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45th St. Gallen Symposium Magazine

#Proudly Small


Dear Reader, Small things change. This year, the St. Gallen Symposium turned 45. Although the spirit remains steady, small things have changed: for the first time, hashtags – like #45SGS and #ProudlySmall – were used often, and numerous lively discussions on Twitter went on along with what was happening at the symposium site. Tweets commented on the speech of @PaulKagame, the controversial leader from Rwanda (read more on page 72), Daron Acemoğlu’s recipe for success in Europe (more on page 30) or the Dinner Nights (#Philippines, page 88). # – a single character that revolutionised the way of organising social media. This year, for the first time, we did not struggle to find female participants to present in the Magazine. We finally noticed a more equal gender representation among the participants: starting with Hanna Tetteh, Minister for Foreign Affairs from Ghana, who shared with us the memory of her first impression of Africa when she was only nine years old (page 20), followed by Lauren Singer who lives without producing waste (page 80), not to mention Vanessa Restrepo and Laura Thompson – women of science and technology. This change is not that small, though. This year, for the first time, we challenged the limitations of print, creating a new website-like navigation. Although we really hope that you will carefully read every word in this Magazine, in case you cannot find time for that, the opening pages of every cluster will provide a brief summary of our ideas. After all, when talking about words, size is never an issue. On behalf of the 45th International Students’ Committee (ISC), we would like to sincerely thank you for supporting our student initiative and hope that you can relive your time in St. Gallen while reading this Magazine. We hope that you can look back on a symposium full of inspiring and engaging discussions and look forward to welcoming you again next year.





Photo: Caroline Marti

Photo: Caroline Marti

Table of Contents



8 – Let’s Talk About Size: Is small really something to be proud of?


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3 Solutions?: 18 – Big Problems, Big The world is confronted with big problems. Can they only be solved with big solutions?

40 – Drops that Shape the Rock: Small things can have big impacts. How do we find the small things that will make a difference?

54 – David vs. Goliath: Conventional wisdom pits small against big. What about cooperation?

76 – Essentials: The world is organised into big and small. But is size really what counts?

People: Speakers............................................................................... 102 People: Topic Leaders...................................................................... 104 Programme: Work Sessions........................................................ 105 Programme: Plenary Sessions.................................................... 109 St. Gallen Foundation for International Studies............... 111 Circle of Benefactors...................................................................... 112 ISC Team............................................................................................... 116 Magazine Team................................................................................. 118 Imprint.................................................................................................. 119


Little Secret?: Switzerland, Iceland and Denmark are the three happiest countries in the world, according to a recent survey. We asked three Leaders of Today to share the keys to their countries’ success.



Yes, But …: For the sociologist Saskia Sassen, being small is just one of many preconditions for success. More important is the ability to specialise.


Safety in Numbers: As the world grows more and more complex, we need simple rules of thumb to count on. Here are five numbers that run your life.


Every Body a Medium: Big or small, short or tall, one size rules them all. Gulnaz Khusainova explains the power of medium.

Never Grow Up – The Power of SMEs: In the world of business, small is rarely associated with success. So why are there so many enterprises that prefer to emulate Peter Pan?

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Size Does Matter: Alice did not have a choice in Wonderland. These Leaders of Today and Tomorrow do – and they are eager to show it. See what these seven people did when we asked “What would you make smaller or bigger if you could?”.


Let’s Talk About Size Proudly small, sure – but is diminutive size always a reason to be proud? Yes! At least if you trust the latest rankings of the happiest countries in the world, topped by tiny Denmark, Iceland and … Switzerland. We talked to representatives of these countries at the symposium, who confirmed: being small is essential for their countries. But a closer look also shows that being small is far from enough to be happy. It is only an advantage if a country makes use of its size. Counterintuitively, petite is nothing to be proud of when it comes to clothing. An expert Leader of Tomorrow taught us people want to wear “medium”. Does it surprise you that “medium” means something different wherever you go? It turns out this is true not only for clothes, but also for companies. As usual, it all depends on your point of view. That is why we asked participants what they would make bigger or smaller if they could. What would you have answered?

Key to Success


Little Secret? Switzerland, Iceland and Denmark are the three happiest countries in the world, according to a recent survey. We asked three exceptional representatives to share the secrets to their countries’ success. CHIARA PIOTTO & JOLIEN DE VRIES (TEXT), LUKAS RAPP & CAROLINE MARTI (PHOTOS)

Affinity between politicians and citizens

Friendly, dynamic, happy

You can make the difference

SWITZERLAND Bruno S. Frey, Senior Professor of Economics, University of Zurich

ICELAND Sigmundur Davið Gunnlaugsson, Prime Minister of Iceland

DENMARK Connie Hedegaard, Chairman of the KR Foundation

“People with a higher income are happier. It’s related to the size of the country, too: small countries have an advantage, in that politicians are closer to the citizens and better understand what they want, and that makes citizens happy.”

“We have some good reasons to be happy. First, we live in one of the most peaceful societies in the world. There’s widespread social equality. Our living standards are very high: despite the 2008 economic crisis, our GDP kept growing. Iceland is a good place to raise a family. There’s enough space for everybody. We are geographically isolated, but we don’t feel cut out of the world. And, most of all, being an Icelander makes you feel like you’re part of a group, a community that will always support you. Your country is like a home.”

“We Danes were surprised to be so high on the list! Our country’s happiness might be related to environment, in the sense that if you live in a safe environment you also get safe food, safe water, and worry less. But the most relevant factor is that we grow up with the feeling that any one of us can make a difference if he or she wants to. There’s no distance to power, ours is not a hierarchical system: if you’re unhappy with something, you can change it. You can influence the top.” u

Mind the Gap


Yes, But … For the sociologist Saskia Sassen being small is just one of many preconditions for success. Much more important is the ability to specialise.


Prof. Saskia Sassen (1949) is the Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology and chairs the Committee on Global Thought at Columbia University. Her latest book, “Expulsions, Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy,” deals with socioeconomic and environmental dislocations.

What do the five smallest countries in the world have in common? If Monaco has the highest nominal GDP per capita, Nauru stands out as the one with the highest obesity rate. We asked sociologist Saskia Sassen to comment (see illustration). “These countries are too exceptional and extreme to be analytically comparable. They’re nice to talk about at a dinner table. They’re all somehow and differently affected by globalisation, but they face different problems: the two Pacific islands Nauru and Tuvalu strive for survival, with climate change menacing their borders, while Monaco City is the one with the highest nominal GDP per capita in the world. San Marino

is a rich enclave within a larger Italian culture. And the Vatican’s constitution is unique in the world. What small countries in general do share is a chance to compete in the global market, because what globalisation does, in my view, is capture and register specialised differences. Standardisation is not necessary, because every country can play a different economic role. A small country doesn’t need to be as good as its bigger neighbors to be competitive, it has to stand out of the crowd for a single specific peculiarity. It has to be at the top for some specific good – as Germany does with cars and Switzerland does with watches, for example – and be noticed for that.” u


Area (km2)

Density (person/km2)

Life Expectancy (years) GDP per Capita (USD) Literacy (%)

Obesity Rate (%)

Vatican City (842)

Vatican City (0.44)

Nauru (447)

Tuvalu (67/63)

Nauru (3,300)

Tuvalu (88)

Tuvalu (57)

Nauru (10,255)

Monaco (2.02)

Tuvalu (476)

Nauru (76/68)

Tuvalu (3,428)

Nauru (97)

San Marino (62)

Tuvalu (10,837)

Nauru (21)

San Marino (532)

Vatican City (81/74)

San Marino (41,757)

Monaco (99)

Monaco (62.4)

San Marino (32,538)

Tuvalu (26)

Vatican City (1,980)

San Marino (82/83)

Monaco (136 ,129)

San Marino (99)

Nauru (94.5)

Monaco (35,881)

San Marino (61)

Monaco (18,916)

Monaco (94/86)

Vatican City (unknown)

Vatican City (100)

Vatican City (unknown)

How the five smallest coutries in the world differ: There is only one characteristic they really have in common – few inhabitants. All the other categories show clearly that this is where the similarities end. Source: World Bank.

M Theory


Every Body a Medium Average weight and height vary from one country to another. And so do standard clothing sizes.


Proudly Average JAPAN: SIZE 6 (51 kg, 158 cm)

BRASIL: SIZE 14 (62.5 kg, 159 cm)

EU: SIZE 10 (69 kg, 167 cm)

US: SIZE 16 (74 kg, 162 cm)

UK: SIZE 12 (69 kg, 163 cm)

Average women's dress size based on average height and weight per country. Source: International Data Base.


Everybody wants to fit into a medium, according to the fashion industry’s socalled “M theory”. “Everybody buys M sizes,” Russian entrepreneur and Leader of Tomorrow Gulnaz Khusainova says. “It is a marketing choice.” In October 2014, she launched EasySize, a start-up analysing online shops’ orders records and predicting the correct size for customers. “It was the result of a personal struggle: I often bought clothes online and I noticed that the size charts of the websites were too general to be functional.” Now EasySize has customers in the US, the UK and Denmark, and they are planning on expanding to test new markets, both in Europe and Asia. “There’s a lot of confusion over clothing sizes, as numbers vary from one country to another,” Khusainova says. “I’m not a fan of the “average concept,” but by analysing customers’ preferences in different countries we see that they normally don’t choose the size by how their body really looks, but by how they’d like it to be. And as the M theory says, they all want to look medium.” How big is medium? The problem is, there are no standard sizes. So what’s medium like? “The concept of ‘medium’ itself varies from one corner of the world to the other, Khusainova explains, “because it depends not only on how people dress, whether sporty or tight, but on the average weight and height of people in each country.” And average body measurements themselves shift with time. A recent article from the Economist called the phenomenon “size inflation”. British clothes with the same size label have become steadily larger between 1975 and 2012, according to the Economist: “The average British size-14 pair of women’s trousers is more than four inches bigger at the waist today than they were in the 1970s, and over three inches wider at the hips. This means that today’s size 14 fits like a former size 18; a size 10 fits like an old size 14.”

The size also depends on the brand. “Big international brands such as H&M customise their clothing products for every country they sell in,” Khusainova says. “Nordic brands, for example, tend to produce longer trousers, as people from the north are taller than other Europeans.” What about an international size chart to solve clothing problems once and for all? “Such an universally shared size chart will never exist, because it’s the companies – and designers as well – that modify sizes from place to place and from country to country to meet customers’ expectations, not the customers deciding to change their size to a Large or Extra Large,” Khusainova argues. If Mohammed will not go to the mountain, the mountain must come to Mohammed. u

Golden Rules


Safety in Numbers In a world that grows more and more complex, we need simple rules of thumb to count on. So sit back and relax: someone did the counting for you.


Dunbar’s number: 150

comes to social groups, big is too big? When it how t bu , ful uti nbar. bea be Small might to psychologist Robin Du ple –at least according peo of 150 ty top aci not cap uld ive nit they sho strain the cog s that number starts to Any grouping that exceed the human brain.

338 Faceboo k


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ductions u are only six intro over the world, yo ry.” So if all eo es th nc n ta tio ain ra ks to your acqu degrees of sepa an x th “si : e ds th en sid fri lle of ca Speaking worry: they are ba planet . This is mposium, don’t r person on the sy he e ot th y at an y m Fre fro S. away n or Bruno ur neighbour. rs Fogh Rasmusse start by asking yo you missed Ande st Ju ! ds en fri ur friend’s cally friends of yo

Miller’s number: 7

Getting introduced to people can be very stressful, though , especially when it comes to bering names: according to remempsychologist George A. Miller’s “magical number,” the hum can only store around seven an mind things in short term memo ry. So do not panic if you can ber some symposium’s par not rememticipant’s names – they pro bably won’t remember you rs either.

Great 8

“great eight,” a concept To deal with heavy input like that, you probably need to master the every leader should coined by psychologist Dave Bartram. These are eight competencies interacting. They are and ng organisi ing, have, among them faculties like analysing, support 150 people – if than more of groups with deal to have you skills that are certainly helpful if is. that , overload mental from melted already your brain has not

Peter Pans


Never Grow Up: The Power of SMEs In the world of business, to be big is to be successful. So why are there so many enterprises that prefer to stay small? NATASHA SILVA

lopment of our societies, especially in Europe,” says Vladimír Dlouhý, a Czech economist and European Deputy Chairman of the Trilateral Commission. According to Eurostat, 99.8% of the active enterprises in the European Union’s non-financial services economy in 2008 were SMEs. That corresponds to almost 21 million companies that together accounted for two out of every three jobs. The impact these small and mediumsized companies have on the economy and society does not go unnoticed. In Germany, small and medium enterprises have been pointed out as essential to the country’s economic growth in the past century. These businesses are called the “hidden champions” or Mittelstand. “The German Mittelstand is famous all over the world,” says AGCO Corporation CEO Martin Richenhagen. “They are private small- to mid-sized companies, and the advantage they have is that they are very loyal, they believe in their business

and they reinvest money in their companies.” In Germany, SMEs are well-known for continuing to do sound business even during economic and financial crises, unlike many big companies. Looks like being an average player is not a bad thing after all. u

“Medium” means different things in different places. A look at the definitions around the world shows one thing to be true: the bigger the economy (GDP), the bigger a medium-sized business can be.



CHINA 2000








Source: Edinburgh Group, Growing the global economy through SMEs

Economists rarely turn to fiction to explain anything. But to name the regulatory environment in which enterprises prefer to stay small rather than grow, specialists resorted to literature: they are called “Peter Pan systems,” a reference to the character created by the novelist J.M. Barrie. Even though the definition of success in business is directly linked to size, many companies around the globe prefer to never grow up. The truth is, the economy needs them to stay small. According to the World Bank, there are 125 million formal SMEs in the world, of which 89 million are in emerging markets. The data shows that in low- and middle-income economies, the number of small and medium-sized companies is rising fast. It is easier to maintain a small business, because it implies less taxes and less regulation. But that does not mean these businesses do not contribute. The opposite is actually the case: SMEs employ more than a third of the world’s labour force and an impressive 33% of the population in developing economies. “SMEs are important not only for economic development, but also for the social and political deve-


Alice in Wonderland


Size Does Matter The answers are important, but the gestures are what makes a big impact. See what people say and show when asked “What would you make smaller or bigger if you could?” VANJA VODENIK (TEXT), LUKAS RAPP (PHOTOS)

I would make big countries a bit smaller and the very small countries bigger. Prof. Andreu Mas-Colell (ES), Minister of Economy and Knowledge of Catalonia

I would definitely make my handbag bigger, to fit in more lady stuff. Ophelia Stinna Borup (DK), Head of Commercial Affairs, FREYA DALSJØ

I would make work stress smaller. Philipp Sutter (CH), Chief Executive Officer, Zühlke Engineering AG

I would make engineering bigger – to create more space for women in the field. Anita Wu (GB), Design and Construction Engineer, London Bridge Associates

I would make the huge gap between men and women smaller. Sibylle Mutschler (DE), Corporate Planning and Strategy, Clariant International

I would make people’s happiness bigger, so they would like to live together. Reiner Fageth (DE), Chief Technology Officer, CEWE Stiftung & Co. KgaA

Make bigger


I would like to have a bigger platform to implement our strategies. Harsha Varma (IN), MBA programme, Indian Institute of Management Calcutta.



“You only see a different Africa if you want to.”: Hanna Tetteh puts Gha-


People, Power, and Participation:


na firmly on the map. Her perspective on the solution to the migration crisis and the importance of elections will change the way you think about Africa.

In 2020, Will Anyone Speak Kayardild?: There are 576 languages UNESCO recognises as critically endangered. What is behind their decline, and how can they be saved?

Leaving Big Behind: Scotland and Catalonia are small places with big dreams of independence. Economist Andreu Mas-Colell talks about what the future might bring.

Liquid Democracy: Energy drink or the future of citizenship? Christopher Lauer and Ruth Metzler-Arnold weigh in on how to caffeinate the electoral process.

“The crime of crimes”: Philippe Sands



says international law should abandon concepts that tend to group people and focus on guaranteeing the protection of each individual instead.

Accountable Elites: The key to a Don’t Choose the Middle: Bruno S. Frey has got one little idea that could redraw the administrative boundaries of governments.



nation’s prosperity or failure is institutions, rather than culture, education or geography, argues economist Daron Acemoğlu.

Investment 2.0?: Crowdfunding platBringing Microcredit to the Developed World: People told Faisel Rahman he was crazy to bring microlending, a system originally designed for developing countries, to the United Kingdom. But that didn’t stop him from trying.

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Is China’s Economic Engine About to Stall?: China’s miraculous growth has come to an end. Reforms are stagnating on the local level, says expert TAO Ran. Has the shift to small failed in China?

Brain Drain, Brain Gain: For de-


cades, the developing world’s best and brightest have set off for foreign shores. But now some of these so-called “sea turtles” are making the voyage home.

Asian Values in the 21st Century: Lee Kuan Yew’s legacy in Singapore is omnipresent. Are the Asian values he espoused still as important?

forms make it possible to launch new companies collectively. Durell Coleman and David Rhotert weigh in on whether the new fundraising tool is a threat to banks, or just a passing fad.

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Big Problems, Big Solutions? Conventional wisdom is clear: big problems demand big solutions. Doing research for our stories, we found out that may be true – but only sometimes. Some countries, like Ghana, are improved by big, stable national structures. Others, like China, are being slowly crushed under the weight of structures that became too big and too powerful. And society’s most powerful segment – political and economic elites – is not always interested in solving problems of inequality and access. So what is the right solution? Discussions at the symposium raised a lot of interesting propositions. The ideas all boil down to one central idea: create smaller entities that have more weight and are better protected. How? What about using new, stronger forms of political participation that give more power to the people, or by organising communities beyond the tired concept of nations and states? In the business world, there were parallels too. When the big entities like banks don’t lend money anymore, new – smaller – forms of funding develop.

Fourth Time’s a Charm


“You only see a different Africa if you want to.” In a world, where many people continue to struggle with the geography of Africa, Hanna Tetteh puts Ghana firmly on the map. As Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of Ghana and Chair of the Council of Ministers of ECOWAS, Tetteh embodies the successes and challenges of her country and gives a voice to the West African region. JULIA KRAMER (TEXT), LUKAS RAPP (PHOTO)

Hanna Tetteh vividly remembers the first time she came to Ghana. As a nineyear-old girl who was born in Hungary and spent her early youth in the United Kingdom, she had no idea what to expect when she first got out of the plane in Accra, the Ghanaian capital. “It was so incredibly hot and humid and I realised I had never seen so many African people at once,” laughs Tetteh. “I turned to my father and said, ‘Everyone is black!’ His answer was: ‘This is Ghana, this is your home.’” Today, Tetteh is the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of Ghana. In the four decades that have gone by since Tetteh’s arrival in her home country, everything from her personal knowledge about, attitude towards, and position within Ghana has changed drastically. She has also witnessed her country develop into a vibrant and stable democracy featuring a fast growing economy. Despite this personal and national success, Tetteh is humble and realistic. During the symposium, she described Ghana’s political

achievements with the same eloquence she used to point out the challenges of economic insecurity and migration her country is facing today. What is the biggest change in Ghana since you arrived in the mid 1970s? Ever since we became a democracy in 1992, we have a much more open society. Our governmental structure played an important role in making this happen. Before, people were not talking. Not because they didn’t have anything to say, but because they didn’t necessarily feel safe to say it. This “culture of silence” has vanished completely. Why did Ghana become one of the most prosperous countries in West Africa, while neighbouring countries are still dealing with political and economic problems? It didn’t happen by accident. It’s evolved. Our first three attempts at creating a democratic government were overthrown. By the time we were going to our fourth attempt at democracy, we

decided that we wanted a multi-party democracy. We designed a constitution that allowed us to have an open conversation and provided the structures that are needed for stability. In addition, our growing middle class, which is educated and informed, keeps this democratic government on its toes. What is the role of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the organisation that promotes regional economic integration, in the development of Ghana? Because we are not a very big state and we think it is important for us to have good relationships with our neighbours, membership in ECOWAS has been meaningful for us. It allowed us to have access to other countries’ markets in the region, and to build up supply chains in and outside of Ghana for various products we export. On New Year’s Day 2015 you tweeted: “This year will be challenging & interesting for the ECOWAS region. Nigeria,


Hanna Tetteh (1967) has been the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of the Republic of Ghana since 2013. Prior to this appointment, she held the post of Minister of Trade and Industry. Her career started in private legal practice and continued within the Ghana Agro Food Company Ltd. In 2000, she was elected to parliament on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress. She obtained a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Ghana and subsequently attended the Ghana School of Law.


Côte D’Ivoire, Togo, Burkina Faso and Guinea will have elections.” What did you mean by that? Elections are difficult times for us. These are growing democracies, so the contests for power are rough. Thank God, the Nigerian election went peacefully. But can you imagine what would have happened if it didn’t? Nigeria is the biggest country in the region. When you do a risk evaluation in the region, you know that elections in countries like Côte D’Ivoire, Togo, Burkina Faso and Guinea cause challenges. How stable is ECOWAS? ECOWAS experienced periods of instability – for example, during the civil war in Liberia, and last year’s Ebola outbreak. Nevertheless, we are still able to find solutions to resolve those situations. It is a dynamic organisation that has not been as primarily economic as was envisioned when it started, but it provides us with a forum for cooperation on economic and social matters, as well as in peace and security issues. Ghana has come to be regarded in the last two decades as an economic model for Africa, especially since the country has consistently achieved a GDP growth above 8 percent during the previous five years. What challenges does the Ghanaian economy face today? Our economy has grown rapidly, but our infrastructure has not kept up with the demands. Right now, we have a po-wer crisis. We simply don’t have enough energy to power our economy.

We also have to take external risks on board. As a country that is still largely a commodity exporter [gold, oil, cocoa], the current fluctuations in commodity prices have significant impact on our economy. In 2007, then-president John Kufuor announced that huge oil fields had been found. He promised that within the next five years, Ghana would prove itself an African Tiger. Looking back, how realistic was this promise? A good number of people were euphoric about the discovery of oil, because at that time, the expectation was that it would bring significant new revenue flows. And if we had found our first well, there was a possibility that we’d find a second, third, etc. Eight years later, we are more realistic about what oil has brought us. But there has also been a lot more diversification of our economy over the last twenty years. What do you mean by “a lot more economic diversification”? When you develop institutions and structures, it gives people a greater comfort level to invest, because there is predictability. These structures created a confidence that has allowed for more investment. Despite the importance of foreign investors, some of the most important investors in our economy are Ghanaians who have come back to Ghana. They have a more credible story to tell than the government. After all, when you want to invest in a business, you are going to believe a businessman over the politician, right?

“Some of the most important investors in our economy are Ghanaians who have come back.” — Hanna Tetteh

Despite the political and economic success of Ghana, the country has a very high rate of emigration. Why are so many Ghanaians still leaving? It’s all about the myth that you come to Europe to live a better life. Being connected and having so much information available about what’s going on in the world and seeing the images of your beautiful cities and infrastructure suggests that there are more opportunities in Europe than in Ghana. Since we are not able to create jobs fast enough to give the young population things to do, they look for opportunities somewhere else. Why is it a myth if the people are not experiencing prosperity at home? I believe that, with the amount of effort and resources that they put into getting to Europe, if they had invested that same effort and resources in starting something at home, they probably would also have a better quality of life. One of the challenges we have, is to explain that Europe’s prosperity wasn’t created overnight. And that it was the people in your countries who over centuries have invested and created the spaces that you have today. And that is also what it’s going to take Ghana. What role do you see for Europe in addressing the challenge of migration? Being more open to different ways of investing in our country. The European Union provides funds for development within our region. Very often, the use of those funds is tied to governments meeting particular targets. If a government doesn’t meet those targets, those funds are not released. This makes a bad situation worse. If you involve not only government institutions, but also civil society or private sector organisations, in delivering those preferred outcomes that will provide people with alternatives and cumulatively over time, that helps us achieve more growth and create more business and jobs that prevent people from running away from Ghana.

