Building smart cities shouldn’t just be about technology but also creating a diverse society where young people and immigrants can afford to live and work. That’s the view of Alfredo Brillembourg, the chair of architecture and urban design at ETH Zurich, who thinks diversity is key to a smarter future.
“Leading is about visionary thinking, not just managing tasks,” says Janina Kugel, outgoing Siemens board member and chief HR officer. In part two, Kugel points out what separates managers from leaders and gives us a glimpse into her future plans now that she’s putting Siemens behind her.
When Siemens announced that Chief Human Resources Officer Janina Kugel was stepping down last July, the media reacted with more surprise and wonder than usual. “The reaction to females in powerful roles is different than those to men,” she says. In part one, Kugel reflects on her seven-year tenure at the company and talks about dealing with HR issues in a complex and ever-changing landscape.
Adobe aims to run on 100 percent renewable energy by 2035. While 15 years seems too far away to tackle the pressing issue of climate change, Paul Robson defends the company’s timeline, saying that they are “aggressively moving toward the target.” In part two, he addresses Photoshop complaints, talks fake news and tackles 3D content creation.
Adobe has seen a boost in revenue, thanks in part to its marketing tool Experience Cloud. Paul Robson, president of Adobe International, says the company has been successfully monetizing what he calls “the explosion in consumption of content.” But when asked about a recent Norwegian report warning about the online ad industry’s exploitation of consumers, Robson defends his company’s role in the content cycle and points out that trust—not data—is the most important currency in the digital world.
“What we’re really concerned about from a sustainability point of view is longevity,” says Martine Ferland, president and CEO at Mercer. From health issues and ageism to finances and retirement, Ferland looks at how we as a society need to adapt our mindsets, and our way of working, in order to prepare for dealing with a longer life.
“The biggest risks are popular risks,” says Jean-Pierre Danthine, who warns that a lack of education on the development of the economy and technology can lead to “very negative popular decisions.” Enter the Enterprise for Society Center (E4S), a joint initiative from IMD, EPFL, and UNIL, which looks to link sustainability and business education. In part four, Danthine, who will lead the venture as managing director, says he hopes this will “have an impact on how society is evolving.”
The SNB built an unusually large balance sheet in efforts to rein in the Swiss franc, sparking debate as to what to do with its portfolio. In part three, Jean-Pierre Danthine is skeptical about the sovereign wealth fund option and asks, “What would we do with a sovereign wealth fund that the Swiss National Bank is not already doing today?”
While Swiss banks and pension funds scream about the cost of negative interest rates, ex-Swiss National Bank board member Jean-Pierre Danthine views it quite differently. In part two, he addresses the impact of negative rates and the role the SNB should play in alleviating fallout.
In his years as a Swiss National Bank board member, Jean-Pierre Danthine was restricted in commenting on the bank’s strategy. Danthine, who retired from his post in 2015, now has plenty to say about Switzerland’s central bank. In part one, the EPFL professor talks tactics when it comes to the SNB’s balance sheet and sharing profits. “Real profits will be distributed to the people,” Danthine says. “The real question is when or how.”
EPFL’s Marcel Salathé founded crowdsourcing platform AIcrowd to help further AI, but also to benchmark its development, something he says is key to alleviating the so-called black box issue, or lack of knowledge and visibility. In part two, Salathé addresses the darker side of AI and points out why Geneva has “an important role to play” in the evolution of this field.
Whistle-blower Edward Snowden is on the speaker roster for EPFL’s upcoming Applied Machine Learning Days conference in Lausanne. One of the event’s organizers, associate professor Marcel Salathé, explains the decision and encourages the sharing of knowledge and access to machine learning, which, he says, is a “transformational, once in a lifetime technology.”
The climate change threat is real and yet while lessons are being learned here on Earth, the same mistakes are being made up in space, warns Susmita Mohanty. The space entrepreneur’s start-up, Earth2Orbit, aims to push the “Greta generation” to move past climate strikes. “I want the Gretas of the world to not only demand action but also be participants in that action,” Mohanty says.
Indian space entrepreneur Susmita Mohanty is hesitant to be grouped with the Musks and Bransons of the world. “I’m more of a ‘passion-preneur’ than an entrepreneur because I’m not profit driven,” she says. When learning of an ETH Zurich idea to increase the number of low satellites with its “Internet from Space” proposal, Mohanty’s first reaction is “we’re in trouble.”
While some in the watch industry are concerned about pressure being put on suppliers, Bulgari CEO Jean-Christophe Babin has several approaches to making sure that doesn’t happen at his company. In the final part, Babin talks about being a fair partner to watch suppliers and gets personal about his career and his achievements.