The Business of continual change

Every large company — especially ones that have been around for a long time — goes through multiple cycles of change. But how do you know where to go next, and when, and how? The management literature is full of case studies, research, and of course, advice… but what if you borrowed from the principles of scientific and social progress instead? In fact, that’s what Charles Koch, chairman and CEO of Koch Industries (one of the largest private companies in the U.S., with over $100B in revenue as estimated by Forbes), did in thinking about how to evolve their business. They systematically grew their capabilities from oil and chemicals; to polymers, fibers, and related consumer products; and then into forest products, glass, steel; and now, electronics and software.

-> listen the podcast online

Ofir Reich on using data science to end poverty and the spurious action/inaction distinction

Ofir Reich spent 6 years doing math in the military, before spending another 2 in tech startups – but then made a sharp turn to become a data scientist focussed on helping the global poor.

-> keep on reading 

Andreessen Horowitz – Crypto, crypto, crypto : catching up on all things cryptocurrencies

On the surface, the story of cryptocurrencies has been a story about new financial opportunities — whether it’s betting on bitcoin, or banking on the blockchain. But the building blocks of this story go back to the history of currency, the evolution of the internet and distributed networks, and towards the advent of Ethereum. As these threads come together, how are they being woven together into new opportunities? And speaking of cryptocurrencies, what are the latest trends and issues in scaling, decentralized apps, protocols, and more?

-> To the article

Devex – OCHA’s Lowcock seeks private and public partners in Davos

In between trips to Syria and Somalia, Mark Lowcock, the head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, was in Davos this week, speaking to the private sector about playing a stronger role in humanitarian issues, and with governments about helping meet funding needs.

Lowcock met with companies in Davos, particularly in the insurance industry, who are testing products to respond to natural disasters that offer “robust opportunities for scale,” he told Devex. OCHA and the World Bank are looking at how the Pandemic Risk Facility at the World Bank could be replicated for famine risk.

He also met with the King of Saudi Arabia to discuss an announcement made earlier this week that the Saudis and the Emirates would contribute $1.5 billion for the Yemen humanitarian crisis. Half of the $22 billion the U.N. humanitarian response plan is seeking for 2018 is for Yemen and Syria.

-> To the article

WEF – Global Threats Report 2018 : Climate, cybersecurity top list

A range of environmental risks and cybersecurity threats top the list of concerns in the World Economic Forum’s 2018 Global Risk Report, even as economic issues diminish amid continued growth.

-> To the report

Devex – Health as an enabler for development progress

Neglected tropical diseases, noncommunicable diseases, ageing, and diet are just some of the factors that threaten individual health each day. Access to services that will combat those is critical, which is why good health and well-being was marked out as a standalone Sustainable Development Goal. But beyond the direct outcomes of increased life expectancy, a reduction in child and maternal mortality rates, and access to modern contraception, good health is also a key enabler of progress in other areas.

To learn more about how achieving good health can impact education, gender equality, work, and peace and justice, Devex, in partnership with Johnson & Johnson, asked more than 1,200 diverse development professionals and interviewed several distinguished scientists and experts on why and how good health and well-being enables their work. Here are the five things we learned…

-> To the article

Devex – The Business and Sustainable Development Commission says goodbye as it highlights blended finance

DAVOS, Switzerland — It started as an idea in an airport lounge in Cape Town, South Africa, and was launched in Davos two years ago. But on Tuesday, the Business and Sustainable Development Commission did something a bit unusual — it held a dinner at Davos to say goodbye.

Designed to last for just two years, the commission produced a flagship report in 2017 highlighting the $12 trillion business opportunity in the Sustainable Development Goals in several key sectors and set out to try to change the way CEOs think about their responsibility to invest in social and environmental challenges.

The commission’s 37 commissioners spoke with some 1,500 CEOs and reached about 75,000 more through the report. […]

“It’s all about expanding business, creating opportunities, and, for development, creating financially sustainable models,” he said. “We seeded the idea and now it needs to take off.”

The work of the commission will continue through a number of avenues…

-> To the article

WEF – Entrepreneurship : Is the era of management over?

„The key to management is to get rid of the managers,“ advised Ricardo Semler, whose TED Talk went viral, introducing terms such as “industrial democracy” and “corporate re-engineering”. It’s important to point out that Mr. Semler isn’t an academic or an expert in management theory, he is the CEO of a successful industrial company. His views are unlikely to represent mainstream thinking on organizational design. But perhaps it is time we redefine the term “manager”, and question whether the idea of “management” as it was inherited from the industrial era, has outlived its usefulness. ​​

-> To the article

SRF – Jean-Claude Bastos und das Wunder von Angola (Sendung)

Vor der Publikation der sogenannten «Paradise Papers» kannte ihn kaum einer, plötzlich war er in aller Munde: Der Schweiz-Angolaner Jean-Claude Bastos, der den milliardenschweren Staatsfonds Angolas verwaltet. «Reporter» hat ihn in Luanda besucht.

«Ich bin immer noch perplex», sagt Jean-Claude Bastos – und meint damit die Tatsache, dass er quasi über Nacht national bekannt wurde durch die sogenannten «Paradise Papers». Dabei handelt es sich um ein Konvolut von ursprünglich vertraulichen Unterlagen, die den Medien zugespielt wurden. Sie zeigen anhand von tausenden von Fällen, wie Reiche und Superreiche weltweit Steuervermeidung und Steuerhinterziehung betreiben. In den geleakten Unterlagen finden sich Datensätze zu mehr als 120 Staats- und Regierungschefs und Politikern aus 47 Ländern, darunter die britische Königin Elisabeth II. – und der bis dahin weitgehend unbekannte Jean-Claude Bastos.

Bastos wurde 1967 in Freiburg geboren. Seine Mutter kam aus einer Uhrmacherfamilie in Welschenrohr. Sein Vater war aus Angola zum Studieren in die Schweiz gekommen. Während der Mittelschule wollte Bastos eigentlich Musiker werden; dem Vater schwebte aber etwas Nützliches vor. So studierte er Betriebswirtschaft – und entdeckte schnell, dass er unternehmerisches Talent hatte. Heute fliegt er in einem Privatjet um die Welt und verwaltet den milliardenschweren Staatsfonds Angolas.

Reporter Simon Christen hat Bastos in der angolanischen Hauptstadt Luanda besucht. Er wolle mithelfen, Afrikas gewaltiges Potenzial zu entfesseln, sagt Bastos. Er sehe sich als Visionär, als Macher, der etwas bewege. Das Bild, das die Medien von ihm gezeichnet haben, ist für ihn «Chabis»: «Die haben keine Ahnung von der Realität hier in Afrika.»

-> Zur Sendung