Growing Up

What is the most important point about Africa in general you want to get across to the largely western-centric audience at the symposium? Africa is very complex. It is not a single country. As long as you think all Africans are the same, you are bound to miss the point and to misunderstand the challenge that you are dealing with. People think of my continent as a place that is continuously having challenges, has many failed states and is not able to provide for its people. But that’s the exception rather than the norm. There is a different Africa, but you’ve got to want to look for it to see it. u

The Republic of Ghana is located on the west coast of Africa and has a population of about 25 million people. Ghana became the first sub-Saharan African country to gain its independence in 1957, and Dr Kwame Nkrumah became the first president. After a long period of instability and military adventurism, in 1992 the democratic “fourth republic” was established. Since then, Ghana is seen as a stable country and the ninth-largest economy in Africa, with a GDP of USD 38.58 billion in 2014.


Leaving Big Behind Both Scotland and Catalonia held unsuccessful independence referendums last year. But what will the future bring? We spoke with Catalan economist Andreu Mas-Colell to find out.


Do you see similarities between the independence movement of Catalonia and the one in Scotland? Catalonia sees itself – or a majority of Catalans – as an old nation, and we feel that this demands respect for our national trades, traditions and language. It also demands respect for our wish for a high degree of self-government. So in that sense, our issue is similar to Scotland: we have a distinct cultural identity. I think that’s the main similarity. Both Scotland and Catalonia were made part of larger states, Scotland in 1707, Catalonia in 1714. In the case of Scotland, it was by some common agreement, and in the case of Catalonia by force of arms. Both want a higher degree of self-government and both see that the emergence of the European Union perhaps may lead sooner or later to an internal reconfiguration. So you want to stay part of the EU? We don’t see ourselves outside the European Union. That’s why I never use the term “independence”. The fundamental

issue is sovereignty. I call myself “sovereigntist.” I believe that the Catalan people are a people that have the right to determine their own future. That said, I think that the immense majority of Catalans see their future in the European Union. We wouldn’t object to ceding a lot of sovereignty to Brussels in other things because Europe has been constructed on an exquisite respect for differences. In this respect, Europe is like a big Switzerland or like a big Belgium. In that context, we feel quite happy, it is the context in which we want to be. But is it possible to become sovereign and stay in the EU? We are in the European Union, that’s a fact. We will not be idiots to make particular moves that will put us out of the Union. The Spanish government will never call Brussels asking the Catalans to be expelled. And Brussels is not eager to expel anybody from the Union. We think sooner or later, formally or informally, the European Union will have to tell Spain that the current situation is


unsustainable for the health of the European Union.

Prof. Andreu Mas-Colell is a Catalan economist, who has also served in the cabinet of the government of Catalonia several times .



On 18 September 2014, a slight majority of Scots voted in a binding referendum for “better together,” rejecting independence from the United Kingdom. But the separatist sentiment has not disappeared: during general elections in May 2015, the Scottish National Party went from 6 to 56 seats in the House of Commons.

“Do you want Catalonia to become a state?” and “Do you want this state to be independent?” were the questions on the ballot at the Catalan independence referendum. Turnout was really low at around 40%, probably because the vote was not binding. An overwhelming majority of more than 80% voted “yes” to both options.

How important was the 9N (November 9th) for the independence movement of Catalonia? I think it was a very important moment. But what we want, what the Catalan people want, in 80% of opinion polls, is a referendum, a real referendum. A real referendum similar – it doesn’t have to be identical – but similar to the Scottish referendum. Certainly, independence should be one of the options to be voted on. It is important to emphasise that 80% demand a referendum. The issue of independence would be more controversial: at this point, the polls are more or less fifty-fifty. We want to have a real referendum and we are frustrated that the Spanish government does not behave like the British government in this respect. Do you think that kind of referendum will happen in the near future? Not in the near future, although it depends on what “near” means. Not in the next months, not in the next couple of years. But in the next five years, many things are going to happen. I cannot predict very well, because we will have elections on the 27th of September. The results of those elections and in particular the aggregated vote of the parties that would have independence or sovereignty in their platform are going to be very important. What do you think the future of this movement will be? We’ll keep insisting. We know well that those issues are not easy but as it happened with Scotland, nobody should think that somehow the issue is going to disappear. If Spain insists on defining itself as a mononational, totally uniform state, the Catalan movement could gain force. u

25 Liquid Assets

People, Power, and Participation? All around the world, citizens complain of not feeling represented or acknowledged by politicians. Could Swiss-style direct democracy or “Liquid Democracy”, popularised by the Pirate Party, provide the tools to re-engage the electorate? JULIA KRAMER

Imagine walking every last Sunday of April to the central square of your city to  hear politicians speak, discuss local policy, elect the governing council and vote on laws by raising your hand. Sound  like Athens, circa 500 B.C.? It is not: the described scene is the Landsgemeinde (general assembly) of 2015 in Appenzell, the capital of the Canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden, twenty kilometres south of St. Gallen. “This Landsgemeinde is the highest  level of democracy”, says Ruth Metzler-Arnold, president of the Supervisory  Board of Switzerland Global Enterprise,  former Minister of Justice and former  Vice-President of Switzerland. “It gives people immediate access to the government, and vice versa.” Direct democracy is the norm in Switzerland. This provides the Swiss a  unique variety of ways of directly influencing  the political process, by requesting  a referendum to oppose to an act of  parliament or launching an initiative to  propose constitutional changes. On average,  Swiss citizens vote three or four  times a year, on topics ranging from health care to minarets, mass immigration  to the basic income guarantee.  The Swiss government claims that  the country’s small scale is essential to make this political

system work, but according to Andrea Saxenhofer, a research assistant for the Canton of Aargau, federalism is key. “It is crucial for direct democracy that people don’t feel far away from the government,” she says. But does it actually work? “The percentage  of people voting is sometimes  very low,” admits Saxenhofer. “You can  ask yourself if it is still representative.” The German Pirate Party uses the concept of “Liquid Democracy” to empower citizens. “Liquid Democracy is a mix between direct democracy and representative democracy,” explains Christopher Lauer, a member of the Berlin Parliament and former party leader of  the German Pirate Party. “For any issue, you decide if you want to vote yourself,  or delegate your vote to someone else  because you think he is more qualified.” Instead of voting on a market square, the German Pirates use software called “Liquid Feedback”. This tool structures  the voting process and provides a discussion platform for citizens and politicians,  where everyone can propose a motion, add alternative motions and vote. “Instead of only saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’  on a topic that is pre-discussed by an elite group of politicians, you are able to raise your voice before,” says Lauer. u

Liquid Democracy

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Popularised by Pirate Parties across Europe, delegative democracy or “Liquid Democracy” takes advantage of the flexibility and transparency of online communities. Members can assign their votes to others if they wish and review or recall decisions. “You can easily give your vote to someone else and withdraw their power with one mouse click," Lauer says. "That is more than you can do in most of the democracies in the world.


Vanishing Languages

In 2020, Will Anyone Speak Kayardild? 你好, ¡Hola!, Hello!, नमस्ते, ‫ابحرم‬. This is how you greet somebody in the five most spoken languages in the world: Mandarin, Spanish, English, Hindu and Arabic. More than 35% of the world speaks them as a native language, and many people speak them as a second language. However, there are also 576 languages that UNESCO recognises as critically endangered. VANJA VODENIK (TEXT), LUKAS RAPP (PHOTO)

Saulo Benson is a direct descendant of the Wemba Wemba and Gundjitmara Australian Aboriginal nations of western Victoria and the New Ireland Province of Papua New Guinea. In 2011, he was Australian Youth Representative to the United Nations, which made him the first representative with indigenous roots. He works as a senior consultant at PriceWaterhouseCoopers’ Indigenous Consulting division.

“How many languages do you speak?” I asked Saulo Benson. “I actually only speak English, which upsets me,” he replied. Benson – a senior consultant at PriceWaterhouseCoopers’ Indigenous Consulting division – is descended from members of four Aboriginal nations in Australia and also of one nation in Papua New Guinea. You’d think he would be a polyglot: in Australia, there are more than 300 aboriginal languages. Papua New Guinea, with more than 850 languages, is the most linguistically diverse place on earth. Yet Benson, 26, is a case study in why small languages are struggling to survive. 42 of Australia’s aboriginal languages, like Alawa, Dharawal and Kayardild, are critically endangered. In Papua New Guinea, the count is at 20. Benson says he never learned any of his ancestor’s languages because of the degradation of aboriginal culture in Australia. There are only a few schools


where you can learn aboriginal languages. Most Aborigine people live in metropolitan areas, where they are assimilated and speak English as their first language. As a result, they are losing connection to their culture. “That is a direct result of colonisation, a direct result of government policies that have been put in place to undermine and assimilate aboriginal culture,” Benson says. In Papua New Guinea, people are still living on the land and have strong connections to their community, culture and tribes, so languages are still fostered there. “Young people will grow up and they’ll learn their local dialect until the age of five, and they will learn tok pisin” – a mixture of German, English and Chinese that is the country’s most common dialect – “until the age of seven, and then learn a little bit of English.” Cherish your own Not all languages with a small number of speakers are equally endangered. UNESCO classifies them as vulnerable, definitely endangered, severely endangered, critically endangered and extinct. But every time a language goes extinct, there is a loss of culture, nationhood, identity, traditions and knowledge. “My concern is, once languages die you lose the intricacies of understanding within the culture,” Benson says. “Natural medicines, natural food, culture, history, all these things get lost once language is lost. We are losing a very important part of humanity when we lose languages.” So how can they be saved? Firstly, everyone can cherish their own language and learn new ones. Secondly, governments can implement language policies for maintaining and revitalising languages and open schools to pass them on to younger generations. Furthermore, some work is being done at universities, where researchers not only learn about the languages but try to capture them before they die. On the international level, there are many different schemes, such as UNESCO’s Endangered

Languages Programme. The Alliance for Linguistic Diversity has a project with the same name; there’s National Geographic’s Enduring Voices project and many more. Benson stresses that it is not only a matter of saving the languages. We should find a way to share and preserve them. Success stories also exist – for example, Belarusian, Cornish, Hawaiian, Hebrew and Latin were all once on the verge of extinction and have been successfully revived, giving hope to speakers of endangered languages that they may not be the last of their kind. u

50 % of today’s languages will disappear by the end of the century if we do not take special action Source: UNESCO

18 languages in the world are only spoken by 1 person Source: UNESCO

Every third sovereign state in the world has English as an official language 67 sovereign states, source: The World Factbook

Group Think


“The crime of crimes” Philippe Sands says international law should abandon concepts that tend to group people and focus on guaranteeing the protection of each individual. NATASHA SILVA (TEXT), CAROLINE MARTI (PHOTO)

What is the difference between the concepts of genocide and crimes against humanity? Crimes against humanity are about the killing of individual human beings on a large scale. Genocide is about the killing of groups. The man who invented the concept of crimes against humanity, Hersch Lauterpacht, was much more concerned about protecting every individual human being. Raphael Lemkin, the man who invented the concept of genocide, said that there were people who were killed not because they had particular individual qualities, but because they were members of a group. And he thought that the law should reflect that. You ask whether law should focus on the individual or the group. What is your personal opinion? I tend to be more interested in the individual. I am more on the side of “small is better.” I think that what has happened is that the law has reinforced identity politics, and that has reinforced the sense that the membership of a group is what identifies us as human beings. I think that in the long run that’s what leads to the end of multiculturalism and to countries being defined by sens-

es of ethnicity rather than differences. I mean, I happen to like difference. Difference is great. And I think the law is tending to do away with that. What kind of problems does the idea of the group in law create? The issue is that the group has tended to dominate discussion, although very often large-scale killings and terrible things happen in relation to very large numbers of individuals. Because they don’t have genocidal intent, they don’t get the same attention. For example, this week’s newspapers talked about what happened in Armenia in 1915. The Armenians wanted it to be a genocide because then it puts it into the Premier League of terrible things, and the Turks say: “No, it may have been bad, but it wasn’t that bad.” And so the words come to have an importance that means that

we are deflected from what is actually important. Very large numbers of people were killed in terrible circumstances. Why does it matter if it was genocide or a crime against humanity? Why does it matter what we call it? Yet people focus on what we call it to create a hierarchy of horror. So what practical changes do you propose? I think they should merge the two concepts. The word “genocide” is a brilliant word and the man who invented it was a brilliant guy who had completely good intentions. But the word has caused a problem. The problem is that people like the word genocide. What I am concerned about is that no one pays attention to a mass killing now unless it is called a genocide, and that is a real problem. The effect has been to upgrade

“No one pays attention to a mass killing now unless it is called a genocide.” — Philippe Sands


Prof. Philippe Sands is a barrister for the Matrix Chambers in London and a professor of international law at the University College London. He has extensive experience as counsel and litigator in the International Court of Justice.

genocide to the crime of crimes. And the unintended consequence of that has been to diminish the importance of the protection of individuals. What about minorities who are threatened around the world? Shouldn’t they be protected as groups? I recognise the problem. You get a community or a group that is subject of attack, like women, or people with disabilities, or gay people, or transgender people, and they are entitled to protections. They must be protected. And you take into account their characteristics. But it is something that touches all of us. We all ask ourselves the question: “Who am I? Am I an individual or am I a member of a group?” I am a member of many groups; you are a member of many groups. By being born into groups, you are a member of many groups. And the sense of self-identity

is a constant struggle between who you are and how you define yourself. How the law deals with that is a very complex issue. For example, the Yanomami in Brazil should be protected as individuals, but their group identity is equally important. How do you evaluate the levels of protection of minorities around the world? Some minorities are more protected and some are less protected. Try being gay in Russia or in Uganda – it is pretty tough. It varies very much from place to place. What could international law do in such cases? It can do something. It doesn’t stop bad things from happening, but it provides a framework in which it is possible to say “that should not happen.” You couldn’t do that in the ‘30s and the ‘40s.

Do you think international law should have the power to protect minorities in each country? It should have the power to do that. We know that law in any community is not able to achieve all of its goals. If there is no political will to do things, they won’t happen. But I am an optimist. I think things are a lot better than they were. Before 1945, a country was entirely free to kill half of its population. There was no prohibition, no rule on an international level stopping you from doing that. You could do whatever you wanted; it was the principle of sovereignty. That changed in 1945. I think the world is a better place today than it was in the ‘30s, but it is not a perfect place. We’ll never get to perfect, but we can strive to improve that also. I think about these things as a way to improve that. u


Accountable Elites The key to a nation’s prosperity or failure is institutions, rather than culture, education or geography. But institutions come in different flavours, argues economist Daron Acemoğlu. JULIA KRAMER (TEXT), CAROLINE MARTI (PHOTO)

Why are some countries wealthier than others? This question attracted Daron Acemoğlu, Elizabeth & James Killian Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to the field of economics. During the course of his studies, Acemoğlu realised that he could not answer this question without taking politics into consideration. Together with James A. Rob-

inson, a political scientist at Harvard University, he decided to blend these two academic disciplines. After fifteen years of extensive research, their book “Why Nations Fail” (2012) challenged conventional economic wisdom by introducing empirical evidence showing that the economic success of nations depends on functional economic and political institutions.

The importance of inclusive institutions “It is all about incentives and opportunities,” says Acemoğlu. The Turkishborn professor does not reject the idea that cultural or geographical factors matter for understanding why countries in Western Europe are thirty or forty times as rich as some countries in the Caribbean or sub-Saharan Africa, but the influence is relative. “In the end

Failing Institutions

the incentives to innovate, to invest and to educate are crucial. Institutions provide a framework for these incentives. They create a level playing field on which people can build,” Acemoğlu says. “When that happens, economic growth takes place.” Unfortunately, these so-called “inclusive institutions” are the exception rather than the norm. Many historical and contemporary societies are ruled by so-called “extractive institutions,” Acemoğlu says: “They provide neither incentives nor opportunities to people and are purely designed to extract resources from the many by the few.” Those institutional differences are key to Acemoğlu’s explanation for why some countries are much poorer than others. North Korea, South Korea and China Perhaps one of the best examples to illustrate Acemoğlu’s theory is the case of North Korea versus South Korea. At the end of World War II, they both started at the same income per capita. Today, South Korea has about twelve times the income per capita of North Korea. “You see these two halves of this very ethnically, culturally and linguistically unified country diverge sharply over time,” says Acemoğlu. “While in South Korea the incentives are improving over time, encouraging investment, innovation and export, the repressive dictatorship of North Korea provided no incentives for economic growth at all and no room for individuals to pursue their own economic activities and dreams.” This development makes South Korea the perfect example of inclusive economic institutions. North Korea, meanwhile, is an extreme example of extractive economic institutions. While Acemoğlu’s theory generally received a positive response, many critics wonder how China fits into his framework. “China changed from one of the most extractive, inefficient institutions to a market economy with a heavy role for the Communist Party,”

says Acemoğlu. “This transformation to inclusive economic institutions is at the root of the country’s rapid economic growth.” This happened while extractive political institutions such as the Communist Party dominated the political system. This is the surprising part, since Acemoğlu states that all institutions must be inclusive to foster economic growth. “The question is whether China can reach the next stage of economic growth, based on innovation, without changing its political institutions.” The challenges of elites and inequality What role do elites play in these institutions? As the examples illustrate, the actions of business, political and economic elites in many ways set the tone by creating incentives – or not. But the main thesis of “Why Nations Fail” is that you cannot trust elites to do the right thing purely from the goodness of their hearts. “Of course, I don’t mean the good participants of the symposium, but the bad elites,” jokes Acemoğlu. “These elites need to be controlled and need to be restrained by institutions.” He agrees that this is easier said than done, since people have an almost natural drive to gain power, but he doesn’t think we can change this human characteristic. “It is up to institutions as well as civil society to channel that greed and keep the elite accountable.” When asked if he sees Occupy Wall Street’s protest against the greedy 1% as a successful intervention of civil society to keep the elite accountable, Acemoğlu shakes his head. “The Occupy movement was mainly good at articulating the discontent about the unfairness of the gap between rich and poor, but it is not the unfairness we should worry about.” According to Acemoğlu, the real problems are the implications of economic inequality for society – the inequality of opportunity, and especially political inequality. “Inequality of opportunity can underpin lack of economic dynamism, growth and innovation. If eco-


nomic inequality leads to some people having much more voice and control of the political system than others, it starts a downwards spiral.” Focus on local politics How can we prevent extractive institutions, greedy elites or political inequality from influencing the prosperity of nations? Certainly not by throwing the nation state out of the window, as Bruno S. Frey suggested during the symposium’s opening speech. “Indeed, we inherited the nation state as an institution from the past, but we can’t get rid of it right now without having an alternative,” says Acemoğlu. Although he is full of praise for the creation of the European Union as a supranational institution, he argues that its “political and economic top-down structure” makes it impossible to hold the people in power accountable. His solution is to focus on local democracy and bottom-up initiatives. Says Acemoğlu: “People’s participation is essential to keep institutions working, and to make economic growth happen.” u

Prof. Daron Acemoğlu (1967) is the Elizabeth & James Killian Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and one of the most cited economists in the world. His recent research focuses mainly on the role of institutions in a political economy. He co-authored the book “Why Nations Fail” (2012). In 2005, he received the John Bates Clark Medal, which is awarded to an economist under forty who has made a significant contribution to economic thought and knowledge. He obtained his Master’s degree in econometrics and mathematical economics and his Ph.D. at the London School of Economics.

Proudly Small, Efficiently Large


Don’t Choose the Middle Bruno S. Frey does not just think outside the box, he thinks outside national borders. His appreciation for direct democracy and decentralisation has led him to an idea that could redraw the administrative boundaries of governments. RADOSLAV DRAGOV (TEXT), LUKAS RAPP (PHOTO)

Prof. Bruno S. Frey (1941) is a Swiss economist. He is a guest professor of political economy at Zeppelin University in Germany, and a senior professor at the University of Zurich. Frey has written more than 350 journal articles, mostly in economics, but also in political science, sociology and psychology. According to the August 2014 RePEc ranking (Research Papers in Economics), Frey is ranked 7th among 21,715 European economists.

Bruno S. Frey has noticed that successful entities often belong to one of two categories: proudly small or efficiently large. Small countries (like Switzerland, Denmark and Iceland) tend to have a very high GDP per capita and take top slots in “happiness index” rankings. Global affairs, however, tend to be dominated by large countries like the United States and China. Small companies may be dynamic and innovative, but the business world is dominated by giant multinational corporations. Is there a way to reconcile the proudly small and efficiently large? “Don’t choose the middle!” Frey warns. His solution is a form of administrative decentralisation that bears the unwieldy acronym of FOCJ “Functional Overlapping Competing Jurisdictions.” Behind his idea lies an appreciation for direct democracy, decentralisation, and diversity. Imagine separating governmental functions (for example, defence or police services) into separate entities. These FOCJ entities would provide public services but not conform to state or national borders. Entities with the same function could territorially overlap and communities would be free to choose which one they belong to. For example, several FOCJ may provide educational

services within the same area and people would have to choose between them. Since they would not be tied to borders, FOCJ could be very small or extend over multiple countries. It would depend on whichever size allows better public services for a lower cost. The competition between these entities would give politicians a greater incentive to listen to citizens. FOCJ could combine the advantages of small countries with the economies of scale of large countries. Leap of faith It is certainly a fascinating proposition, but it requires a few leaps of faith – like the need to overcome national identities. There is also the problem of complexity, where citizens become overburdened with too many choices and elections. The need to coordinate activities between these new entities and existing governments adds another layer of complexity. Frey conceded that FOCJ has to overcome many roadblocks and that might happen very slowly. “Politicians are just one of several groups that would lose power to the people. They will try to stop it,” Frey says. He hopes that at least cross-country FOCJ can be formed on certain important issues such as the environment. Perhaps the first steps are always the hardest. u

Crowd Funding


Investment 2.0? New platforms make it possible to launch companies “collectively.” But a clear legal framework is still missing. Is the fundraising tool du jour a threat to banks – or just a passing fad? CHIARA PIOTTO

“For an investor, it might be 20 dollars. For me, it’s a company,” says Leader of Tomorrow Durell Coleman. The reason why a common citizen should become a backer of some crowdfunded projects seems so simple. “The main investors in a crowdfunding campaign are always your closest supporters, then those who are more interested in the final product,” Durell, a young American designer, says. Durell raised USD 15,000 in seven days on the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter to launch his company, DC Design. “I contacted potential investors before eventually launching the campaign, so that I was sure to reach a basic amount of money from the beginning,” says Coleman. “That helped to become more popular on the platform, which means more people get in touch with your project. I read that when you get 15% of the set goal, you have an 80% probability of success.” Even though a comprehensive academic study on the subject does not exist – yet – various case studies show that the majority of people investing in crowdfunding are friends or relatives of the entrepreneurs. The rest are acquaintances and anonymous investors who acquire a deep sense of collective achievement when the project they joined works. The risk, on the other

hand, is that they might lose the money they’ve invested, if the project fails to launch. This is why some countries, such as Germany, are thinking about how to improve crowdfunding’s legal framework. Should there be a limit to how much a backer can invest in a single venture? And should the company present a detailed prospectus underlying the risks before being launched? “We do agree that both the company and the investor need protection from failures and scams,” says David Rhotert, Founder of the German crowdinvesting platform Companisto. “But the maximum amount of money you can give should still depend on your wealth. And a prospectus is very expensive to prepare. No little growing company could afford it.” In fact, Rhotert argues, at present, there is practically no limit to what you can achieve through crowdfunding. But that doesn’t mean banks should fear competition. “There is more potential in cooperation, as the two financial strategies are complementary: small crowdfunded companies can turn to banks for major investments once they’ve grown up. It’s a win-win in the end.” Sometimes it is investors themselves who visit crowdfunding websites to find a good project to support. “It’s a great

platform to get the latest on whatever your passion is, whatever you’re working on,” says Lauren Singer, Leader of Tomorrow and Founder of the “Trash is For Tossers” blog. “So many people visit crowdfunding websites to find valuable projects to invest in. In my case, it was the best thing ever.” Singer chose Kickstarter to launch her company The Simple Co. “Still, this doesn’t mean anything would work,” she adds. “Crowdfunding is a great market test: you have to have the right product.” u

London Calling


Bringing Microcredit to the Developed World It took courage to bring microlending, a system originally designed for developing countries, to the United Kingdom. In the beginning, few people believed it would work. But that did not stop Faisel Rahman. “I generally have a problem with listening to people anyway,” he says. JOLIEN DE VRIES (TEXT), LUKAS RAPP (PHOTO)

Faisel Rahman started out with only a credit card, taking out twenty thousand pounds in cash. He lent this money to financially excluded people in East London, where he grew up. The initial idea, to start a microcredit project in collaboration with banks, did not get off the ground. Bored with people telling him it could not be done, Rahman decided to try it himself. “I couldn’t convince them, so I thought: ‘Then I’ll do it.’ When you’re 22 you’re invincible, right?” Now, fifteen years later, Rahman’s FairFinance company has proven to be a lasting success in London. With around 5,500 loans in 2014, the company keeps growing, showing microcredit to be a system that functions perfectly in developed countries as well as in the developing world. Rahman’s inspiration, however, came from his work for the Bangladeshi microcredit sector. There, he noticed how moneylenders visited people’s houses, offering them access to cash. Rahman was struck by the similarities between the situation in Bangladesh and that of East London. Once he understood how money could be used to help people and set up businesses, Rahman decided

to translate the concept to the United Kingdom. One of Rahman’s first customers was an older woman who had borrowed GBP 200 to put a headstone on her husband’s grave. “He died five years earlier, and she was still paying the interest on it. Already she had paid more than GBP 4,000 and still owed the money that she borrowed.” At the time, lenders who charged interest rates up to 700% per year dominated the so-called “doorstep lending” or home-credit industry. The woman was suffering from cancer and had to go to the hospital. Her money collector could not find her for a few weeks. When she didn’t pay during this time, he started to threaten her. Rahman was disgusted by the story. “When this woman came to us, we lent her the money she still owed,” he says. “She paid us back in three months and was debt free.” To Rahman this experience revealed how big the market was. “We have thousands of these cases every year,” he says. However idealistic Rahman may be in making sure nobody gets left behind, he underlines that his business is not a charity. “Having a charitable relation-

Faisel Rahman (1976) is Founder and Managing Director of Fair Finance, a business that provides financial products and services designed for people who are financially excluded. He worked at the Grameen Bank and the World Bank in Bangladesh and developed his first microcredit programme in the UK in 2000.

