Exchange, not isolation, will help the world advance

in Firm, 23.01.2018

Every generation believes its problems are bigger, more complex and more unsolvable than those of the previous generation. And when it comes to our generation, this does hold true in some respects. The realization that a radical transformation is needed in many places has never been as widespread as it is today.

“Think global, act global”

Our challenges have become more global, interwoven and far-reaching than ever before. Climate change is destroying both the livelihoods of Polynesian islanders and those of the Inuit in Canada and Greenland. Cybercrime poses as big of a threat to administrations, hospitals and corporations as it does to SMEs. And regardless of whether you look at the victims or the solutions, the same thing holds true: Neither the Inuit nor SMEs can cope with the problems and take control of their fate alone.

The realization is slowly taking hold: Yesterday’s cure-alls won’t get us very far in today’s world. The old approach, along the lines of “we know the answer and have just the right ready-made solution”, won’t work anymore. We not only need new approaches but also a new mindset and the courage to break with the old patterns. Away from a silo mentality and toward the use of a collective intelligence and intense collaboration. The new world is a “social” one and a crowd can produce better results than an individual. Not just when looking for solutions to small problems, but also – and especially – when it comes to the really big topics.

Collaboration means: an intense exchange between the realms of politics, industry, science and education, but also between universities, research facilities and traditionally rival companies, between business units where bonuses used to depend on being better than the colleagues in the office next door. This calls for flexible working environments that reflect new internal work practices, that leverage networks instead of competing against them, that open up new ways of doing business and promote an ecosystem mentality. And we need constructive ways of putting artificial intelligence to profitable use. Only then will it be possible for the flood of information generated by the digital world to be managed productively.

No isolationist agenda for Switzerland

Switzerland’s militia system and international networks have prepared the country well for its future in the global world. Not only are many multinational corporations located here, but also major international organizations like the UN, the ICRC and the IOC. It is also home to the WEF, an organization that has been opening up international channels of communication for forty years, this year under the motto “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World”. Yet Switzerland needs to remain vigilant in order to preserve this internationalism going forward. The “America First” strategy might sound promising to the world’s largest economy; however an isolationist agenda is not an option for Switzerland. International collaboration has always laid the foundation for the country’s prosperity and will continue to do so in the future. In the realms of politics, industry and science.

 

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