[VIDEO] Conversation with Gerd Leonhard: The future of Switzerland


When I was recently visiting Switzerland to deliver a keynote on the future of work my colleague Gerd Leonhard and I recorded a series of video conversations that are featured in his Meeting of the Minds series.

Following our conversations on the implications of Big Data and the future of privacy, here is our dialogue on the future of Switzerland.

While I haven’t spent a lot of time in Switzerland recently, I lived there for 13 years in my childhood, so do have experiences and perspectives to bring to bear on the topic.

Here are some of the issues we discuss in the video:

* Switzerland’s many positive attributes such as democracy and strong values could provide a blueprint for the global economy, but it may be living in an unsustainable protected dome.

* The traditional Swiss values of precision, accuracy, and work ethic are very powerful, but could constrain the flexibility and agility of Swiss organizations in the future.

* Switzerland has long chosen to stand independently, including from the EU, yet that is far harder to sustain in an increasingly interdependent world.

* Long-established Swiss industries such as banking, chocolate, and watches are being challenged, yet the tradition specialization on which these are based could provide a platform for the future as industries and values shift.

* The Swiss economy needs to create value on a broader stage. It has five more good years, then the crunch may come.