Posted by: Nicholas Davis | November 10, 2017

My recent blog posts and reports from elsewhere

Wow, it rather seems like my posting rate slowed down after the birth of my daughter Eloise in 2013, and the drop to zero for a while after 2014 may have something to do with the subsequent arrivals of Josiane and Henry.

Luckily, I’ve managed to keep writing and posting material elsewhere. In particular, since June 2015 I’ve been working with the Chairman of the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab, on the topic of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the relationship between people and technology.

As a rapid way of filling the gap since 2014, here are a set of links to pieces of writing I’ve done (either alone or with co-authors) that you might find interesting:

Learning from Martin Luther About Technological Disruption (October 2017, Project Syndicate)

Five hundred years ago, Martin Luther used the printing press to spur debate on the Church’s practice of “indulgences.” The fact his efforts kicked off one of the most divisive periods of European history should serve as a reminder that while technology can support constructive debate, it can also fuel violent conflict.

Towards a human-centered model of economic growth (June 2017, Forum Agenda)

Based on GDP and other measures of well-being, humanity has never been better off. The number of people living in absolute poverty has fallen four-fold since 1980. Fewer people die today from violence or conflict than any prior era. Individuals generally live longer and more comfortably than any prior generation. Yet these historic advantages are being matched by a range of challenges felt keenly by many citizens. What steps can we take steps to build a different kind of economy, one with social inclusion consciously “designed into” its core?

This paper outlines a narrative vision and policy agenda aimed at ensuring that the technological progress of the 21st century augments rather than substitutes for human potential and employment. It proposes a three-part programme to reorient the growth models of G20 economies towards this objective by designing social inclusion deliberately into their innovation ecosystems and economic policies in order to diffuse as widely as possible the overall gains in opportunity and prosperity enabled by technology and international economic integration

 What is the fourth industrial revolution? (January 2016, Forum Agenda)

Technologies are emerging and affecting our lives in ways that indicate we are at the beginning of a Fourth Industrial Revolution, a new era that builds and extends the impact of digitization in new and unanticipated ways. It is therefore worthwhile taking some time to consider exactly what kind of shifts we are experiencing and how we might, collectively and individually, ensure that it creates benefits for the many, rather than the few.

Five ways of understanding the Fourth Industrial Revolution (November 2015, Forum Agenda)

As new technologies combine with one another and are adopted across industries and sectors, they herald widespread change in the way we produce, work, interact and define ourselves. Here are five ways of looking at what that means for the world.

3 ways social innovation is changing the world (August 2015, Forum Agenda)

Did you know that civil society is innovating like crazy? All sorts of organizations, from well-known international NGOs to tiny yet burgeoning social organizations, are experimenting with new business models, new partnerships, new technologies and new ways of measuring impact.

How can Europe become more innovative? (August 2015, Forum Agenda)

Europe does not have a significant shortage of entrepreneurial talent or ambition – but it does have a shortage of dynamic firms that grow rapidly in both value and employment terms, with entrepreneurs and large businesses increasingly concerned about how they can innovate successfully in today’s highly competitive global markets. What will it take to make Europe more innovative?

Collaborative Innovation: Transforming Business, Driving Growth (August 2015, World Economic Forum)

To support the development of high-growth, innovation-driven economies across Europe, the Forum has focused for two years on fostering links between young, dynamic firms and large, established businesses. This report highlights approaches and strategies that business leaders and policy makers can take to create sustainable, pioneering and innovation-focused collaborations that benefit all parties involved.

Busting five myths about natural resources (November 2014, Forum Agenda)

Misconceptions about one of the most serious and widely discussed topics on the global agenda are at the heart of the World Economic Forum’s recent report, The Future Availability of Natural Resources: A New Paradigm for Global Resource Availability. This exploration of which resources will be available and for how long – involving over 300 experts and decision-makers – has uncovered that too often we rely on assumptions and clichés when thinking about supply, demand and the broader future of water, food, energy and mineral resources.

Posted by: Nicholas Davis | May 6, 2014

Fostering Innovation-Driven Entrepreneurship in Europe

The Europe team and I here at the Forum have been spending a lot of time recently musing on the link between entrepreneurship and innovation. Some of these musings are reflected in a recent report I co-authored (soon to be updated for a launch in June) looks at what we term “innovation-driven entrepreneurship“, and I thought you might be interested in a quick overview.

Our research indicates that growth in jobs and economic activity is correlated with young, fast-growing companies that bring something new to markets – through process, product or business-model innovation. However, despite having some of the most innovative economies in the world, Europe as a whole suffers in terms of the conditions for innovation and entrepreneurship, including measures such as technology adoption, commercialization of ideas and the number of young, highly successful firms.

Unfortunately, encouraging such ventures is difficult from a policy perspective, as what we are talking about is a complex lifecycle of teams of individuals interacting with different organisational forms, markets and regulation in order to bring an idea to life at a large scale. However, following a year of collaborating with the best and brightest in this area (including EC VP Neelie Kroes, Finnish PM Katainen, Estonian President Ilves, innovation guru Clayton Christensen, Europe’s top entrepreneurs, a wide array of leading CEOs and many, many others), we’ve come out with three interesting ways of helping European policymakers create helpful conditions for scale-ready entrepreneurs.

Read More…

Posted by: Nicholas Davis | October 4, 2013

Czech competitiveness – challenges and opportunities


Last week I was in Prague, giving a speech on the competitiveness of the Czech economy to the Office of the Government and stakeholders of the National Reform Programme. The Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report, released last month, says the following:

The Czech Republic falls by seven places this
year to 46th position. Concerns remain about the quality
of the country’s public institutions, Read More…

Posted by: Nicholas Davis | July 13, 2013

Reflections on the Tour du Mont Blanc


My mother and I just finished the awesome, 180km high-mountain walk that is the Tour du Mont Blanc over 10 days. It was something that we’d been discussing for a while, combining Mum’s love for long-distance walks with my obsession with the Alps. We learned a lot from the experience, and thought that it would be worthwhile sharing some reflections here for others planning to do the Tour du Mont Blanc in the future. Read More…

Posted by: Nicholas Davis | April 11, 2013

This sounds dangerous

The juxtaposition of these two articles on the front page of concerns me:

Pentagon Says Nuclear Missile Is in Grasp for North Korea

U.S. Designs a Korea Response Proportional to the Provocation

A “proportional” response that involves hitting North Korean targets sounds like exactly the kind of thing that would stir up the hornet’s nest, taking things up a notch. And the hornets are likely to have nuclear missiles? Awesome.

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