Innovation is decisive for the success of companies, universities and thus also the competitiveness of a region. Ever shorter technology cycles, more differentiated customer requirements and the increasing globalisation of the markets are the driving forces behind this change. «We are recognised nationally as an innovative and entrepreneurial university of applied sciences» – HTW Chur’s vision is a clear commitment to promote potential for innovation both inside and outside the university of applied sciences. HTW Chur views itself as the driver of innovation of the region.
HTW Chur is also innovative itself in the areas of teaching, research, further education, services and its own business. The above-average growth figures of HTW Chur in recent years are largely based on the institute’s own innovations. For example, of the ten bachelor’s degree programmes, five have been in existence for no longer than two years and are unique. These include, among others, the new Photonics, Digital Business Management, Sport Management and Service Design programmes. Innovations are, however, also successfully offered in the area of further education, for example as part of the Executive MBA – Digital Transformation and Executive MBA – Smart Marketing programmes.
During the development of innovative products and services, HTW Chur utilises design thinking as an innovation and problem-solving method. This approach is also increasingly flowing into the areas of teaching, further education and research. HTW Chur also has its own innovation toolbox, which is used for both innovative projects with external project partners and internal projects.
As innovation is increasingly key to the success of companies, innovation management is becoming a central qualification. Within various study and further education programmes, HTW Chur therefore teaches the latest strategies, processes and methods from the area of innovation management.
As part of its research projects, HTW Chur seeks practical solutions with its partners and contributes marketable and socially relevant innovations thanks to the effective transfer of knowledge and technology. HTW Chur conducts applied research. The results of its research are thus usually innovative products, services, processes or business models.
As part of the Innosuisse «IMAGINE» project of the Swiss Institute for Information Science (SII), for example, methods were developed that generate metadata and background information about images on a (partially) automated basis. This gives rise to benefits in terms of costs and efficiency and improves the research possibilities and marketability of visual contents. Thanks to the products, services, processes and business models introduced to the market, HTW Chur thus strengthens the innovative capacity of its partners and makes a key contribution to the region’s economic growth and development.
With the establishment of the Service Innovation Lab (SIL), an interdisciplinary innovation platform was created on which innovative products and services can be developed, simulated, visualised and tested. The Service Innovation Lab of HTW Chur has developed the appropriate tools to help companies to stand out from their competitors with product and service innovations. Thanks to state-of-the-art visualisation and prototyping techniques, abstract concepts are brought to life and made palpable and verifiable (proof of concept) in the Service Innovation Lab. The application of a targeted development process shortens the development time. Thanks to testing at an early stage and the involvement of customers, the level of market and innovation risk is also reduced. HTW Chur works closely here with the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. With around 22,000 employees and more than 80 research facilities, it is one of Europe’s biggest research institutions.
The research activities of HTW Chur also address the further development of innovation management.
In the research field of «Innovation», the Swiss Institute for Entrepreneurship (SIFE) addresses the management of innovations as well as the conditions for their emergence and the processes behind them. Innovation strategies and processes, service innovations and the development and management of innovations in networks are areas of focus.
In the research field of «Service Innovation in the Tourism Sector», the Institute for Tourism and Leisure (ITF) works on the process of product innovation in the tourism sector on the one hand and supports tourism companies and organisations in developing new customer-focused services on the other. Here, great significance is assigned to modern service design methods (design thinking), which are implemented using the Service Innovation Lab. In terms of content, a deeper understanding of customer needs in existing and new markets is required. These are identified using a wide range of methods, which incorporate the latest methodological and technological developments.