Delete search term


Quick navigation

Main navigation

Public Performance Management and Digital Transformation

The Center for Public Performance Management and Digital Transformation applies instruments to enable public or non-profit organisations to record the performance and effects of their activities and use them as a basis for decision-making.

New anthology (in German) on digital transformation in Swiss public administration

Digitale Transformation in der öffentlichen Verwaltung in der Schweiz − Stand, Entwicklungslinien und Praxisbeispiele

Lyn Pleger and Alexander Mertes from the ZHAW Institute of Public Management have published an anthology as editors. The book traces current developments in digital transformation in Swiss public administrations. Thematically, the contributions deal with digital transformation concerning the design of the administration, democratic co-determination, digital service provision, and regulatory framework conditions. Management science theories are applied to current developments. In addition to empirical studies, examples from practice are presented and discussed against the background of possible challenges, opportunities, and risks. Most of the book’s contributors are lecturers from the Certificate of Advanced Studies in Digital Administration and work for the Institute of Public Management. In the future, content from this book will be integrated into our continuing education and degree programs. The book is available for download (in German) from the ZHAW University Library.

Latest Activities


"Winterthur@Metaverse" investigates whether there are beneficial use cases for the city of Winterthur or public administrations and whether this is a future vision with potential to be strived for.
The project is supported by "Digitale Verwaltung Schweiz".

"Digital and Divers: Rethinking the Application Process at the ZHAW" (supported by ZHAW Digital Futures Fund)

Thanks to digitalisation, application processes can be made not only more efficient but also more diverse. The aim of the project is to assess the potential and feasibility of introducing blind hiring at the ZHAW. Blind hiring is an application process in which no information about the candidate's name, gender and age is visible in the first step of the process. This helps to minimise biases in the recruitment process.

Innosuisse - Innovation Project: “Beyond Public Management”: E-Participation Based on Collective Intelligence

The ZHAW School of Management and Law and the ZHAW School of Engineering, together with the University of Applied Sciences OST and tech startup BrainE4 have received an Innosuisse funding commitment for the further development of a e-participation app. Innovative companies, cities, and municipalities are increasingly relying on the participation of employees, residents, and customers in opinion-forming and innovation processes. The research team uses the app in various participation projects (e.g., neighborhood development, economic development, internal participation, etc). These projects will evaluate the app and derive efficient processes for various future scenarios.

Innosuisse - Innovation Check: Digital Participation Survey of Swiss Cities and Municipalities

The findings show that most cities and municipalities surveyed already have experience with participation in digital participation processes but not with their implementation. The majority of respondents found participation or implementation satisfactory, and the vast majority (92%) would recommend digital participation to other administrations. Further details can be accessed in this report (PDF 256.4 KB, in German).(PDF 256,4 KB)

Increasing the Value of Digital Administrative Services Using Chatbots (supported by the ZHAW Digital Futures Fund)

Chatbots are used in administration but rarely in practice. This project develops processes that achieve demonstrable benefits with the help of chatbots. These insights enable the profitable transformation of service areas that are difficult to digitize.

Future Vision and Smart City

The municipal council of Regensdorf initiated a strategy process through a resolution dated 18 May 2021. It aims to develop a digital vision for the municipality’s future with the support of the ZHAW-SML Center for Public Performance Management & Digital Transformation and the involvement of the local population and municipal administration. The project schedule in German can be downloaded here.

Digital City Monitor Switzerland

The digital transformation of administrations in Switzerland is ongoing, with a central aspect of digital administration being access to online digital services. The focus is often on government websites, as various stakeholder groups use these to obtain information and services. For this reason, the website can be seen as a critical indicator of the state of an authority’s digitization progress. The "Swiss Digital City Monitor (PDF 290.4 KB, in German)(PDF 290,4 KB)" shows the status of Swiss city websites. The survey includes all Swiss cities and urban municipalities in 2021. Analysis shows what content is offered on city websites, whether there is a correlation between city size and the range of online services, and highlights selected best practices. The findings are very briefly summarized (in German) here.

Interreg Project

In cooperation with the University of the Federal Armed Forces in Munich, a joint evaluation instrument for standardised performance assessment of cross-border crisis management measures between different authorities (e.g. federal states, cantons, administrative districts, district and city administrations) and operational organisations (e.g. fire brigade, police, technical relief organisation, civil protection) in the Alpenrhein-Bodensee-Hochrhein region is being developed in a transnational project.
Further information on the project page.

Digital Change in Public Administration

The project deals with the implementation, evaluation, and analysis of expert interviews. In order to obtain the most comprehensive view possible, interviews will be conducted in equal parts with representatives of science, public administration, and the private sector. Based on these findings, recommendations for action will be developed for public administrations and private IT companies. In an interview (PDF 342,0 KB) with the Schweizer Gemeinde Alexander Mertes talks about the digital change in public administration.                                                                       The latest findings are summarized (in German) here.

Comunitas - Management game for the public sector

The management game Comunitas is intended to simulate the development of a municipality in a playful way. The game is designed to teach politicians and administrative staff - regardless of their individual level of knowledge - how to deal with different types of capital. Previous knowledge of economic interrelationships is not necessary for the game. In the course of the game, participants learn how to monitor capital stocks, derive strategies and thus further develop their own community. The content of the game was developed through an Innosuisse project together with representatives of administrations and public organisations and game solution AG.                                                                                                                         Further information can be found in the accompanying brochure: (PDF 330.3 KB, in German)(PDF 330,3 KB).

Evaluation of the Swiss eID+

The canton of Schaffhausen has taken on a pioneering role in the digital transformation of public administration in Switzerland. KSD, the IT company of the canton and city of Schaffhausen, has commissioned the ZHAW Institute of Public Management to conduct a brief survey of the new electronic identity card, eID+.

Research & Expertise

Digital transformation poses new challenges for our society. Not only is it essential for private businesses to make use of digitalization options, it is also for public administrations, since the population expects the same services from both. Various hurdles make it difficult to switch to a "digital administration". On the one hand, such projects often face resistance regarding costs because they are initially associated with high investments, while the benefits achieved and any cost savings are only visible at a later stage. On the other hand, the coexistence of analogue and digital services poses a challenge to public administrations - after all, no one should be excluded from state services if they are unable to contact the administration digitally.

The center for Public Performance Management and Digital Transformation focuses on the following subject Areas:


Digital Changes in Public Administration

The Center for Public Performance Management & Digital Transformation supports municipalities and cantons (Zurich, Thurgau) with digital transformation. We focus on the participatory involvement of users (internal/external) in transformation projects (e.g., participatory platform development (in German) and strategy development (strategic directions, Smart Regensdorf (in German). We also use our collaborative network to offer various digital and non-digital formats. KSD – the IT company serving the canton and city of Schaffhausen – commissioned a brief evaluation of eID+. An English-language publication regarding this project can be found here.


Evaluations represent a systematic examination and assessment of various circumstances. In the public sector, policy evaluations are often carried out with the help of scientific methods to gain knowledge about the achievement of objectives of government programmes, instruments or measures. The overall objective of policy evaluations is therefore to assess how effective government intervention is in achieving its underlying objective.

Library Benchmarking

Jointly with the Federal Statistical Office, the Institute of Public Management conducts an annual benchmarking exercise, currently involving 16 Swiss libraries. Key figures are evaluated for infrastructure, market penetration, acceptance of titles available, finances, and human resources. Benchmarking gives participants an overview of the strengths and weaknesses of their profile. The key figures form the basis for an analysis of the reasons for the differences in the key figures. In order to ensure comparability, each library is allocated to one of the following comparison groups: scientific libraries, libraries of universities of applied sciences, study and educational libraries, regional and city libraries, and branch libraries. 

Evaluation of the reasons and background for the rejection of the project "Parc Adula"

In the context of the study on the Parc Adula project, the direct democratic acceptance of the project was compared to its rejection and evaluated with the help of quantitative and qualitative analyses in order to derive recommendations for future projects in Switzerland. The central aim of the study was to find out the motives that led to the acceptance or rejection of the Parc Adula project. By means of a survey among the population of the municipalities in which the project was subject to a vote; the perceptions, attitudes and potential determinants of acceptance or rejection of the directly affected population were quantitatively examined regarding the project Parc Adula. Parc Adula, reasons and backgrounds for refusal in the municipal votes(PDF 9,4 MB)

Security Surveys in Cities and Communes

Public safety is one of the fundamental needs of humanity and forms an essential criterion of the quality of life in cities and communes. In order to be able to assess the issue of security in a community, it is not enough to review the local crime figures: Just as important is the subjective sense of security experienced by inhabitants. Tried-and-tested questionnaires are sent to a sample of the population to enable us to collect data on the sense of security as perceived by inhabitants. The evaluations of these data yield clear interpretations and frequency distributions as well as in-depth analysis such as comparisons of the security perception among different age groups, according to gender, or in different districts. In addition, we also offer comparison studies of different cities/communes.

Reports and publications:

Customer centricity in the public sector

Combining customer centricity and management is the goal of the project "Management instrument for libraries". For classic management, a large number of primarily output-oriented key figures are often collected. These provide important information, but are often not well usable for effective control. In contrast, customer-centered key performance indicators have a direct link to strategy - i.e. are relevant to management - and at the same time have a pronounced practical relevance. They are used where a directly noticeable added value can be created for the clientele and ultimately customer satisfaction and organizational performance can be increased.


Customer-centered control: An application for public organizations

Find out more (PDF 96,0 KB)(PDF 96,0 KB)


We have a broad national and international network of reliable and experienced partners in the field of public Performance management and digital transformation and development cooperation. In particular, we maintain strategic partnerships with:


Our team, from left to right


Our current publications

Menzi, C., Lang, A., Mertes, A. (2023). Digitale Transformation der Schweiz. In: Klenk, T., Nullmeier, F., Wewer, G. (eds) Handbuch Digitalisierung in Staat und Verwaltung. Springer VS, Wiesbaden.

Mertes, A., Fischer, D., Brüesch, C., & Andermatt, K. C. (2022). The Perceived Advantages of e-Participation and its Impact on Citizens’ Willingness to Engage: Findings From the Canton of Zurich. Swiss Yearbook of Administrative Sciences, 13(1), 131–148.

Pleger, L.E. und Mertes, A. (Hrsg.) (2022). Digitale Transformation in der öffentlichen Verwaltung in der Schweiz − Stand, Entwicklungslinien und Praxisbeispiele. Springer Gabler, Wiesbaden.

Baldenweg-Bölle, U., Meierhofer, J., Mertes, A. (2022). Co-Creating Service Value from Data in a Public Administration Context. Jahrbuch der Schweizerischen Verwaltungswissenschaften, 13(1), 35–50. DOI:

Pleger, L.E., Mertes, A., Brüesch, C., Menzi, C. (2022). Ergebnisbericht: Befragung von Städten und Gemeinden in der Deutschschweiz zur digitalen Mitwirkung. Studienbericht des Instituts für Verwaltungs-Management. Winterthur: ZHAW Zürcher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften. Verfügbar unter:

Neumann, O., Guirguis, K., & Steiner, R. (2022). Exploring artificial intelligence adoption in public organizations: A comparative case study. Public Management Review, 1–27.

Fischer, D., Mertes, A. & Hänni, S. (2021). #getintouch! Eine vergleichende Analyse der digitalen Points of Contact in Zürcher Gemeinden. HMD.

Guirguis, K., Pleger, Lyn E., Dietrich, S., Mertes, A., & Brüesch, C. (2021). Datenschutz in der Schweiz – eine quantitative Analyse der gesellschaftlichen Bedenken und Erwartungen an den Staat. Swiss Yearbook of Administrative Sciences, 12(1), pp. 16–30. DOI:

Pleger, L.E., Guirguis, K., Mertes, A. (2021). Making public concerns tangible: an empirical study of German and UK citizens’ perception of data protection and data security. Computers in Human Behavior. 122(106830). Verfügbar unter:

Fischer, D., Brändle, F., Pleger, L.E., Rhyner, A., Winzer, C. & Wulf, B. (2021). Auswirkungen digitaler und analoger Partizipationsverfahren auf die Entscheidungsfindung: Ergebnisse einer quasi-experimentellen Fallstudie. In: Peter, Marc K. (Hrsg). Neues Wissen zur Digitalen Transformation Forschungsbeiträge zu E-Government, zur Smart City und der digitalen Ökonomie. S.23-33. Diese Publikation finden Sie hier(PDF 8,8 MB).