The 2020 edition of the Research Forum reflects on the Covid-19 pandemic as a catalyst for change and allows the opportunity for discussions that drill into what really matters for the future: Collaboration, Innovation, Continuity and Humanity. This discussion will offer unique insights into the challenges that business leaders have faced through the pandemic, as well as the tools that have initiated, driven and supported success and continuity. As the world plans for life after the pandemic, we have an opportunity to collectively define what the new normal should look like and how this new normal can work for every stakeholder.
The Covid-19 pandemic has distorted global value chains and exposed the fragility of humanity. Businesses have been forced to re-evaluate operating procedures while international trade has bounced between nationalist rhetoric and structural reform. The year 2020 has seen increased trade protectionism in various industrialized economies. Reeling from the impact of the pandemic on economies around the world, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has slowed as investors have taken a step back to strengthen core bases and really understand what the future holds. In the middle of all of this, global business has reacted differently. At the peak of social distancing/lockdown measures many companies, from SMEs to Multinationals struggled for continuity, while the same circumstances opened new opportunities for others.
From all of this, a few things are clear: the importance of technology in business operations and human interaction cannot be overstated; the current atmosphere will erase certain opportunities and create new ones, and resource constraints will require both the public and private sectors to design new trade and project financing models.
11:00 – 11:05
Suddha Chakravartti, Head of Research, EU Business School
11:05 – 11:20
Raghavan Seetharaman, CEO, Doha Bank
11:20 – 12:00
Panel 1: Trade and International Collaboration; Avoiding an economic downturn
A common feature at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic was the confusion between a collaborative or antagonistic response to the pandemic. The atmosphere that this confusion created, combined with trade tensions, exacerbated an already turbulent landscape for global business, at a time when global value chains are more connected than ever. In this evolving landscape, businesses will need to identify the relationship models that will help them to enhance their competitive positioning on global value chains. Understanding that increased trade will be crucial to economic recovery around the world, the international community will need to redefine engagement models in a manner that fosters greater collaboration. This presents an opportunity for businesses.
Philippe G. Nell, Honorary Ambassador, Swiss – Latin American Chamber of Commerce, Author, Lecturer.
Preeti Sinha, CEO, FFD Financing for Development LLC.
Kattia Moreno, Academic Quality Coordinator at the EU Business School.
Moderator: Judit Kozenkow, Professor of Economics, EU Business School.
12:00 – 12:40
Panel 2: Big Tech! Small Tech! Safe Tech! Innovating to stakeholder value
Rounding up an extraordinary year for tech giants, we look at the opportunities created by the pandemic but also at the engagement models that businesses have designed to take advantage of the global digital shift. A shift that has been accelerated by social distancing measures worldwide. In parallel, we look at transformative and new innovations and the entrepreneurs taking these to scale. With more people engaging with each other and with businesses online, safety should be at the forefront of every user and service prover. Understanding the evolving cybersecurity space will allow businesses to truly maximise the value that they create whether as tech giants or innovative entrepreneurial start-ups.
Mohamed Ba, Senior Coordinator, Digital Innovation Ecosystem, International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
Velislava Petrova, UNAIDS Global Health/ Innovation – Consultant World Bank – Research Associate, Kings College, Cambridge University.
Alain Schneuwly, Managing Director, Boston Consulting Group Plantinion, Asia.
Taissa Thierry Chaves, Managing Director & Chief Catalyst Officer, Y Coaching & Consulting.
Moderator: Ugo Ikpeazu, Partnership Coordinator/Research Associate at ONResearch.
12:40 – 13:00
13:00 – 13:40
Panel 3: Rethinking Continuity: From Project Financing to the Future of Work
In a similar fashion, the need for continuity is crucial and applies on various levels. In one instance, continuity refers to operating procedures and the changes that have resulted from the pandemic. Countries around the world established strict social distancing measures that opened a universe of remote working possibilities, with many companies opting to continue these practices going forward. Redefining the future of work will allow businesses to enhance their work forces to unlock hidden value or increase distractions and decrease productivity.
At the same time, global investment rates have staggered as countries have repurposed Foreign Direct Investment and Overseas Development Assistance budgets towards national economic stimulus. While this has provided immediate support for businesses in parts of the world, it has exposed a significant financing gap in other parts. Coming out of the pandemic, there is a need to think about new opportunities/models for project and trade financing. Agile and proactive businesses must take steps today concerning the future of work and financing if they want to thrive in the dynamic landscape of tomorrow.
Geoffrey See, Founder – Choson Exchange; Council Member, Global Future Council & Young Global Leader, World Economic Forum.
Paul Müller, Head of HSSE (Health-Safety-Security-Environment), RUAG Space.
Peter Vanham, Head of International Media Council and Chairman’s Communications at World Economic Forum; Author.
Moderator: Suddha Chakravartti, Head of Research, EU Business School.
13:40 – 13:55
13:55 – 14:00
Luc Craen, Managing Director & Vice-President, EU Business School