Still motivated by impact: Our Next Generation clients commit to big change by taking small steps

HSBC Private Banking’s annual ‘Next Generation’ event saw dozens of young entrepreneurs and investors from our valued client families across the globe brought together to discuss and define their ambitions for the future.

Some will be taking over the reins of established family businesses. Others are charting their own course, setting up innovative businesses and foundations. All of them want to succeed as well as consider the social and environmental responsibilities they have as future leaders, driven by what personally motivates and excites them.

This year’s theme continued to build on being Motivated by Impact, reflecting a growing commitment to the questions and debates that matter and how to make change happen. We’ve seen widespread environmental protests across the world, business leaders are pledging in droves to focus on ‘purpose’ as well as profits, and we’ve seen a huge uptake in demand for ESG products by investors.

We know that our next generation of clients are and will continue to be extremely influential in how businesses conduct themselves, ranging from sustainability, work environments and staying true to values. Our event showcased both HSBC and pioneering businesspeople speaking about their own journeys and how we can all work together to make a difference. This included workshops, interactive games and passionate discussions whilst making some long-lasting connections and friendships along the way.

Every one of our brilliant participants made a personal commitment on how they would think, change or do something different to make an impact on their world under the banner of #MyNextGenPromise No matter how small, these promises are from the innovators and leaders of tomorrow and we have no doubt that from small steps, big leaps will happen.

Key takeaways:

  • Digital disruption is changing how we live and how business is done. As Editor-in-Chief of WIRED UK David Rowen told us: “the world is never going to move so slowly again”.
  • Consider the new opportunities that lie ahead; 5G, drone technology and artificial intelligence are just some of the innovations empowering consumers in emerging markets. Yet while rapid adoption and new applications of technology can drive business forward, they have to have a human core, paving the way for a hybrid approach.
  • Businesses today must offer more socially and environmentally conscious ventures because younger, newly empowered consumers are using their buying power to drive change.
  • Socially conscious investing is a priority and achieving a balance between investment and philanthropy, seeking opportunities that will have a positive social impact on communities around the world, while also making a profit.
  • The younger generation are clearly driving change to be more sustainable – eg. avoiding single use plastic to make a difference in their everyday lives.
  • Embrace difficult conversations, listen and see the world through other peoples’ eyes. Plan to fail rather than fail to plan and know that there is support to be given if asked for.
  • Philanthropy is not necessarily about charity – it can start from an idea, conversation or passion and grow into a long term way to help communities, businesses and causes.
  • Happiness can be defined by every individual. It’s like keeping fit, you have to work out.
  • True and successful leaders have to embrace a culture that celebrates and actively encourages cognitive diversity and new ideas. As Rachele Focardi, CSO Employer Branding and Talent Strategy at Universum said, “you build people, and the people build your business”.

It’s clear that the way in which we do business is changing, and our future clients were keen to play their role in companies that provide answers to the world’s most pressing challenges. They promised to ‘be sustainable’, to ‘lead by example’ and to have ‘challenging conversations’ with their families. Most inspiring, they promised to ‘make the most of the connections’ they made throughout the week. That’s why we run our Next Generation series, and why we will continue to do so. As Google X’s CBO Mo Gawdat said in his closing speech, “business is a tool to change the world”, and the next generation will be the ones shifting the dial on the future of business. HSBC Private Banking is proud to be a part of and support that future.

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