25 januar 2016

A few takeaways from WEF

The most influential week of the world is over. 2500 delegates at World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2016 in Davos are now back at work reflecting on what they learned.
A few takeaways from WEF
What are the key takeaways I can bring back to my business, my organization, my country – or to me personally?

This article is written by Ragnvald Nærø, senior account director at Gambit H+K, attending the World Economic Forum in Davos 2016. 

The fourth industrial revolution
The theme of World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos 2016 was not geopolitics, not climate, not terrorism, not economics or the refugee crisis. It was Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

But as always, throughout the 45-year-old history of WEF, also this year´s event managed to present and analyze all the essential issues of the world – and at the same time, due to its excellent ability to mix different stakeholders and a huge variety of sessions, give participants new insights.

Naturally all insights differ depending on what glasses you have on. In short here are mine:

About the Big Overall Questions: In the world of today trust is on its way down; between east and west, between the ones governing and the ones being governed, between the Middle East and the world outside, between Muslims and non-Muslims, between Shia and Sunni Muslims etc. Geopolitics have turned more and more into Geo-Economics as silo thinking is no longer the answer – there is one world! 

Everything is connected
Everything is connected in an extremely complex way, and as the society is moving towards a cyber economy where winners we believe in today, will not be the winners of tomorrow, the ability to understand how businesses and politics are intertwined is essential. 

“There has never been at time of greater promise, or greater peril,” is founder and CEO of WEF Klaus Schwab´s punchline for the state of the world day.

About the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Automation is all about data, big data. It is about intelligence, how a machine can do more than it is programmed to do. This is where the humanity is today; a machine can actually “think” of its own in such a way that it can solve challenges. We talk about robotics that finally have passed the threshold of artificial intelligence. This means that tremendous growth will take place within digital manufacturing. 

Robots are coming
Today South Korea, Japan and Germany are leading, but soon advances robots will be found worldwide. Jobs will disappear and new ones will be created, therefore there is no need to be afraid of unemployment – in the long run. The machines will kill all routine jobs.

Labor in future manufacturing has to be smarter than a machine, or cheaper! This is the big challenge for the middleclass if not able to see the opportunities. Here is our challenge we need to solve according to Vice President Joe Biden: “When the middle class do well, the rich do very well and the poor has a ladder up.”

Opportunities count
About opportunities and personal gains: The last job that will not disappear is the job of a hairdresser, the complexity of individual skills and creativity in cutting hair can not be taken over by robots – unless you are more or less bold headed and wants to get rid of it all! As we are in the beginning of the forth industrial revolution, it is the opportunities that count.

“This year was my 11th. I am a WEF-veteran now and get a special sign on my badge. It is so expensive to be here that I do not want to know”, says one Norwegian investor, continuing; 

“But it is worth it; every time I have discovered something I did not think about before, been inspired by excellent knowledge and found smart ideas to adapt to my excising business, or even to start some new enterprises.  Can hardly wait to get home and launch my new idea of this year”.

And I feel the same way. 

Ragnvald Nærø is a senior account director at Gambit H+K. 

Read more about the WEF Annual Meeting.