The Center Cannot Hold

ship with someone causes problems if you want them to do something for you, like pay back a loan,” he says. This involves taking action when his clients take advantage of his fairness: “We will take them to court.” However, this does not happen often. Where most banks see risk in lending money to poor people, Rahman sees opportunity. “The poor are sometimes the hardest working and most likely to repay you,” he argues. The key to his success is to know his clients’ individual financial needs: “The reason micro lenders are successful is because they build a relationship with the people they lend to,” Rahman says. “Banks don’t talk to people anymore.” In the future, Rahman thinks banks will play an important, but not universal role. Other institutions might better handle financial products like insurance, savings accounts or pensions. It is in these services that Rahman sees possibilities for his own business. But for now, expanding abroad is not on the agenda. In his mission to revolutionise personal finance, Rahman doesn’t necessarily dream of more. “My dream is that we can prove that we can do this in London.” u


Is China’s Economic Engine About to Stall? Decentralisation has been a key issue in Beijing’s economic policy since the era of Deng Xiaoping. But after decades of growth, China’s economic miracle has come to an end. Reforms to stimulate the economy are stagnating on the local level. Has the shift to small failed in China? LEA DEUBER

Heaven is high and the emperor is far away: this saying is true for many Chinese provinces. Beijing and Lhasa, for example, are no less then 3,700 kilometres apart. With a centralised bureaucratic system in place since the Qin Dynasty in 221 B.C., China might be among the oldest centralised states in the world. Only under Deng Xiaoping did a process of decentralisation start. But this seems to be a problem today. To stabilise the economy, national-level reforms would be necessary. Just recently, in fact, Xi urged officials to “grasp the larger picture of reform.” But the new decentralised structures seem to be slowing down the process.

In 1978, Deng Xiaoping started to decentralise as a part of the economic opening towards the west. “The inefficiency of the traditional economic system was realised as early as the 1960s,” TAO Ran, Director of the China Center for Public Economics and Governance at Renmin University in Beijing , argued in an article in 2005. TAO Ran is an expert on the ongoing Chinese economic transition, and gave a Work Session on the topic at this year’s St. Gallen Symposium. The Work Session was off-the-record – but some of TAO Ran’s conclusions can be gleaned from his past publications. “From an administrative perspective, the reform period saw a significant strengthening ↦



of local governments’ role in local economic management,” he wrote in 2005. “Examples are investment approval, entry regulation and resource allocation.”

Source: Lea Deuber

Risk avoidance Even though Deng Xiaoping risked temporary economic disparities, he added an amendment to the Chinese Constitution allowing the state to differentiate between the provinces. The establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZ), such as Shenzhen, served as little laboratories where reforms could be implemented and tested before being adapted by bigger provinces such as Sichuan. When the expected economic spill over to central China in the 1990s was inconclusive (and in western China non-existent) the government set the entire nation on the path to economic openness. This step was one of the driving forces behind the transition of the economy. But China’s economic growth has slowed. “China has to restructure its economy,” says Matthias Stepan,

Deputy Head of politics, society and media research at the Mercator Institute for China Studies. “But the reforms are not being realised, even though Beijing has given strict orders,” says Stepan. “This is a problem, particularly at the local level.” Recently, Beijing tried to strengthen local governments by further decentralising decision-making in the field of investments. “But local officials lack the knowledge and experience to handle these decisions,” says Stepan. As a result, investments are not made and reforms are not implemented. Says Stepan: “Especially because time is at a premium and many decisions have to be made at once, this becomes a serious issue.” In addition, officials are scared by the anti-corruption campaign, which started in 2012 and is so strictly implemented that it has already cost many officials their positions. Some also received long prison sentences or even the death penalty. “Many local governments don’t want to risk any problems by starting a risky project,” says Stepan.

While in many countries decentralisation has been an important step in the last decades to make the economy more efficient, “in China it has led to the opposite,” says Stepan. “They borrowed a lot” Furthermore, local protectionism is traditionally a big problem in China. Officials on the local level are used to looking at their own numbers and then thinking of the whole country. “They are mainly judged by their ability to get the economy growing,” says Stepan. “It doesn’t matter whether the economy grows by enticing companies from a neighbouring province or because of a project which helps the entire country.” TAO Ran adds something maybe even more important: He has researched local governments for a long time and sees a risk that in case of a financial crisis in China, local governments might not be able to pay back the money they borrowed. “And they borrowed a lot,” he said in a discussion at the BrookingsTsinghua Center for Public Policy in Beijing in 2014. Investments were easy to make and profitable in the short-run, but many were not sensible. There is another important issue at play, says Stepan. “China is not too big or too decentralised, but for Beijing it’s still difficult to know enough,” says Stepan. Precise decisions are difficult to make, because the economic status of provinces is hard to estimate. China needs to evolve a better economic bureaucracy and an administrative system capable of collecting data to increase the central government’s ability to make decisions, he says. Then heaven could be as high and the emperor as far away as he wishes. u

“Decentralisation leads to disorder; disorder leads to centralisation; centralisation leads to stagnation; stagnation leads to decentralisation.” ­ – TAO Ran

Pillars of Success

Asian Values in st the 21 Century “Even from my sickbed, even if you are going to lower me to the grave, and I feel that something is going wrong, I will get up,” said Lee Kuan Yew, the first Prime Minister of Singapore. On March 23rd, he passed away. But his legacy in Singapore is omnipresent. CHIARA PIOTTO & JOLIEN DE VRIES

In a 1994 interview, the American journalist Fareed Zakaria asked Lee Kuan Yew about Singapore’s economic success. During the conversation, Lee put the emphasis on the importance of culture and the differences between Confucianism and Western values. He said part of Singapore’s economic growth could be explained through the cultural background. “We were fortunate we had this cultural backdrop, the belief in thrift, hard work, filial piety and loyalty in the extended family, and, most of all, respect for scholarship and learning,” Lee told Zakaria. The idea that certain values lie at the heart of the economic success of certain Asian countries, like Singapore, is often described as the “Asian Values theory.” Now, more than twenty years after the heyday of this theoretical concept, we spoke with two Asian leaders about the importance of Asian values in Singapore today. This is what they had to say.

Tharman Shanmugaratnam (Deputy Prime Minister & Minister for Finance of Singapore)

LIM Siong Guan (Group President of GIC Private Limited)

“I wouldn’t make a sharp distinction between European and Asian values. I do believe there are some cultural values that are universally shared, such as a good work ethic or the balance between the importance of being part of a community and individual development. We should wonder why values change internally with time: even in my country, values vary from one generation to the following. What we in Singapore care the most about is future. As a little city-state, we have to thrive to survive. To avoid simply disappearing, we must always think about our future. Our goal is to make the best out of new generations.”

“When Lee Kuan Yew was talking about Asian values, he was referring to values like hard work, thrift, good social behaviour. We call these Asian values because in Singapore our ethnic groups are Asian. They can connect their cultural heritage to these values. But if you go to the west and look at the Protestant work ethic, it is by and large the same thing. So if we look at the future, there are still some essential elements required – like people who are prepared to work hard, behave well socially, take care of each other and spend their money wisely. Governments need to have this perspective. And as people grow richer, we can understand why they want to enjoy the fruits of their labour. That’s fine when it comes to individuals. But when it comes to governing the whole country, you have to go back and governments must themselves behave with regard to thrift, hard work and pushing yourself.” u




Brain Drain, Brain Gain For decades, the developing world’s best and brightest have set off to seek their fortunes on foreign shores. But in recent years, the tide of brain drain has been turning, with some of these so-called “sea turtles” making the voyage home. CHIARA PIOTTO & NATASHA SILVA


Some species of sea turtle manage to migrate thousands of miles across oceans between foraging and nesting grounds, and seasonally to warmer waters. Then they migrate to nesting areas to breed, usually in the area where they were born. Encouraging young people to do the same is now one of the biggest challenges in many countries – like China, where emigrants who return home to start businesses or do research are called haigui, or sea turtles. It’s the opposite of “brain drain,” as researchers call the migration of young, talented people from areas of the world in economic crisis or suffering from a chronic lack of jobs to more welcoming ones. Europeans usually move from east to west, and from south to north. People born in developing countries move to well-developed ones. The migrants look for research or job opportunities, and usually they find them. But with the passing of time, some of them are willing to go back to their native country “to breed in the area where they were born.” Unfortunately, they do not always have the chance to do so. “I was born and I grew up in Italy up to the end of high school,” says Tufts University economist Enrico Spolaore. “When I had to choose the best place to study economics, I flew to the US.”

The loss of human capital is an economic issue for the drained countries, as it reduces long-run economic growth and income. “I don’t think that the right approach should be to have every country keep its own youth,” Spolaore says. “Every country should be in the condition to attract people from abroad to balance drain and gain. There would be a winwin in the end.” Resisting the call Some countries easily attract talented young people. Take Singapore, where Leader of Tomorrow Yeo Oswald comes from. At the age of 21, after having completed his studies at the prestigious University of California at Berkeley, he flew back to his motherland to found Glints, an online platform displaying internship and graduate job opportunities in Singapore. “90% of our candidates were Singaporeans. The rest were from all over the world. It’s a window to attract foreign talents, especially from developing countries, but also a showcase for our own talents,” Oswald explains. Oswald behaved like a sea turtle himself. “I decided to go back home to start my company, even if I was studying next to Silicon Valley,” he says. “Not only because in Singapore there is great access to capital, but also because there I had my mentors, my investors, all the support I could need, my cultural community. It was the perfect context.” According to Manu Chandaria, Chairman at the Comcraft Group in Nairobi, the possibility of staying or coming back is up to the individual. “I was born in Kenya, I grew up in Mumbai and New

York,” he says. “The startling differences between those three cities had a great impact on me and led me to wonder: what have they done to get those huge buildings and big businesses? I thought: if they can do it, I can do it.” Chandaria is an exception: only a third of the Kenyans leaving the country every year for studies overseas (about 30,000 each year, according to the Kenyan government) return after completing their studies. “Becoming an entrepreneur in your native country is always possible. First, you can’t underestimate yourself: to reach big goals you need great efforts and imagination, and must take into account that they could also lead to failure.” Of course, some resist the call to leave from the beginning. “I wanted to go study in the US, as most of my high school classmates did. But they went, and I stayed home,” says Indian Leader of Tomorrow Vaidehi Tandel. “I thought that I might find top-class education in India too. Now, most of my friends who went abroad are coming back to Mumbai. I am very happy not to have left.” Vaidehi is the Associate Vice President of the Infrastructure Development Finance Company in Mumbai. “There are some push and pull factors, of course. There are too few job opportunities in India not to expect some young people to flee. But still, I now work for the government and I know I can make a difference in my country through my job,” she explains. “I mean, experience abroad is important, but what could ever be better than making a difference in your motherland? And not being forced to leave your family and roots? You will miss them, one day or another.” u


Solving the Water Crisis Drop by Drop: With a rooftop rain-collection system that costs USD 500 per household, Hiram Garcia’s Isla Urbana is trying to fix Mexico City’s water crisis. Small-scale projects like his can address a big problem.

Let’s Talk About Impact: The three winners of this year’s St. Gallen Wings of Excellence Award, Laya Maheshwari, Leon Schreiber and Katharina Schramm, share a little of their wisdom.


From Baga to Paris: Newspapers and


broadcasters shape the way we see the world. Riz Khan and Peter Day admit media companies are often biased – and some lives count more than others when it comes to coverage.

46 Changing the World, Cell by Cell:


49 50

Vanessa Restrepo works with microscopic components to find a way to solve big problems, like blindness.

What If You Never Read This?: Sure, counterfactuals are fun, says historian Josh Gibson. But small events really do not change the course of history, do they?

Don’t Fear the Franc: A loss of confidence in the economic and financial system is the essence of the sudden appreciation of the Swiss franc, argues economist Klaus Wellershoff.


Where Are All the Women?: #newsflash #tweetsmatter: Revolutions around the world, politicians ruining their careers: these hese days, all it takes sometimes is 140 little characters.


Business and technology skew heavily male. Is systemic discrimination at work, or are women’s skills a better fit elsewhere? Unsurprisingly, the answers tend to depend on your gender.


Drops that Shape the Rock We all know drops of water can shape a rock in time. But who can wait that long? At the symposium, participants agreed small steps sometimes take longer, but at least problems are getting tackled. Leaders of Tomorrow gave us some great examples of ways slow, steady and small can win the race. Small events have a disproportional impact. Sometimes, it is for the good, like the tweets that set the Arab Spring in motion. Sometimes, the consequences are widely felt: a particularly public murder, for example, can terrorise and captivate the world. And a small change in the Swiss National Bank’s monetary policy can cause borrowers in a lot of foreign countries big trouble. Are we overstating the case? Can one small event really change the course of history? Well, the answer is ‌ Oh, just read our story. Because who knows what will happen if you do not?

Rain Showers


Solving the Water Crisis Drop by Drop With a rooftop rain-collection system that costs USD 500 per household, Mexican NGO Isla Urbana is trying to fix the water shortage in Mexico City. More such smallscale projects are needed to address a big problem.


In Latin America, 77 million people lack access to safe water, according to the World Water Council. The region’s massive megacities, like Brazil’s Sao Paulo, with more than 20 million inhabitants, face the challenge of developing a solution for the water crisis knocking on their door. In the case of Mexico City, in 10 years the water supply in the city’s aquifer may be exhausted. It is one of the biggest cities in the world, and without groundwater it would struggle to provide water to its more than 20 million inhabitants. The city has already sunk 10 meters in a century because of the over-exploitation of its aquifers. Amazingly, around 40% of the water that is distributed to this labyrinth of pipelines is lost to leaks. This is a water crisis that organisations like Isla Urbana (Urban Island) are trying to address with a small, simple solution that costs only USD 500. If every home in the city were to install their system, 50% of the water supply that the metropolis needs could be supplied by the rain. “It’s an ambitious project. We are trying to improve the rainwater harvest-

ing, to have an alternative for the water problems we have in Mexico City.” says Hiram Garcia, one of Isla Urbana’s founders. “As an NGO, we look for resources to build and install systems for free to poor people; and as a corporation we are offering services to other companies.” 1,700 systems installed Isla Urbana is made up of six young professionals from different disciplines. There is an anthropologist; a specialist in urbanism, two industrial designers and two engineers, one civil and the other environmental. This last one is Garcia, one of the Leaders of Tomorrow attending the St. Gallen Symposium.

Isla Urbana’s system uses water run-off from the roofs, pre-treats it and then stores the collected liquid in an existing cistern, or the organisation builds an alternative storage cistern. The water is disinfected and filtered during pumping for final distribution. That’s why each system costs just USD 500. They work principally in the neighbourhoods and areas in the south of Mexico City, where water supply issues are the most pressing, according to Garcia. Garcia says that they are spreading in 15 states all around Mexico. They have installed 1,700 systems so far. Isla Urbana is not alone, of course. Many ideas are emerging to tackle water shortages. Orbital Systems, a Swed-

“I get a kick out of working on something that could change the world.” — Mehrdad Mahdjoubi


ish start-up that began with a focus on space technology, developed what they like to call “the shower of the future.” Mehrdad Mahdjoubi, the Chief Executive and Co-Founder, says that the technology they developed is able to save thousands of litres of water per year and up to 80% on energy. By using a system that constantly recycles the water that originally would go down the drain, they also guarantee that the water is cleaner. 960,000 litres saved “The showers are connected to the cloud, so you can see your savings in your phone. And it is really cool to see the savings just going up,” says Mahdjoubi. He mentions that when the shower was just a prototype, they were able to save more than 100,000 litres of water in less than two months. On the Orbital Systems website there is a scale of how much water the project has saved so far: more than 960,000 litres. The shower of the future is in its commercialisation phase, sold only in Sweden. It is quite expensive – between EUR 3,200 and 4,000 – and as such will address the needs of wealthier countries with water shortages rather than places like Mexico or Brazil. For Mahdjoubi, there are three markets that stand out: “Germany and Denmark, which have the highest water and energy prices in the world. Then we have California, where there has been a huge drought. And then we would have the Middle East, where there are countries that are starting to desalinate water.” For Mahdjoubi, it is a real pleasure to see a project that started as purely theoretical actually work and contribute to solving a problem. “I get a kick out of working on something that could change the world. What I look forward to is that in the future, we look back on how we used to do things and laugh,” he says, with a smile. u

22,000,000 people live in Mexico City


is the year when the water supply of the aquifers in Mexico City may be finished


percent of the water for use and consume is lost to leaks in the pipelines


meters, how much Mexico City has sunk in a century because of the overexploitation of aquifers

13 of the houses in Mexico City do not have regular access to water Source: Isla Urbana and H2OMX

Devil in the Details


From Baga to Paris: News Shapes Our Views Newspapers and broadcasters are shaping the way we see the world. But what if they do not show the complete picture? Here is why news companies are often biased – and why some lives count more than others in the newsroom. ANGEL PLASCENCIA & TILL DALDRUP

The 7th of January 2015 will go down in history as a day of horror: in Paris, two Islamic terrorists killed 12 people, among them editors of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. At the same time, more than 4,000 kilometres away, the terrorist organisation Boko Haram killed 2,000 citizens in the Nigerian town of Baga. Two massacres, two different reactions by the media: while the attack in Paris attracted attention from all over

the world, the killings in the north of Nigeria went nearly unnoticed by the public. But why is there a bias in western media to begin with? Peter Day, broadcaster on BBC radio, says that it is all about journalists’ gut feelings. “Newsrooms are constantly reflecting what their audience wants to see,“ he says. “And stories that are close to home and create shock are always selling the most newspapers.” Africa might just be too

far away to really get attention in the western world. “Working in the news is not an objective profession. It’s often cynical,” Day says. “And this behaviour might be explainable, but it is not exactly very healthy.” It is, however, affecting the way news audiences see the world. A lot of Westerners lack general knowledge about Asia, South America or Africa. This is perfectly illustrated by reactions in the

Two events, two death tolls, two very different reactions: It takes more than just a high death toll to grab the world's attention. How far away something happened and how prominent the victims were are two of the main reasons the media takes notice. Source: Google Trends

100 %

Search term "Charlie Hebdo" (12 people killed) Search term "Boko Haram" (2, 000 people killed)

0 %  07.01.2015





United States towards the Ebola outbreak in Western Africa: a teacher in Kentucky was forced to resign because he performed mission work in Kenya. A teenager in Iowa who travelled to Uganda agreed to self-quarantine due to concerns of the local school board. And two Rwandan students living in New Jersey were forced to stay home for 21 days. As a geographical reminder: Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda are all further away from the outbreak region than Madrid, Spain. But there might be a way for African countries to receive more attention in the western world, Al Jazeera journalist Riz Khan suggests. “African countries need to start their own broadcasting services, they have got to groom journalistic talent,” he says. “I think there is plenty of room for stories from an African perspective – if they are well told.” Going online might help There is a long way to go, though. Even in Africa, the Baga massacre received little coverage in the media. According to South African lawyer and political activist Andrew Gasnolar, “copycat” behaviour in the African press is to blame. “There is a tendency in the African mainstream media to report the same stories as the big media in Europe or America, giving more relevance to these topics,” he says. “African issues are reported without a real investigation of what happened. It is almost a copypaste of what Reuters had or what was on BBC or CNN.” A trend towards online journalism and media libraries might help. “Thanks to websites and on-demand, people now can choose what they want to read, so they might search for what an African leader is saying as opposed to what the American president is saying,” says Khan. “It is a slow process that technology is allowing to speed up.” In the end, it is about the awareness of the audience. “I think we need to inform ourselves and question what we are reading,” Gasnolar says. “Simply accepting the news for what it is isn’t enough.” u

A Small Group Can Cast a Large Shadow RADOSLAV DRAGOV

Driven by the motto “if it bleeds, it leads,” the media are not above playing on our fears. Terrorist attacks get extended coverage, which creates false impressions. The negative effects of terrorism are not to be ignored – but they have to be properly understood and put into context. Terrorists’ most powerful weapon is hyperbole. They try to exaggerate how much damage they have inflicted, in order to attract attention and new recruits. It is no coincidence that the terrorist organisation du jour, ISIS, is very media savvy. Instant global communication amplifies the message even more. Thus, a very a small group of extremists can cast a very large shadow. But are current counter-terrorism efforts justified? Let us look at the numbers in the country that is said to spend over USD 16 billion per year on terrorism prevention. u

310 people killed by dogbites (2005-2014) 39 people killed by terrorists (2005-2014)

People killed in the US by dogbites and terrorists. The death toll from dogbites is almost ten times higher than the one from terrorists. Source: and Global Terrorism Database

The Next Big Thing


Let’s Talk About Impact What is worth more: a small bird in the hand, or two big ones in the bush? The three winners of this year’s St. Gallen Wings of Excellence Award sum up the ideas that helped them stand out, from basic income to a renewed focus on incremental ideas.


When Laya Maheshwari saw that “What is next small BIG thing?” was one of the St. Gallen Wings of Excellence essay questions, he felt that it spoke directly to so many things he had seen and studied during his life that it was like a chemical reaction happened inside his body. The winner of the St. Gallen Wings of Excellence Award of 2015 managed to write his entire essay in one night, submitting it 44 minutes before the deadline. “I’m not claiming I’m a genius,” Maheshwari says. “The reason why I was able to even finish that essay is because I’ve read about this, I’ve seen it and I’ve felt bad about this so many times that all the examples are ingrained in my head.” The fact that he was born in India and worked as a journalist in Mumbai for a while, helped shape Maheshwari’s view of the world. He remarks that people from underdeveloped and developing countries are used to seeing big ideas turn into multimillion dollar projects that do not work. He proposes a mentality shift: “Instead of looking for the next big thing, I argue for some small steps we could take. I call for increased focus on impact and less on the pro-

cess.” For him, the obsessive hunt for big ideas blinds people to the fact that in many cases these ambitious schemes may not work, or even backfire and do more harm than good. Big effort, big outcome In a way, Maheshwari’s proposition can be connected to the work of Leon Schreiber, who took 2nd place in this year’s essay competition. Schreiber has dedicated the past four years to comparing the welfare programmes of Brazil and his native South Africa. To study these programmes is to delve into simple ideas that require small efforts and investments, but that have a really big impact on society. “It is small in terms of how much it is going to cost, but the impact can be very big, because you change these people’s lives,” he says. “It is a fairly small effort for a huge outcome.” As an example, he cites Bolsa Família, a project that costs 0.5% of Brazil’s GDP and is responsible for more than a quarter of the drop in poverty in that country since its implementation in 2004. So what is the potential of that apparently small idea? By guaranteeing a basic income to the less fortunate, both

society and the economy benefit. Creating new consumers is one of the main reasons why developing countries are betting on this model. “There has been this incredible explosion of social protection schemes,” Schreiber says. “It is a trend that is already happening and it will only become a bigger deal as we go forward.” In her third-place essay, Katharina Schramm reflected on the role of elites in this changing world. Schramm argues that the small groups that have ruled the world for a great part of human history need to rethink their positions. She argues that the only way these small groups can continue to come up with bold ideas and shape the future is by bridging gaps between people for exchanging ideas and sharing new points of view. “We have to acknowledge small entities, invest wisely and proactively, and overcome our personal weaknesses in order to be successful and make a change together,” she says. “A tough path sometimes, but definitely worth it.” It is good to be proudly small, but only if you are not alone. u


Laya Maheshwari majored in journalism at St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai. After working as a journalist for a while, he decided he wanted to be part of the decisions that were being made instead of covering their aftermath, which led him to study social policy and planning at the London School of Economics.

Leon Schreiber is a Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science at the Freie Universität Berlin. His research is centered on the comparison of economic social assistance programmes that were created in South Africa and Brazil. He intends to continue his research in a post-doctorate position and focus on why such systems are spreading around the globe.

Katharina Schramm is a Master’s degree student in accounting and finance at the University of St. Gallen. She also holds a Bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Mannheim. She has been a certified banker since 2010. Her goal is to work in a field that enables her to pass on knowledge and to make an active change.

Smallest Solutions


Changing the World, Cell by Cell She went from reading articles on Wikipedia to a lab in Oxford. Now Vanessa Restrepo works with microscopic components to solve big problems, like blindness. NATASHA SILVA & ANGEL PLASCENCIA (TEXT), CAROLINE MARTI (PHOTO)

was her way to start a class. I found that to be something that would shake me every day because you had to make an effort to convince her that she might be wrong. That maybe there was another way towards a solution. So I got back to being inspired to discover the world and new ideas.

Vanessa Restrepo is a chemist at the University of Oxford. Originally from Medellin, Colombia, she works on the development of innovative prototyping in biotechnology.

How did you get interested in science? When I was in kindergarten and primary school, I used to dedicate my free time to doing experiments. Not real experiments, just fun ones. When I got to high school, I had a fantastic chemistry teacher, Lorena Palacio. She was very inspiring because she used to enter the classroom and basically make us feel that the world was wrong. And that was the best! She was challenging her own ideas and the ideas of everyone in order to generate debate. That

So that was your first contact with the scientific world? I always tell the story of starting with Wikipedia, which was the easiest and most logical way to start. I didn’t start with Nature papers. Now that I am in the field, I read scientific journals all the time, but I wouldn’t be able to do that if I hadn’t started asking myself questions when I was young. And I feel that chemistry class was a key element. What are you working on right now? I work on a technique in which we can 3D print artificial cells, or “protocells.” These protocells can either contain real cells or they can function as if they were cells. I work with microtissues in a human retina project, putting the minimal components that are in the retina together in order to reconstruct images and have a new generation of implants that can be used in the future as a cure for degenerative diseases. How do you accomplish that? In my everyday work, I do a little bit of biochemistry, biophysics and enginee-

ring. I design and prepare the solutions that will be inside the cells. You can see it as cooking: it is similar to making a layer cake. You start making something new out of ingredients, and then you carefully put them together. The end goal is to produce a mixture with the necessary complexity to host the membrane proteins in the solution. On the other side, I design microelectronics to plug into the protocells. Can you tell us in a simple way what exactly your field studies? I think fields tend to overlap. Chemical biology takes the methodology and view of chemistry into the biological world. The biological world has so much chemistry in it. For me, chemistry is key to understanding what is really going on and how we can tackle the cellular processes that affect health in general. What is your main goal? My goal is to make something that, at the end of the day, I can see applied. For me it is a dream, and dreams are forever. But I also have the pragmatism of knowing that this can take a long time. If I am lucky and I get the chance to interact with the right people at the right time, I will be able to catalyse things. But if not, I will continue to strive all my life. u

Domino Effect


What If You Never Read This? Let us reverse the course of time: sometimes a lot depends on coincidences or small events. Counterfactuals are fun, but can one small event really change the course of history? JOLIEN DE VRIES & RADOSLAV DRAGOV (TEXT), CAROLINE MARTI (PHOTO)

“What if Hitler was accepted into art school?” is one of the most famous thought experiments when thinking about small events that could have altered the outcome of a crucial historic moment. The fascination with “what if”-scenarios has spawned a whole genre of “alternate history” novels that try to imagine our present if certain events did or did not happen. “Counterfactuals are incredibly attractive. It’s nice to think catastrophic events can just be prevented by a single incident,” says University of Cambridge historian Josh Gibson, a Leader of Tomorrow. But that doesn’t mean the Second World War could have been prevented if Hitler had been a more talented artist. “Historians try to move away from a perspective where history is being dictated by a handful of powerful men. It’s a reductionist approach,” Gibson argues. Social, cultural and economic forces are far more important, he says: “You don’t want to boil down something as complex and important as World War II to a single event or individual.” So instead of focusing on small events, we should try to understand the underlying forces. An example of the importance of these forces is illustrated in the Rosa Parks story. In 1955, Rosa Parks, an African-American woman, refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a bus in Montgomery and consequently was arrested. Her arrest

led to protest and a thirteen-month boycott of the bus system. Even though she was not the first African American to be arrested for taking a similar stand, Parks became an international symbol of the civil rights movement. Right place, right time Parks’ fame was probably a case of being in “the right place at the right time.” In the 1950s there were several laws in effect in the United States that encouraged segregation between racial groups, which included the use of different facilities and seats in public transport. With her refusal to stand up, Parks embodied the resistance against these regulations that excluded African Americans from areas designated whites-only. “The Rosa Parks incident is a really nice example of something that might have happened in a thousand situations in a hundred years. But that one caught the moment and spiralled into something massive,” says Gibson. Historians love diving into the complexity of the past and trying to solve the puzzle. But for most people, it is appealing to think of a world that could have been different. Even in our everyday lives, we wrestle with “what if”questions. What if I had taken that job, or what if I had never met this person? With limited time – and even more limited brain bandwidth – we spin catchy narratives from a succession of unrelated facts. We apply a narrative structure to

Josh Gibson (GB) is a Ph.D. student in history at the University of Cambridge. He holds a Master’s degree in social and cultural history and a Bachelor’s degree in history, both from the University of Leeds.

our lives by exaggerating certain events while ignoring others. Once again, we concentrate on the small details we think could have altered our lives. Ultimately, it is pointless to fixate on the small details. According to Gibson it is a self-delusion, preventing us from learning important lessons. “Life is about random encounters which could lead to something bigger or a chain of events,” he says. An understanding of the past in all its complexity is more useful for the future than wondering “what if”. u



Don’t Fear the Franc A loss of confidence in the economic and financial system is the essence of the sudden appreciation of the Swiss franc, argues economist and consultant Klaus Wellershoff. He fears this could be just the beginning of eroding trust in economic institutions. “The current situation is very precarious,” he says. JOLIEN DE VRIES

In January, the appreciation of the Swiss franc caused problems in many European countries when the value of Swiss franc-denominated loans increased overnight by about 20%. Having loans or savings denominated in a foreign currency can prove to be problematic if the exchange rates start to fluctuate strongly. The consequence of uncapping the Swiss franc in central Europe is just another example of this, but there are many other cases.

About ten years ago, for instance, many Hungarians took out loans in foreign currencies because of low interest rates. When the Hungarian forint’s value fell due to the financial crisis, borrowers claimed the conditions of these loans were unfair. Viktoria Kiss, a Hungarian Master’s student in business at the University of Tilburg in the Netherlands and a Leader of Tomorrow, remembers this well. “At the time, people saw it as a good deal,” she says. “Many of them weren’t aware of the risks.” After long political debate, the Hungarian government converted all foreign loans to forints, assuring no more future losses due to currency depreciation.

Is Barbie to Blame?

Besides loans, foreign savings accounts can also cause problems. The bankruptcy of the Icelandic bank Landsbanki showed this in 2008. Landsbanki offered online savings accounts with very favourable interest rates. In the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, more than 400,000 people entrusted their money to the Icelandic bank. But when the economic crisis struck and the bank could not fulfil its obligations, the British and Dutch savers lost almost all their money. The governments of both nations had to refund billions of dollars to the victims. Market panic Responsibility for these issues lies with governments, banks and the people who get involved, thinks Kiss. “Everyone played their part,” she says. “There is not one party to blame.” Still, the consequence of these situations is a further declining trust in the financial sector. Leader of Tomorrow Jakub Hlavka, a Ph.D. student in economics, noticed that in his homeland, the Czech Republic, the intervention of the Swiss Bank led to a panic mainly in the financial markets. Still, he believes the situation in Europe will not change significantly in the future. “I do not expect a different dynamic, unless a big structural change, such as Grexit, takes place in the coming years,” Hlavka says. Klaus Wellershoff is less optimistic. “We will get more disruptive events like the very sudden appreciation of the Swiss franc, and this will shake the economic system,” he says. “The next three to five years could be great, but if they are, we just postpone the reckoning.” u


Where Are All the Women? Fields like business and technology skew heavily male. Is systemic discrimination at work, or are women’s skills a better fit elsewhere? Unsurprisingly, the answers tend to depend on your gender.


“Women are better leaders than men. In ten years, three quarters of all leaders in Europe will be women,” says Sebastian Spio-Garbrah. “When it comes to our modern economy, women have better multitasking abilities.” But Spio-Garbrah, global managing director of DaMina Advisors LLP, a political risk consultancy firm specialising in Africa, thinks they make bad leaders when it comes to innovative ideas. “Great inventions like Twitter, Google, Facebook and Apple are all classic examples of male aggression directed at solving a problem,” he says. “It has to do with male testosterone.” So where in medieval times men would fight a war, they are now using this energy to disrupt the technological world. What Spio-Garbrah argues is that women are great leaders when things are already settled. Men are better suited to innovative ideas and inventions. “Nonsense,” says Lauren Currie, who leads the Master’s programme in Experience Design at Hyper Island. “It’s not that men have invented more, but the ↦

Mere icon, or superheroine in disguise? The “It Was Never a Dress” campaign (itwasneveradress. com) was launched by a software company to change perceptions of women in the workplace and make everyone “feel like the freaking rock stars they are!”

Think Twice, Post Once


stories of men’s inventions get more attention.” A combination of media bias and lower selfesteem in women create an image of females being less successful in areas like invention. Says Currie: “We only need to look at women like Marie Skłodowska-Curie and Ada Lovelace to recognise this.” Alice Bentinck, Co-Founder of Entrepreneur First, works with individuals who want to found tech start-ups in London. She thinks women more often than men go for safer options because of cultural standards. “Men who have outlandish ideas are much more encouraged to pursue these ideas than their female counterparts would be,” Bentinck says. Good examples So what would be necessary to change this image once and for all? Currie thinks education is a huge part of it. “A tiny example is the toys we play with growing up: when we’re small, we have pink toys for girls and blue for boys. Figures of doctors are male, and women are nurses.” Seeing certain examples at a young age makes children more likely to choose options that seem logical to them in the future. Bentinck thinks creating awareness at the beginning of their career could help many young women as well. “It would be helpful if women are aware of typical female mind-sets that are holding them back. The point is not to become more masculine, but to become more confident about the anxiety that is holding them back.” u

#newsflash #tweetsmatter Revolutions around the world, politicians ruining their careers: these days, all it takes sometimes is 140 little characters.


Actions in the virtual world have impacts in the real one. The Internet and new media are taking a prominent role in the way we interact and create relations between humans, nations and states. The populations of some countries are starting revolutions on the web: politicians are getting fired because of their unfortunate statements on Twitter. For example, Politwoops – a project of the Sunlight Foundation – is “a public nonpartisan archive of what US politicians once eagerly shared with their followers and then hoped you wouldn’t see,” Nicko Margolies, project manager of the foundation, said via email. With these kinds of tools and social movements you can say that in a way justice has been democratised. On the other hand, not all the reactions are

positive: terrorists use social media to spread their ideology, and people are threatened, hurt or even killed for their tweets. “London riots, Boston bombing, Ferguson – any time there’s a social issue, a lot of social activation happens,” James Kondo of Twitter Japan said in one of the Work Sessions of the St. Gallen Symposium. He talked about the Arab Spring and the tsunami in Japan, big events that showed the impact of the personal opinion multiplied by hundreds of thousands. “People don’t feel heard. One of the things social media does is to give people a voice,” Kondo said. These are a few cases when the small virtual actions have big consequences in the reality.


Negative consequences

#HasJustineLandedYet “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” After tweeting this sarcastic joke, PR executive Justine Sacco boarded a plane to Cape Town. During her flight, thousands of people commented on Sacco’s message and #HasJustineLandedYet became a trend. Sacco got fired. Positive consequences


#ArabSpring #Egypt

“Stop the violent rhetoric President Obama, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi #Disgusting” – After gunshots were fired on Capitol Hill. Republican Congressman Tim Griffin used Twitter as a campaigning tool against US Democrats. Griffin deleted his tweet when it turned out that the gunshots had no political meaning, but Politwoops had already archived it and brought it back in the loop.

One of the biggest revolutions in the digital era began in Tunisia in December 2010 and expanded through Egypt, Libya and Yemen, with protesters demanding the end of government repression.

#VemPraRua #FIFAgohome In the middle of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Brazilians started protests because of the big expenditures of the government, which built stadiums in the middle of a national economic crisis.

#OccupyCentral #HongKong #UmbrellaMovement Tens of thousands of residents of Hong Kong occupy the main thoroughfares of the city asking for the dismissal of the city’s pro-Beijing chief executive and for the change to a real democracy.

#Yosoy132 In 2012, before the elected president of Mexico, Enrique Peña, won the elections, the media company Televisa tried to minimise the protests by reporting that there were just 131 students taking part. “I’m 132” became popular, and ended up fueling a movement against the Mexican establishment around the world.

#Women2drive In October 2013, a woman was sentenced to ten lashes in Saudi Arabia because she was driving. Hundreds of thousands reacted on social media, and the government revoked the decision 24 hours later.

#McDStories #EtisalatChallenge Carefully created hashtags of fast food giant McDonalds (#McDStories) and telephone agent Etisalat (#EtisalatChallenge) turned negative as soon as they were launched. Users complained about the horrible food quality and high telephone costs, instead of giving positive feedback.



The Tail That Wags the Dog: Leaders of

“You can say I’m in favour of big units”: Former NATO Secretary General


Anders Fogh Rasmussen calls the alliance the world’s “most successful peace movement.” He talked with us about why small countries need big friends.

60 Moonshot, Meet World: Laura Thompson talks about how a company within a company can promote innovation.


Small Numbers That Make You Think Big: Facts and Figures.


Tomorrow Claudia Gamon and Todd Barclay on the unlikely power of small parties.

Why Every City Wants its Own Silicon Valley: Every country wants its own Silicon Valley. But Sam Johnson says “the best thing a government can do is to get out of the way.”

64 The Lemonade Stand Strikes Back: In Switzerland, small breweries are challenging established brands. It is a global trend in microcosm.

66 When Small, Charming Start-Ups Aren’t Small and Charming Anymore: Start-ups like Uber and Airbnb

Inferiority Complex: Poor Slovenia. It is no fun being the littlest country on the block.

Who Does it Better?: Innovation is a hot topic. But who really comes up with the next big ideas? Martin Richenhagen’s answer may surprise you.


may be the heroes of the sharing economy, but they are villains in the eyes of regulators. Delaware Governor Jack Markell rises to their defence.

69 Responsible Capitalism?: Can

70 Kagame Came, Saw, and Left Many Question Marks Behind: Why all the buzz around Rwandan President Paul Kagame? The uncertainty? The mystery? Or maybe the controversy?


regulation save the planet? We asked former EU Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard and Unilever’s CEO Paul Polman for their perspectives.


David vs. Goliath Everyone loves the story of David and Goliath, and the real world is full of cases where small can take on big. Talking to participants, we collected a lot of interesting examples. To our surprise, some of them show not a battle royale between big and small but nice stories of coexistence – one in the mass market, one in his niche. At the same time, it is important to acknowledge that countries unite – for example for defence reasons – into bigger entities. And isn’t the best way forward for businesses sometimes simply to team up with others instead of fighting them? We collected examples of collaboration, friction, tension, growth and competition between small and big. Will the evidence be enough to eliminate the bad blood between big and small entities? At a symposium dedicated to the idea of “Proudly Small”, it is no wonder participants from big companies felt compelled to convince us the whole premise was flawed to begin with.

The Best Defence


“You can say I’m in favour of big units” History is full of big countries that have fallen apart into many smaller ones. But no matter how much these countries wanted their independence at first, many later turn towards big formations and enter into new alliances with each other. One of these alliances is the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, or NATO. Its former Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, describes it as “the most successful peace movement.” He talked with us about his belief in big associations. VANJA VODENIK (INTERVIEW), LUKAS RAPP (PHOTOS)

NATO connects 28 countries. What can they achieve together that they cannot alone? Seen from the perspective of a small country – and I was the Prime Minister of Denmark, a small country – it is necessary to join a military alliance to provide any effective defence of your country. Because a small country doesn’t have the force and the capability to defend itself in today’s world, you will need allies and partners to help you if you are attacked. That is why Denmark was one of the founding fathers of NATO, because after the Second World War, we realised that we needed friends and allies. We pay a price, and in exchange we get a strong collective defence. That’s what is in it for a small country. Do you think NATO is successful because the United States of America pays more than its share of the bill? Well, of course NATO is strong because of the United States. The US is a major

military power, and I think it is due to American strength that we have seen a long period of peace and stability in Europe after the Second World War. These days, we are commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and the lesson learned is that Europe needs America to guarantee our security. So obviously, it is not least thanks to the United States that we can feel safe today. What is the price of compromise in big formations like NATO? Maybe it is not accurate to call it a price. Actually, I think it’s a strength of NATO that we have to compromise and make decisions unanimously. It may take some time, it may sometimes be very difficult, but once we make a decision, it’s a very strong organisation that moves in unity and cohesion because we all agree, by definition. That’s why NATO is actually a very action-oriented organisation. It’s not just

a talking shop. We may talk a lot to reach a decision, but once we reach a decision we also move. I found it very satisfactory to serve as Secretary General of NATO because I’ve always been very focused on making decisions and carrying them out. How can a small country have a big impact inside NATO? First and foremost, by demonstrating commitment. Again, let me use my own country as an example. While Denmark is a small country, Denmark is always ready to provide military capabilities if needed. If NATO calls, Denmark is always ready. So Denmark has deployed troops to Kosovo, to Afghanistan, participated in the Libya operation and is a very active participant in counter-piracy operations along the coast of Somalia, just to mention some examples. Through that commitment and through those contributions, I think Denmark punches above its weight. And this is the way for a

Looking big



small country to make its mark and gain influence. When you were Prime Minister of Denmark, you reduced 13 regions to five and 271 municipalities to 98. Do you think bigger is better? Not always, but I am strongly in favour of decentralisation. To delegate important tasks to local communities, we realised that if we were to decentralise important parts of education, welfare programmes, and health to local authorities, we had to make those local authorities bigger, so that they had this efficient critical mass. It may seem to be a paradox, but through this centralisation we actually decentralised which I think is a good thing because then you ensure that these activities are conducted closer to people in their daily life. You also held a meeting of the European Council in 2002, where you finalised the biggest enlargement of the European Union. Why do you think small countries wish to be a part of something bigger? Fundamentally, I think it is the same reasoning I outlined regarding the Danish decision to join NATO. Small countries realise that it is very difficult to do things on their own. In today’s glo-

balised world, you realise how much we need cooperation with others. And basically, I think that’s why smaller countries want to join international organisations. It is well known also from the business world that there are synergies when you do things collectively, and the same goes for nation states. What is your opinion on other collaboration between countries, like Mercosur or the African Union? I am strongly in favour of such regional cooperative frameworks, because I think both the Latin Americans and the Africans need multilateral frameworks to promote trade and resolve disputes. We have also seen attempts to build such multilateral frameworks in Asia, and I am strongly in favour of that. We need nation states, and we should preserve their characteristics and diversity. But nation states also need each other, they need collaboration and they can do that within such regional organisations. One could say that you support big formations. Where do you think that small is better suited than big? I think in general, smaller units – whether we are speaking about private enterprises or nation states – will very often be more

flexible. They can adapt to new situations faster and more easily than bigger units. Very often we see that small countries can make decisions very fast, because the distance between the different layers of decision makers is very short. In big countries, it’s a huge bureaucracy and complicated decision-making process and it takes a long time to change course. I have seen that on many occasions. You see exactly the same in the business world. You need big, global companies, but often small companies can take advantage of niches in the market and adapt to new consumer behaviour faster than the bigger companies can. You can say I’m in favour of big units, but overall I think it’s a mix. You are writing a book about key international challenges in the 21st century. How many challenges will you describe? My main message will be that we need determined American leadership, in collaboration with Europe and other democratic nations in the world. We are confronted with challenges from what I call the forces of oppression. To address that challenge we need a stronger voice from the world’s democracies, and the leadership of the world’s strongest democracy – the United States. u

Anders Fogh Rasmussen was Secretary General of NATO from August 2009 to October 2014. He served as Prime Minister of Denmark from 2001 to 2009. Prior to this appointment, he served as Denmark’s Minister of Economy and Taxation. He studied economics at the University of Aarhus and was the youngest member of the Danish parliament when he was elected at the age of 25.

Small Parties, Big Players


The Tail That Wags the Dog In the vicious struggle that is politics, can small parties punch above their weight? What does the future hold for them? To find out we asked two politically engaged Leaders of Tomorrow to share their views and experience. One is a member of a small, young party; the other belongs to a major party with a long pedigree.


