Launch of SABF 2018

The 14th South American Business Forum edition is coming! With applications already open, students from all over the world can begin to complete their profile and write their essays. To celebrate we remember the launch of this new edition on December 7th.

Federico Cimini, co-director of SABF 2017, started the event with some words about what happened during the forum last year inviting the audience to get involved in what the SABF does. “The SABF was started by ITBA students who were looking for something else.” With this kick-started an emotional day.

“Why do you do what you do?” With these words, Florencia Ravenna, co-director 2014, began explaining her own definition of the SABF and how it changed over the years. She reflected on the importance of seizing opportunities, facing new challenges in life and on the great community that comprises the SABF.

She encouraged the new team commenting “I learned to make difficult decisions” and thanked their families and friends assuring them that behind the great work they will do this year, there are countless opportunities for personal and professional growth.

Without further ado, the co-directors Guillermina Bond and Candelaria Zangari spoke and shared the topics of SABF 2018.

The Power Paradox

In the times we live in, it seems that we are facing ever more challenging decisions that embody ever higher risks. Moreover, these decisions seem to affect a growing number of different spheres in our society. This is the reason why we need to question the way in which things will ultimately develop. From the systems through which we give up our decision-making power to the people who will have the final say in the bigger picture, and the technologies that will make all this possible. How can we be a relevant influence in this excitingly complex process?

In Sync with Technology

Living in times of constant technological change, it is vital to be aware of the machines’ roles in society as of our own. That said, how do we achieve the necessary balance in this relationship so as to make the best of it? What responsibilities are we willing to give up? How much power are we willing to give up to technology? Are we prepared to share it at all?.

Systems Facing Obsolescence

The nature of all the big changes we are already experimenting leads us to question whether the way we think the world works has become futile. How violent of a shift will be necessary for us to adapt to the new shades and challenges of the future? Our hopes of society, the systems that organize it or even our own sense of self-worth could be at stake in the building of this new world.

Leading through Uncertainty

What do we need to be able to lead in challenging and unexpected situations? How can a leader manage to guide people with different perspectives and opposing views in this ever-changing scenario, to a shared goal? Will traditional leadership be enough to face the challenges of the future or will we need a different alternative?

These themes will guide the #SABF2018, which will take place on the 3, 4 and 5 August. The application period will end on April 30, 2018.

Closing the ceremony, the directors thanked the SABF Council, the Board of Trustees and the Organizing Team. They hoped for a great year full of work and effort to create a new and fresh edition of the SABF, with more provocative ideas that invite us to think outside the box.

And now, we anxiously present the organizing team of the 14th edition of the SABF!

Directors (DR): Guillermina Bond and Candelaria Zangari

Fundraising (FR): Catalina Varela (Head), Franco Canova and Augusto Viotti Bozzini

Information Technology (IT): Francisco Delgado (Head) and Agustín Lavarello

Media & Communication (M&C): Francisco Andía (Head), Mercedes Catolino, Bianca Ritorto and Lucas Sanz Gorostiaga

Speakers (SP): Roberto Chá (Head), Ángeles Borracci and Lucía Machicote

Student Relations (SR): Carolina Mondino (Head), Lucila Bettiga, Lucas Demaria, Clara Guzzetti and Milagros Rodriguez Falcón

We congratulate the new team and wish them the best in this year of work that has just begun. And encourage you, students, to sharpen your ideas and prepare your applications. As shared by Florencia, you can not miss out on this great opportunity!

#SABF2017 – Day 3

SABF Games

100 participants, 10 teams. Each one of them was lead by a member of the organizing team, but only one was crowned winner. The SABF Games put to the test some of the ideas discussed on the previous days of the conference. Having fun and working together, we begun the last day of the SABF.

Sam Potolicchio

“What can we do so that people want to get behind our convictions?” From the get go, Sam Potolicchio’s seemingly casual choice of words has us reassessing why we seek to lead. He moves on; “so much of effective leadership is being able to see the world”, he says; a leader must not only look open to ideas coming “from outside one’s brain” but also try to incorporate different approaches and outlooks.

Trouble is we have a knack for trying to hold on to what we know best. We’ve got a “tiny kingdom in our heads” that says we know how, and it can be hard to “get outside of our own thought bubble”. To remedy this, we have to become aware of the “weaknesses of our cognitive structure”, and so Sam’s self-proclaimed purpose is to make us feel “cognitively silly”; an objective he meets more times than we’d like to admit.

