. Most of them are initiated by her colleagues from other departments, ranging from university professors to administration officers, which is clearly an indicator of the interest in social media on the campus and the high demand for more information about the tools.

Besides making others on campus aware of the new communication tools, she also spends a fair amount of time helping them get familiar with Twitter, for example. Many are eager to start using the channel and willing to learn, but some are afraid. For that purpose, the communications team also provides a handbook for everyone working at the university about how to use social media and how to set up a presence at the university.

Integration of existing presence by departments

HSG launched their official social media presence with a Facebook page, Twitter account, and YouTube channel that give information about the university in general, but they also introduced four hubs: HSG START, HSG CAMPUS, HSG PROFESSIONAL, and HSG RESEARCH. These hubs focus on different topics, target a specific audience, and are very much organized like a portal, retweeting and reposting content created by other official pages, such as the library or a faculty. The Facebook page of HSG CAMPUS, for example, frequently shares status updates by the official Facebook page of the university’s library.

The goal in the coming months is to integrate all official university social media channels for a cohesive experience. The HSG campus store’s Facebook page, for example, which has existed since 2010, was integrated into the HSG CAMPUS hub.  It now appears in the same orange color scheme and style settings as the hub it belongs to, but it is still administrated separately.

HSG’s official Facebook page highlights the four hubs

Each hub is managed by a different individual or group of people, while Katja manages the official presence by the university and oversees the integration. She is mindful of each department’s independence, and emphasizes the fact that the integration is voluntary and that she is certainly not giving instructions to these departments. “I am more of a contact point or help desk if questions come up. But branding is obviously important and we support departments with guidelines,” she adds.

Facebook community taken by storm

Of course empowering colleagues throughout the university is a high priority for Katja Wenk, but just as important is building up a strong community around the institution on social media: “You have to get to a point where the social media community knows the university and its channels.” And the university has definitely gotten there quickly. The growth of the community around HSG since the launch of the official presence in December 2011 is almost unbelievable. In only six months, the official Facebook page has climbed to nearly 7,500 likes. Compared to some universities in the US, this number is not earth-shattering, but compared to the social media landscape in Switzerland, it is very impressive. The two Swiss institutions leading with regard to Facebook likes so far were EPFL, who launched their page in June 2010 (3,976 likes as of June 6, 2012) and EHL, who launched their presence in February 2011 (4,718 likes).

Secrets to success

When meeting the person responsible for such community growth, one has to ask for the secrets behind the success. “So what works best?” I ask Katja. She thinks for a second, but quickly names a few examples that have proven to create a lot of engagement. Just as Christina Sponselli, UC Berkeley’s director for social media pointed out a few weeks ago during our last study tour, “pretty pictures go a long way,” says Katja. Polls also get people motivated to interact, she adds. Another post that was liked by many community members was a news story about the “Best Teaching Award”, given out by the students to the most popular teacher at the university. They also ran a few Facebook campaigns to increase their reach and grow their community.

Facebook statistics for HSG’s official page

Growing the community with the right objectives in mind

But just increasing the number of Twitter followers or likes on Facebook is not Katja’s primary goal: “If that was my goal, it would be achieved rather quickly since you can acquire new followers and likes easily. It’s about building a meaningful community around the brand and we have yet to see if this new community is also our target audience.” This doesn’t mean that she is not measuring the impact of her efforts. She knows well what posts generate the most interactions and likes and uses tools such as Social Bro to analyze her Twitter community.

It’s 11am and the building is flooded with students again. Two actually interrupt our conversation to ask us if we would be willing to sign a petition. We decline and I realize it’s time to let Katja go back to her desk to tend to her community, internally and externally. I quickly take a picture of her in front of one the signs outside the building, with the tents from the recent St. Gallen Symposium in the background. The university campus has not changed much since I last visited, but the face of the university online has definitely changed from a collection of websites to a whole array of platforms on the social web.


The University of St. Gallen on Social Media

Official Facebook page
Official Twitter account
Official YouTube channel

Follow Katja on Twitter.

Building our Community: One Meeting at a Time

As we all know, communicating online is a fantastic way to keep in touch but no technology will ever replace meeting face to face. On May 16, we met in Zurich to exchange information, challenges, and ideas with other program participants. It was an intense but very productive day, and the perfect opportunity to say hi to familiar faces but also many new ones.

We thank everyone who made the trek out to Zurich and to SWISS for hosting us. In the interest of all program participants, we wanted to share some of the highlights of the meeting as well as the presentations shared that day.


Panel discussion with Berner Fachhochschule, EPFL, and University of St.Gallen. I envisioned this panel as a simple discussion, if not a conversation amongst friends, about what works and does not work at each of these schools. I purposely selected three schools that were different in size, budgets, focus, and location to show examples that participants could relate to. The three panelists shared their impressions and even personal experience about managing social media at their institutions. The resulting conclusion: there is not ONE way to implement and run social media. As Andrea Schweizer from BFH advised: “Just do it”.

Upon reflection, I realized that holding such a panel would have been impossible 12 months ago when we first met in Bern, Switzerland. This shows that our community has evolved and matured, seeing each other more as collaborators rather than competitors. Thanks to Andrea Schweizer (BFH), Markus Zinsmaier (HSG), and Michael Mitchell (EPFL) for being so open and generous with their experience.

A video of the panel below. The recording starts 5minutes into the discussion but still captures most of the exchange.

Social Media @ SWISS Air Lines. Christian Lüdi, Chief Learning Officer for SWISS Air Lines, shared his experience managing social media for the airline. What mostly resonated with us was how intense the listening component is. There’s a phrase that still echoes in my head: “Respond to your true fans not slobs.” So often we hear that we need to respond and acknowledge every single comment. However, Christian showed through SWISS’s experience handling the transition to a new logo, that as in the offline world, a lot of people just complain for the sake of it and given the known constraints of time it is imperative that the true fans are not neglected. Responses to difficult people often take a long time to be crafted. Make sure they count. For more, see his presentation below:

XING for Universities. We were really pleased to have Robert Beer, XING’s Country Manager for Switzerland and Austria, present the network and all of its possibilities. We learned a couple of new things. For example, XING is the primary business network for 4 out of 5 Swiss professionals. Check out Slide 17 for an interesting infographic on how XING can generate value for students and how universities can benefit from it.

Concurrent sessions. We held three concurrent sessions in the morning and repeated two of them in the afternoon. The idea was to allow participants to benefit from as many sessions as possible. The sessions focused on the core issues of making the case for social media, monitoring and reporting, as well as content strategy. Find below the presentations for the three sessions. We thank our speakers Kelly Hungerford from Paperli, Ferdinand Kobelt and David Schaefer from SOMEXCLOUD, and Mike Schwede for sharing their knowledge and expertise with us.
1. Making the case for social media in your institution

2. Monitoring and Reporting

3. Content Strategy with

Google Switzerland. Last but not least, Michel Benard from Google CH told us briefly how Google works with universities in Switzerland. Did you know that Google Switzerland is the largest engineering office that Google has outside of the U.S.? It has more than 700 employees from over 70 countries. As most tech companies today, Google is keen on finding the best talents and is very active in Switzerland finding and recruiting graduates from top technical universities. Details about research and scholarships opportunities in the presentation below.

In the next few weeks, look out for posts with more information about the meeting, including your feedback, and what’s next with the program.

Event on May 16, 2012: Fostering a Culture of Sharing

Sharing information is the one of the most important things that we can do as a community. In order to keep the information flowing, we are pleased to bring you together again on May 16 for our Second Annual meeting in Kloten.

We have built the day’s agenda so that all participants, regardless of level of knowledge, can obtain practical information, insights, and learn from selected social media experts as well as each other.  Keynote sessions will present information applicable to all participants and concurrent sessions will cater to different needs, interests, and levels of knowledge. In addition, we will hold a panel discussion with three Swiss universities that will share lessons learned, challenges, and successes about implementing and managing social media at their institutions,

We are extremely pleased to collaborate with the best social media experts and leaders in Switzerland to bring you knowledge, examples, and tools to help you advance your social media efforts or overall awareness.  Follow them on Twitter, read their blogs, and connect with them so that you keep growing your professional network.