Claudia Gamon is a member of Austria’s young political party, the liberal NEOS (The New Austria). In 2013, NEOS received 4.9% of the national vote. “Small parties can make or break a majority, and this gives them a lot of power,” Gamon says. She sees small parties as more flexible, dynamic and less bureaucratic. The downside is that they cannot raise the funds required for lavish political campaigns. But the Internet and new technologies even the playing field by reducing campaigning costs. “In this day and age, absolute majorities are on their way

out,” Gamon says. “The future belongs to multiparty coalitions.” In the end, Gamon feels that a party’s main goal should be to bring positive change instead of bending over backwards trying to please every voter. Todd Barclay belongs to the New Zealand National Party – one of the country’s two major parties. His party is currently in power and relies on support from three minor parties. “Small parties are vital for a thriving democracy,” says Barclay. He explains that major parties tend to be more moderate but small coalition partners can

help them enact non-centrist policies. On the other hand, he thinks that small parties can also hold the larger coalition partner hostage. “Sometimes, the tail can wag the dog,” he says. In his view, small parties’ ability to focus on a few issues is both a blessing and a curse. “If you are focused on education, then you don’t have to worry about healthcare,” he explains. “But if you try to widen your appeal you might alienate your loyal supporters.” Barclay believes there is a trend of major party disintegration, a trend that is visible in other countries besides New Zealand. u

Mountain View


Why Every City Wants its Own Silicon Valley Governments are investing lots of money to build start-up hubs, because they badly want their own Silicon Valley. But why? And will they succeed? “The best a government can do is to get out of the way,” says entrepreneur Sam Johnson. JORIS BELLWINKEL

“Silicon Valley, look no further,” reads a sign in front of an event hall in the Dutch city of Utrecht. The building is most famous for hosting events like the “camper and trailer fair,” the “Jehovah Symposium” and the “Kama Sutra Festival,” but there is also an office where one start-up is located. Utrecht is not alone in its grand claims. From Chicago to Beijing, Dublin to Guadalajara, in the last couple of years, almost every city has dubbed their hub for start-ups Silicon … something. There is a Palestinian tech hub on the Gaza Strip and a Silicon Valley in Kigali, Rwanda. Russia has plans to build one in the disputed Crimea area. Some of the hubs are having some success, such as the Silicon Wadi in Israel, Silicon Roundabout in London and Silicon Allee in Berlin. Some have already failed miserably (Moscow) but most of them still have to prove themselves. And governments are investing lots of money to make it happen. What makes Silicon Valley Silicon Valley? I ask Laura Thompson, project manager at Google[x], located in the heart of the original valley. “There is a sense of

optimism that underlies an incredible belief in possibilities. The idea to move crazy ideas forward.” And in Silicon Valley, there is plenty of space for failure. “If you’ve failed you’re actually more qualified to work on a new project,” Thompson says. Nordic by nature Exactly those characterisations are missing in the Nordic start-up scene, Greg Anderson, editor in chief at tech blog ArcticStartup, says. “We have the ‘Law of Jante,’ that you don’t want to stand out too much. Entrepreneurs are not looked at in a positive sense, more in way of: ‘Who do you think you are?’ On top of that, we don’t know failure.” Not exactly the ideal circumstances to build a new Silicon Valley, but that does not stop governments from funding entrepreneurs and start-ups. Sam Johnson, Co-Founder of Freely (see textbox) thinks governments do not want to miss the bus. “The world is going to take some big steps in technology in the next ten years, it’s going to change the way of doing business and the way leaders of tomorrow work, and start-ups play an

Freely movement Freely is the product of last year’s TOM-LAB and was presented during the symposium. “What we essentially wanted, was for entrepreneurs to move more freely between small countries. Now, if there is an entrepreneur moving to another country, governments set barriers like visas and all this different red tape. We want to reverse that, with governments saying: if you are an entrepreneur you should come here, this is a great place to start your business,” says Co-Founder Robert Torvelainen. “Entrepreneurs come in a lot of shapes and sizes, and you don’t know where the next one is coming from,” adds Johnson. “So governments should take the risk that the entrepreneur’s idea might work, because if it does work, it will be beneficial for the country and for the rest of the world.”


important role in that,” Johnson says. According to Anderson, you need tech hubs to unlock the potential success of start-ups. “Tech hubs bring together all the resources that entrepreneurs need,” he says. “They pull together the people that go through the same issues that you are, the people you maybe want to found a company with, or the people that want to invest in you.” “Government funding is great,” Anderson says. The loans and grants for entrepreneurs are needed for tech hubs to compete on a global scale because of the lack of investors outside of California’s Silicon Valley. Anderson is convinced this is the right investment for governments: “In Finland, for example, the government makes more money back in payroll taxes than they do with the money that they give away in grants or loans to entrepreneurs.” Leave well enough alone Giving seed money is enough, both Johnson and Anderson say. Leave entrepreneurship to the entrepreneurs. “The best a government can do is give money to the right people and stay away. Because I’ve seen some governmentfunded events or organisations and they’re just so lame,” Anderson says. “Entrepreneurs want to do what they do because they like it and it’s sort of a counterculture and a government putting millions into a conference is just going to be a government conference.” But then there is a problem. When all the circumstances are right and the start-ups become a success, they often move to Silicon Valley to be near the big investors. And then, when they start earning serious money, their home government does not profit at all. “There is always the risk that companies will move to Silicon Valley. But do you really want to live there?” says Johnson. Robert Torvelainen, the other CoFounder of Freely, agrees California is no longer a Garden of Eden. “I think the trend is changing. Silicon Valley is so

expensive, both to live and for companies.” The big companies like Google, Facebook and Yahoo are absorbing all the talent. “In other countries the demand is lower, so you have cheaper workers and won’t have to raise that much money.” Smaller countries can also be better breeding grounds for big ideas. “Small states are the most likely place to get your idea off the ground. They’re easier to adapt to. That’s why a lot of companies come to New Zealand, because you have only a small representative population where you can test your ideas,” says Torvelainen. And the lack of investors outside Silicon Valley? Well, that is also changing. Laura Thompson tells me that Google wants to know about every promising start-up, not just the ones located in the Valley. “We’re looking everywhere. It doesn’t matter if you’re located in Silicon Valley or in Australia for example.” Anderson has even seen a couple of investments from Google, Facebook and even Apple in the Nordic market. What helps here, is that most tech hubs have a sort of natural specialisation. Berlin is known for its B2B, London is big in the service industry and you want to be in Finland if you have a high-tech gaming company. “The Finnish gaming company Supercell went from having no revenue to being a billion dollar company in three years time,” Torvelainen says. “Now, Finland is known for its strong gaming industry, and you can brand that to attract more gaming start-ups.” “And you should,” says Anderson. “Instead of branding every tech hub as ‘Silicon something’, learn from it and build something new,” he adds. Because while there can only be one Silicon Valley, there is plenty of room for successful tech hubs all over the world. u

Build your own Silicon Valley with these ingredients:

Hipster hackers (with beards)

A little disruption

Some stand-up meetings

A pipeline full of ideas

Ping-pong and/or Football table




ecosystem Use the word “ecosystem” a lot

X File


Moonshot, Meet World Laura Thompson’s work at Google[x] is handily summed up in her official job description: “preparing moonshots for contact with the real world.” What is the secret behind the company within a company? RADOSLAV DRAGOV (TEXT), CAROLINE MARTI (PHOTO)

Laura Thompson graduated from Brown University and landed in product marketing at Google, first in San Francisco and then in London. She has worked at Google[x] since April 2013.

Google[x] is the unorthodox division of an already very unorthodox company. The research division’s mission is changing the world through “moonshot” projects, like a self-driving car or smart contact lenses. But Google[x] is also remarkable in that it is essentially a start-up inside one of Silicon Valley’s giants. To find out how big and small can cooperate, we asked Thompson to share her opinions and experience. What are the advantages of being small? It is easier for smaller teams to innovate fast because they are more nimble and have fewer sunk costs. The small size of Google[x] is why we move so quickly on huge world-changing projects. We are scrappy, we fail quickly and we pivot projects all the time. A

great example is the delivery drone programme, Project Wing. It was conceived initially as a way to deliver defibrillators for heart-attack victims but the data showed that we wouldn’t make a sizeable impact. So we immediately started looking for new applications. It would have been difficult to do so in a bigger team. Does Google see [x] as a distinct entity? Yes, [x] is designed to be distinct from Google. We work in a separate building, which gives us space to work on projects that are outside Google’s main mission of organising the world’s information. We also have more room to experiment and not worry too much about the outlandishness of an idea or the possibility of failure.

Do you feel like you are working in a small company? What I love about [x] is that you get all the benefits of working in a small company: we’re fast-changing and sometimes chaotic but with all the resources and amazing talent of Google. How does Google[x] handle failure? We quite literally celebrate it. It’s very difficult to create a culture where you actually celebrate failure. Failure is considered a learning moment for the team, and everyone gets excited. We learn from the experience and quickly move to the next project. Why do so many small start-ups want to be acquired by Google? People want to work on projects that can make a huge impact in the world. Even now, 17 years after Google was founded, there is still not a lot of hierarchy. Google also benefits tremendously from the fresh energy and talent that each acquisition brings. Does Google[x] also look at promising start-ups? Yes! One of our big projects, Makani, is developing airborne wind turbines. Makani was a start-up acquired in 2013 and folded into Google[x]. But we have also worked on a project that was successfully spun into a start-up. u

Facts and Figures

Small Numbers That Make You Think Big LEA DEUBER

0 is the number of football fields in Vatican City. It has a league with 8 soccer teams but because there is not enough space for a grass field, it is not a member of FIFA.

0.017 is the number of cars per person in India. In the US there are 0.64 cars per person, roughly 37 times more.

2 is the number of inhabitants per km² in Mongolia, making it the least densely populated country in the world. Monaco is number one, with 18,916 inhabitants per km².

11.5 is the percentage of the globe that the biggest country in the world, Russia, covers. Russia is as big as China and Australia combined.

57 is the percentage of the worldwide pig population that lives in China. There are a total of 438 million pigs living in China, compared to only 66 million in the US.

Sources: Vatican City,; Cars,; Mongolia/Monaco,; Russia,; Pigs,


Ugly Teenagers


When Small, Charming Start-Ups Aren’t Small and Charming Anymore They started out as small players wanting to change the world for the better: start-ups such as Uber and Airbnb, the success stories of the sharing economy. But then they grew fast, turned into billion-dollar-companies, and they will never go away.


The Governor of Delaware never leaves home without his iPhone. His whole life is in it, from his agenda to his contacts. There is also an app on his phone called Uber. He uses it all the time on his travels. “It’s now my preferred way of transport,” Jack Markell says. Five years ago, he could only use it in San Francisco. But now the car service is available in more than 200 cities worldwide. While it is not yet in Delaware, that is going to change, according to Markell. The lawmakers in his state are drafting

legislation to legalise the service, which connects drivers and passengers while taking a cut of the fee. You can hardly overstate how big Uber has become. The company’s valuation is now estimated at USD 40 billion – more than well-known multinationals like Sony, Yahoo and Twitter. Venture capitalist Klaus Hommels argued at the


symposium that there is simply no point in remaining small. Every start-up ultimately wants to become a monopolist, he said. And Uber is taking the fast lane. Investing in disruptions According to Hommels, the Internet has created businesses that did not exist before, and now, these businesses go after businesses that did. He invested in some of these disruptive companies, such as an early investment in lodging site Airbnb. Both Uber and Airbnb are part of the so-called “sharing economy”, where multiple people can use the same property. “These companies unlock a lot of money using the goods that are doing nothing,” Markell says. “Students can earn money with a car they otherwise don’t use, or people can rent a spare bedroom.” As disruptive companies clash with the status quo, they cause problems. The bigger they get, the bigger the problems. Airbnb has regulatory issues in cities like Amsterdam, New

York and San Francisco, while Uber has legal problems almost everywhere. In Brussels, Uber drivers can even get a USD 12,000 fine. The service was completely banned in New Delhi after a driver was accused of raping a passenger. Delaware is one of the first states to legalise Uber, and the Uber cars will start driving as soon as the law is implemented. Markell understands the heavy criticism Uber and Airbnb face, but he is convinced the companies can provide innovative solutions as well. “They can solve public policy problems, such as drunken driving, which is a big problem in the US. With Uber and Lyft, we already see a reduction in that. Also, these new car services can provide an affordable solution for people with disabilities to get to work.” Breaking the rules But is it not strange to have rules for hotels and transportation companies, and then make it legal for these new companies to break them? “That’s the main

question. We have to figure that out,” he says. “There’s no straight line. We have to balance these new industries.” Markell expects the disruption won’t stop with sharing cars or houses. He expects, for example, that web-based college programmes in the form of MOOCs (Massive Online Open Course), such as Coursera, are going to reshape the world of education. “At every university, there are one to one sessions in engineering and economics. They’re not really different,” he says. “So if you can take that online, with one good professor doing the engineering or economics, you can bring down the high cost of education. And you can also scale up the number of people that get educations.” The governor knows these disruptive companies are not going away. You can ban them, but the sharing economy idea is already out there. People are using it, and have gotten used to it. And Markell? He simply would not want to do without it. u

Small Size, Big Taste


The Lemonade Stand Strikes Back David versus Goliath, microbrew versus mid-size: in Switzerland, small breweries are booming – and challenging established brands. It is a global trend in microcosm. TILL DALDRUP (TEXT), CAROLINE MARTI (PHOTOS)

To find St. Gallen’s second-largest brewery, head to the western edge of town. Hidden behind the parking lot of a supermarket and nestled among grey factory buildings, you will come upon the small realm of Adi Schmid. Called the “Biergarage,” it is a microbrewery with all kinds of kettles, barrels and bottles stuffed into a room of no more than thirty square meters. Despite its small size, “Biergarage” is number two in the local beer business – due to lack of competition. “The only bigger competitor here is the Schützengarten brewery,” Schmid says. Schmid is not the only microbrewer in Switzerland. After decades of stagnation, the country has seen an unprecedented increase in breweries recently. In 1990, there were only 32 Swiss breweries left. In 2013, there were 409 – more than 95 percent of which produce less than 15,000 hectolitres a year. Swiss microbrewers like Adi Schmid disprove an economic principle that seemed to be set in stone for decades: in nearly every industry, big companies marginalised the smaller ones, until there were only a few major players left. Now, the “lemonade stand” is striking back – or the microbrewery, to be precise.

“These small breweries profit from a trend towards regionalisation,” Günter Faltin, professor for entrepreneurship at Freie Universität Berlin, says. “They’ve got the advantage of being authentic, in contrast to major brands like Budweiser, for example.” Even more important, microbrewers are innovating by creating new varieties like wasabi or strawberry beer, while bigger companies often stick to a classic product line. “It’s like David against Goliath: David cannot fight with the same weapons as Goliath. He has to find his own strategy in order to beat the giant,” Faltin says. Teasing the giant Microbrewer Schmid knows his advantages pretty well. “I am highly flexible and I can produce select beer for my customers,” he says. Schmid started his one-man-brewery three years ago, teaching himself how to brew by looking up recipes online. At first, his friends were his only customers. Now he is delivering to several firms and restaurants in the St. Gallen region. “They are looking for exquisite beverages that differ from a normal lager beer,” Schmid says. Niche beers that

may be a little more expensive, but of excellent quality – that is the recipe he wants to tease competitors like Schützengarten with. Schützengarten, located right in the centre of St. Gallen, is a giant compared to Schmid’s business. With 220 employees and a factory sprawling over more than 20,000 square meters, it is one of the largest in Eastern Switzerland. “We are a local great in this region,” Schützengarten’s CEO, Reto Preisig, says. Though the brewery is doing well financially, it is in a rather uncomfortable market situation: it has to compete with major corporations like Heineken and microbrewers like Schmid, who have more and more market share. “The beer industry in Switzerland is highly competitive,” Preisig says. Nonetheless, Preisig has a lot of sympathy for microbrewers. “They are reviving the Swiss beer culture, which is our goal as well,” Preisig says. Under his management, the brewery added several new beers to its product line, aimed at beer aficionados. But innovating is not an easy task for a company of Schützengarten’s size. Since even the more specialised beers are produced in large quantities, “new


varieties require additional storing tanks and possibly new bottle shapes and sizes,” Preisig says. That is why the company has to be very careful with product launches – failure could be disastrous. Schmid does not have problems like that. Since he only produces in small quantities, he does not have to fear financial troubles when a new product does not take off. “If I feel like it, I will just try out a new beer,” he says. “And if my clientele does not like it, I am just going to drink it myself.” But his customers seem to believe in Schmid’s brewing skills. A group of them is investing in his business, allowing him to double the volume of his kettles. They are not the only ones realising the potential of microbreweries. Big companies like the German Bitburger and Radeberger groups are working together with microbrewers to learn from their creative ideas for new beers. Preisig can imagine cooperating with a microbrewer as well. “Some of them are producing very good, flavourful beers,” he says. Seems like David and Goliath might not be fighting after all. u

Reto Preisig runs Schützengarten, St. Gallen’s dominant brewery and one of the largest beer makers in Switzerland.

Adi Schmid relishes his role as nimble David to Schützengarten’s Goliath, running his microbrewery out of a rented garage.

Inferiority Complex


From: Vanja Vodenik To: The Best Public Relations Company of the World Subject: Inferiority Complex

Dear representative of the Best Public Relations Company, in Central Europe, has two million I come from a small country called Slovenia. Have you heard of it? It is situated not yet 24 years old. is It s. kilometre square 20,000 than inhabitants and a surface area of a bit more And no, that is no typo: we are not Slovakia, if you were wondering. we exist. Sometimes I feel I should bring a As a Slovenian citizen, I constantly have to deal with people not knowing tiny country is real. More than once, when map of the world with me every time I leave the country, just to prove my to listen to some other national anthem had have they ion, one of our sportsmen or sportswomen has won a competit ours. to similar or look at the Slovakian flag, which is very have lived in this location since the We are fed up! Frustrated! We feel small! And we should not: our ancestors document in Slovenian was made 6th century. We also speak our own language, called Slovenian. The first written around year 1000. our own culture, we have always been I guess it is no surprise we have a bit of an inferiority complex. Despite having to achieve big things as a small hard is it think we es sometim why is That under the rule of many bigger countries. g of the ‘90s, when we were beginnin the in d succeede and ent, independ be to decades nation. We fought for many the first nation to separate from Yugoslavia with the 10-Day War. we are a part of the European Union, NATO, Not long after that, we started to look towards bigger formations. Today recover. to trying still are we the WTO and others. History treated us badly, and d?

Can you please help me and find a way for us to be liked? Or at least recognise

Capital in 2016 – has a name that is nearly It is a hard task, I know. Even our capital, Ljubljana – the European Green at the last winter Olympic Games? But impossible to pronounce. Who cares about a country that won just 8 medals per capita – and first in the world medals of look at it this way: that puts us in second place in terms of the number beach on the Adriatic coast, a bit the of rs kilomete 47 has that relative to GDP! Who wouldn’t want to visit a country e Caves? More than 58% of Škocjansk listed HeritageWorld UNESCO the with region of Alps, some lakes and the karst the country is covered with forest, too. all over the world use our products: Even our animals are weird: human fish, Lipizzaner horses. Economy? People ultralight aircraft. Still, they do not Pipistrel or boats sailing Gorenje home appliances, Alpina shoes, Elan skis, Seaway you would probably hear that they stamps, post about anyone ask you If have a clue that they all come from Slovenia. a Slovenian, Lovrenc Košir – in 1835! are a British invention. But in fact, the first idea for a post stamp came from We need a PR strategy that makes our profile abroad bigger. And, perhaps, Best regards, Vanja Vodenik

some warm words that will lift our spirits.

Thinking Small


Who Does it Better? Innovation is a hot topic. But who really comes up with the next big ideas, large businesses or tiny start-ups? And what happens when big and small work together? ANGEL PLASCENCIA & RADOSLAV DRAGOV

“Big cannot innovate” was the subject of a debate with the Leaders of Tomorrow on the eve of the 45th St. Gallen Symposium. At the beginning of the event, just a few hands were raised when the moderator, Professor Stephan Chambers, Director of the MBA degree at the Saїd Business School, University of Oxford, asked how many of them disagreed with the sentence. But by the end of the debate, a lot of participants had changed their minds: “Innovation is easier for big companies, and the reason is that research and development are very expensive. If you develop a new tractor, you basically have to spend USD 15 million,” says Martin Richenhagen, President and Chief Executive Officer of AGCO Corporation, a company that sells technology to farmers around the world. He should know: AGCO’s innovation department has 2,000 engineers and an investment of USD 350 million every year. The cliché these days is that small companies innovate more, but is this really true? Does a company’s size impact innovation? Some people, like Richenhagen, do not think that way: “When you think about the automotive industry, there are not so many small

companies. All innovation comes from big companies. The Apple Watch comes from Apple, not from some small company.” One of the most popular works on the subject is “The Innovator’s Dilemma,” by Clayton Christensen. The book argues that large, established companies fail because their management decisions are driven primarily by the goal of meeting customer’s existing needs, rather than creating new niches or markets. Richenhagen thinks that big companies have to remain “slim” and also “not too bureaucratic,” recognising that the way some small companies work is better after all.

Can big and small work together? According to Fagan Harris, a Leader of Tomorrow, such cooperation can make “great things happen.” But as Richenhagen says, sometimes big corporations take advantage of small ones. The normal tendency is that the big company eats the small one, absorbing their ideas and innovation. For example, Facebook bought Instagram for USD 1 billion, and WhatsApp for USD 19 billion. The risk of innovating, and therefore the risk of failing, is obviously different in big and small companies. First of all, there are many more small companies than established large corporations. Start-ups go bankrupt at a much higher rate, but we do not notice when one of them goes belly up. According to Harris, around 20% of the projects they back fail. Still, the young entrepreneur hopes that if his company becomes “bigger and more successful” it will keep the start-up spirit. Richenhagen is more realistic. “A big company is a small company growing successfully,” he says. “Every successful small company sooner or later will be big, and every unsuccessful small company sooner or later will disappear.” u



Paul Polman: “Because we have become global so quickly, politics is changing rapidly in terms of the interdependence between different countries. In the past, you could solve the major issues in the world either within your own country or with a small group of countries. Now, some issues – like security, climate change, and transparency in financial markets – require the cooperation of all countries. Institutions historically designed to deal with that, like the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund, are based on the old model of how the world functions. We haven’t been able to evolve our political system to deal with these more complex problems. Responsible companies, which have a more long-term vision than politicians and work in multiple countries across the world, often deal with these issues on a daily basis. Within their own business model they will have to be more proactive. I call that de-risking the political process. For individual governments, for example, it’s very difficult to work on deforestation because there are many different factors involved. But if companies work together and say ‘we only want sustainably sourced soy, beef or palm oil,’ that sends an enormous signal to governments to start acting. If politicians know there’s a big enough group of companies that want that, they are more likely to put themselves behind it. If they don’t have that assurance, it’s very difficult to move things forward. This happened for a long time on climate change. The business community was divided, to some extent still is, but the majority now says we need to start acting. When governments hear this, they are willing to take more bold decisions to come to agreements. But you will always need governments, because businesses are not a body that is elected by people.”

