#lessonslearned: Covid, economy and future prospects!

Covid, economy and future prospects! 21.08.2020, Parco Ciani, Lugano: 

Some reflections by Rico Maggi, Director of the Institute of Economic Research (IRE, USI Università della Svizzera italiana) on the health of the Canton Ticino’s economy: “In general I can say that the Ticino economy is healthy and well because many companies and companies are innovating and trying to find new solutions […] we see this more in the tourism and events sector”. “The aspects that concern me the most, however, concern the labour market […] in the coming months young people and part-time workers will find it hard to find a job and this is due to the crisis generated by the pandemic” “In 2021 I believe that there is a gradual recovery of our economy […] the great challenge for politics and companies will be to understand how we can return to a situation of economic stability“.


Glauco Martinetti, President of the Canton Ticino Chamber of Commerce and Industry, highlighted the impact that digitisation is having on business models: “Today we are experiencing what we will call the fourth industrial revolution, which will mark the economic history of the next 50-60 years [… ] Covid-19 has accelerated a series of dynamics that would otherwise have taken years to implement: smartworking is an example of this” “Before the pandemic we were carrying on a non-sustainable economy made up of habits harmful to our planet built by the society in which we live […] for the next few months I hope for a sudden recovery of our economy but with a new, more sustainable model […] the great challenge will be not to return as before, but better than before“.


Lorenza Sommaruga – President of Federcommercio showed us the difficulties and challenges that merchants have faced, and will face in the coming months, due to the Covid-19 pandemic: “During the lockdown merchants had to reinvent themselves and adapt to some changes that, although not yet in place, were already present [… Another revolution that small-medium sized shops will have to face will be to always open, as soon as they are given the opportunity to do so […] in this sense there is a new law that has allowed many cities in Ticino to be considered tourist areas and traders must be ready and open at any time […] habits must be changed and evolve, trying to give the consumer what he needs“.


Some forecasts by Marc C. Bros de Puechredon – Chairman of the Executive Board and responsible for marketing, acquisitions and communication at BAK Economics AG on the future of the pharmaceutical and events sector: “In Ticino and the Valais, the pharmaceutical sector is one of the fastest growing and best performing sectors in terms of income and productivity […] this is important because even though it is still a small sector, it is crucial for an economy like the Valais economy” “The situation in the events sector is different and more problematic […]. …] after some studies that I have carried out in the Valais, it has emerged that several million francs have been lost as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic […] but event organisers are trying to adopt innovative solutions, such as the digitalisation of the Locarno film festival […] these adaptations will be fundamental also in the near future in which we will have to adapt and live with the virus“.


Fabio Bossi – Delegate for Regional Economic Relations of the Swiss National Bank – explains the strategies adopted during the pandemic to support companies: “The National Bank’s task is to create ideal framework conditions for companies to operate at their best and overcome the difficulties to get out of this period of crisis [. …] as a first step, we acted more massively in the foreign exchange market to prevent further unfavourable conditions from arising, such as the appreciation of the franc […] at the same time the National Bank guaranteed liquidity to both banks and companies with a lower interest rate than the market rate“.


A reflection by Simona Zanette – CEO of Hearst Digital, on the changes imposed by Covid at work level and on what she has personally learned: ” […] we will never go back, but above all we must not go back. What we must have learnt is that we can do our work in a more sustainable way for the planet itself; I think it was a moment that forced us to change, we understood that we can make an act of trust and work even at a distance […], we learned to be a little more ingenious, to get out of our comfort zone. […] the skill is – not to go back to the way we were before – but to take the best of what we have learned in these months and continue to carry it forward“.


Bruno Giussani – European director of TED – helps us to understand the difference between smart working and remote working: “One thing I find fascinating is that we all talk about smart working, but in fact in the months of the pandemic we didn’t do smart working, we did remote working from home which is a totally different thing. Because we weren’t prepared for smart working, we were prepared to take home a computer or use our son’s computer […] to try to do what we had to do, to keep up the pace, with a series of enormous consequences that have nothing to do with smart working, which would require a reflection on the type of tools we use, on who pays for them, on the type of software, on network security, on information exchange, on how to manage personnel […], we need to rethink all these things […] and develop a very clear strategy“.


The thought of Tyler Brûlé – journalist and publisher of Monocle: it goes against the current opinion of the other participants. According to Tyler Brûlé, it is necessary to return to the office. Brûlé wonders if it is only possible to do work from home; in fact, part of the work is also to get together. “[…] we soon realised that it was necessary for a small team to go to the office: in England it was more difficult, but in Zurich people were able to go to the office and this allowed a certain continuity […]“.


Covid did not surprise Meg Pagani – CEO and founder of impacton.org, a company that deals with social and environmental transformation projects – and her international team: “we are a decentralised team, we work with digital […] so the pandemic has found us absolutely well prepared from the point of view of how we can work and use digital tools […]”. The work of impacton.org reflects the vision of its founder: according to Meg Pagani the pandemic made us reconsider the value of things “[…] we live in an economy, in a society that knows how to put a price on a dead whale on a fishing boat but not on a living whale in its ecosystem. It is a concept that extends to all sectors. […] the solidarity aspect is a spark that must be developed.


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