The speakers

Christian Luedi, Social Media Manager, Swiss International Air Lines

Christian Luedi, 31, is Social Media manager at Swiss International Air Lines, where he has been employed since graduating from the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts in autumn 2008. In April 2009 he was tasked with the development of the airline’s social media presence, which encompasses responsibility for all of SWISS’s social media activities, both in strategic and operational terms. He also lectures on social media management one day per semester at the University of Applied Sciences in Business Administration Zurich.

Follow and connect with Christian on:

XING | Twitter | LinkedIn

Kelly Hungerford, Community Manager for

Kelly is Community Manager and evangelist for, a micro publishing platform by SmallRivers SA.  She has over 20 years of experience in the field of internal and external customer and client service across multiple industries including retail, banking, mobile commerce, and social media.  Kelly leverages her multi-channel client service experience in her role as Community Manager at to find new ways to build, develop, educate, listen to, connect with and support the micro publishing community.Kelly and her team at help empower ANYONE to be a publisher and curator.’s social tools help draw deeper engagement and conversations around the topics you’re most passionate about.  Kelly will share best practices on how to take your interests and turn them into community with a little help from tweets, hashtags, keywords and rss feeds.Kelly is a native of Silicon Valley, has been living and working for over 17 years in Europe. She holds a degree in Marketing and International Business from San Francisco State University, speaks three languages and lives happily with her husband and two daughters on the shores of Lake Geneva, Switzerland.

Follow and connect with Kelly on:

XING | Twitter | LinkedIn

Mike Schwede, Co-Founder of Goldbach Interactive

This is how Mike describes his background and track record: I have been working in the Internet and Marketing fields for the past 15 years and am now teaching at the HWZ University of Applied Science in Business Administration ZurichMAZ Lucerne and the Somexcloud Academy, as well as engaging in a number of public speaking opportunities. As the Co-Founder of Goldbach Interactive I have been working for Companies like AXA, Beiersdorf (Nivea), EA, McDonald’s, Ringier, SBB, TUI, Migros and Swisscom. I live together with my wife and my three kids in Biel, near the capital of Berne. For the year of 2012 I’m taking a break.

Follow and connect with Mike on:

XING | Twitter | LinkedIn

David Schäfer, Founder & CEO of SOMEXCLOUD

David is the founder and managing director of Brand Social (social media strategyconsulting, implementation support and coaching) and has worked for over 15 years of online media. David co-founded SOMEXCLOUD. He studied Social Sciences and Law at the Universities of Zurich and Geneva as well as communication at USI Lugano and studied at UCLA (Executive Master of Science in Communications Management). Member of the board of the Swiss Social Media Community (SSMC).

Follow and connect with David on:


Ferdinand Kobelt, Partner, Ernst & Young

Ferdinand is a Partner in the EMEIA Advisory team focused on Social Media Strategy and Governance. He has more than 30 years experience in information technology and in serving complex clients.His practice responsibilities extend from Project Management to Information Security and Risk Management to Cloud Computing Governance through Social Media Strategy and Governance. Today he leads the Social Media Competence Center and drives Social Media projects in Europe, USA, Brazil, Argentina and Asia. Ferdinand’s career started 1982 as a Project Leader and Business Unit Manager within the Telco Industry and joined Ernst & Young in 1990. He holds a Bachelor in Computer Science Engineering from and a Post Graduated diploma Executive Master of Corporate Management and Business Administration from the University of Applied Science in Berne.  He is Certified Social Media Manager (SOMEXCLOUD), Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) and Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC).  He is Member of Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) since 1991 and Member of Information Security Society Switzerland (ISSS). He speaks German (mother tongue), English, French and Italian.

Follow and connect with Ferdinand on:

XING | Twitter

Robert Beer, XING’s Country Manager Austria & Switzerland

Robert Beer is Country Manager for the business network XING and manages the development and implementation of regional policies in Austria and Switzerland. His responsibilities include the development of close relations with key strategic partners, and increasing brand awareness in both countries. He manages two of Xing’s core markets. XING is a market leader in Germany.Robert Beer has extensive experience in strategic market development of online and cross media platforms. Prior to joining XING, the Swiss-born senior held positions with various companies in the areas of online video and online ticketing.He holds an Executive MBA from Strathclyde Graduate Business School.

Follow and connect with Robert:

XING | Twitter

Michel Benard, University Relations Manager, Google CH

Learn more about Google University Relations.

