Positive Leadership and Innovation for Uncertain Times

Business leaders gather at Fast Forward to share global insights

06/10/2015 Barcelona

Fast Forward

Julia Prats: It’s not just about what I say, but what you can share with each other / Photo: David Adamson

We have great expectations of business leaders today. They must have a global perspective. And be masters of change and innovation. Where can they develop their toolkit in today’s fast paced world?

Last week, at IESE’s Barcelona campus, over 100 Fast Forward participants gathered from around the world. They shared and gained business insights. And took away and implemented strategies for competitive advantage for their companies and their clients. 150 participants from IESE’s HR Think Tank program also joined them for the final two days.

Over 35 speakers collaborated, with sessions covering: breakthrough innovations; the frontier between digital and physical worlds; diversity and strategy; business responses to environmental challenges; managing dispersed innovation teams; and much more. Keynote speakers included the CEO of Vueling Airlines, Alex Cruz, and Columbia Business School Professor and renowned author Sheena Iyengar.

Positive Leadership…

IESE Professor of Operations Management Frederic Sabriá, led an interactive session on organizational transformation. Using the IESE case method, he analyzed an organization’s success despite difficult economic conditions. And how employees and organizations can thrive through positive leadership, emphasizing how to “grow with principles not rules”.

… for an Uncertain World

“Progress is creating jobs, but not many of them and not for everybody,” said Emeritus Professor of the Department of Economics Alfredo Pastor. In his session on the future of capitalism, he posited on which jobs are most likely to be around 50 or 60 years from now. How companies, individuals and their children can prepare for this future paradigm and position themselves to compete was also a hot topic.

“The jobs that we thought were pretty safe, it is not obvious that they will stay that way”, he said. He also revealed some surprising trends and likely outcomes. Why executives should consider themselves vulnerable, why having a college degree in the future will not guarantee employment, and what the fastest growing jobs will be in the next decade.

While some aspects of the future remain uncertain, he highlighted that to avoid redundancy an understanding of people is essential as “robots have no empathy at all,” he noted. "But whatever it is that you do, you need to be very good at it. Otherwise chances of finding job are low and you will have low enjoyment.”

Pushing the Boundaries

“At present, in most innovative companies, boundaries are being clearly dismantled,” IESE Professor of Entrepreneurship Julia Prats noted during her session in the innovation track. With case studies of unusually innovative companies she looked at why and how companies need to innovate.

The focus on open collaboration and networking was palpable among both participants and speakers. “It’s not just about what I say, but what you can share with each other,” emphasized IESE Professor Julia Prats.

Customized and Interactive Sessions

All the Fast Forward sessions invited challenge and debate. The interactive sessions and IESE’s focus on having a positive impact on society at large was present throughout the program sessions.

The program was designed around 3 parallel track and discovery sessions focusing on positive leadership, innovation, and strategies for success. The participants chose sessions on global trends and issues most relevant to their field.