From Davos, part1


The annual World Economic Forum will be held in Davos at the end of January.  This will be my 8th attendance in a row.  Please refer to some of my past blog in January.

Last year and this year, too, there is not much snow even around this area known for its snow and for skiing.  Yesterday we had some snow fall, but today the weather is crystal clear.

Prime Minister Fukuda will give a speech on the 26th, so I heard that there are many people from the business society of Japan this year.  It’s a good thing.  Mr. Okuda, Chairman of Toyota Motor Corp., will also be arriving on the 24th.  On my way to Davos, I was on the same flight with Ms. Sadako Ogata, President of JICA, Mr. Yonekura, President of Sumitomo Chemical (both were accompanied by their spouses) and Imai-san from NHK.

I was one of the panelists of the first session on the first day, 23rd, “Update 2008: Defining Innovation.”  Participants were the CEO and Partner from IDEO, TPG Growth, Doblin (all from U.S.A.), CEO of Index(NPO, Denmark) and myself.  Mr. Nussbaum(Business Week) was the session leader.  The main topic was about investment into clean energy, relief for the socially vulnerable, open innovation etc.  It was very encouraging to hear issues centered on these global agenda.  It was indeed a bit surprising.  Mr. McGlashan from TPG referred to my friend Steven Chu saying that “He is a wonderful man.  I know him very well and support him.  I’m also investing in his project.”

As for me, I talked about “the decade for Google”, “the decade for Apple and its revival with the creation of iPod and iPhone”, “the big success of Nintendo ‘Wii’ by creating a new model of non-videogame users (e.g., grandpas playing with their grandchildren”, “Negroponte’s ‘One laptop per child’ being a breakthrough of software concept” etc.  I showed some examples of innovation from the recent global society that is becoming ‘flat’ and pointed out that people’s awareness to contribute to global issues are expanding throughout the world.  In addition, I mentioned that the 2006 and 2007 Nobel Peace Prizes sending messages to potential answers and policy-making processes to the global issues, which is an epiphanic to the goals for innovation and I think they agreed to my point.  I have pointed out these issues in my blog on January 3rd and 10th, so I hope that my blog readers also understand my point as well.

After that, there was a session where we had to come up with new proposals by discussing with the person seated next to you.  There were a number of interesting ideas.  I was quite impressed by the process and some of ideas!

I was very grateful to hear later some positive feedbacks that my arguments were clear and stimulating.  Let’s offer compliments on good outcome on global issues, especially to our children!

In this year’s Davos meetings, there are “28” sessions related to Climate Change.  This shows the huge and wide awareness in the business sector of the world.  It looks as if Japanese industries are the only ones staying in their own shell.

In a later session, I met Dr. RK Pachauri, the Chairman of IPCC who has been awarded last year’s Nobel Peace Prize.  Let’s look forward to his visit to Tokyo next month (note: this was later cancelled, but I was with him later in New Delhi).