How do the values of your organisation match with TED’s?
I think our organisation thrives on people coming up with ideas and then having the freedom to follow through and explore them. Just as TED is focused on the sharing of ideas, our culture is all about sharing knowledge and being open to new perspectives, whether they come from inside or outside the company. We believe that incorporating diverse approaches and sharing insights is key to progress in healthcare and partner with leaders in other fields who have expertise beyond our own. I would say that in the future, we will see a lot more collaboration across traditional boundaries and sharing of ideas.
How do you encourage innovation in your organisation?
We believe that the best innovation happens when talented people are given the freedom to explore ideas and when we can have a rich diversity of approaches and perspectives. One of the key things that defines Roche is that we follow a decentralised model. Our teams are empowered to act accordingly to what is right for their particular area of their local customers. We’re united by a shared purpose of delivering what is best for patients but decisions are left to the people closest to the topic. I think this sets us up for a continued success in finding innovative solutions that will help patients.
What is the biggest societal change you see happening right now?
How is your company trying to adapt? Since the beginning of its 170-year history, Swiss Post has been a byword for the reliable transport of data, money and people. Swiss Post’s environment is changing more and at a faster speed than ever in the digital world: markets, technologies and customers’ requirements dictate the pace of change. Swiss Post changes along with its customers and adapts the interpretation of its mandate to customer requirements – whether by creating digital access points for postal services (for example, SMS postage stamps, Post-App, My Post 24 terminals) or investing in the necessary infrastructure to ensure that parcels can continue to be delivered on time, despite rapidly increasing volumes.
What does sustainability mean to you?
Swiss Post is aware of its responsibility. As an enterprise affiliated with the Confederation and one of the largest employers in Switzerland, it supports charitable projects and institutions and is committed to preserving an intact environment. Swiss Post is also confident that a corporate strategy based on sustainable and ethical principles will lead to long-term success. This is why Swiss Post focuses on CO2 efficiency, renewable energies and a circular economy and requires that its suppliers offer socially acceptable working conditions and use environmentally friendly production methods. Last but not least, growth in e-commerce volumes is also a challenge for sustainability
This year’s theme invites us to reflect on colours and how they lead us to find deeper meanings. To what current issue in your industry are you trying to give new meaning?
Novartis develops transformative treatments aimed at helping people fight cancer, heart failure, and a host of other diseases. Unfortunately, many people around the world face barriers that hinder their access to the medicines that might help them. An estimated 2 billion people worldwide lack access to medicines and healthcare, so addressing the problem is a significant challenge. Novartis, like many other companies and organisations, operates programs aimed at expanding patients’ access to medicines for specific diseases, such as malaria and leprosy, in poorer parts of the world. But society and companies clearly need to do more. Novartis recently embarked on a new approach: integrate access into the core of what we do. From now on, every new medicine we launch must have a strategy for addressing barriers to access. It’s our way of trying to give new meaning to the concept of access to medicines.
What is the biggest societal change you see happening right now? How is your company trying to adapt?
Young people entering the workforce are increasingly purpose-driven, motivated by a desire to pursue careers where they can make a difference and contribute to society. They are also increasingly drawn to organisations where they are empowered to apply their full creativity and energy to producing results. In the healthcare industry, we are blessed with a significant purpose: helping people live longer, healthier lives. At Novartis, we’ve launched a cultural transformation aimed at unleashing the power of our people to pursue that purpose. In a large, global organisation like Novartis, change will take time, but we’re taking steps to further empower employees as they strive to advance human health.
Interview with Dr Boris Bogan
What is a new idea/development that you believe will change your industry in the next 30 years?
We can hardly foresee ten years….but a large number of businesses are storing vast data and information from users and customers. I believe we will first go through a wave of overuse of this data, the “big data is great” era. But over time, I hope we will transcend to a new era of precision data or data minimalism, where our privacy will be safeguarded but at same time, we will be able to harness the full power of AI and advanced analytics, e.g. for predictive health insights or for hyper personalised services creating new experiences.
What do you think is the main challenge that the city of Basel has at the moment?
Many local family owned businesses have experienced strong pressure from online stores and shut their doors. Unfortunately, this is leading to a loss of identity in the city center of Basel. Our inner city is resembling more and more any other European city. While we see small innovative companies slowly establishing presence in the city, we need much more of these small innovators. But this will require sustainable rent and a culture of entrepreneurship, we for instance see in Berlin.