Follow and connect with Michel on:

XING | Twitter | LinkedIn


During the meeting we will use the hashtag #swissedsocial so that we can share thoughts, ideas, opinions, questions, and more. We rely on all of attendees to share their thoughts so that we can pull together the highlights of the meeting.

Planning your day

The day has been designed so that all participants can get the most out of the sessions offered. Twice during the day, we will hold concurrent sessions (simultaneous) catering to different interests and knowledge levels.

Track I sessions on “Making the case for Social Media in your institition,” will focus on building an argument for devoting efforts and resources to social media and how to make this case to upper management.  SOMEXCLOUD experts, David Schäffer and Ferdinand Kobelt will lead this session. This session is recommended for those making the case for a social media budget and educating others in their organization about the value of social media. This session is good for all levels and will be held twice for the benefit of all.

Track II sessions will focus on Metrics. Mike Schwede will help you organize your monitoring and listening efforts, develop KPI (key performance indicators), and dashboards. This is an essential activity that all teams must implement whether they are getting started or have already implemented social media. This session is good for all levels and will be held twice for the benefit of all.

Track III session (only one)  will focus on content. Kelly Hungerford, Community Manager for will show how others are creating content and how they are leveraging to build community. This session will not repeat and is a good choice for those who are already quite active in social media and/or manage a community. A medium or advanced level of knowledge is recommended. This session will not repeat.

Learn more about the sessions and the agenda.


Please confirm your attendance and select your sessions by April 19, 2012! We appreciate your prompt feedback so that we can plan appropriately.

Spring Study Tour: Day 4

Day 4 of the Spring Study Tour is summarized here by guest bloggers Simone Brandenberg and Herwig Dämon, from the University of Liechtenstein, and Magdalena Egli, from login.

  1. Name dropping day: @YouTube, @Facebook, @LinkedIn

  2. YouTube – Join the global classroom
  3. Share
    : Smile. You are at @youtube #springstudytour (@ YouTube HQ w/ 2 others)
    Wed, Mar 21 2012 12:06:41
  4. Already shortly after the arrival at 901 Cherry Street it became perfectly clear that the content of this tweet absolutely fits the corporate culture of YouTube. On the guided tour through the building, Arthur Woods, responsible for the EDU Partnerships, pointed out all the conveniences YouTube offers to its employees – starting with the obligatory 24-hours-provision with an impressing variation of free food that we already experienced in other social media companies the last days. A guaranty for one or another overtime hour… Chuck Darrahs statement of Monday morning rang in our ears: “You don’t have to pay for the coffee – you already payed for it!”

    Following the motto “Anyone can obtain a world-class education” YouTube installed its EDU program in 2009 with the ambitious aim to provide a free knowledge-platform for everyone. The program is divided into three main sections: K12 for primary and secondary schools and teachers with formats like sesame street. The life long learning in cooperation with e.g. the Moma. And – most interesting for us – the higher education in cooperation with colleges and universities like Harvard, Stanford or Yale. Meanwhile there are more than 750 educational channels on YouTube with more than 54.000 accessible videos. The content is mainly uploaded by partner universities but YouTube also invested 100 Mio. $ to produce new content.
    How now to become a partner for educational programs? Just open a channel, generate high quality content, apply for the program and become involved in the edu community. Content can be lectures with top professors, student testimonials or live stream campus-wide events. Just make sure to involve staff and students to generate content to make it more authentic and vivid. And don’t forget your alumni and prospective students as interesting audiences. Being aware of the branding you can also start with only few and produced videos. And even if YouTube is the 3rd most visited website in the world, don’t forget to crosspost ion your other channels.
    With Google Analytics it is possible to learn more about the users backgrounds, their preferences and even the exact time when they stopped watching a video – to immediately be able to alter strategy and content. And of course Arthur Woods and his team will be glad to help with the implementation.
  5. Share
    Arthur Woods / YouTube EDU
    Wed, Mar 21 2012 14:56:04
  6. Facebook – “Fail fast”
  7. Share

    : #welcome @facebook #springstudytour #ilike
    Wed, Mar 21 2012 14:41:15
  8. Rodrigo Schmidt, Product Manager Website, was our guide at Facebook. He showed us the whole complex of buildings and answered our questions from a personal perspective. The buildings seem to be under construction to demonstrate the culture of  always being working. The buildings belonged to Sun Systems. When Facebook bought the complex, they refurbished the elements that could remember to Sun and what did not fit with the culture of Facebook. Facebook moved into the campus in November 2011, but until now just five buildings of the eighteen are used. On the big place in the centre of the campus they wrote in big letters HACK, so that it can be seen from a satellite.  As highlight of the day we even saw Mark Zuckerberg on our way to lunch.