Photo: Caroline Marti


Responsible Capitalism? In times of globalisation, who is responsible for sustainability, and what role should governments and businesses play? We asked former EU Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard and Unilever CEO Paul Polman for their perspectives. JOLIEN DE VRIES & JORIS BELLWINKEL

Connie Hedegaard: “It is true that businesses have a tremendous responsibility and I respect a lot of what Paul Polman personally is doing and how much he’s engaged in this. If all businesspeople were made from the same stuff as Polman, I would subscribe to his argument, but I think the time factor matters. If we say leave the politicians out of this and just rely on the market and the businesses, I’m absolutely sure that things would slow down. And here it actually does matter whether we act sooner rather than later. I think you must not underestimate what political engagement on the climate issue means. Just take an example. Europe has discussed green house gas emissions for many years now, setting binding targets. Today, Europe leads the world in emissions reduction: down 19% compared to 1999, while we have grown our GDP 45%. In the US, they’ve had no targets, no regulation and no policy for many years, and today the fact is that in their own best-case scenarios by 2020 they will have reduced 3% compared to 1999. For me, this is just an indication that politics help business to stay focused on this challenge. With regulations, everybody has to make an effort. Businesses have to come up with the solutions, because they’re extremely good at cost efficiencies, but politicians have to make sure that the incentives are good. We have to create a fair playing field, a healthy economic system that consistently calculates the cost to the environment. This cannot be dictated by businesses, but it can also not be done without businesses. Businesses are not changing for goodness’ sake. They only change if it makes sense businesswise.” u

Photo: Lukas Rapp

Polarising Figure


Kagame Came, Saw, and Left Many Question Marks Behind Days before the symposium started, people were already whispering the name Paul Kagame at the university. What was the reason for the buzz around the President of Rwanda? The uncertainty? The mystery? Or maybe the controversy? VANJA VODENIK & JULIA KRAMER (TEXT), MARTINA GROMO & LISA CARVALHO (PHOTOS)

He came Paul Kagame finally arrived on the second day of the symposium. He got out of the black limousine in a dark suit, surrounded by guards from the very first moment he set foot on the symposium’s grounds. Nothing in the appearance of Paul Kagame, who was born in 1957, made you think that he spent the first 25 years of his life in a Ugandan refugee camp, lining up for one meal a day and studying under trees. He is now the President of Rwanda and a leader of the Rwandan Patriotic Front. He is best known for leading the rebel force that defeated Hutu militias and ended the Rwandan genocide in 1994. Kagame took office in 2000, when his predecessor resigned. He then won the presidency again in the 2003 and 2010

elections. Before that, he was Rwanda’s Vice President and Minister of Defence. In the 1980s, he joined the forces of Yoweri Museveni, who overthrew the thenpresident of Uganda. Under Museveni, he studied at the Makerere University in Kampala and attended a course at the US Army’s Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth. With the upcoming Rwandan elections in 2017, many are wondering if Kagame can be elected for a third term. Rwanda’s constitution does not allow more than two terms, but that does not mean it is impossible: Rwandans have already gathered 2 million signatures in order to allow an amendment to the constitution which would enable him to stay in office for seven more years. This is different to neighbouring Burundi, where people took to the streets

in order to prevent President Pierre Nkurunziza from running for a third term. Questioned at the St. Gallen Symposium on his personal ambitions, Kagame kept his cards close to his chest. He told the audience he was happy not to be in a position where people want him out. Not delivering is what turns people against a leader, like in Burundi, he said, suggesting that he has nothing to fear as long as he delivers on his promises. He saw Today, he is using all this experience for the future of Rwanda, a country that – in his own words – “has overcome many challenges.” Speaking about Rwanda and its future without mentioning the genocide is quite a challenge in its own right. During his keynote, it became very




clear that Kagame successfully accepted this challenge many times already. “Today, Rwanda is a country transformed, physically, economically, and socially. But there is no way to ignore where we started from in 1994,” Kagame said in his speech. According to the president, inclusiveness, building consensus, taking responsibility, and being accountable are leading factors in the country’s rebuilding process. Size plays a role as well, but only to a certain extent. “Size is not destiny,” argues Kagame. “There are small countries, but there are no small people. It follows that thinking big, and acting big, are choices available to all of us.” However, the president speaks of two ways in which Rwanda’s relative smallness works to its advantage. Firstly, it is easier to innovate. “Rwanda is like a collection of start-up governance institutions whose mission is to solve problems and create new opportunities,” says Kagame. Secondly, its small size makes it a lot easier to get everyone involved. The downside of being a small country is that there is less room for error. While referring to Iceland as a country whose prosperity was nearly destroyed during the financial crisis, Kagame warns: “No amount of success will ever fully dilute the risk.” He ended his speech on a stirring note. “Greatness is a choice available to any person, organisation, or nation. Big countries are capable of thinking small and acting small,” he said. “Small countries can think big and act big, which is to say: with dignity and respect for others.” He left After the Plenary Session, Kagame left the room filled with questions and possible discussions, some of them being brought up in his afternoon Work Session. “I’d have liked to know what efforts are going into both nation building and cultivating the next generation of leaders,” says Julie Wang’ombe, a speech-

“Small countries think big and act big, which is to say: with dignity and respect for others.” – Paul Kagame

writer, poet and a student of international relations from Kenya. However, Wang’ombe already knows a lot about public opinion of Kagame and Rwanda: “I think there are many, especially young people, who see President Kagame as an example of capable African leadership, a welcome and worthwhile break away from the stereotypical narrative of African leadership.” When Wang’ombe visited Rwanda a couple of years ago, she was “deeply impressed with the work he’s done in terms of ensuring respect for the rule of law and getting people to embrace national development as their responsibility.” Yet despite the progress Rwanda has seen under Kagame’s presidency, his reign is sometimes in question. “His leadership is also perceived to be at best semi-autocratic – not necessarily in a bad way, but in a way that raises questions and curiosity about the validity of benevolent dictatorship – and whether it’s necessary to facilitate development,” says Wang’ombe. Andrew Gasnolar, a Mandela Washington Fellow, describes Kagame as “a complex man”. According to him, Kagame only presented one version of Rwanda: “the side which has seen a country rebuild after that genocide.” Gasnolar thinks it is very dangerous that Kagame, like many other liberators across Africa and in the developing world, has been heralded as a great victor and saviour. “Under Mr Kagame’s presidency, the voice of dissent has

shrunk and Mr Kagame in my mind is not only a liberator but the silence in his country and globally around the other side of Mr Kagame is very telling,” Gasnolar says. Despite the Rwandan leader’s popularity, Gasnolar thinks of Kagame as a brand. And “creating ‘brands’ around individuals is dangerous, in that it often focuses only on the good and forgets the more questionable issues and acts,” Gasnolar says. The thing that concerned Gasnolar most, was how Kagame dealt with the issue of accepting a third term in office. “The rule of law is an essential requirement of any democracy, and it is essential that the Rwandan Constitution is respected.” People have many different opinions about Kagame. But what is for sure is that he left as he came: in a black limousine, with many guards, and many mysteries. u


Big Achievements: We asked six St. Gallen Symposium attendees to weigh in on their greatest accomplishments.


Small Steps to a Sustainable World:


To save the world, Lauren Singer strips down to the essentials. But is her Mason jar and spork combo a sustainable model?

Swipe Right for a Little Love: Looking for inspiration, looking for contacts, looking for business partners. Are some of the 200 Leaders of Tomorrow looking for love, too? We go online, undercover and off the record to find out.

Big Company, or Big Risks?: Would you rather work for a massive conglomerate or run your own shop?

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Room to Breathe, Bread to Eat: Giving small amounts of money to the poor – so-called Basic Income Guarantees – can lead to big reductions in poverty levels, says Leon Schreiber.

A Little Engagement Goes a Long Way: Small countries, like Malta, often have high rates of electoral participation. Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat explains why the future of democracy is small.

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90 92

Tools of Power: Sometimes, even the smallest objects can have a big impact. The symposium’s big shots show us what they cannot do without.

7,107 Reasons to Visit: The Philippines may be geographically spread among thousands of islands, but spreading the wealth beyond the megacity of Manila is no walk on the beach.

ONE: A singular poem by Julie Wang’ombe


Essentials When you spend two days debating whether small is better than big, you might begin to wonder: what is this all about? Are we even asking the right question? Shouldn’t we focus on what is important? So we took a (very unscientific) poll of participants, asking them to share their biggest achievement. Given the setting – a Piazza packed with successful people pursuing interesting careers – we would have guessed the answers would tend towards professional vision, jobs, companies or institutions. Instead, the responses were often very, very personal. We found a lot of participants with very different ideas and ideals. There is the woman who struggles to avoid producing waste, or the guy who wants to give something to everyone via Basic Income Guarantees. This is what the St. Gallen Symposium is all about: people with ideas. And that is good. Because after all, it is people who change the world. You. And us. Good luck!


What Really Counts

Big Achievements RADOSLAV DRAGOV

ion to is v le e t n o d e is ra “We’ve all been y we’d all be millione da But . s r a t believe that on s k c o r d gods, an ie v o m d n a , s g that in aire n r a le ly w lo s we’re d off.” we won’t. And e s is p y r e v , y r ve fact. And we’re

So says “Fight Club” character Tyler Durden. We cannot all be rock stars, sure. But what about people who have, in fact, succeeded? We asked St. Gallen Symposium attendees to weigh in on their greatest achievement.


ial enterFounded a soc d 300,000 e ft li t a th e is r p overty people out of p Evans Wadongo (29), Engineer, Co-Founder of GreenWize Energy Limited, Kenya

Being h


Daniel Baumann (30), Business Editor, Frankfurter Rundschau, Switzerland

My family

f all o F e h on t all g n i W rt Repo e Berlin th John Defterios (54), Anchor and Emerging Markets Editor, CNN International, United States

lish Providing Eng ns to language lesso Iraqi refugees Benjamin Morgan (30), Corporate Lawyer, Macfarlanes LLP, United Kingdom

Kjell ForsĂŠn (56), Chief Executive Officer, Vaisala Oyj, Finland

Winner of the Best Yo ung Manager A ward 2014 (India) Sylvi Nazareth Andrat (24), Assistant Manager, Bosch Limited, India


Waste Removal

Small Steps to a Sustainable World Environmentalists suggest that saving the planet is within everyone’s grasp. But is that really true? What makes people really adopt a green lifestyle? NATASHA SILVA, LEA DEUBER & TILL DALDRUP (TEXT), CAROLINE MARTI (PHOTOS)

Lauren Singer’s quest to live a sustainable life led her to simplify. A metal spork, a Mason jar and a cloth napkin are her constant companions, helping her eschew plastic packaging and waste.

A Mason jar, a cloth napkin and a metal spork: these items have become the constant companions of Lauren Singer. The 24-year-old entrepreneur is living a waste-free life in New York City. It would be a tough task without her tools: she uses the Mason jar to avoid plastic food packaging, the cloth napkin to save paper towels. And the metal spork? Well, you never know what good food might unexpectedly come your way. Three years ago, Singer decided it was time for her to live a more sustainable lifestyle. “I was sitting next to a fellow student who would bring a plastic bag of chips, a disposable water bottle, and a plastic takeout container for lunch – and throw all of that in the trash,” Singer says. “I was angry at her, but then I realised that I was not any better.“ Ever since, Singer has changed her habits in order to produce as little trash as possible: she mixes her own tooth paste, only wears second-hand clothing and even produces her own makeup. “It was not easy at first, but now it’s fun,” she says.


Singer’s principle is brave and inspiring. But could it work for everyone? And if so – would people make the same effort as she does? Even though awareness of sustainability issues seems to be on the rise, good ideas still often fail to prevail in society. So what makes people adapt a sustainable idea? Political activist Juan Manuel Restrepo knows exactly how hard it is to get people to change their behaviour: in 2011, he founded think-do tank La Ciudad Verde to turn cities in Colombia into exactly what the name suggests: green cities. Restrepo and his fellow campaigners were fed up with seeing their community, Medellin, suffer from pollution and took action into their own hands. “We just got tired of knowing what solutions cities needed and doing nothing more than just criticise. So we built a pact with 10 points based on sustainability and all the political candidates of Medellin signed it,” Restrepo says. Their goal: transforming the transportation policy of their hometown towards more sustainable modes of transport. Promoting bike lanes However, it was not easy to convince the population at first. “People said that we were crazy to promote bicycles, that this was only for Amsterdam and other European cities,” Restrepo says. But by joining efforts with other citizens’ organisations, the activists of La Ciudad Verde were able to realise their vision. Four hundred kilometres of bike lanes are being built in the city, and for the first time pedestrians and bicycles are being prioritised over cars in the transportation system. “Now people believe that promoting bike lanes is not only possible, but also a solution,” Restrepo says. “That change of mentality is our greatest achievement.” But sustainable change does not have to start with a large campaign. Change can start with a simple idea, such as Solveiga Pakstaite’s. She has a very simple approach to a huge problem: the unreliability of expiry and “best before”

Singer’s website,, is full of tips on living a more sustainable life. Leaders of Tomorrow from around the world are also working to bring sustainability to the masses.

dates. The 22-year-old designer from Lithuania invented food labels which should help shoppers know when their perishable food has gone off. The bioreactive label, called Bump Mark, is made out of gelatine. As a protein, it decays at the same rate as protein-based foods like pork, milk and cheese. The label put on the outside of a package is smooth in the beginning, but becomes liquid, when the food goes off. Then little bumps inside the label become palpable. Improving expiry dates Pakstaite’s approach tackles the problem of wasted food. According to a report by the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Resources Institute, about one-third of all food produced worldwide gets wasted. “I was always passionate about doing something against that,” Pakstaite says. She was brought up in a family where they did not waste anything. “At university, my flatmates threw things away

just because the expiry date told them so,” she explains. That is when she realised that it was a big problem: “I knew we needed an easy solution.” Pakstaite’s solution is not just easy, but also cheap. It can be used for meat, dairy, juices and fish. She is starting to test her invention in cooperation with a big retailer in England. Companies such as Coca Cola have contacted her as well. Still, she does not fear somebody stealing her idea. “I am no saleswoman, no chemist, just a designer and at the moment I simply do it, because no one else is around to do it,” she says. “It would be great if somebody wanted to steal my idea. We need to reduce the waste of food – the more people use my idea the merrier.” u

Light my Fire


Swipe Right for a Little Love Looking for inspiration, looking for professional contacts, looking for business partners. Are some of the 200 Leaders of Tomorrow looking for love, too? JORIS BELLWINKEL & JOLIEN DE VRIES

While the symposium may be the ideal place to meet new people, telling someone you are interested in more than just having a nice conversation is something else. But then there is Tinder, the dating app used by more than 40 million people worldwide. We started the application, took a picture of Jolien, set our location to the University of St. Gallen and started swiping. We swiped all St. Gallen students (and we encountered a lot, actually) to the left. All Leaders of Tomorrow – we found about ten in an hour – we swiped to the right. It did not take long before we had our first match. “Here in St. Gallen for a few days. Up to meet someone who is also interested in having a good time!” his profile read. In the middle of the night on Thursday, he reacted. “Are you enjoying the party?” we asked. “The party was great, but it ended too soon,” he answered. And then: “But my host has left me and I have the entire flat to myself and I don’t feel like sleeping. Apparently we are just one mile away ;)” That is when we told him we were doing this story. He agreed to meet in person for an interview. “If you go to a new place, it is a great way to meet new

people that you wouldn’t meet through the event or the conference that you are at. I actually use Tinder like something of an antidote to the whole networking thing,” he told us. “The problem here is that the symposium takes up your whole day. Even when you have a match you wouldn’t know when to meet them.” But that was not the problem he worried about the most. Aside from our undercover interview request, he did not get a single match during the symposium. And he was not the only one: “I’ve heard other Leaders of Tomorrow discussing it. ‘Did you get any matches?’

‘Have you met someone yet?’ But no one has.” And then he told us something surprising: there were a lot of local girls, but he did not come across any female Leader of Tomorrow on Tinder. So where were the women? We decided to simply ask around. “I am not on Tinder, because to me it’s synthetic. I don’t want to tell my children that I met their father on a dating platform,” one female Leader of Tomorrow said. Another told us Tinder was already passé: “All the cool people are on Hinge now.” Then our phone buzzed. We had another match. u



Room to Breathe, Bread to Eat Giving small amounts of money to the poor – so-called Basic Income Guarantees – can lead to big reductions in poverty levels. JULIA KRAMER (TEXT), CAROLINE MARTI (PHOTOS)

“If we want to live in a world that is free from poverty and where the poor are able to become wealth creators, then by definition, everyone needs to have at least some money,” argues Leon Schreiber, Ph.D. Candidate in political science at the Freie Universität Berlin, in his second-place St. Gallen Wings of Excellence Award essay. This idea – to simply give some money to the poor – is known as the Basic Income Guarantee, or BIG. According to Schreiber, this once utopian vision is gaining ground fast: “The last decade has produced powerful signals that it is an idea whose time may finally have come.” People need bread “If you don’t have enough bread to feed your family, what are you going to do? Are you going to the employment office, or to a World Bank lecture about health, or are you going to try to get bread?” Schreiber asks. To him, the answer is clear: people need bread – a basic level of social security, in other words – before they can start thinking about their future and using the development tools the World Bank provides. “The last fifty years, the whole debate and practice of development ↦

Here is how it works: some economists say freeing people from the cycle of poverty starts with a small guaranteed income. The poor know best how money can make a difference in their lives.


has been focused on indirect means to alleviate poverty, like education or infrastructure. Often times, these projects have not been used the way planners hoped,” Schreiber says. One of the reasons is because development simply should not only be top-down, but also needs a bottom-up approach. Utopian vision Schreiber focuses on today’s developing countries, but people from all over the world have dreamed about a basic income guarantee for centuries. The philosopher Thomas Paine mentioned the idea in his 1797 pamphlet “Agrarian Justice” and Milton Friedman thought it was worth considering, which is surprising since Friedman is a free market economist. Starting in the 1970s, the idea of a basic income pops up often in political discussions. Progressive as well as conservative groups have taken a renewed interest in the BIG. Left-wing politicians like the idea because it implies a high level of redistribution, right-wing politicians are interested because BIG reduces the role of government. Many different experiments with different types of basic income guarantees have already taken place. A well known one is the Mincome project. During this four-year experiment that started in 1974, a thousand families in the Canadian village of Dauphin received a certain amount of money from the government every month. The amount of money was based on how much they still needed, after they received their salary, to stay out of poverty. The participants were free to spend the money as they wanted to. Revolutionary experiments But since the beginning of the 21st century, most “free money” initiatives have taken place in the global south. In India, UNICEF started a direct cash transfer experiment that provided adults a monthly unconditional basic income of USD 4 and kids USD 2. Brazil

implemented the Bolsa Familia, an antipoverty programme that provides money to the very poor on the condition that the kids go to school and get vaccinated. Mexico’s Oportunidades provides money to people to invest in human capital. In Kenya and Uganda, the NGO GiveDirectly started projects to give money to the poor. In the Namibian community Otjivero-Omitara, NGOs ran an experiment with cash transfer of USD 10 a month. “It’s a shame that the discourse around development continues to assume that if poor people have money, they don’t know how to wisely invest it,” says Schreiber. “There is almost zero evidence that proves the assumption that people don’t want to work, or will just buy alcohol with the money.” Indeed, the results are generally very positive. The experiments all show a profound decrease when it comes to criminality, malnutrition, truancy and poverty, and an increase in economic growth and academic performance. Schreiber: “People in general know how to use money. It’s just that they don’t have any.” The positive experiments are exactly the “powerful signals” Schreiber is referring to when he calls BIG an idea “whose time may finally have come.” “Compared to 1990, 1 billion more people are getting some basic level of social assistance,” says Schreiber. “We are not there yet, but – by any measure – this is already a revolution.” u

Take orders, or be the boss? Klaus W. Wellershoff tried both. On the one hand, he worked for UBS, a big global financial services company, for 14 years. Today, however, he is the CEO of Wellershoff & Partners, an international finance business with only 14 employees. Wellershoff describes his years at UBS as very interesting. “The company evolved very quickly over the period of time I was there,” he says. He had an opportunity to work with people who came from different countries and had clients with many origins and various cultural backgrounds. His team worked in 13 locations worldwide and was challenged to find a common language and a product which would “allow these individual cultural differences to actually play out,” he says. Some advantages of working for a big corporation are obvious: building your network, trying out different positions inside a company, learning how to work in a big community and great benefits packages. Yet Wellershoff says that working for a big corporation also means spending a lot of time dealing with

Be Your Own Boss


Big Company, or Big Risks? Would you rather work for a massive conglomerate or run your own shop? There are many advantages and disadvantages to both, but the best career path may lie somewhere in between. VANJA VODENIK (TEXT), LUKAS RAPP (PHOTO)

internal matters and battling against conservative powers in the organisations. It is hard to implement value management, and big companies are more suited to simple products. Wellershoff knew he wanted to do something else one day. “I always wanted to be an entrepreneur, always felt that it is much better to earn your own money and work in a smaller team,” he says. He is grateful for the years he spent at UBS because he learned how to be a good salesman, preparing him to run his own business. Today, his workday looks very different. “I spend much more time with clients,” Wellershoff says. He likes that employees of his small company are creative and innovative, which is hard to achieve if you work with a lot of people. Of course there are disadvantages. For example, there are not that many opportunities to try out different positions inside the company. If you make a mistake, everyone notices. And the price of failure is bigger. Still, Wellershoff does not want to expand his business, because he thinks that in the long run, large companies will not survive. Indeed, today it is not uncommon for young people to get out of university and

start their own business right away. “I love building a business, it’s tons of fun,” says Sunnie J. Groeneveld, the Founder and CEO of Inspire 925, a consulting company focused on employee engagement. “If you are the type of person who likes to create your own structures and really develop a business, then having your own company at especially a young age teaches you so many more lessons.” However, she also acknowledges the disadvantages. “It’s your responsibility. That comes with ups and downs. If you fail you fail – you don’t get a pay check at the end of the month if you don’t manage to get the business running.” On the other hand, Leader of Tomorrow Birottam Dutta, an MBA student from the China Europe International Business School, says the best way to go is to start working in a big corporation and later have your own company. “I feel there are some skills that I need to learn first, to manage implementation, management, build more networks,” says Dutta. Wellershoff says there is no universal advice. “The first thing you need to do is to talk to yourself and really try to understand what makes your clock tick,” he says. u

Prof. Klaus Wellershoff (1964) spent more than 14 years working for UBS, one of Switzerland’s largest banks. Today, he runs Wellershoff & Partners, a boutique finance firm with just 14 employees.

People Power


A Little Engagement Goes a Long Way Small countries, like Malta, often have high rates of electoral participation, perhaps because people personally know the politicians that they are going to vote for. Is the future of democracy small? ANGEL PLASCENCIA

With a participation rate of more than 93% in its last election, the island of Malta, with less than 450,000 habitants, runs counter to the European trend of low voter participation. In the European elections of 2014, for example, less than 43% of eligible voters participated. The Maltese formula is simple: small countries succeed in engaging with their citizens. “Smaller democracies tend to have a larger degree of participation because people feel the issues closer to home,” says Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat. Technology can also help. James Kondo, President of Twitter Japan, used the example of Granada, Spain to explain the potential: there, Twitter is connecting the police and city hall with the citizens. We asked the experts what the critical characteristics of the citizen of the future might be.

Is there a shortcut to the perfect citizen? Judging by the trend of low voter participation and citizen engagement in many Western societies, the perfect citizen of the future – as proposed in the article – will not become a reality anytime soon. This year’s TOM-LAB (“Tomorrow Laboratory”), the symposium’s think-tank, consisting of annually changing Leaders of Tomorrow, explored ways to incentivise citizens to contribute and participate in their communities. They came up with an innovative way of “gamifying” such contributions by awarding individual citizens score points when they do something positive. In the Citizen Score system, citizens could be awarded points for a variety of different activities – participating in local government, recycling, volunteering for NGOs and even voting. Would this approach of making people feel like they are a character in a video game work? “Yes”, say the members of the think-tank. It will help people realise that participation in itself has value. And maybe in the future they will participate – even without the score.


intelligent engaged participative “The citizen of the future is a highly engaged individual, who cares about himself, but cares about his surroundings as well – be it economic, social, environmental or political. He is not necessarily constrained by national or geographical boundaries, but is as concerned with what’s happening on the other side of the world, in some place he never visited, as he is about his own neighbourhood”.

individualistic global aware

– Joseph Muscat Prime Minister of Malta

communicative acts locally

Islands of Prosperity


7,107 Reasons to Visit The Philippines may be geographically spread among thousands of islands, but its wealth and growth are concentrated on just a few. The archipelago’s big challenge: spreading the wealth beyond the mega-city of Manila. LEA DEUBER (TEXT), LUKAS RAPP (PHOTO)

“Exactly 7,000 islands.” The young woman seems self-confident, but gets interrupted by a tall, smiling guy. “It has at least 7,100 islands,” he says, and uses all his fingers to emphasise the great number. “Not even more?” asks a woman passing by. Even for Filipinos at the Philippines Dinner Night at the 45th St. Gallen Symposium, agreeing on the number of islands that make up their country seems difficult. It is hard to blame them: if you search for the country on a map, you might mistake the Philippines for spots of ink. With a GDP growth rate of more than 6%, the Philippines are attracting international attention as one of the fastest growing countries in Southeast Asia. But despite this progress, it still struggles with its colonial history, oligarchic structures and inequality. Privileged situation “The country is very much divided,” says Patrick Ziegenhain, professor at the Southeast Asian Department of Germany’s Goethe University in Frankfurt. The archipelago stretches about 1,850 kilometres from north to south and 1,100 kilometres from west to east. But economic development is focused

on Metro Manila, the region around the capital. Similar to Paris, the heart of France, all political developments are focused there. Jeromé Panibio is one of over 12 million people living in or around the capital. The 33-year-old graphic designer was responsible for the video installations for the show at the Philippines Dinner Night and flew to St. Gallen just for the three days of the symposium. “Being born and raised in Manila is a privileged situation,” he says. Schools,

universities and job opportunities are better there than anywhere else in the country. Even though it is crowded and more polluted than other regions, “my children have the best chances in Manila,” says Panibio. This is why so many Filipinos move to the fast-growing metropolis. The original reason for the agglomeration around Manila can be found in the history of the young democracy. From the 16th century on, the Philippines were colonised by first the Spanish, the

The Philippines Department of Tourism sponsored a Dinner Night at the St. Gallen Symposium featuring Filipino pop stars, a childrens’ choir from Manila and traditional cuisine.


