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Reviewing the ISP Preparatory Seminar 2020

From sustainability to mobility and supply chains, the International Student Projects of the FHNW truly shined during the recent Preparatory Seminar from February 10th – February 14th.

With dozens of speakers, delegates and business partners participating, the following highlights from all four projects stood out.

connectUS 2020

Looking back at five days of great success and interesting debates and discussions, identifying the highlight of the week was not easy. The week started off with an introduction by the project team and a follow-up of many insightful and vibrant speeches. Overall, eight speakers from various business fields shared their knowledge with the connectUS delegates. connectUS was truly pleased to welcome Martin Naville, CEO of the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce, who talked about the American culture and economy. Naville started his presentation with pointing out some cultural differences between the USA and Switzerland. In addition, connectUS was introduced to the American economy, learned the key facts about the collaboration between the USA and Switzerland and discussed the changes that were initiated by the current US President.

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On Thursday, the connectUS team had the unique opportunity to visit Google and Deloitte in Zurich, which gave them valuable insights into their fascinating corporate culture, which especially in the case of Google exceeded all expectations. After the guided tour and the impressive insights into the generous working environment, the connectUS delegates learned about the design of everyday things such as websites, platforms or screens, at the technology company from Javier Bargas, who holds a PhD in Cognitive Psychology and leads the UX research for the Google cloud platform.

Focus India 2020

One of the many highlights of the Preparatory Seminar of Focus India 2020 was the visit of Ambassador H.E. Sibi George from the Embassy of India in Berne. Our delegation learned about the Swiss-Indian friendship which has been in place for over 70 years. In a personal interview, the Ambassador highlighted how university projects such as Focus India are supporting this important intercultural relationship.

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Another highlight of the Preparatory Seminar were the company visits on Thursday. At the Innovation Lab of Focus India's long-term platinum partner Accenture, the engaging delegation participated in a dynamic workshop, using design thinking, to establish new business models for agriculture machines, suitable for the Indian market. Accenture taught the attendees how important it is to be agile, innovative, and adaptive in order to be successful in different markets.

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In the afternoon Focus India's gold partner Swiss Post welcomed the project team and delegation at their headquarters in Berne. After listening to an insightful presentation about Swiss Post’s innovative products and services. The delegates had the opportunity to test certain products such as VR glasses where one could observe Post’s smart logistics. Perfectly ending an exciting day on a high note, a tour through Swiss Post’s Espace Lab showed the participants where new and innovative ideas are developed and implemented.

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Focus India feels honored to call such supportive and innovative partners their sponsors and they are looking forward to the On-Site seminar with a highly motivated and engaging delegation.

exploreASEAN 2020

ExploreASEAN received high-ranking visits from the Thai and Vietnamese ambassadors during the preparation week. On the first day of the Preparatory Seminar, Dr. Le Linh Lan, the Ambassador of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, held an informative speech to the members of the exploreASEAN team. The audience had the opportunity to gain valuable insights into the country of Vietnam and focused on the success factors of 2019 and the relations between the Swiss Confederation and Vietnam.

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On the second day of the Preparatory Seminar, exploreASEAN was also honoured to welcome two guests from the Royal Thai Embassy in Bern, namely Ambassador H.E. Mr. Chakri Srichawana and Advisor Mr. Aadit Samphaiworakit. After a brief overview of Thailand, they introduced, among other things, their 20-year National Strategy, containing the vision of a developed country with stability, prosperity and sustainability in line with the philosophy of sufficiency economics. In addition, they discussed the country’s water resources and the country’s objectives as well as their political and economic collaborations with Switzerland. The second day of the preparatory seminar was concluded with an aperitif for networking and discussions between the delegation members, in which the Thai ambassador and counsellor also participated. The two ambassadors wished exploreASEAN all the best for their future endeavours and look forward to the stories the delegation will share

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Insight China 2020

It was on Tuesday afternoon, when the excitement rose with the arrival of the ambassador of China, Geng Wenbing, who shared his insights about the present situation in his country. Differently to last year, the ambassador did not talk about the more recent history of China’s politics, but the ongoing Coronavirus epidemic. In his speech, Ambassador Geng Wenbing talked about measures and reactions in China. While the delegates and project team members listened closely to his speech, the ambassador assured that China will keep an optimistic attitude towards the upcoming challenges. He closed his speech with inspiring words (“Defeat is the mother of victory”) and deeply apologized for the circumstances that are affecting this year's edition of Insight China.

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Even though the ambassador's speech marked a highlight of the week, the panel discussion on Thursday about the future of supply chains may even have left a greater impression on the delegates. Led by FHNW lecturer Marta Ventosa, Hans-Jörg Bertschi, Executive Chairman of the Board at the Bertschi AG, Markus Herrmann, Director of Sinolytics and experienced advisor focusing on business policy, Prof. Michael Jeive, Head of the FHNW China Centre Research and Consultancy, and Luigi Pezzuto, Head of PostLogistics International of the Swiss Post, took to the stage together and introduced the students to their respective company, challenges and standpoints regarding global supply chains.

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Following the introduction, the experts carried out the discussion, involving questions from students. With the addition of a table-turning workshop, groups of students ask their questions individually, which was for many of the delegates an amazing opportunity to get first-hand expert opinions.

Further Information

Website connectUS

Website Focus India

Website exploreASEAN

Website Insight China

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