    Rodrigo explained the concept called “Fail Fast”: Within a project duration of four to six months a product should be completed and brought to market. The philosophy of Facebook is not to work longer than half a year on it for not loosing the high motivation to work on it.
    It was a real chance for us to be received by Facebook because they do not have official tours any more. Thanks a lot for this effort to Florencia!
  9. Share
    Rodrigo Schmidt on Facebook Pages
    Wed, Mar 21 2012 16:38:59
  10. LinkedIn – serving HigherEd
  11. “How can LinkedIn help in your alumni aspirations?”, asked Christina Allen, Director of Product Management, at the Mountain View based ‘business-related social networking site’. Many of the #springstudytour participants seemed to be fairly surprised by some exciting new services for higher education. Like the runaway hit for LinkedIn, although it has been hardly marketed: the Alumni product. According to Christina it was designed to serve a number of purposes. The service helps to understand where alumni did go, where fellow alumni are, what fellow alumni are doing for business and how one can reach out to them. Tour participants learned about various other opportunities to build more robust alumni groups, a clear “call-to-action” was audible within the group.

    A discussion with LinkedIn’s localization team again served as proof of the Silicon Valley entrepreneurial attitude: connect, start things, and find out whether they work. Hands on and with attention to detail, team members responded to suggestions by the #springstudytour participants in order to help tailor the offer to universities’ needs.
    In a “big five” comparison (no, we are not talking safari, but Twitter, YouTube/Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn) during the wrap-up, question was whether LinkedIn could maintain its already more ‘corporate world’ culture amongst the social media networks after the IPO. Frankly, we couldn’t care less as long as their network serves universities’ needs in fostering students and alumni relationships.
  12. Share
    Stefani Grothe on LinkedIn services
    Wed, Mar 21 2012 22:43:46
  13. P.S.: Herwig picked the tweet of the day, since he is suffering from the red-green color deficiency as well …
  14. Share
    #springstudytour: why fb is blue? A lot of engineers are red-green-colour-blind.. So they at least recognize their logo:-)
    Wed, Mar 21 2012 16:19:50
  15. Always push further, even if the way is down: sliding competition at YouTube:
  16. Share
    Sliding competition at YouTube
    Wed, Mar 21 2012 14:58:00

Video Recap of Day 4


Spring Study Tour: Day 3

Day 3 of the Spring Study Tour is summarized here by guest bloggers Marcel Blattner and Cindy Eggs, from the Fernfachhochshule Schweiz, and Ladina Caprez, from the University of Lugano.

Die Luft der Freiheit weht

Today we discovered various ways in which the winds of freedom blow, as mentioned in Stanford’s motto. Whereas Twitter owes its success partly to the fact that it fostered freedom in some countries, at Stanford they think a little differently about it…

First thing in the morning we discovered Twitter’s conception of freedom right away when Elaine, the secretary, had to abandon her work to allow us a group picture in front of the Twitter sign (on the wall right behind her desk). Before starting the actual meeting, Thomas Arend invited us to serve ourselves at the vast breakfast buffet – including eight different kinds of coffee and at least fifteen different types of cereals – quite unusual for Europeans.

During his speech, Thomas elaborated on different dimensions of Twitter’s freedom: Tweets that spread all over the world in a very short time make it possible to overcome distance and therefore allow freedom of thought and speech no matter where your followers are; giving a voice to a mute girl commenting on soccer games, Twitter allows her to overcome many obstacles; by connecting people’s opinions beyond country boundaries, Twitter creates a platform for the oppressed to gain strength in revolution.

Twitter stream seconds after the earthquake in Japan, March 2011.

Twitter stream seconds after the earthquake in Japan, March 2011.

