Business leaders in Mexico: “Knowledge is not enough, we need skills”

EL UNIVERSAL and Vocento gathered companies, academics, and government in a forum; we have the opportunity to change teaching models: Luisa María Alcalde

Business leaders in Mexico: “Knowledge is not enough, we need skills”
English 06/09/2019 14:23 Mexico City Astrid Rivera, Antonio Hernández & Moisés Salcedo Actualizada 19:45
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Labor and Social Security Minister Luisa María Alcalde Luján agrees with young entrepreneurs regarding the insufficiency of knowledge and teaching techniques to cover working positions in the 21st century.

During the II Foro Futuro en Español "Inovación, Emprendimiento y Competitividad" (Second Future in Spanish Forum “Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Competitiveness”) organized by Grupo Vocento and EL UNIVERSAL, Alcalde Luján asserted Mexico is in a turning point to overhaul contents and methods of teaching and adjust them to the labor market so that youths are not left behind regarding technological innovation.

Gabriela Rocha, founder of Laboratoria México, and Moís Cherem Arana, co-founder of Bedu – an education startup – added that competences and skills required by today’s companies are not being acquired in formal education, so the challenge lies in shifting the paradigm of how to educate new generations of the economically active population.

“It is a process of trial and error. You have to study the mistakes to discover that people learn in different ways, at a different pace, and that the most effective [class]rooms are those that resemble the real world the most,” asserted Rocha.

Cherem Arana added: “Universities do not have the needed speed to create skills,” so a solution in the U.S. was online education; nonetheless, they found out that the permanence of online pupils does not last. A mixed system is the answer.

Technology for security. In the “Security and Privacy in the Digital Era” panel, Ariel Picker, president of Grupo Seguritech, stressed that technology is not only a tool to make businesses, but also to fight crime: “We can no longer rely on an armed police officer. We need to prevent and deter.

“If I can prevent and deter, there is no crime to prosecute. In Seguritech, we have been through several technological developments and each year we include in our budget the development of new technologies,” he said.

The businessman commented that, in the last 20 years, IT has been moving ahead at a staggering speed: “Seguritech is the leading company in technological integration for security and cybersecurity in Mexico.
 

“This year, [Seguritech] will launch the first constellation of low-orbit satellites for video surveillance. It is the first company in Latin America to launch a constellation of low-orbit satellites.”

But this progress, warned Picker, must not distract citizens from being careful with their information, for current tools are enough to recognize people’s faces without their knowledge.

Economic potential. In his presentation, the global president of Mapfre, Antonio Huertas, said that despite the environment of global stagnation affected by international commercial tensions, there is optimism for the future of Mexico due to its demographic bonus and geographical location.

He stressed that Mexico has a wide potential in the insurance market, with a penetration of barely 2.2%, considered one of the lowest in Latin America: “Mexico is among the 10 world economies with greater protection gap in the insured market, that is, the difference between the real and the potential market.”

The president of Mapfre asserted that the relevance of the company in global insurance cannot be understood without this region of the world, which represents 30% of its business; he defended the relevance of the Spanish language as a unifying and growth factor in Latin American countries.

For Huertas, the main objective for global businesses is technological innovation with great progress in artificial intelligence, which has the potential to transform an era with a high impact on labor. He said that companies must keep placing people at the center of their operations and that the main challenge for them is to really be sustainable.

The greatest also innovate. José Manuel Ramírez, head of Bimbo Ventures, considered: “We all need help in our growth processes and we can find it inside companies, but there are also talented people outside them.

“We created Bimbo Ventures, a program that links us to an ecosystem of entrepreneurs and innovators. Although corporations have work teams focused on technology, they are not enough and we need (…) more creatives.”
 

He said that Bimbo is going for four innovation fronts: Ingredients and packaging, efficiency in manufacture, distribution and talent, and technology. Having access to this kind of innovation must not be exclusive for big firms, he said, for one of the objectives is to achieve the democratization of technology by sharing objectives, knowledge, and experience.

“Today, data is the new oil. In the last 10 years, more data has been generated than in the rest of the history of humankind. The point is to turn data into valuable and available information and, therefore, [to turn it into] knowledge,” added Guillermo Garza, co-founder of Startup México.

Preventing excessive regulation. Upon the development of innovative businesses and the solid growth of digital economy, regulators, government, and legislators must understand the new business models to avoid an excessive regulation that affects their development, said Alejandro Faya, head of the Federal Commission of Economic Competence (Cofece).

“It is necessary that regulators, legislators, and authorities understand the new phenomena. By rushing, due to risk aversion, by trying to resolve issues they don’t understand, they win nothing, and a lot of damage is caused. Digital markets with high contents of innovation do not work as traditional sectors.”

He pointed out that there is a global discussion regarding how technology companies and their business models should be regulated, in which, in some cases, self-regulation and issues with reputations work better than traditional supervision from authorities and regulations.
 

The event, that took place in Tlatelolco Cultural Center, was opened by Enrique Bustamante, director of the Ealy Ortiz Foundation, who highlighted that the forum “encourages the contact and collaboration among companies and institutions around our common language,” by using the Spanish language as a bridge between Ibero-American nations to connect cultures and businesses.

Iñaki Arechabaleta, CEO of Negocio Vocento, hopes there will be a new edition of this business and public sector meeting next year, for it generates relationships between important actors of the Spanish language.
 

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