Nestlé’s chief technology officer Werner Bauer has paid homage to Switzerland, saying the country has played a big part in the company’s success.
He was responding to Switzerland being ranked first in the World Intellectual Property Organisation and INSEAD graduate business school’s annual Global Innovation Index for the second year running. The ranking includes 141 emerging and developed markets and measures criteria such as research institutions, investment and links between industry and academia.
“Our founder Henri Nestlé, a German pharmacist, launched his first product ‘farine lactée in Switzerland in 1867,” said Bauer. “We have significantly invested in our research and development capabilities in the country ever since.
“Today, half our annual research and development spend is concentrated in Switzerland. It is home to our international headquarters and eight of our 32 worldwide research and development centres.
Three new research and development facilities
“This year alone we are inaugurating three new research and development facilities in the country: the Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences, a system technology centre for systems such as Nespresso, and a new unit for clinical research.”
Nestlé’s recruitment centre had hired 125 graduates from Swiss universities in 2011 and recruited more than 150 apprentices, he said. “I believe Swiss universities are among the best in the world,” said Bauer.
The strength of links between clusters of manufacturing companies, service providers, financial institutions, universities and government organisations in Switzerland had a significant impact on innovation, he said.
In-depth connectivity and networking
“By basing the Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, we’ve ensured it is fully integrated into local life sciences activities at the university, enabling the kind of in-depth connectivity and networking that really helps drive our innovation forward.
“This ‘cluster-thinking’ is an important aspect of not only our local relationships in Switzerland, but also our many international collaborations and partnerships.”