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China’s reform progress exemplified: the road transportation situation

Society July 9th, 2016, Mats Harborn / Executive Director, Scania China Strategic Office

In order to continue to prosper, China as a country and as an economy needs deep and comprehensive reform. President Xi Jinping outlined his view in a long article published on May 10th in Peoples’ Daily, the official party newspaper: reform means that market forces should play a decisive role in resource allocation, and for that to happen there needs to be a level playing field. That in turn requires that all players abide by the same rules, standards and laws, which will not be achieved without strict and equal enforcement. In the field of road transportation, these issues become very concrete, visual and easy to understand.

The public sector has long operated in isolation, developing methods and solutions of its own. In recent decades, however, interactions with the private sector have increased, whether through the growing role of consulting firms or in the form of public-private partnerships. Today, this collaboration is taking on a whole new dimension by integrating other stakeholders, including the users of public services. The emergence of open innovation models is redefining the methods and spirit of public action. Government is reinventing itself as an innovation platform.

Advance amid choices: technological development, business innovation, laws and regulations

Society June 17th, 2016, Jia Kai / PhD Graduate at School of Public Policy and Management of Tsinghua University, Fullbright Scholar, Visiting Scholar at the University of California at Davis

Rapid technological upgrades and commercial innovation, coupled with a slow legislative and regulatory process, have given rise to successive social issues and disputes: Should platforms like Uber be legalized or not? Should Apple’s encryption technology be restricted? Should search results be affected by keyword bidding? Such issues not only pose great challenges to state governance, but also arouse intense social debates and controversies.

Urban transportation: trends, challenges and opportunities

Society June 15th, 2016, Sundaravalli Narayanaswami / Assistant Professor, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad

Urban travel demand has to be understood from the context of differentiated urban growth. To some extent, capacity increase is possible by slight modifications with little or no investments such as signaling changes, widening of roads and extricating encroachments. But what works for one city may not work for the other, though some valuable lessons can be learned.

A Zero|Base health system

Society June 10th, 2016, Antoine Dubout & Guy Vallancien / President, French Federation of Private and Non-Profit Hospitals and Personal Assistance Organizations & President, Convention on Health Analysis and Management

Sirius has four characteristics. He is strictly rational and insensitive to any emotional stimulus. He is also insensitive to any political or corporate pressure. He ignores all existing health systems worldwide. He has a full capacity of understanding and immediate learning. Were Sirius asked to design a completely new health system, what would it look like?

The recent Directive on the protection of trade secrets sparked widespread criticism. Much has been said on this text, accused of having been written under the influence of multinational companies and of allowing prosecutions against journalists and whistleblowers. A careful reading of the text, however, can dispel most of the expressed concerns. The purpose of the Directive is not to organize the disguise of wrongdoing or unethical behavior. It is, however, aimed at protecting any information that would constitute a competitive advantage, without inducing intellectual property rights.

A request by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation for help from Apple to unlock an iPhone used by a terrorist has quickly grown into full scale battle. The FBI's argument of enhancing national security is countered by the technology industry's fears that a one-off software backdoor could set a precedent for more such demands, compromising consumers’ security and privacy, and negatively impacting business. According to experts, the FBI's case is on uncertain legal ground and the agency ought to empower itself with Congressional backing and in-house resources to cope with technological obstacles such as the one in the latest case.

The Paris Agreement shows the willingness of all nations to combat hand-in-hand the challenges of climate change. However, willingness per se is easily defeated by harsh realities. More than ever, cooperation is needed. But sacrifices will also be asked. How to negotiate them?

How can data and wearable technology improve corporate benefit management?

Society November 6th, 2015, Rajeshree Parekh / Director of Corporate Health and Wellness, Asia Pacific, Towers Watson

Towers Watson has launched HealthVantage, a health management solution that incorporates wearable devices and online applications to give an organization’s workforce a full health refresh. Using technology effectively can present a big opportunity for employers to build a culture of wellness at their organization. How?

