One of the many advantages Paris offers to international business and international relations students is its proximity to headquarters of numerous international organizations based in the city. We at SIU Paris are well aware of the educational asset this represents and that is why most of our classes schedule ‘field trip’ visits to one of these institutions in the course of the term.
Following attendance by undergraduate international relations students at UNESCO‘s “JOURNALISM UNDER FIRE” conference in March and the dinner/conference at the French Senate with the Research and Communication Institute on Europe in April, a cohort of business students led by Professor Brigitte Beauzamy took part to the OECD Forum 2017 last week. Here’s a summary of the event.
Our Organizational Behavior class had the opportunity to attend the OECD Forum 2017 (official page) on June 7th where we were met with global leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators from around the world. The central themes of the forum were based around the necessary policies and initiatives that must be used in order to bridge divides, how globalization has impacted societies, and technological developments. Each topic provided essential insight to further our education and understanding of the business environment. However, there were three discussions that stood out the most: “Talk Together: Ageing Readiness & Competitiveness,” “Inclusive Entrepreneurship,” and “Inequality, Digitalization & Competition.”
The Debates at the OECD Forum 2017
The first debate we visited was on “Ageing Readiness & Competitiveness.” This discussion touched on areas such as ways we can improve our infrastructure to more easily meet the needs of our ageing population. One example was to make products “ageless.” By doing so, societies would inevitably become more inclusive to all age groups. Another important topic was based on age discrimination. Rather than dismiss an individual based on their age, companies should embrace the knowledge and expertise that an elderly individual could provide. Likewise, a younger individual should be given the opportunity to showcase their talents and provide insight from a fresh perspective.
The second discussion was “Inclusive Entrepreneurship.” There was a panel made up of three women and one man (Nicola Hazell, Roxanne Varza, Chiara Condi and Aape Pohjavirta). Each individual discussed their own experiences that led them to become entrepreneurs. They also shed light on the trials and tribulations that one faces on the road to entrepreneurship and the steps to overcome them. One of the most interesting discussions was based around women entrepreneurs. Women today are still met with a glass ceiling and face numerous difficulties in competing with their male-counterparts. While there are more women than ever before choosing to create their own start-ups, we must work collectively to ensure that women are given the necessary tools to succeed. One solution offered is to ensure our educational system (including STEM programs) are not only targeting more women, but that they are affordable and accessible to women around the world.
Finally, the third topic we found most interesting was “Inequality, Digitalization & Competition.” This forum was primarily based around the power of digitalization and the competition that arises from digitalized markets. Competition within the digital market can often lead to inequality or put consumer’s privacy at risk. Because the speed of technological advancements is seemingly unprecedented, it is often hard to control. Much of the discussion was centered around the policies that must be enacted to ensure consumer safety, how digitalization has shaped the way we consume and communicate, how to keep the digitalized market fair for all competitors by increasing innovation and how to keep the power of platforms and their monopolistic tendencies from limiting new market entries.
Overall, the OECD Forum 2017 Conference provided us with insight from leaders around the world with different backgrounds and experiences. It was interesting to hear the various problems that our world faces and the solutions that were provided. The potential to network with such accomplished world leaders and to discuss these topics in depth was a tremendous opportunity that we are all pleased to have had.