Published for Ideas Lab, January 22, 2013
The theme of this year’s World Economic Forum is “Resilient Dynamism.” Klaus Schwab, its founder and executive chairman, describes this current period we’re facing as one where “the interconnectivity, the velocity of the global system represents ever increasing systemic risks.”
The WEF’s Global Agenda Outlook 2013 shows the top three issues members of the Network of Global Agenda Councils deem most urgent all involve instability: unstable global economy, Eurozone fragility and financial system instability. This instability in the global economy is having a direct impact on the perception of innovation. It’s clear the goal over the next four days is to identify what actions can be taken by academia, business, civil society, government and international organizations to help bring about a successful future.
But where to start? Leaders should begin by looking at one of the most important parts of economic growth – innovation. According to the this year’s GE Global Innovation Barometer, a survey of more that 3100 business officials in 25 countries on their perception of innovation, business leaders have two major and noteworthy fears of innovation: (1) an apparent inability to compete in a rapidly changing global economy because of insufficient talent, knowledge, technology, domestic institutions, or capital (among other needs), and (2) concern that too many risks are unknown – not just financial risk, or the risk of fundamental business decisions, but also the risk of policy failures on the part of governments. The consequence of these fears is inward-looking attitudes by firms, governments, and citizens.
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