The Great Debate UK

A crisis of trust is at the heart of global uncertainty


By S. D. Shibulal, CEO of Infosys. The opinions expressed are his own.

During the first day at the World Economic Forum yesterday, we witnessed delegates arriving with two things on their minds — how heavy the snowfall was and the realisation that new business models are needed to overcome global economic pressures. (It goes without saying that the mood at Davos hasn’t been helped by the IMF downgrading world growth targets). We all agree that we’re living in a volatile world and it cannot go ignored that there are many uncertainties we face, including currency volatility and high unemployment.

The euro zone crisis will undoubtedly be at the centre of the discussions concerning “uncertainty” but what the attending business leaders, governments and global organisations must understand and discuss, is what they can do together to put in place measures to transform and change, so we can better safeguard our future.

The discussions I had at Davos yesterday support my fundamental belief that corporations have a critical role to play in creating a future where opportunities are abundant and growth inclusive. Moreover, at the heart of the global macro-economic uncertainty is the crisis of trust. Leaders across businesses and governments alike need to work together to rebuild that trust. Creating jobs and fostering sustainable growth is the first step in this journey. While businesses will need to look at measures to manage their short term crises and be truly evolved, smart enterprises will have to balance their focus between “short term needs” and investing for “long term growth through innovation”. We must also recognise that the emerging  future is being shaped by global mega trends in business and society, along with changing demographic profiles.

In view of these trends and the events that led to the recent economic crisis, leaders have their work cut out. Balance the short term versus long term, create a frame of reference to drive growth and innovation, and envision and create a sustainable future. All the views that I shared above resonated strongly with the panel that debated the critical issue of “the role of the CEO” at the Infosys Lunch Panel discussion yesterday. The panel also concurred that talent, which will be at the centre of these strategies is in short supply. Organisations therefore, not only need to look at new hubs of talent but also at retraining and reskilling existing talent pools. Businesses increasingly need to work in partnership with governments and educational institutions to ensure the mobility of talent and the career development of generation Y so tomorrow’s workers are in line with business demand.  Finally, there was unanimous agreement that leadership by example, client centricity and healthy balance of choices are the need of the hour.

from Davos Notebook:

Cybersecurity goes prime time at Davos

DAVOS/- Michael Fertik is the founder and CEO of, 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.

from Davos Notebook:

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.”

from Davos Notebook:

CEOs hoping that everything comes up roses

CHINA-VALENTINE'S/A few things struck me from the annual survey of CEOs that PwC (yup, PricewaterhouseCoopers likes big 'P', little 'w', big 'C') released at Davos this year.

The most obvious was that 48 percent said they were "very confident" of growth in the next 12 months - up from 31 percent last year. Pre-crash confidence again!

from Davos Notebook:

Davos fails to grab the attention of angry protesters

The days when anti-capitalist protesters could rampage through Switzerland's financial capital Zurich in rage at the Davos talkfest 100 miles (150 km) to the east are long gone.

A couple of hundred anti-globalisation activists managed to rally in the nearby town of St. Gallen on Saturday against the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum opening this week. Braving a vicious north-east wind, they assembled near the station then marched peacefully through the centre of town, barely disrupting the good burghers as they went about their weekend shopping. At the front of the demo a large red banner proclaimed: "Take the future from the capitalists - Smash the WEF".

from Davos Notebook:

Celebrities and handshakes – is the WEF really working?

-Mark Kobayashi-Hillary is a British author, blogger, and advisor on technology, globalisation and corporate change, based in São Paulo, Brazil. The opinions expressed are his own.-

DAVOS AIDSThe World Economic Forum returns to Davos next week for the annual round of handshakes and backslapping between world leaders and A-list celebrities that aim to solve the major problems of the world. But when this blog ( asked readers if the annual WEF meeting in Davos is still relevant, more than two-thirds of you said that times have changed and little will be achieved.

from The Great Debate:

Five overlooked global risks

Rafael Ramirez is James Martin Senior Research Fellow in Futures at Oxford University's Institute for Science, Innovation and Society. His latest book is "Business Planning for Turbulent Times: New Methods for Applying Scenarios" edited with John W. Selsky and Kees van der Heijden. -- Rafael Ramírez is the James Martin Senior Research Fellow in Futures at Oxford University and author of "Business Planning for Turbulent Times: New Methods for Applying Scenarios" edited with John W. Selsky and Kees van der Heijden. Ramírez attended a session at the World Economic Forum's gathering in Dalian, China, on managing global risks.

Reuters asked Ramírez to elaborate on five overlooked risks the world is confronting as it works its way through the current recession. His response is below. The views expressed are his own.

from The Great Debate:

Energy realism and a green recovery

jay-pryor-- Jay R. Pryor is vice president of business development for Chevron. The views expressed are his own. --

The concept of a "green recovery" is a compelling topic of discussion at the World Economic Forum this week in Dailan, China. It stems from the United Nations Environment Program calling for investment of 1% of global GDP (nearly $750 billion) to promote a sustainable economic recovery.