The Innovation Word within the World Economic Forum

I was reading through the World Economic Forum’s 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 programme pillars of the 2013 session are in themselves a statement of where we are economically and socially 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 its 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 make sure 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 centres 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 into their brain “thou shalt do …. as their 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.

One thought on “The Innovation Word within the World Economic Forum

  1. It is interesting, in fact downright concerning, that this year’s Davos agenda contains no dedicated session applying innovation to stem environmental degradation and energy issues. In all likelihood, the very same people who need to ‘get the innovation message’ are also those who need to get the message about human activity degrading the environment.


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