Americans and later the Japanese. Only after the end of the World War II did the Philippines gain independence. Under Spanish rule in particular, the city was an important trading base between China and Mexico. “These colonial structures centred in Manila can be seen today,” says Ziegenhain. In addition, the democratic transformation and the economic development of rural regions is hindered by the oligarchic structures of the country. Many islands are controlled by family clans, which send family members to Manila and into government to represent local interests. Bringing the islands closer According to Ziegenhain, the longlasting and entrenched dominance of various families in both spheres still prevents the reforms necessary for the further deepening of democracy and the transformation to a more just market economy. This is also why one third of the population lives below the poverty line of USD 1.25 per day. It is also why there is still no welfare system. Douglas Nierras knows what it means to come from a small island far away from Manila. The professional choreographer comes from Leyte, an island in the Visayas group of the Philippines. “On my island, life is more simple and not as fast as in Manila,” says Nierras. The people there speak one of the mountainous country’s more than 700 dialects. When Nierras, 60, decided to become a choreographer as a young man, he had to leave Leyte. “There you don’t have the

same job opportunities,” he says. “To live my dream to work as an choreographer was only possible in Manila.” On many islands, the situation has not changed. Many people still live without running water or energy. The infrastructure is poor and there is a lack of good schools and universities. This is also why most young people leave their home islands searching for a brighter future. They do not just go to Manila: 10% of the whole population now lives abroad. Most of them are blue-collar workers in the USA or in the United Arab Emirates. Despite these deficits, Nierras is confident. “A lot has changed and life has improved in the last decades,” he says. A few years ago, communication between the islands was difficult, but today, the Internet has brought the islands closer. Nierras can use Skype to call his family and stays in touch with friends via social networks such as Facebook. Ziegenhain, too, is optimistic. “Cuts in interest rates and increased government spending have boosted economic confidence,” he says. In contrast to previous decades, the banking sector is stable and the reduction of foreign debts has led to positive macro-economic developments. Nierras even seems to know the answer to the question how many islands the Philippines have. Due to his job, he travels a lot within the country and from island to island. He has not visited all of them, of course. But he says there are exactly 7,107 islands. Then he pauses and adds: “Well, at least when tide is low.” u



ONE BY JULIE WANG’OMBE I am one. And when I am done the world will not buckle in the knees, Be blown away like it were held in axis-place by the feathery weight of me, The universe will not skip a beat: Sun will not pause, moon will not fall, stars will not faint with grief, And the little pain or shock or change the world may feel will be brief, With me soon after forgotten. Still, I am one. Of the billions who live and long for their lives to be witnessed, For their existence to be justified implicitly, For the mundanity of their day-to-day moments – So often obscured by the brilliant show lights of life’s ‘great’ official business – To be christened “important”, Seen as material, Remembered as having mattered. Here, in a world where worldly recognition is fleeting and scattered And lives, accomplishments and dreams are neatly fit into a subtle few characters We realise the greatness of our conciseness; The brevity of our lives and yes, Yield to the powerful frailty of being Only one.


She has a gentle smile, big eyes and a kind voice. Julie Wang’ombe, a poet from Nairobi, speaks slowly, articulating her thoughts with care. Asked to name the most powerful word, she says: “legacy.” It is about honour, courage and building a responsible future. In her poem, written exclusively for the Symposium Magazine, she brings us the right perspective – where one is enough to make a difference.

Photo: Caroline Marti


Tools of Power

Sometimes, Even the Smallest Objects Can Have a Big Impact “Tools of Power” is at first glance a photographic essay, showing tools from influential politicians, economists and journalists. But on a second look, it is more an exploration of the changing cultural and social values in the 21st century. Within the media world, technology is evolving at such a speed that we should ask ourselves, why politics are not progressing at the same pace. In this changing environment, tools are replaced with gadgets.


Prof. Andreu Mas-Colell (ES), Minister of Economy and Knowledge of Catalonia, sticks the emblem of Catalonia on his jacket for every official occasion. “It is part of the uniform and I wear it with pride,” he says.


Karen Watt (GB), Director of Culture, Europe and External Affairs, The Scottish Government, got this necklace from an independent jewellery maker and wears it on every official visit outside of Scotland. “I feel like an ambassador for Scotland,� she says.


Manu Chandaria (KE), Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Comcraft Group, received this watch 60 years ago, when he married his wife. It was a present from his in-laws, and it is still working the way it did the very first day. “I carry my wife everywhere with me, just like my watch,� Chandaria laughs.


Sigmundur DavĂ­Ă° Gunnlaugsson (IS), Prime Minister of Iceland, makes sure to have a piece of paper and a pen with him at every event. He uses them to write down questions and notes, but also thoughts that occur to him during interviews.


Peter Day (GB), Global Business Correspondent at BBC News, has been using his voice recorder for more than six years and recently recorded an interview with Dame Ellen MacArthur with it. “I am useless without it,� he says.


Anders Fogh Rasmussen (DK), Former Secretary General of NATO, obtained this pen more than ten years ago and used it to sign several laws when he was Prime Minister of Denmark.


Peter Voser (CH), Chairman of ABB Asea Brown Boveri’s Board of Directors, received this Montblanc pen from his children around ten years ago. As CFO and CEO of Shell, he used it to sign major contracts, some of which will last 30 to 40 years and are worth USD 20 to 30 billion.


Vladimír Dlouhý (CZ), European Deputy Chairman of the Trilateral Commission, is also a Montblanc fan. He used this pen to sign the dissolution of Comecon in Budapest in 1991. “I was literally the last one who signed the paper,” he says.


Jack Markell (US), Governor of Delaware, always carries a tablet and two phones: the private and the official one. “I don’t go anywhere without them.”


John Bassett III (US), Chairman of Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Company, owns many different pocket watches, handed down from generation to generation. This one was a present from his wife 12 years ago.



Speakers Each year, a distinguished faculty of eminent international personalities explores and develops its views on present and long-term issues in business, politics and society with a focus on economic processes within their relevant environments. This year, the following speakers joined the symposium:

Prof. Daron Acemoğlu (US/TR)

Wolfgang Büchele (DE)

Ulrich Grillo (DE)

Elizabeth & James Killian Professor of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston

Chief Executive Officer, Linde AG, Munich

President, Federation of German Industries (BDI), Berlin

Manu Chandaria (KE)

Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson (IS)

Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Comcraft Group, Nairobi

Prime Minister of Iceland, Reykjavik

Greg Anderson (US) Partner & Editor in Chief, ArcticStartup Ltd., Helsinki

Nick Hayek (CH) Prof. Kees Christiaanse (NL)

Olivier Audemars (CH) Board Member, Audemars Piguet, Le Brassus

Professor for Architecture and Urban Design, ETH Zurich, Zurich

President of the Executive Group Management Board & Member of the Board of Directors, Swatch Group, Biel

Lauren Currie (GB) Bertrand Badré (FR) Managing Director & Group Chief Financial Officer, The World Bank Group, Washington, D.C.

John Bassett III (US) Chairman, Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Company, Galax

Leader of Tomorrow, Programme Manager, Hyper Island, Manchester

Connie Hedegaard (DK)

Vladimír Dlouhý (CZ)

Miku Hirano (JP)

European Deputy Chairman, Trilateral Commission, Paris

Leader of Tomorrow, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Cinnamon, Singapore

Chairman of the KR Foundation & Former European Commissioner for Climate Action, Copenhagen

Peter Fankhauser (CH) Batsukh Galsan (MN) Chairman of the Board of Directors, Oyu Tolgoi LLC, Ulaanbaatar

Group Chief Executive Officer, Thomas Cook Group plc, London

Klaus Hommels (DE) Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Lakestar Advisors GmbH, Zurich

Douglas Flint (GB) Benito C. Bengzon, Jr. (PH) Undersecretary for Tourism Development, The Department of Tourism of the Philippines, Makati City

Alice Bentinck (GB) Leader of Tomorrow, Co-Founder and Director, Entrepreneur First, London

Group Chairman, HSBC Holdings plc, London

Prof. Thomas Jordan (CH) Chairman of the Governing Board, Swiss National Bank, Zurich

Christoph Franz (DE) Chairman, Roche Holding Ltd, Basel

Paul Kagame (RW)

Prof. Bruno S. Frey (CH)

Gulnaz Khusainova (RU)

Senior Professor of Economics, University of Zurich Zurich

Leader of Tomorrow, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, EasySize, London

President of the Republic of Rwanda, Kigali


Prof. James Kondo (JP)

Faisel Rahman (GB)

Tharman Shanmugaratnam (SG)

Chairman, Twitter Japan, Tokyo

Founder & Managing Director, Fair Finance, London

Deputy Prime Minister & Minister for Finance of Singapore, Singapore

Stephen Lee (SG)

Anders Fogh Rasmussen (DK)

Ulrich Spiesshofer (DE)

Chairman, Singapore Airlines Ltd., Singapore

Former Secretary General, NATO, Copenhagen

Michel Liès (LU)

Jörg Reinhardt (DE)

Group Chief Executive Officer, Swiss Re, Zurich

Chairman of the Board of Directors, Novartis AG, Basel

LIM Siong Guan (SG)

David Rhotert (DE)

Group President, GIC Private Limited, Singapore

Jack Markell (US) Governor of Delaware, Wilmington

Prof. Andreu Mas-Colell (ES) Minister of Economy and Knowledge of Catalonia, Catalonia

Joseph Muscat (MT) Prime Minister of Malta Valetta

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (NG) Minister of Finance for the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Laos

Phil O’Reilly (NZ) Chief Executive, BusinessNZ, Wellington

Paul Polman (NL) Chief Executive Officer, Unilever N.V., Rotterdam

Founder & Managing Director, Companisto GmbH, Berlin

Prof. Martin Richenhagen (DE/US) Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer, AGCO Corporation, Duluth

Gerhard Roiss (AT)

Chief Executive Officer, ABB Asea Brown Boveri Ltd, Zurich

Sebastian Spio-Garbrah (GH) Global Managing Director & Chief Frontier Markets Analyst, DaMina Advisors LLP, New York

Prof. Enrico Spolaore (IT/US) Professor of Economics, Tufts University, Medford

Prof. TAO Ran (CN) Director, China Center for Public Economics and Governance, Renmin University, Beijing

Chairman of the Executive Board & Chief Executive Officer, OMV AG, Vienna

Hanna Tetteh (GH)

Prof. Philippe Sands (FR/GB)

Karen Watt (GB)

Professor of International Law, University College London, London

Prof. Saskia Sassen (US) Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology, Columbia University, New York

Johann N. Schneider-Ammann (CH) Vice-President & Federal Councillor of the Swiss Confederation, Bern

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of the Republic of Ghana, Accra

Director of Culture, Europe and External Affairs, The Scottish Government, Edinburgh

ZHU Qin (CN) Deputy Director General, The Department of European Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, Beijing



Topic Leaders Topic Leaders act as ambassadors of the St. Gallen Symposium and through their presence and role promote dialogue between the generations. In doing so, they bring together the Leaders of Today and the Leaders of Tomorrow. This year, the following Topic Leaders joined the symposium:

Prof. Daria Berg (DE/GB)

Prof. Christoph Frei (CH)

Alexander C. Melchers (DE/CH)

Professor of Chinese Culture and Society, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of St. Gallen, St. Gallen

Associate Professor, School of Economics and Political Science, University of St. Gallen, St. Gallen

Managing Director, C. Melchers GmbH & Co., Singapore

Prof. Thomas Bieger (CH)

Omkar Goswami (IN)

President of the University of St. Gallen, St. Gallen

Chairman, CERG Advisory Private Limited, New Delhi

Stephen Sackur (GB)

James Chau (GB) Special Contributor, China Central Television, Beijing

Lord Griffiths of Fforestfach (GB) Vice Chairman, Goldman Sachs International, London

Calvin Chua (SG) Leader of Tomorrow, Architect & Urbanist, Singapore

Presenter HARDtalk, BBC News, London

S. Michael Scheeringa (US) President & Chief Executive Officer Flight Support, BBA Aviation plc, Orlando

Prof. Christoph M. Schmidt (DE/AU) Alexander Grünwald (AT) Managing Director, Altium, Zollikon

Chairman, The German Council of Economic Experts, Berlin

Director, Institute for Political Science, University of St. Gallen, St. Gallen

Felix Haas (DE)

Pranjal Sharma (IN)

Founder, Felix Haas Investment Group, Munich

Consulting Editor, Businessworld, New Delhi

Peter Day (GB)

Andrew Hill (GB)

Gralf Sieghold (DE)

Global Business Correspondent, BBC News, London

Management Editor & Columnist, The Financial Times, London

Managing Director, General Oriental Pte. Ltd., Singapore

John Defterios (US)

Thebe Ikalafeng (ZA)

David Skilling (NZ)

Anchor & Emerging Markets Editor, CNN International, Abu Dhabi

Founder & Chairman, Brand Leadership Group, Bryanston

Director, Landfall Strategy Group, Singapore

Aiko Doden (JP)

Sam Johnson (NZ)

Robert Torvelainen (FI)

Senior Commentator, NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation), Tokyo

Co-Founder, Trustee and Start-up Activator, Ministry of Awesome & Co-Founder of Freely, Christchurch

Personal Assistant to Head of Cabinet of the Prime Minister’s Office of Finland & Co-Founder of Freely, Helsinki

Bill Emmott (GB)

Riz Khan (GB)

Prof. Klaus Wellershoff (DE)

International Author & Adviser, London

International Journalist, Dubai

Chief Executive Officer, Wellershoff & Partners Ltd., Zurich

Prof. Simon Evenett (GB)

Leslie Maasdorp (ZA)

Director, Swiss Institute for International Economics, University of St. Gallen, St. Gallen

Director, Hosken Consolidated Investments Limited (HCI), Cape Town

Peter Fischer (CH)

Prof. Miriam Meckel (DE)

Economics-Editor-in-Chief, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Zurich

Chief Editor, WirtschaftsWoche, Düsseldorf

Prof. James Davis (US)

Martin Wittig (DE) Founder & Chairman, mcw Management Services AG, Zurich


Work Sessions The Work Sessions are the core element of the St. Gallen Symposium. They complement and expand on the Plenary Sessions and allow participants to directly exchange their opinions and experiences. In groups of about thirty participants, the Work Sessions provide the opportunity to take part in intense debates.

Democracy, corporate culture and creative innovations Prof. Daron Acemoğlu (US/TR), Elizabeth & James Killian Professor of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Topic Leader: Stephen Sackur (GB), Presenter HARDtalk, BBC News

Humbly small: the Nordics as Europe’s startup powerhouse Greg Anderson (US), Partner & Editor-in-Chief, ArcticStartup Ltd. Topic Leader: Robert Torvelainen (FI), Personal Assistant to Head of Cabinet of the Prime Minister’s Office of Finland and Co-Founder of Freely

The spirit of independence – Audemars Piguet’s 140 years of success as a family-owned watchmaking company Olivier Audemars (CH), Board Member, Audemars Piguet Topic Leader: Martin Wittig (DE), Founder & Chairman, mcw Management Services AG

Where to get the trillions needed to finance post-2015 development? Bertrand Badré (FR), Managing Director & Group Chief Financial Officer, The World Bank Group Topic Leader: Prof. Klaus Wellershoff (DE), Chief Executive Officer, Wellershoff & Partners Ltd.

How to compete in a global market John Bassett III (US), Chairman, Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Company Topic Leader: Omkar Goswami (IN), Chairman, CERG Advisory Private Limited

Mongolia – small country in a big world; treading a careful path Batsukh Galsan (MN), Chairman of the Board of Directors, Oyu Tolgoi LLC Topic Leader: Peter Day (GB), Global Business Correspondent, BBC News

Country brand marketing: do citizens have a role to play? Benito C. Bengzon, Jr. (PH), Undersecretary for Tourism Development, The Department of Tourism of the Philippines Topic Leader: James Chau (GB), Special Contributor, China Central Television

African economic outlook Manu Chandaria (KE), Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Comcraft Group Topic Leader: Pranjal Sharma (IN), Consulting Editor, Businessworld

The Grand Projèt Prof. Kees Christiaanse (NL), Professor for Architecture and Urban Design, ETH Zurich Topic Leader: Calvin Chua (SG), Leader of Tomorrow, Architect & Urbanist

SMEs in Central and Eastern Europe – proud as well? Vladimír Dlouhý (CZ), European Deputy Chairman, Trilateral Commission Topic Leader: Prof. Simon Evenett (GB), Director, Swiss Institute for International Economics, University of St. Gallen



Work Sessions It’s nice to be small – but size matters Peter Fankhauser (CH), Group Chief Executive Officer, Thomas Cook Group plc Topic Leader: Prof. Thomas Bieger (CH), President, University of St. Gallen

A financial system fit for purpose: are we there yet? Douglas Flint (GB), Group Chairman, HSBC Holdings plc Topic Leader: Lord Griffiths of Fforestfach (GB), Vice Chairman, Goldman Sachs International

How to make innovation happen in a global company – key ingredients for success Christoph Franz (DE), Chairman, Roche Holding Ltd Topic Leader: Omkar Goswami (IN), Chairman, CERG Advisory Private Limited

Rethinking Europe Prof. Bruno S. Frey (CH), Senior Professor of Economics, University of Zurich Topic Leader: Peter Fischer (CH), Economics-Editor-in-Chief, Neue Zürcher Zeitung

Wirtschaft mit Haltung (in German) Ulrich Grillo (DE), President, Federation of German Industries (BDI) Topic Leader: Prof. Christoph M. Schmidt (DE/AU), Chairman, The German Council of Economic Experts

Island in a sea of change: How the Arctic is developing and Iceland managing Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson (IS), Prime Minister of Iceland Topic Leader: Stephen Sackur (GB), Presenter HARDtalk, BBC News

The power of small Nick Hayek (CH), President of the Executive Group Management Board & Member of the Board of Directors, Swatch Group Topic Leader: Alexander C. Melchers (DE/CH), Managing Director, C. Melchers GmbH & Co.

Difficult with – impossible without; why climate politics matter Connie Hedegaard (DK), Chairman of the KR Foundation & Former European Commissioner for Climate Action Topic Leader: Prof. Christoph M. Schmidt (DE/AU), Chairman, The German Council of Economic Experts

Start-ups – just a transitional stage? Klaus Hommels (DE), Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Lakestar Advisors GmbH Topic Leader: Felix Haas (DE), Founder, Felix Haas Investment Group

Leadership for the 21st century Paul Kagame (RW), President of the Republic of Rwanda Topic Leader: Pranjal Sharma (IN), Consulting Editor, Businessworld

Social media: turbo-charging positive social impact Prof. James Kondo (JP), Chairman, Twitter Japan Topic Leader: Aiko Doden (JP), Senior Commentator, NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation)

Small country, big airline Stephen Lee (SG), Chairman, Singapore Airlines Ltd. Topic Leader: S. Michael Scheeringa (US), President & Chief Executive Officer Flight Support, BBA Aviation plc


Work Sessions Insurance – an underutilised resource for economic development Michel Liès (LU), Group Chief Executive Officer, Swiss Re Topic Leader: Leslie Maasdorp (ZA), Director, Hosken Consolidated Investments Limited (HCI)

The legacy of Lee Kuan Yew LIM Siong Guan (SG), Group President, GIC Private Limited Topic Leader: Leslie Maasdorp (ZA), Director, Hosken Consolidated Investments Limited (HCI)

Size matters: thriving in the new economy Jack Markell (US), Governor of Delaware Topic Leader: Leslie Maasdorp (ZA), Director, Hosken Consolidated Investments Limited (HCI)

Catalonia in Europe Prof. Andreu Mas-Colell (ES), Minister of Economy and Knowledge of Catalonia Topic Leader: Peter Fischer (CH), Economics-Editor-in-Chief, Neue Zürcher Zeitung

The future of Europe Joseph Muscat (MT), Prime Minister of Malta Topic Leader: Prof. Christoph Frei (CH), Associate Professor, School of Economics and Political Science, University of St. Gallen

A love note from Shangri La Phil O’Reilly (NZ), Chief Executive, BusinessNZ Topic Leader: Sam Johnson (NZ), Co-Founder, Trustee and Start-up Activator of Ministry of Awesome and Co-Founder of Freely

From small to ... bigger. Is it possible, and at what cost for social enterprise? Faisel Rahman (GB), Founder & Managing Director, Fair Finance Topic Leader: Peter Day (GB), Global Business Correspondent, BBC News

The multiple disciplines of international leadership Anders Fogh Rasmussen (DK), Former Secretary General, NATO Topic Leader: Prof. James Davis (US), Director, Institute for Political Science, University of St. Gallen

Equity-based crowdfunding – crowd as a new player in venture capital financing David Rhotert (DE), Founder & Managing Director, Companisto GmbH Topic Leader: Greg Anderson (US), Partner & Editor in Chief, ArcticStartup Ltd.

Africa – the new agricultural revolution Prof. Martin Richenhagen (DE/US), Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer, AGCO Corporation Topic Leader: Sebastian Spio-Garbrah (GH), Global Managing Director & Chief Frontier Markets Analyst, DaMina Advisors LLP

Role of oil and gas in a renewable energy world Gerhard Roiss (AT), Chairman of the Executive Board & Chief Executive Officer, OMV AG Topic Leader: Alexander Grünwald, Managing Director, Altium Capital

The individual and the group Prof. Philippe Sands (FR/GB), Professor of International Law, University College London Topic Leader: Riz Khan (GB), International Journalist


Work Sessions Global cultural identity? Prof. Saskia Sassen (US), Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology, Columbia University Topic Leader: James Chau (GB), Special Contributor, China Central Television

Can multicultural societies survive – and thrive? Tharman Shanmugaratnam (SG), Deputy Prime Minister & Minister for Finance of Singapore Topic Leader: Gralf Sieghold (DE), Managing Director, General Oriental Pte. Ltd.

