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Forum 2014

Businesses, like individuals, evolve within an endlessly changing environment. The only thing that is constant is change, an observation made two and a half thousand years ago and almost axiomatic in today's world. Demography, technology, the markets: change affects every aspect of our lives and brings its own set of challenges. "What's Next", the 6th Forum which the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie held in Lausanne, mid-November, set out to shine some light on what these changes imply.

As Stéphane Garelli, professor of world competitiveness at IMD, pointed out, while globalisation has had its downside for the developed economies, the major multinationals have turned the global marketplace to their advantage. Some, such as Google, march to the beat of innovation and a "smart" environment, as Patrick Warnking, country director for Google Switzerland, explained. For others, Hermès among them, the future revolves around an increasingly radical style that exemplifies creativity, although as Axel Dumas, CEO of Hermès International, notes, this must be at the company's own tempo. Apple is no stranger to innovation with its smartwatch which, in the words of Elizabeth Paton, luxury correspondent for the Financial Times, is out to win the battle for the wrist.

Businesses everywhere have their sights trained on one group in particular: the Millennials, the generation born between 1980 and 2000 who are already shaping brand strategy. Diana Verdi Nieto, co-founder of Positive Luxury, describes these digital natives as a different type of consumer in constant search of new experiences. Companies that ignore this are treading dangerously. Both Carl Honoré, journalist and spokesman for slowness, and philosopher Frédéric Lenoir are convinced that danger also lurks for those of us who ignore the warning signs to "slow down" as we hurtle through life at breakneck speed. Not only is the quest for happiness incompatible with the modern world, we are losing ourselves in the very technologies we created. The answer lies with the Millennials.

Franco Cologni
Fabienne Lupo
Dominique Turpin
Bruno Giussani


Stéphane Garelli: The new world competitiveness landscape in 2015, and beyond

Stéphane Garelli is considered a leading authority on world competitiveness, which he teaches at IMD and at the University of Lausanne, having pioneered this new field of economics and founded the World Competitiveness Center...

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Patrick Warnking: Google - Facing the future by inventing it

Since 2011 Patrick Warnking has been at the head of Google Switzerland. Previously, he led various Google sectors in Germany (in the media and entertainment in particular, covering gaming, movies, music and TV as well as publishing). A graduate of the University of Saarbrücken with further studies at Bocconi, Stanford and the Singularity University...

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Elizabeth Paton: Smartwatches - the battle for the wrist

Elizabeth Paton is the Fashion and Luxury Correspondent for the Financial Times newspaper. She reports on corporate and market activity from across the fashion, luxury and broader retail and consumer worlds. She is based in New York. As well as being a regular contributor to the paper’s luxury blog Material World...

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Axel Dumas: Hermès, uncomplicated movement

Great-grandson of Émile Hermès, Axel Dumas represents the sixth generation of the Hermès family. Holding a Masters in Law and Bachelor of Philosophy, Axel Dumas attended Sciences-Po Paris and is a graduate of Harvard Business School. After eight years at Paribas, based in Beijing and New York, he joined Hermès in 2003...

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Diana Verde Nieto: Millennials - how they think, how to engage them

Diana Verde Nieto is the co-founder (with Karen Hanton) of Positive Luxury, a London-based consultancy focusing on brands that have a positive impact on society and the environment. “Sustainability is such an un-sexy word”, she says, and Millennials have a contradictory relationship to it: they dislike the word, but they consider...

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Carl Honoré: Slowing down in a fast-paced world

Carl Honoré is a spokesman for slowness. He believes our obsession with speed erodes health, happiness, relationships and productivity, and his first book, In Praise of Slow (2004), examined our compulsion to hurry and chronicled a global trend toward slowing down. His most recent book, The Slow Fix (2013), explores how to solve problems in every...

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Frédéric Lenoir: The search for faster happiness

Frédéric Lenoir is a philosopher, sociologist and historian of religion. An associate researcher at Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris, for ten years he was editor of Le Monde des Religions magazine. Since 2009 he has produced and presented Les Racines du Ciel, a weekly show on France Culture radio...

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The 6th Forum of Haute Horlogerie
in pictures

Pictures © point-of-views.ch