Davos Notebook

Emerging healthcare opportunities

By Joe Jimenez, CEO of Novartis. The opinions expressed are his own.

As the global economy begins to see signs of recovery, with momentum from emerging markets like China, Russia, India and Brazil driving recent economic gains, there is a lot of buzz about how companies can best capitalize on the new growth opportunities these markets can offer.

In fact, many of the sessions here at the World Economic Forum in Davos are focusing on ways to encourage innovation, enhance trade and drive growth in emerging markets. This year, it is extremely important that we discuss health care and economic imperatives at Davos.

Governments in emerging markets are increasing their commitment to expanding access to healthcare, but this is putting significant pressure on healthcare budgets. So we need to find ways to work together with government officials and key stakeholders in these markets to jointly address the evolving healthcare needs.

Novartis has already made several significant investments in countries such as China and Russia, and there are some important key learnings that have surfaced in our conversations with government officials, healthcare stakeholders and patients.

The first is the importance of investing for the long term. In China, for example, we are investing $1 billion over five years to build the largest pharmaceutical R&D institute in the country, focusing on areas of local health needs and employing about 1,000 R&D associates. We already have more than 20 ongoing collaborations with universities and hospitals in China alone.

Can Europe rise to the China challenge?

– Dirk Jan van den Berg is President of Delft University of Technology, former chairman of the IDEA League of European Universities, and former Dutch ambassador to China and the UN. –

USA-CHINA/This year’s World Economic Forum comes at a moment in which a profound shift in global power from West to East is becoming unmistakable. In recent weeks, for instance, during Hu Jintao’s state visit to the U.S., China was unambiguously portrayed by the Obama administration as an equal, indispensable global partner with the United States.

One of the key achievements of the state visit was the historic extension to the US-China Agreement on Cooperation in Science and Technology, first signed by the two countries after relations were normalised in 1979. The agreement, which includes over 30 active protocols covering cooperation in areas ranging from agricultural science, renewable energy, and biomedical research, will thus continue to serve as a key framework driving bilateral economic growth well into the twenty first century.

Talking with Davos youth… all five of them

Youth isn’t a group that is closely associated with the World Economic Forum in Davos. There was much discussion before the meeting of the gender quota imposed by the WEF to try to increase the number of female participants, but there are just five teenagers at Davos this year, all of them from the Global Changemakers network.

I caught up with one of them, 18-year-old Trevor Dougherty, who wrote this post for us prior to the start of this year’s Davos,  to hear how his first WEF annual meeting is going. We will hopefully hear from the other four ‘changemakers’ before the end of the conference.

Tablets take over the world, one Davos at a time

This time last year, the online team here in Davos broke off from its coverage of the WEF for an hour or so to follow another Reuters live event – the unveiling of Apple’s iPad.

Back then, there were many gaps in our knowledge of what the iPad could do. We didn’t even know what it would be called.

What a difference a year makes. Now the device, and other tablet computers, is on show everywhere, especially among the gathering of the global elite in Davos. Reuters technology correspondent Kenneth Li wrote yesterday in this article that: “Those discussing the “Shared Norms for the New Reality” in Davos this week need only look around them to see one such ‘reality’: low-cost smart devices are sweeping away clunky old computers throughout the political and business world.”

from Felix Salmon:

The negative-sum new reality

Remember those off-the record comments by "top executives from Goldman Sachs and Standard Chartered" which indicated that the era of contrition had come to an end? Well, they're on the record now, splashed all over the front page of this morning's FT. Goldman's Gary Cohn is coming out swinging, saying that the real danger to the global economy is now posed by unregulated non-banks, while Peter Sands of Standard Chartered reckons that most bank regulations will no more prevent another crisis than seatbelts on airplanes will prevent a plane crash.

It's true that bankers are not contrite these days: Bob Diamond is standing tall in the halls of Davos, seemingly emboldened by his performance in front of the UK parliament, at which he said that "there was a period of remorse and apology for banks and I think that period needs to be over".

Looking at the bankers as just one of the many species of plutocrats and power brokers in Davos, it seems to me that they're taking full advantage of their present profitability (thanks, Mr Bernanke) to consolidate their position as much as possible in a world which is evolving in a fast and unpredictable manner.

Table for Two at Davos

The meal you had last night at the Congress Hall of the World Economic Forum in Davos may have been “Table for Two” certified.

Table for Two (TFT) is a Japanese non-profit organisation which aims to “transfer calories” from the rich world to the poor. It teams up with corporate and university canteens, serving low calorie, nutritionally balanced meals. A 20 yen (around 25 U.S. cents) charge – roughly the cost of one school meal in least developed countries –  is added to the price of these meals to feed people in need.

“You can distribute wealth and calories in one meal,” Kumi Fujisawa, TFT executive and co-founder of think tank SophiaBank, told Reuters on the sidelines of the Davos forum.

Cybersecurity goes prime time at Davos

DAVOS/- Michael Fertik is the founder and CEO of Reputation.com, an online privacy and reputation management company. He is a member of the World Economic Forum Agenda Council on Internet Security and recipient of the WEF Technology Pioneer 2011 Award. The opinions expressed are his own. -

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has named cybersecurity one of the top five risks in the world. In its Global Risks 2011 report, the WEF’s Risk Response Network nominated cybersecurity alongside planetary risks posed by demography, resource scarcity, trepidation about globalization, and, of course, WMDs. This is heady stuff. Cybersecurity has officially gone prime time. This week in Davos, I’ll be moderating and contributing to panel sessions on this topic.

The timing could not be more ripe. Right now we are witnessing the convergence of multiple seismic risks to data integrity. Social networks capture and mine ever larger amounts of data about humans and companies, opting users into increasingly invasive data collection with little or no notice. Apps operating on social networks and smartphones continually pull data streams about friends, families, personal connections, contacts, geo-location, behavior, preferences, tastes, and health habits — even when these data streams are unrelated to the stated purpose of the applications.

The Rise of Robo Sapiens

There are a few sessions at this year’s World Economic Forum that discuss the future but the fully-subscribed session on “The Rise of Robo Sapiens” on Saturday gives a glimpse on how artificial intelligence is reshaping our lives.

Panelist of that session, Gil Weinberg, professor of music technology at Georgia Institute of Technology, is here to present his project on “Shimon” – a $100,000 robot that “listens like human being but improvises like a machine”.

“The robot can play classical or jazz or whatever. It will push music forward”, Weinberg told Reuters.

Will there be a restructuring of the euro?

Find out what Reuters Breakingviews Editor Rob Cox hopes will come from Davos:

Shared norms, soccer pundits and dealing with the ‘New Reality’

– Mark Kobayashi-Hillary is the author of several books, including ‘Who Moved my Job?’ and ‘Global Services: Moving to a Level Playing Field’. The opinions expressed are his own. –

And so the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos is underway once again. The theme this year is Shared Norms for the New Reality, which according to the WEF is: “…reflecting the fact that we live in a world that is becoming increasingly complex and interconnected but also experiencing an erosion of common values and principles.”

I think that means life is moving faster so we need to step back and review some basic principles, because some are struggling to keep up. At least that’s what I understand it to mean.