Creating a platform is also Stanford’s goal with their social media activities. Stanford gives visibility to its excellence in the field by collaborating with researchers, who publish their findings on the various social media channels. Even though Stanford’s School of Medicine encourages its scholars to produce content and to use their own voice and tone, they are still held to certain criteria, such as publishing date, journal standing, etc.

Heading to the alumni center, we became aware that the wisdom of freedom has other dimensions on this very nice and cultivated campus. The Stanford Alumni Association motivates current and former students to join their different social platforms in order to connect to the alumni network once they graduate. The data generated from these networks is used to list people with common interests and to link them with each other and with influencers. From the content point of view, the Association’s priority is to spotlight what their alums do instead of just broadcasting their own news.

At Stanford’s School of Engineering they see eye-to-eye with their colleagues: They tell stories on their Facebook page and collaborate with interns to create content that engages their audience. Thanks to reliable and extensive data, the social media team at Stanford knows what their audience is interested in and no longer have to rely on guessing. However, they keep an eye on the content created and sometimes do need to intervene and confine the freedom they conceded their interns.

To sum up, Day 3 of the #springstudytour showed that, at the bottom line, social media equals freedom, but this freedom can be interpreted in various ways – as with social media activities in general, by the way.

PS: Check out our group’s activity on Twitter using the #springstudytour hashtag – increasing steadily as slowly everybody discovers the freedom of speech on SoM 🙂

Video Recap of Day 3


Spring Study Tour: Day 2

For Day 2 of the Spring Study Tour, guest bloggers Annika Glauner, from Euresearch – International Research Programmes at the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich, David Spring, from the University of Lausanne, and Lara Canonica, from the Zurich University of Applied Sciences reflected on the day’s rich program.

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And here is the team’s reflection on the day:

Trying to explain what Silicon Valley is to someone who has never been to the region is a bit like trying to explain what a particular color looks like to someone who is blind. Prof. Chuck Darrah from the San Jose State University tried to provide us with the peripheral definitions of what Silicon Valley is as a whole, in order for us “Swiss cookies” to better interact in this area and connect with its “tribes” over the upcoming five days.

Chuck Darrah is an insider because he lives in the heart of Silicon Valley, in Mountain View (aka Mountain Google), and he is an outsider because he has no cellphone. As an anthropologist his job is to study the “tech tribe” in Silicon Valley. He interviews and observes them.

San Francisco is not in the Silicon Valley of which San Jose is the capital. Officially, Silicon Valley doesn’t even exist.

Over the past forty years the Valley has changed a lot. The industry shifted from hardware to software to Internet. Now, there are 22,000 high-tech companies in the region.  People come here from all over the world because of the highly paid jobs. The mentality is to take risks and celebrate failure. Mobility is important, and people tend to switch jobs every two years otherwise they are considered as losers. Here everything is transformed into technical problems that need to be solved. So in order to blend in, we became mobile too and drove to Cupertino for an appointment at Apple headquarters.

We met Steve Wilson, iTunes U Producer and Deirdre Espinoza, Sr. Marketing Manager Education Content. They presented iBooks and iTunes U. Apple is as brilliant as you would expect it to be: it’s vivid, creative, buzzing. And in this spirit we left for the University of California, Berkeley.

The meeting we had with Christina Sponselli (Social Media Director), Kathryn Bader and Ram Kapoor (Office of Public Affairs) was comforting, down-to-earth and inspiring. At Berkeley they are not implementing a strategy, but rather validating it through a process of experimentation and co-creation. They provided us with tips and tricks and good advice. UC Berkeley has also a Social Media User Group (SMUG), who gathers once a month to share experience and to discuss how to reach more students and alumni. With a small and flexible team and very little resources, they are active on different platforms like Facebook, Google+, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Foursquare to name a few.

So what have we learned today? That we too are able to facilitate innovation by applying The Infinite Loop using a human-centered approach, as the people we want to reach are the experts, they know what they need.

Hearing, creating, delivering, evaluating, improving, learning.

Observations lead to stories, lead to networking, lead to opportunities, lead to ideas, lead to solutions, lead to implementation.

This has been a very promising start to an exciting week. To be continued…

For a video recap of the day, see below: