The 18th Swiss Economic Forum, which took place in Interlaken last week, was opened by Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann under the theme “Agility – a success factor in times of change.” In his speech, he emphasised the healthy relationship between agility and stability, urging the Swiss economy to be on its toes to anticipate new developments whilst taking care not to tear down important foundation pillars of the system. The triangle of success lies in education, a liberal framework for the job market, and an intact social partnership, he reminded the audience.
“We need American leadership”
Former NATO Secretary General and Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen followed with an overview of global political developments. The USA will remain the most powerful country globally for decades to come, he said, which is necessary in order to maintain stability and order. China will keep rising, but peacefully and as an ally to the USA, because China is adaptable and needs the economic ties, Rasmussen continued. The problems he sees lie in Russia, which is not ready to step out of political isolation, as well as in the Middle East, where women are still excluded from society.
The power of silence
Sound and communications expert Julian Treasure conveyed the power of sounds and tones as well as the importance of listening, especially in business. The owner of “The Sound Agency” demonstrated how music and noise have different effects on our bodies, and how our behaviour, emotions, and cognitive function are all influenced. Furthermore, Treasure emphasised how crucial a culture of listening is to the success of companies today. If you’re not in an ongoing dialog with your client and don’t listen to them, then you cannot improve your performance, he gave as an example.
Long-term thinking to keep the balance
Dambisa Moyo, Zambian-born international macroeconomist who studied at Oxford and Harvard, said in her speech that we are currently at a unique, difficult, and crucial point in the history of mankind. Never has the world population grown as rapidly as today. The resulting shortage of resources is a threat to prosperity. An additional challenge stems from new technologies, which will take over the jobs of a large amount of workers, explained Moyo. In order to maintain healthy economic growth, we must, politically as well as economically, think in the long term and act with more targeted investments.
And the award goes to…
The Swiss Economic Award aims to promote entrepreneurship and encourage potential entrepreneurs to take the step towards independence. Among this year’s winners was Bcomp AG in the category “Hightech and Biotech”. The researchers of Bcomp discovered the extraordinary noise-dampening properties of natural fibres. The technologies for using fibres have been patented – and products made of cleantech materials are already enjoying global sales success. The big market potential is reflected in the various customer projects within the mobility and space industries. One example is the European Space Agency, which is highly interested in the unique combination of high stiffness and dampening properties.