The automated future – a new era of opportunity for people and jobs? Ulrich Spiesshofer (DE), Chief Executive Officer, ABB Asea Brown Boveri Ltd Topic Leader: Bill Emmott (GB), International Author & Adviser

At the heart of small: finding courage for 21st century leadership Sebastian Spio-Garbrah (GH), Global Managing Director & Chief Frontier Markets Analyst, DaMina Advisors LLP Topic Leader: Pranjal Sharma (IN), Consulting Editor, Businessworld

Together or separately? The political economy of secessions and integration Prof. Enrico Spolaore (IT/US), Professor of Economics, Tufts University Topic Leader: David Skilling (NZ), Director, Landfall Strategy Group

China’s development model and its challenges Prof. TAO Ran (CN), Director, China Center for Public Economics and Governance, Renmin University Topic Leader: Prof. Daria Berg (DE), Professor of Chinese Culture and Society, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of St. Gallen

Hanna Tetteh’s Work Session Hanna Tetteh (GH), Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of the Republic of Ghana Topic Leader: Prof. Simon Evenett (GB), Director, Swiss Institute for International Economics, University of St. Gallen

Scotland – a small nation making big choices Karen Watt (GB), Director of Culture, Europe and External Affairs, The Scottish Government Topic Leader: Bill Emmott (GB), International Author & Adviser

China’s economic situation and its small and micro enterprises ZHU Qin (CN), Deputy Director General, The Department of European Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China Topic Leader: David Skilling (NZ), Director, Landfall Strategy Group


Plenary Sessions On both days of the symposium, Plenary Sessions were held in which prominent speakers introduced the major topics, discussed controversial issues and provided impetus for the upcoming sessions. The sessions were moderated by a chairman to ensure the participants were constantly involved in the discussion.

Thursday WELCOME Lord Griffiths of Fforestfach (GB), Vice Chairman, Goldman Sachs International

KEYNOTE: Welcome by the Swiss Federal Government & Award Ceremony Johann N. Schneider-Ammann (CH), Vice-President & Federal Councillor of the Swiss Confederation Presentation of the St. Gallen Wings of Excellence Award by the Vice-President

KEYNOTE: Proudly Small – an overview Prof. Bruno S. Frey (CH), Senior Professor of Economics, University of Zurich

PANEL: Small states in transition – figures and realities Hanna Tetteh (GH), Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of Ghana Sigmundur Davið Gunnlaugsson (IS), Prime Minister of Iceland Joseph Muscat (MT), Prime Minister of Malta Jack Markell (US), Governor of Delaware Topic Leader: Lord Griffiths of Fforestfach (GB), Vice Chairman, Goldman Sachs International

PANEL: Big can innovate! But to what extent? Nick Hayek (CH), President of the Executive Group Management Board & Member of the Board of Directors, Swatch Group Stephen Lee (SG), Chairman, Singapore Airlines Ltd. Jörg Reinhardt (DE), Chairman of the Board of Directors, Novartis AG Ulrich Spiesshofer (DE), Chief Executive Officer, ABB Asea Brown Boveri Ltd Topic Leader: Andrew Hill (GB), Management Editor & Columnist, The Financial Times

ONE-ON-ONE: Singapore 50 years after independence – a success story at a turning point Tharman Shanmugaratnam (SG), Deputy Prime Minister & Minister for Finance of Singapore Topic Leader: Stephen Sackur (GB), Presenter HARDtalk, BBC News

What is the next small BIG thing? 4 ideas put to the test A selection of contributors to the St. Gallen Wings of Excellence Award 2015 pitch their ideas to three judges. The session is hosted by Riz Khan (GB), International Journalist

Background Sessions Deutschland, Österreich und die Schweiz – ungleiche Geschwister, gemeinsame Herausforderungen (in German) Ulrich Grillo (DE), Präsident, Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie e.V. Michel Liès (LU), Group Chief Executive Officer, Swiss Re Gerhard Roiss (AT), Vorstandsvorsitzender und Generaldirektor, OMV AG Topic Leader: Prof. Miriam Meckel (DE), Chefredakteurin, WirtschaftsWoche

Proudly entrepreneurial – smart ways beyond the glass ceiling Alice Bentinck (GB), Co-Founder, Entrepreneur First Lauren Currie (GB), Programme Manager, Hyper Island Miku Hirano (JP), Chief Executive Officer, Cinnamon Gulnaz Khusainova (DK/RU), Founder and Chief Executive Officer, EasySize Topic Leader: Peter Day (GB), Global Business Correspondent, BBC News



Friday WELCOME Lord Griffiths of Fforestfach (GB), Vice Chairman, Goldman Sachs International

GRAND OPENING KEYNOTE: Big ideas for a small world Paul Kagame (RW), President of the Republic of Rwanda followed by a conversation with James Chau (GB), Special Contributor, China Central Television

A CONVERSATION: Challenges and way forward for oil dependent economies Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (NG), Minister of Finance for the Federal Republic of Nigeria Topic Leader: John Defterios (US), Anchor & Emerging Markets Editor, CNN International

ONE-ON-ONE: Small is beautiful, but not very safe: the asymmetry of military alliances Anders Fogh Rasmussen (DK), Former Secretary General, NATO Topic Leader: Stephen Sackur (GB), Presenter HARDtalk, BBC News

PANEL: Proudly small in big corporations Douglas Flint (GB), Group Chairman, HSBC Holdings plc Peter Fankhauser (CH), Group Chief Executive Officer, Thomas Cook Group plc Topic Leader: Riz Khan (GB), International Journalist

Launch of project TOM-LAB Robert Torvelainen (FI), Personal Assistant to Head of Cabinet of the Prime Minister’s Office of Finland and Co-Founder of Freely Sam Johnson (NZ), Co-Founder, Trustee and Start-up Activator of Ministry of Awesome and Co-Founder of Freely

A CONVERSATION: Big impact of a small country’s currency Prof. Thomas Jordan (CH), Chairman of the Governing Board, Swiss National Bank Topic Leader: Lord Griffiths of Fforestfach (GB), Vice Chairman, Goldman Sachs International

PANEL: The global economic outlook Bertrand Badré (FR), Managing Director & Group Chief Financial Officer, The World Bank Paul Polman (NL), Chief Executive Officer, Unilever N.V. Prof. Martin Richenhagen (DE), Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer, AGCO Corporation LIM Siong Guan (SG), Group President, GIC Private Limited Topic Leader: John Defterios (US), Anchor & Emerging Markets Editor, CNN International

THE MAX SCHMIDHEINY LECTURE: 70 years after the end of World War II Prof. Daron Acemoğlu (US/TR), Elizabeth & James Killian Professor of Economics, Massachussets Institute of Technology

CLOSING STATEMENT 45th International Students’ Committee

Background Session Big schemes or small steps – how should we approach today’s challenges? Connie Hedegaard (DK), Chairman of the KR Foundation & Former European Commissioner for Climate Action Wolfgang Büchele (DE), Chief Executive Officer, Linde AG Topic Leader: Omkar Goswami (IN), Chairman, CERG Advisory Private Limited

Behind the Scenes


St. Gallen Foundation for International Studies The activities of the International Students’ Committee are guided by the St. Gallen Foundation for International Studies. This combination of student responsibility and professional guidance is vital to the long term success of the St. Gallen Symposium.

Board of Trustees

Foundation Team

Special Advisors


Chief Executive Officer


Peter Voser (CH)

Philip Erzinger (CH/DE)

ABB Asea Brown Boveri Ltd, Zurich Vice Chairman

Karin Keller-Sutter (CH) State Counselor Canton of St. Gallen, St. Gallen

Prof. Dr Thomas Bieger (CH) University of St. Gallen, St. Gallen

Prof. em. Dr Peter Gomez (CH) University of St. Gallen, St. Gallen

Bénédict G. F. Hentsch (CH) Walter Kielholz (CH) Swiss Re, Zurich

Dr Nicola Leibinger-Kammüller (DE) TRUMPF GmbH + Co. KG, Ditzingen

Dr Christoph Loos (DE) Hilti AG, Schaan

Dr Ralph Schmitz-Dräger (DE) Arcron AG, Zurich

Dr Gerhard Schwarz (CH) Avenir Suisse, Zurich Honorary Chairman

Dr Josef Ackermann (CH)

Chief Operating Officer

Alexander C. Melchers (CH/DE) C. Melchers GmbH & Co.

Dr Johannes Berchtold (CH)


Vice President

Credit Suisse Securities (Japan) Ltd.

Dominic Baumann (CH) Head Leaders of Tomorrow

Rolf Bachmann (CH) Vice President

Claudia Wimmer-Rapp (DE) Assistant

Agata Dryla (AT) Assistant

Myriam Clopton (CH) Project Manager Leaders of Tomorrow

Annique Drechsle (DE) Project Manager

Dominik Gedon (DE) Project Manager Technology & Innovation

Oliver Krek (AT/CH/US)

Yuji Suzuki (JP)


Dr Jianzhong Yao (CH/CN) Asia Capital Reinsurance Group



Circle of Benefactors The International Students’ Committee is thankful to be able to count on the support of its Circle of Benefactors, which includes some 350 major companies around the world. The circle is of crucial importance to the financing of the St. Gallen Symposium and ensures the continuity of the initiative.

Main Partners

is an official main partner of the St. Gallen Symposium

is the official technology consultant of the St. Gallen Symposium

is an official transport services partner of the St. Gallen Symposium

is an official information technology partner of the St. Gallen Symposium

is an official information technology partner of the St. Gallen Symposium

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Main Partners Leaders of Tomorrow


123 23 Visual ApS 2Xideas 360 Treasury Systems AG 3M (Schweiz) AG 6S Capital AG A ABACUS Research AG ABB Asea Brown Boveri Ltd Abraxas Informatik AG Accenture (Schweiz) AG Dr Josef Ackermann a-connect (group) ag Adecco Management & Consulting S.A. Adveq Management AG AEK BANK 1826 AFG Arbonia-ForsterHolding AG Albers & Co. ALDI Suisse AG Alfa Treuhand- und Revisions AG ALID Finanz AG Allgemeines Treuunternehmen Allholding Beteiligungsverwaltungs GmbH Allianz SE Alpha PetroVision Holding AG ALTANA AG Altium Capital AG Alwys Holding AG AMS Österreich ANA HOLDINGS INC. Arcron AG Audemars Piguet Holding S.A. AUGUSTIN QUEHENBERGER GROUP GmbH Autoneum Holding AG Avaloq Group AG B Baden-Württembergische Bank Baker & McKenzie Rechtsanwälte Bank Julius Baer & Co. Ltd. Bank Morgan Stanley AG Banque de Luxembourg S.A.

Banque Internationale à Luxembourg S.A. Bär & Karrer AG Barry Callebaut AG Basellandschaftliche Kantonalbank BASF SE Bauwerk Parkett AG Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Wirtschaft und Medien, Energie und Technologie BB Biotech AG BD Associates - Partners to Leaders BDO AG BearingPoint Switzerland AG Belimo Holding AG Bellevue Asset Management AG Berenberg Bank (Schweiz) AG Bewital Holding GmbH & Co. KG Bilfinger SE BKW AG Blasto AG BMW (Schweiz) AG BNP Paribas (Suisse) SA BRAINFORCE AG Bratschi Wiederkehr & Buob AG Brockhaus Private Equity GmbH BSI S.A. bta first travel ag b-to-v Partners AG Bucher Industries AG Bühler AG Bystronic Group C Capgemini Schweiz AG Capvis Equity Partners AG Careerplus AG Cargolux Airlines International S.A. Cat Aviation AG CEWE Stiftung & Co. KGaA Jenny Chiam Christian Fischbacher Co. AG Cilag AG Cisco Systems (Switzerland) GmbH

Clariant International AG CLS Communication AG Cofra Holding AG Dr Philipp Cottier Crédit Agricole (Suisse) SA Credit Suisse Group AG CRIF AG Crypto AG CSL Behring AG D Danzer GmbH Dätwyler Holding AG Deloitte AG Delta Lloyd Lebensversicherung AG Deutsche Apotheker- und Ärztebank eG Dr. Bjørn Johansson Associates AG Dreyfus Söhne & Cie AG E E. Gutzwiller & Cie, Banquiers Ecolab Europe GmbH Dr Pierre Edelmann Egon Zehnder Elcotherm AG elea Foundation for Ethics in Globalization Emil Capital Partners Energie 360° AG EQT Partners AG Ericsson AG Ermenegildo Zegna Group Ernst & Young AG Evaluglobe AG F F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG Falcon Private Bank Ltd. Falke KGaA Farner Consulting AG Felix Schoeller Holding GmbH & Co. KG Carl Ferenbach Ferring Pharmaceuticals S.A. Festo AG & Co. KG Fidinam Group Holding S.A. First Eastern Investment Group Flughafen Zürich AG Forbes Marshall Private Limited


Forma Futura Invest AG Fritz Carl Wilhelm Stiftung furrerhugi. G Galderma S.A. Gallus Holding AG Cristophe R. Gautier GDF SUEZ Geberit International AG Gebrüder Weiss GmbH Generali (Schweiz) Holding AG Georg Fischer AG Georg Haag AG Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH & Co. KG Givaudan SA Glatz AG Glencore International AG Glen Fahrn AG Godrej Industries Ltd. Goldman Sachs International Golien Ltd Graubündner Kantonalbank Greenhill & Co. Europe LLP GRENKELEASING AG Groz-Beckert KG Guldborg International Prof. Toyoo Gyohten H Habib Bank AG Zurich Halcyon Agri Corporation Limited Hathon Holding AS HAWE Hydraulik SE Haws Switzerland AG HBM Partners Helbling Group Helsinn Healthcare SA Helvetia Holding AG Hess Family Estates Hesta Services AG Hewlett-Packard (Schweiz) GmbH Hexagon HIAG Immobilien Holding AG Hilcona AG Hilti AG Holcim Ltd. Homburger AG HOPI s.r.o. HSBC Private Bank AG

HSH Nordbank AG Hans Huber Huber + Suhner AG Hublot SA Hyposwiss Private Bank Genève SA I IBM (Schweiz) AG IKEA Foundation IMD Industriellenvereinigung Wien Infosys Lodestone ING-DiBa AG Interbrand AG InterGlobe Aviation Limited (IndiGo) J Japan Tobacco Inc. Jaquet Technology Group Jebsen & Co. Ltd. JENOPTIK AG JT International S.A. Jung Technologies Holding AG Jura Elektroapparate AG K KABA Holding AG Kienbaum AG KIND Hörgeräte GmbH & Co. KG Dr Karl-Heinz Kipp KUHN RIKON AG KUKA Aktiengesellschaft Kuoni Travel Holding Ltd. L La Roche 1787 LEGIC Identsystems AG Leister AG LENZ & STAEHELIN Lenzing Aktiengesellschaft Leonteq Securities AG Lephatsi Investments (Pty) Ltd Lexzau, Scharbau GmbH & Co. KG LGT Group Foundation Liebherr-International AG Linz Textil Holding AG Lombard Odier & Cie SA

LSG Sky Chefs / First Catering Schweiz AG Lyreco Switzerland AG M Maerki Baumann & Co. AG Malun LB GmbH MANN+HUMMEL GMBH Manor AG Marcol Capital Europe S.A. Martel AG St. Gallen Oki Matsumoto Max Schmidheiny-Stiftung Mazars S.A. MCH Group AG McKinsey & Company Medela AG medienwerkstatt ag Merifin Capital MIAG Mutschler Immobilien AG Microsoft Schweiz GmbH Mikron Holding AG MLS Dr. Max Schnopp AG Mobiliar Versicherungen Montana Tech Components AG Dr Christoph M. Müller Müller-Möhl Group My Drop in the Oceans N Namics AG NEOPERL International AG Nespresso Suisse Nestlé S.A. Neue Zürcher Zeitung AG Neutrik AG Notenstein Privatbank AG Novo Nordisk A/S Novozymes A/S O OC Oerlikon Management AG Omya Management AG One North Capital Pte. Ltd. Orell Füssli Holding AG Orifarm Group A/S Otto (GmbH & Co KG) Otto Beisheim Holding GmbH P Pall Center Exploitation S.A. Papyrus Deutschland GmbH & Co. KG


PartnerRe Ltd. Paul Hartmann AG PAVATEX S.A. Pictet Asset Management SA Premchand Roychand & Sons PricewaterhouseCoopers AG Private Client Bank AG PSP Group Services AG PT Sinar Mas Agro Resources and Technology Tbk Q Quadriga Capital Beteiligungsberatung GmbH Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP R Rahn & Bodmer Co. Raiffeisen Schweiz RAUCH Fruchtsäfte GmbH & Co OG Remi Finanz- und Verwaltungs AG Rieter Management AG Rivella International AG Robert Bosch AG Robert Bosch GmbH Roland Berger AG Strategy Consultants Rolex SA Rosenbauer International AG Rothschild Bank AG ROTRONIC AG RP - Sanjiv Goenka Group RUAG Holding AG RWE Ceská republika a.s. S Saab AB Sabinum AS Salt Mobile SA SAP (Schweiz) AG Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd Schenck Process Holding GmbH Schenker Storen AG SCHNEEBERGER AG Schöffel Schweiz AG Monika und Wolfgang Schürer SCOR Services Switzerland Ltd.

SCOTT Sports SA SEC 1.01 Securitas AG Sennheiser (Schweiz) AG SFS Group AG Shell (Switzerland) AG Siegfried Holding AG Dr Gralf Sieghold Sika AG Silverhorn Investment Advisors Limited Sitecore DACH SIX Group AG Skyadvisory AG smARTec Veranstaltungstechnik AG Sonova Holding AG Spectrum Value Management Ltd. Staiger, Schwald & Partner AG St. Galler Kantonalbank AG St. Galler Tagblatt AG Stadt St. Gallen Stahl Beteiligungs-GmbH Starrag Group Holding AG Stiftungsfonds Deutsche Bank Gertrud Stoll-Fein Sulzer Ltd Yuji Suzuki Swiss Life AG Swiss Prime Site AG Swiss Re Swisscom IT Services AG Swissmem SYMA-SYSTEM AG Systemic Excellence Group eG T Tamedia AG TCI Consult GmbH The Royal Bank of Scotland Transformation Partner TÜV SÜD AG U UBS AG Umdasch AG Underberg AG Unilever Schweiz GmbH Union Bancaire Privée Universitätsspital Basel Universitäts Spital Zürich

upc cablecom GmbH USM U. Schärer Söhne AG V Valcambi sa Valincor Management AG Valora Holding AG Vaudoise Assurances Holding S.A. VP Bank AG Vetropack Holding AG VISCHER AG Vita voestalpine AG W Weisse Arena Gruppe Wellershoff & Partners Ltd. Wendel S.A. Wenger Plattner WICOR HOLDING AG Willy Bogner GmbH & Co. KGaA Würth International AG X Xerox AG XL Insurance Switzerland Ltd Y Ypsomed AG Z Zehnder Group AG ZF Friedrichshafen AG Zühlke Engineering AG Zumtobel AG Zürcher Kantonalbank Zürich VersicherungsGesellschaft AG


ISC Team

Small Steps, Big Goal


Standing on stage Friday evening and looking back on the symposium was an overwhelming feeling. When we, the 45th International Students’ Committee (ISC), started in September 2014, we had one big goal: organising the best St. Gallen Symposium ever. That is what we spent the year tirelessly working towards. Step by step, this daunting task became tangible, and we learned a lot! We travelled the world, meeting future

participants and inspiring people to join us in St. Gallen. With the long-standing support of our Circle of Benefactors and friends of our initiative, we hosted the 45th edition of the symposium this year and fulfilled our goal of providing a platform for intense debates between generations, nations and cultures. This year’s topic, “Proudly Small”, was not only relevant on many different levels, but it was also perfectly suited for

us: a small group of students, who interrupt their studies in order to create an intimate environment for discussions and debates. We know that we did not change the world, but through the symposium, we hopefully inspired people, Leaders of Today and Tomorrow alike, to think about change. We hope you felt the spirit of the St. Gallen Symposium and look forward to welcoming you again in May 2016! ◆

Top: Balduin Bippus (DE), Tillman Hofrichter (DE), Linus Flammer (CH), Philipp Seidl (DE), Patrik Seyfried (AT/CH), Daniel Hopfner (AT), Frederic Bader (DE), Dominik Driessen (AT), Melissa Engelhardt (DE/MX), Jean-Rodolphe Linder (CH/FR) Middle: Tobias Wigand (DE), Charlotte Festa (AT), Stefano Saeger (IT/DE), Barbara Wögerbauer (AT), Laurin Binger (DE), Vera Bachmann (CH), Kornelia Hügli (CH/PL), Georgina Frölichsthal (AT/DE), Maud Giese (CH/FR) Bottom: Alessia D’Intino (CH), Himesh Parikh (CH/IN), Rolf Stirnimann (CH/SV), Korbinian Flock (DE), Lennard Henjes (DE), Andrea Labitzke (CH) (from left to right) Senior Members (not pictured): Julius Betmann (DE), Lorenz Haberstig (CH/DE)

Magazine Team


A Word is the Smallest Thing that Matters Even the most complex events can be explained by a journalist with a pen and a piece of paper. Very few professions come closer to changing the world with little more than their hands.


Discreet, humble, almost invisible. We were there the whole time, somewhere in the corner of the room, in the last row, hidden behind a notebook or a camera, carefully observing the scene. Listening rather than talking. Asking rather than answering. Witnessing rather than acting. An excellent group of young journalists from all around the world came to St. Gallen to amplify the words that have been said at the symposium, record them, write them down – to make their lives longer, or even immortal. To make small words big. We listened carefully, and picked out of thousands of words those that really matter. We aimed to tell the story of the symposium on the pages of this Magazine. Did we succeed? It is for you to decide, dear Reader. There were two key words at this year’s symposium: “proud” and “small.” In journalism, every day we deal with something very small: a word. In fact, it is hard to imagine anything smaller: you cannot weigh it or measure it. You cannot even touch it. But the word can touch you. And if it does, we, the journalists, can be proud of ourselves.

A word that brought us all to St. Gallen is the same one that drives us in our everyday job: curiosity. It is curiosity that makes us restlessly seek the answers. That keeps us in front of our computers late at night, drinking one coffee after another, searching for facts and figures. That takes us to the field not to miss anything or anyone. That tells us not to ask for permission, but for forgiveness. And then another word: responsibility, that does not allow us to remain silent. There are two words that I want to write here: thank you. First of all, I would like to thank Angel, Chiara, Jolien, Joris, Julia, Lea, Natasha, Radoslav, Till and Vanja, the journalists from this year’s Magazine, for their commitment, professionalism and for creating a fantastic spirit of the team. It truly was a great pleasure to work with you. Special thanks to Alexandra, always full of energy, good ideas and passion for our work, and Andrew, who shared his knowledge and experience with us. I would like to say thank you to Caroline and Lukas who took most of the photos that are published in this Magazine. Many thanks to Michel for creating a fantastic layout

that makes our texts look perfect. And finally, big thank you – and dziękuję! - to Kornelia from the ISC Team, for organising our work and managing the process of creating the Magazine. Nowadays, people sometimes tend to misuse words. They make big promises, without any intention of fulfilling them. They avoid giving straight answers, offering clever empty phrases instead. They use words to gain popularity and applause or awaken fear and hatred. This is when we come out of the corner, we stand up in the last row, raising our pen up high. We, the journalists, will always be there to confront the words of manipulation and deliver the words of truth. It is a small step from changing the word to changing the world. u


Editor in Chief Iga Maliszewska (PL) Art Director Michel Müller (CH) Text Editor Andrew Curry (US) Managing Editor Alexandra Stark (CH)

Editorial Staff Joris Bellwinkel (NL) Till Daldrup (DE) Jolien de Vries (NL) Lea Deuber (DE) Radoslav Dragov (BG) Julia Kramer (NL) Chiara Piotto (IT) Angel Plascencia (MX) Lukas Rapp (DE) Natasha Silva (PT) Vanja Vodenik (SI) Photography Caroline Marti (CH) Lukas Rapp (DE)

Magazine Project Manager Kornelia Hügli (CH/PL) Print medienwerkstatt AG Steinackerstrasse 8 CH-8583 Sulgen Paper PlanoJet Offset, white FSC sponsored by Papyrus Copyright International Students’ Committee (ISC)

Graphics and Illustrations Michel Müller (CH) Alexandra Stark (CH)

Photo: Pascal Schwendener

Publisher International Students’ Committee (ISC)


Photo: air-view

45th St. Gallen Symposium Magazine

St. Gallen Symposium Magazine 45 – #ProudlySmall  

Let’s Talk About Size: Is small really something to be proud of? Big Problems, Big Solutions?: The world is confronted with big problems. Ca...

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