IMD International

IMD president addresses business leaders in Zurich

Dominique Turpin reveals the 5 biggest future business challenges


April 23, 2015

Dominique Turpin, IMD's President, was recently the guest of honor at the American-Swiss Chamber of Commerce in Zurich. He gave the keynote speech at the association's "CEO Luncheon". Other upcoming guests include Philipp Hildebrand, Vice Chairman of Blackrock and Former Swiss National Bank President, CEO of Hilti Christoph Loos, and Heinz Karrer, President of the Swiss Business Federation.

Dominique's presentation focused on the "Five macro-trends that are shaping the new competitive landscape".

The first challenge in his presentation was changing demography. Developed countries with aging populations will face new challenges such as higher healthcare costs and lower pensions, but some industries like nutrition and health will have opportunities for growth. Countries like India will remain young and need to focus on job creation, Dominique said.  

Second, Dominique predicted that China will continue to fuel world economic growth, but that the contributions of the country's different regions will contrast more than ever. He said that many nations in Africa, like Ethiopia, will grow faster than some of the recent economic success stories in Asia, such as Indonesia.

Third, urbanization will continue to increase fast, creating numerous business opportunities for companies in the energy, infrastructure, and other sectors. "By 2020, China will have 200 cities with more than 1 million people. Africa will have 40 more," he said.

Fourth, mobile technology is growing eight times faster than the desktop computing industry grew in the 1990s and is transforming the digital industry. The trend toward channeling neurosciences will only further revolutionize the sector, Dominique pointed out.

Last but not least, scarcity of resources including oil, water and rare minerals will be one of the biggest challenges mankind and the business community have faced yet.

Companies must avoid falling into the typical traps; when faced with crisis, the worst reactions by businesses are to compete on prices, provide commodities or lower investments in innovation, communication and education, Dominique warned.  

"Innovation and customer focus are the keys for businesses to face these five future challenges," he said wrapping up.  

Dominique Turpin is the Nestlé Professor and President of IMD. He co-directs IMD's Orchestrating Winning Performance (OWP) program, the next edition of which takes place in Lausanne on 21-26 June 2015.

Read Dominique's LinkedIn Influencer series.

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