Referring to our suspicion of the outside and our “lazy cognition” as essential features of our “tribal brain”, Sam judges them a “toxic combination” and exemplifies the Halo effect. What we see first influences our interpretation of what comes next, bringing confirmation bias to a cognitive level. So how conscious are we of what we do see first? How can we better understand the full extent of our prejudices and our “lazy” brain’s tendency to segregate and classify? How do each of our circles and affiliations limit our perception?

We have to get off autopilot, Sam advices us, and train ourselves to be outside of ourselves. How? The same way we train for anything: methodically. Try to spend time “feeling as if you’re completely out of balance”, Sam suggests; ask yourself, “where can I go to feel uncomfortable?” because “if you’re comfortable, you’re not growing […]”.

P.S. “Be lucky”.

Rob Britton


“I’m back”, proclaims Rob Briton as he adjusts his coat, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. From the beginning, the contagious enthusiasm of his voice has been a fundamental component of the SABF experience; of “dancing around our idea”. It is an experience made possible by the year-long efforts of a team he is quick to thank; “there’s no such thing as too much gratitude, so thank you”, he says, and reminds us that in cases such as this, “[we] can’t pay it back, [we] can only pay it forward”.

Looking at some of this edition’s recurring themes, he recalls some of his fellow speakers’; key ideas. “We are at once extremely the same and extremely different”, he quotes, and “[must] stand up to false realities”. Prejudices, he adds, can only hold us back.

However, it’s not the formal sessions Rob wants to focus on.”Every session, every day, the number of hands raised exceeded the time”, and the ensuing 1 on 1 dialogues and small group discussions were especially valuable. They exemplify a seamless dialogue between people from all over the world, and paint a future where “poco a poco, we will work together”. On that note, Rob wants to hear from the participants. “What are your objectives in life? What will you do differently? How will you stay in touch?” Hand to his brow, he gazes over the crowd; “ok, who’s first?”.

Participants are happy to comply, also taking the opportunity to look back on the conference and share their feelings. With what voice they have left they thank the team and praise their fellow participants; they speak of a home many miles away from home and genuine acceptance. As emotions rise to the surface, Rob reminds us “never [to] apologize for tears”.

He closes the session with some”little piece[s] of advice”, delivered in his usual humble manner. He encourages us to read more, and fiction in particular. On choosing our path, he reassures us that “it’s ok not to know right away” and “to take a while”, advising us not to “stress over it”. As an “airline guy”, he urges us not to”take our wings for granted”.

#SABF2017 – Day 2

To begin the second day on a high note, the students went to the Student Lectures. Six students were selected in order to delve into their essays with the rest of the participants.

Augusto Ferraro (Universidad Nacional del Sur, Argentina), focused on evaluating Latin America’s levels of democratic participation and governability. In order to do that, he explained how the region brought different government models without previous adaptation to the reality of local societies. In a region where delegation of the power discourages citizen participation, he left evidence of the need for modernization and adaptation of these models.

Martín Gonzalo Zapico (Universidad Nacional de San Luis, Argentina), talked about where we come from and where we are going and how it connects with reality. He asked about what is truth opening up for debate its ties with power doing a brief recap on different perspectives throughout history. He concluded that seeking the truth is key in order to find our own identity.

Amal Atrakouti, from the AI Akhawayn University of Morocco, discussed in her lecture about the international laws that everybody accepts but only represent a few. She talked about knowledge on her continent, where war can be seen daily and it can reach agreements on how it should be in a time when there should no longer be any.

Rodrigo Varela from ITBA, Argentina, emphasized the importance of coming together on the way we think and our adaptation to the new world and its possibles changes. He proposed considering facts objectively and focussing on subjective information such as opinions, arguments and ideologies in order to debate.

Lene Mortensen from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, exposed in her lecture that thanks to the internet we have at our reach more information than ever, yet there’s a great gap between information and ignorance in order to improve decision making processes. She stresses the importance of press being responsible with the truthfulness of the information that offers.

Lucas Hernán Minutella from the Universidad Argentina de la Empresa (Buenos Aires, Argentina) focused on user empowerment regarding the information they generate in his talk. People are always generating information from opinions expressed to actions taken. He emphasized how ideal it would be to be neutral and not profit with others person’s information. In order to do that, users should know about the tools available and use them to take control over their own information.

During the second activity of the morning, Interactive Lessons offered different spaces where the participants could listen to and talk with experts on different fields.

Andrés Snitcofsky, graphic designer of Cargografías, showed us different charts in order to demonstrate the importance of understanding them. Visualizing them is different from making them visible and we have to understand and apprehend the information that surrounds us.

