REFLECTIONS FROM THE WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM 2019, DAVOS SWITZERLAND: THE POWER OF COLLABORATION

January 23, 2019 - 4 minutes read

Earlier I wrote about the challenges presented by Globalization 4.0 and the value of bringing together business, government and civil society leaders at the World Economic Forum (WEF) here in Davos to pursue ideas and strategies for positive change. Mid-way through the week here in Davos, I’ve been impressed by the commitment to collaborative problem solving across the spectrum of industry and geography represented here.

It has been evident in all my conversations that leaders from the healthcare and other industries are deeply committed to innovation as a strategy to drive positive change beyond the bottom line. The status quo isn’t an option. Approaches to shared value creation have been redefined by the drivers of Globalization 4.0 and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals in particular as business looks to increase shareholder as well as stakeholder value.

From addressing the challenges of an aging population to reducing carbon emissions, it is encouraging to see people at corporate, government and international level coming together to discuss real solutions to address real problems, framed in by the new global realities.

There is no question that from a healthcare perspective, the world’s population faces some of its biggest challenges in the months and years ahead. Populations are aging and increasing both in size and density due to rising rates of urbanization. While people and communities continue to rise out of poverty globally, levels of inequality have still to be addressed with many of the world’s less developed communities remaining as vulnerable as ever. Healthcare’s default settings will no longer be enough to address these challenges and the macro trends driving Globalization 4.0.

The message is consistent across the forum: if we are to continue raising living standards, reducing mortality rates, making healthcare more accessible, and finding new ways to treat illness and pain, we must adapt to the socio-economic challenges we face and take advantage of the opportunities technological advancement can deliver.

For me, the best way to meet these challenges is through collaboration. In 2019, healthcare companies must think and act like technology innovators and seek out partnerships that innovate to transform, rather than disrupt.

In the last few days I have relished the opportunity to meet with many inspiring, entrepreneurial technology and healthcare firms that share the same vision: leveraging the benefits of digital technologies and platforms for a smarter, more agile and accessible global healthcare ecosystem with people at its core.

A breakfast event I attended on Tuesday morning also showcased the importance of collaboration. Entitled Strategic outlook on the digital economy, the focus of the discussion was an exploration of the technological, social and political shifts that will shape the future of the digital economy. In particular, it looked at the growth rate and scale of artificial intelligence applications; coalition building to invest in 5G infrastructure; as well as public policy changes on data and artificial intelligence.

The discussion panel demonstrated collaboration in action with representatives from finance, electronics and technology companies joining together in a lively, future focused discussion working to address a societal challenge. It reinforced to me the level of collaboration required time and again if we are going to meet the demands that Globalization 4.0 brings.