Insights from the World Economic Forum

Few of you have the luxury to review all (or any) of the debates and reports generated in this year’s WEF in Davos. So the purpose of this post is to give you a quick view on some of those which I think are pertinent.

First, you will probably enjoy (or be amused by, or scared by) some of the top 10 quotes from yesterday. (The hyperlinks link to the broadcast of the speeches – worthwhile if you have the time):

“Europe faces issues, but its destiny shines through the smoke and fog. I’m optimistic about Europe’s future”
Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the IMF, in Resilient Dynamism

“Unless we take action on climate change, future generations will be roasted, toasted, fried and grilled.”
Christine Lagarde

“Africa’s story has been written by others; we need to own our problems and solutions and write our story.”
 Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda

“The state sector needs to shrink.  In the last few years, the state sector has been expanding. This is the opposite of the direction we need to go. We know [state-owned-enterprises] are low-efficiency. When resources move from the high-efficiency private sector to the low-efficiency state sector, the economy declines. So if you talk about reform, the state sector needs to continue to be shrunk.”
Xu Xiaonian, Professor of Economics and Finance, China Europe International Business School (CEIBS)

“Average IQ goes up by two to three points every decade. If you don’t believe it, compare Beverly Hillbillies to The West Wing”
Larry Summers, Harvard University professor, in his An Insight, an Idea session

“At the end of the day, all emerging markets offer growth. But today, really, the last bastion of big growth is the African continent. A billion people, of which 500 million are connected, and 500 million are yet to be connected.”
Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman and Group Chief Executive Officer, in Derisking Africa

The other report I would like to bring to your attention is a report coordinated by Roland Berger called “Rebuilding Europe’s Competitiveness”. It is well-written with a compelling storyline highlighting the difference between Northern Europe and Southern Europe. There are good graphics, excellent case studies and it is easily read, although requires time.

In a nutshell, it emphasises:

  • Entrepreneurship and innovation
  • Mobilizing talent
  • Making markets work better for Europe
    as key elements.

Furthermore, it is encouraging in that is shows how things are beginning to change and what needs to be done. Although many of our readers are not in European politics (or we do not think so at least), the report presents an important backdrop for anyone trying to run a business in Europe. It also offers important clues to other regions which may have similar problems – including South Africa where there are some uncanny similarities to Southern Europe.

You can download a copy of the report at: Rebuilding Europe’s Competitiveness

And for those of you who think I have completely sold out to the WEF, I am adding a link World Economic Forum illustrationto a great article by John Gapper of the Financial Times who discusses Davos with a rich combination of journalist cynicism with intellectual envy in an article called:

Davos is no conspiracy – it is infotainment

For those of you who believe it is time for their organisation to start looking at the future with more optimism, but also an acknowledgement that times have changed and “rear-view mirror” perspectives are insufficient to identify the new and exciting opportunities that are presenting themselves – contact me at  to discuss how you could join the Brave New World initiative we have recently launched –  where we use inputs from the WEF, The Economist and other highly professional sources to set the context for your business and help your team to plot your road-map to future prosperity and growth.




This entry was posted in Decision related material, Scenario analysis support, Strategy - general, Visualisation, WEF and davos. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply