Greater Zurich Themeworld, Switzerland

An example of developing the strategy.

A story of change based on multi-disciplinary themes

In 2002 the Greater Zurich Area (GZA) partners, including the Canton and City of Zurich, Zurich Tourism and the GZA Foreign Investment Agency (GZA AG) decided to use a ’theme strategy’ to explore and enhance the area’s position in the growing competition among world metropolises for new businesses and talents.  The project team lead by arthesia AG worked with the stakeholders to explore the area’s strengths and potential beyond the traditionally strong financial sector and to:

  • give the GZA an identity beyond political boundaries and entities
  • raise its profile worldwide
  • define guiding principles for economic development beyond traditional clusters
  • create a foundation for a tourism/convention strategy
  • inform the development of a ’Zurich brand’.

The resulting Greater Zurich Themeworld study recognised and built on the area’s strengths as one of continental Europe’s most prominent knowledge and creative hubs, with two internationally top-ranked universities, a  considerable number of knowledge-driven small to medium enterprises (SMEs), international think-tanks and a thriving creative/cultural industry.

Four themes were developed and refined in workshops and focus groups:

  1. Machine in the garden: Combining top performance in different sectors of the economy (applied technology, high-end products, precision, etc.) with an archetypical ’garden‘ of social and natural wonders.
  2. Knowledge eccentrics: Attracting the individuals of today‘s global knowledge society, in line with Zurich’s long tradition of providing a safe haven for out-of-the-box thinkers and artists (Lenin, Dada, Joyce, Thomas Mann, Mazzini, etc.).
  3. Corporate utopia: Working towards a new interpretation of corporate world - less hassle, less lost time, more personal and civilised. In Zürich you can have some of the world‘s best jobs while enjoying a relaxed and organised life.
  4. Cultural innovation: Supporting rich cultural life and new ideas at all levels, building on the area’s unique combination of cultures and people and the typically Swiss culture of style, perfection and design. The creative sector employs almost as many people as the financial sector.

Together with the supporting information and an implementation strategy, the themes were summarised in ’Zurich Themeworld White Book’. This book provided a foundation for all the subsequent identity, positioning, economic development and tourism strategies and activities. Zurich Themeworld was conceived and developed as a long term strategy, and it has been in implementation since 2005.

Greater Zurich Themeworld - A map of projects identified under each of the four strategic themes

Greater Zurich Themeworld - A map of projects identified under each of the four strategic themes
© artesia AG