A UTOPIA FOR ALL? OR JUST THE RICH? SMART CITIES DEBATED ON DIGITAL DAY

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Smart cities should be about doing good, not just about making the lives of the world’s richest easier. Alfredo Brillembourg, chair of architecture and urban design at ETH Zurich, warns there’s a danger that only developed nations can afford to live in connected spaces.

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Roland Decorvet on the “biggest lie in the corporate world”
Roland Decorvet, the former CEO and chairman of Nestlé China, says that while his 20 years at the food giant shaped him as a leader, his experience as chairman of Mercy Ships Switzerland has taught him “what not to do.” In the final part of our interview, he shares his views on leadership and talks about what he calls “the biggest lie in the corporate world.”

“Our competitor is the naked leg,” says Wolford exec Röhrich
Austrian hosiery company Wolford is yet another in a long line of apparel brands feeling the pinch of slowing sales. Andreas Röhrich, director of product development, innovation and sustainability, says its biggest competition is not Swiss brands like Fogal and Falke, but rather a shift in trends. Röhrich says a foray into the Chinese market, and a renewed focus on innovation and sustainability, will help boost Wolford in the years ahead.

EU “getting rather impatient” with Switzerland, says Matthiessen
The framework agreement between Switzerland and the EU has been a decade in the making. “It’s been 10 years of discussion, five years of negotiation, and a year since there’s been a text on the table,” ambassador Michael Matthiessen points out. In part two of our interview, he warns of potential consequences, including no new market access as well as an “erosion” of ties between both parties.

“Europe is back,” warns EU ambassador to Switzerland
Michael Matthiessen, EU ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein, has a message for the world: The European Union is back in top form. “The EU has been a bit too nice,” says Matthiessen, who warns that we will see a more “assertive” Europe on the world stage. With the new leadership of the European Commission set to take over on December 1, Matthiessen declares, “We are the European Union. We have European values. We want to do it the European way.”

WEF: Swiss finance sector one of the most advanced in cybersecurity
Switzerland’s neutrality lends itself well to hosting open discussions around cybersecurity, says Amy Jordan, cybersecurity delivery lead at the WEF. In part two, she says that while the country “falls somewhere in the middle” when it comes to combating cybercrime, its financial sector is one of the most advanced in the world. “They are aware of the significant impact it can have on their bottom line,” Jordan says.

Lack of cybersecurity talent could cost businesses trillions
Cybercrime will cost the private sector upward of USD 5 trillion over the next five years, says Amy Jordan, cybersecurity delivery lead at the World Economic Forum. The WEF’s Centre for Cybersecurity looks to equip business leaders with the knowledge they need to stop hackers, but as attacks increase, there still aren’t enough experts in the field to help companies combat them. Jordan offered some solutions at last week’s annual WEF Cybersecurity Summit in Geneva.

“Switzerland is not a start-up nation,” says Debiopharm’s Mauvernay
From high drug prices to tough regulations, the Swiss pharma industry has its share of obstacles, says Thierry Mauvernay, president of Debiopharm. In part two, he points out some of Switzerland’s biggest hurdles, including the country’s fear of risk and the weak link between academia and industry, both of which Mauvernay says are impediments to innovation.

Debiopharm: We’re more flexible than the Swiss pharma giants
The focus at Debiopharm is on the drugs, says its president Thierry Mauvernay. The Lausanne-based private company says its smaller, less complicated structure is key to producing disruptive drugs, something that Mauvernay says is difficult for larger Swiss pharma rivals. He credits Debiopharm’s business model as the reason the company has some promising new cancer drugs in the pipeline.

Financial historian on Mario Draghi and the ECB’s big misstep
Tobias Straumann, professor of financial history at the University of Zurich, has some harsh criticism of former European Central Bank head Mario Draghi and the policies of the last few years. In part two, he talks about what’s wrong with Europe’s monetary union, the ECB’s “wrong theory,” and why many Swiss don’t really care about negative interest rates.

Forget Brexit: There’s another storm brewing in Europe, says Straumann
While all eyes are on Brexit and trade disputes, Tobias Straumann, professor of financial history at the University of Zurich, is worried—even pessimistic—about the situation in southern Europe, which he compares to pre-WWII, 1930s Germany. “Be very careful about what you’re doing,” Straumann says, directing his comments to the EU.