Silvana Bonnet, Canales’s Head of Communication, talked about how little knowledge there is about the needs, the language and ways of communication of hard of hearing people around the world. She focused on breaking some myths and delved into the idea of how is the inclusion of hard of hearing people in the world of hearing people. Nowadays inclusion is a theme with growing relevance.

Dan Phillips, Founder and designer of The Phoenix Commotion shared with us his work with building recycled housing from raw and free materials that served as a starting point towards discussion. “I might not win my battles but I know what my battles are”, Dan says.

Eduardo Otero Torres made us think about paradigms regarding sexuality and the social shift currently happening. He explained how sexuality has not to do with sexual practices but with our gender and how we take care of our body. Through gender’s theory he broke the idea of having one determined gender because of our sex.

Matías Attwell, Manager of Media Partnerships for Latam at Google, talked about current global tendencies regarding online consumption habits and the future that comes with virtual reality.

In a third set of activities the participants gathered for Dynamic Activities.

Debate Activity

After going through the best practices for debating with Argentine Debating Association, the participants discussed about several relevant topics while learning and practicing how to carry a debate.

Art as Activism

Amen Ra y Natasha Hopper invited the participants to reflect on different topics, exposing their ideas through poems.

Fact Checking 101

The activity by Chequeado, a local organization that works towards verifying speeches, was led by Nira Dinerstein, from the Education Team and Ana Paula Valacco, from the Communication Department. Throughout different activities the students learned about the method that the Editorial Staff uses in order to check the information, the definition of a checked statement and how to use data in everyday life to validate speeches.

Empathic Design in Action

The activity led by Escuela de Posgrado ITBA aimed for each participant to successfully take the place of someone else, achieving to empathize with their needs. Afterwards, everyone thought about different initiatives that could help to solve these needs.

During the fourth segment of the day, the participants chose between two activities: Project Generator and Mentoring Sessions. The first, focused on making a project out of an idea and the second, aimed to teach how to go on an introspective journey.

During the project generator segment, Demian Brener (Head of the OpenZeppelin project). He explained what’s blockchain and how they worked. Afterwards he shared his experience with this technology and business, where the opportunities are plenty. When blockchain first appeared, Demian had a lot of ideas that were ahead of the time, since they relied on a bigger market, like the one there’s today. However, this didn’t keep him from undertake new businesses.

Paula Coto, part of the Education team at CIPPEC, highlighted the need for educative projects that merge different players (parents, teachers, neighbours) in the bringing up of the students and the importance of working towards common objectives in order to build education. “Knowledge Communities”, the project she leads, aims for a school transformation not only as an educative institution but also as a social one, from a perspective that also includes the neighbourhood. She also seeks to know how to build a space where all those players can express themselves and give sense to a shared space.

Alexis Caporale (Director of Energy for the Baikal Institute) shared how he began his own enterprise and gave different recommendations to the participants so that they could improve in their field of passion. He highlighted the need for a workplace where the purpose and direction of the company are known. Usually, the main reason why a project does not succeed is the lack of clearness on the objectives on what’s been done. He states that this generation of participants has been made to break the rules and it’s up to them to find their passion, without taking up on obligations that are not aligned with themselves.

Melina López (Marketing Manager at Google Cloud Brasil) told us about her experience with an organization she founded with some of her university classmates, Nuevas Puertas. Even though the project finally ended, she still works with them on matters regarding education. Furthermore, she explained how was the process of getting hired at Google, where she is now Marketing Manager at Google Cloud Brasil. Among her recommendations two stand out: “Be vocal about your references”: expressing her interest of working in Google helped her find out about the internship program and “Prepare and be honest”: prepare and have an honest CV.

The mentoring sessions were in charge of Dan Phillips (Founder and designer, The Phoenix Commotion), Faustino Arias (General Manager CALSA), Félix Peña (Director of Instituto Comercial Internacional Fundación ICBC), Rick Dow (Director of The DOJO Group), Rob Britton (Strategic and Marketing Consultant at AirLearn), Susan Giuliano (Leadership Development Lee Hecht Harrison Argentina Director), Valeria Venegas (Partner of CocoLab).

Some quotes about these sessions:

“ He helped me understand how a professional career evolves, that works doesn’t necessarily comes right away but that it can also arrive as a surprise”. – Vincent Le Régent (Participant, France) on Feliz Peña’s sessions.

“Even though it’s difficult, you have to be truth to yourself.” – Dora María Racca (Ex Organizer) on Rob Britton’s session.