Towards sustainable food systems

Society October 14th, 2015, Marion Guillou / President, Agreenium

The evolution of food demand in different regions of the world will be crucial to ensure food security for all, in quantity and composition. But it is also a key driver for the proper management of natural resources, and as such a central element of the energy transition.

Democracy 2.1: when maths reinvent politics

Society September 29th, 2015, Karel Janeček / Mathematician, entrepreneur, and anti-corruption campaigner

Mathematics and technology are increasingly used in decision-making. The current trend is even to replace human decisions by machine decisions. But in some experiences, technological innovation helps to reinvigorate the most human of all decision process: democracy. This is the purpose of the Democracy 2.1 experiment, launched by the Czech mathematician Karel Janeček: a radical innovation of the voting system, based on mathematical intuitions derived from game theory.

Making sense of the Uber economy – 1 – Share? Better talk of a market expansion

Society September 23rd, 2015, François Meunier / President, Alsis Conseil, Associate Professor of Finance, ENSAE ParisTech

Behind the proliferation of Uber stories hitting the headlines in many countries, the emergence of a sharing economy fascinates, and sometimes worries us, especially because of its blurry boundaries. From the perspective of an economist, it can be described as a market expansion. Exchanges that previously fell within the scope of informal economy are now an integral part of formal economy. It that good news? Yes it is. But this rapid and incomplete transition also raises many problems.

Making sense of the Uber economy – 2 – Competition vs. monopolies

Society September 23rd, 2015, François Meunier / President, Alsis Conseil, Associate Professor of Finance, ENSAE ParisTech

From the perspective of an economist, the sharing economy can be described as a market expansion. Among the downsides, which are now well identified, competition is stronger: but is it still fair competition? And don't the marketplaces that organize this competition find themselves in a situation of monopoly?

The Internet has revolutionized our access to knowledge. Education is on the verge of major changes. Nine recent pieces published in ParisTech Review try to make sense of this tsunami.

The proven limits of individual efforts and the difficulty of managing collective dynamics make energy transition an extremely challenging task when approached through consumption. Fortunately, technologies can change the game: smart consumption is on the rise. But whose smartness is it: machines', electricity suppliers', or ours?

As noted in a previous article, the very notion of a responsible consumer faces certain limits. The truth is, significant changes in the energy mix cannot be achieved through the goodwill (or conversely, the guilty conscience) of individuals. Does that leave us with no other choice than following decisions from above or waiting for technological solutions from daring entrepreneurs like Elon Musk? If we wish a new, more sober way of life to emerge, we should also trust social imagination, based on the dynamics of sharing and pooling.

Who exactly will be the actors of a coming energy transition? Industry and the major power operators will naturally, of course, be prime contributors but the end-consumers themselves will also have a role to play. The question is: can the latter really tip the balance?

In the same way it revolutionized creative industries, digital technology is revolutionizing higher education, an industry that can be traced back almost a millennium, with the creation of the University of Bologna in 1088. Digital technology has drastically altered the economic balance between the different players, making some models obsolete, allowing others to emerge, enabling economies of scale on one side and leading to additional costs on the other. Destruction, creation: is higher education to enter a Schumpeterian cycle?

Sharing economy: how the wind of trust has changed direction

Society May 28th, 2015, Monique Dagnaud / Research Director, French National Center for Scientific Research

The sharing economy has wind in its sails. Its proponents are growing in numbers and the utopian narrative disseminated by its promoters is currently in vogue. But there is another side to the coin.

Of all children entering school this year, 75% will exercise a profession that doesn't exist today. This trend is already noticeable. The good news is that neuroscience discoveries support the idea of learning during our entire lives. But capacities are only one part of the whole picture. How can we establish a genuine culture of lifelong learning? Technologies will help, but companies should also encourage employees to share their experience, knowledge and expertise as part of a comprehensive learning environment incorporating experiential elements, feedback and more formal courses.

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