World Economic Forum – Innovation Imperative from Davos

World Economic Forum - Innovation Imperative from DavosThe World Economic Forum begins agenda for this year’s meeting in Davos, taking place between 23rd to 27thJanuary, 2013 and saw Innovation is back on the agenda, big time. The agenda is a collective ‘innovation tour de force’ to solve all of our current ills for our leaders to work through, to begin to find all the solutions necessary.

The three program pillars of the 2013 session are in themselves a statement of where we are and what we need to work though: “Leading through adversity”, “Restoring economic dynamism” and “Strengthening societal resilience”. The themes are all placing the emphasis on the building, improving, unleashing, rebuilding reinforcing, sustaining and establishing which tells us exactly where our present business and economic woes need to go to be on the economic up.

The rise of innovation

So let’s take a peek at the rise of “innovation” within the preliminary agenda available, it is actually used 47 times within the document but in very specific ways that take it beyond the buzzword into something that has substance.

Those of us working within the innovation space might want to think through each of these in how to contribute to working towards many of the solutions to the goals raised within these innovation challenges. If I was in Davos I would be dizzy from this innovation confrontation.

Innovation becomes substantial in context

So the veritable list is made up of different discussion prompters over the four days, shown in no particular order just as they come. No wonder GE suggests our leaders are suffering “Innovation Vertigo

  • Unleashing Entrepreneurial Innovation,
  • Financing Innovation and Entrepreneurship in China,
  • Unlocking innovation through social media platforms,
  • Delivering biotech innovations,
  • Fostering growth and social innovations,
  • Leapfrogging innovation in developing countries,
  • Breakthrough research and innovation,
  • Fostering anti-disciplinary thinking for breakthrough innovation,
  • Creating 600 million new jobs and what innovation will be needed,
  • Collaborations with universities spurring innovation,
  • Fostering entrepreneurial innovation, in low growth environments,
  • New research, technologies and innovation on the cusp of solving some of the world’s major global issues,
  • Shaping digital norms by assessing a framework that allows innovation and rewards creativity,
  • Scaling social innovation for greater impact,
  • Funding corporate growth by unlocking long-term capital through innovation and infrastructure,
  • Restoring Europe’s vibrancy by sparking and sustaining innovation-driven competition,
  • Embedding innovation as a growth engine,
  • Navigating today’s vast network of innovation and knowledge,
  • Unleashing entrepreneurial innovation,
  • What new funding models are driving innovations for growth,
  • How can jazz and improvisation serve as a strategic model for leadership,
  • Collaboration and innovation,
  • How we need to leverage social technology for innovation for the next generational workforce,
  • Build local capacity and innovation ecosystems, ,
  • Foster scientific and technological innovation,
  • Build on past IP to gain the innovation dividends,
  • What needs to be done to ensure intellectual property regimes will boost innovation
  • Investing in sustaining innovation for competitiveness,
  • Push the global innovation frontier and meet the innovation imperative,
  • Prioritize innovations for human development,
  • Managing in a world with decentralized innovation,
  • Finding new centers of innovation as the next labs,
  • Exploring the global innovation heat map for philanthropy,
  • How technological innovation are transforming industries,
  • Building new national innovation capacity to promote sustainable, inclusive and resilient prosperity, and finally
  • Even Clayton Christensen will be there with his insight on how to fix national finances and that is scheduled to be a webcast live on the Wednesday.

So one can only hope that the innovation imperative message will finally get through to everyone attending the World Economic Forum. The one stating innovation is essential but it does need the dedicated focus within its understanding, structures and organization. As our leaders come down from the mountain, they do need to have an Innovation tablet in their hand and chiseled in their brain “thou shalt do …. as next steps”

Yes, it does seem innovation is not just back on the agenda, it is the necessary catalyst we all need to solve the acute set of business, economic and societal problems we have.

Those going to Davos, please enjoy but if you do bring back the real imperative and need to innovation as you finally got the message, please recognize it needs an awful lot of managing to understand its parts. One suggested place is working this through via an Executive Innovation Work Mat series of work outs; it might help resolve the “innovation vertigo” you might be experiencing as discussed in the GE Global Innovation Barometer released specifically to coincide with the World Economic Forum.

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Paul HobcraftPaul Hobcraft runs Agility Innovation, an advisory business that stimulates sound innovation practice, researches topics that relate to innovation for the future, as well as aligning innovation to organizations core capabilities.

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One Response to World Economic Forum – Innovation Imperative from Davos

  1. Capitalism and its bed partner globalization are designed to fail. It fails the people (the masses), because it is regulated by the a minority of ultra-powerful businesses across the world. These 2000 businesses according to Forbes in 2011 controlled 51% of the total economic output/turnover of the world – in nominal terms $36 trillion and where the total economic global output was $71 trillion. But where these mere 2000 companies only employ around 180 million people that take the ‘cream’ of the world’s economic wealth. The remainder of the economically available workforce/people of the world, at around 3,200 million, are left with the crumbs on the table to get by. With this sort of global wealth distribution the western economic system cannot succeed and where year-on-year the outcome is increased poverty for one end product alone (based on UN figures). Indeed if we keep the capitalist system as it is and where eastern nations have now seen what happens, western society will decline at an unparalleled rate of knots over the next quarter of a century. For the writing is on the wall already and where the present incumbents (western political and business leaders) know no different and where their future economic strategies will ultimately fail us that live in the West. No ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ about this as developing circumstances will dictate this outcome with the present fixed mindsets of the powerful few. Indeed when history looks back on the decline of the ‘West’ they will say, wouldn’t it have been nice if the wealthiest in the West thought further and redistributed their wealth as wise men and women should have done’. If only those attending Davos could see this and realise that what they are about is the opposite of their perceived endeavours – basically bit-by-bit destroying the western dream and where each decade they add further nails to the socio-economic coffin of what was once the most powerful regions in the world. But no more and all down to a system of development that is destined to make a small minority of people richer than they can ever spend in their lifetime and the vast majority living basically and permanently on a shoe string. But the saving grace is that the emerging eastern economic powerhouses have seen the folly of western ideologies and economic ways. Hopefully they will not make the same huge mistakes, are far wiser and more knowledgeable in distributing future global wealth to their people, unlike in the West where hording the world’s wealth has become the norm for the few. By doing this they wreak havoc on most of the people throughout our planet, but where there will eventual be catastrophic consequences. Redistribution is therefore the only way to stop global wars and sustain the human experience. Let us hope also therefore that new eastern values have arrived at the 11th hour to save humanity and Western populations from its own inherent destruction. As natural unreplenishable resources decline at an alarming rate and the world’s population rises to most probably 10 billion or more by 2050 (UN figures have constantly been reassessed upwards for the past 20 years so at least 10 billion will be around), redistribution of wealth is paramount and it has to start now.
    For if those gathering at Davos do not understand this, the western world can look forward to a very bleak future indeed. Can some humans be so mad as not to see this, probably they can when power and wealth are a far greater prize than the human experience/existence itself.

    Dr David Hill
    Chief Executive
    World Innovation Foundation

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