New Thinking

WEF Annual Meeting: Trends to watch in 2016

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Each January, world leaders and C-suite executives (and a few influential Hollywood stars and rock legends) gather for the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual meeting in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland to discuss pressing issues that affect the global economy and international culture.

This year’s 2,500 attendees include Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Argentinian President Mauricio Macri, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, “House of Cards” actor Kevin Spacey, and MIT Professor Erik Brynjolfsson (you can read our interview with him here). The 46th edition, held from January 20-23, centers around the theme of “The Fourth Industrial Revolution.” Its agenda is focused around several key topics that are sure to reflect the biggest trends to affect business in the coming year.

Here’s a list of three key topics that are going to be discussed in formal sessions over the next few days, along with a set of THINK Leaders articles we curated to help you prep for conversations you’ll have at the WEF Annual Meeting if you’re attending in person. Even if you’re following along on Twitter or via media coverage of the event, we hope these articles help you further understand the ideas discussed in Davos-Klosters and beyond.

1. Digital transformation is scaling fast

Large enterprises, well-funded start-ups and even entire nations are tackling the continuing digital transformation of our world. They’re defining what “digital culture” means and how it is lived. They’re exploring the newest and the most game-changing technologies: artificial intelligence (and cognitive computing) and the Internet of Things. These technologies, experts say, will quickly influence all aspects of human life, from the creation (and elimination) of jobs to unforeseen art forms.

Reading list:

How to lead a culture shift

New Vocabulary: Internet of Things

How to: Cognitive computing

2. India is evolving

At this year’s WEF Annual Meeting, there are a few sessions that will address how India is facing, and finding solutions to, challenges in areas such as rapidly growing infrastructure needs and the pressure to innovate as one of the world’s most tech-savvy regions.

Reading list:

Pacesetter: Vinod Krishnan, Usha International

THINK Forum India: a recap

3. The future of health is both exciting and daunting

Digital disruption could very well affect and improve how the world manages diseases, as well as prevention and treatments of those diseases. However, there are new health challenges on the rise, too: namely the emergence of a large elderly population that will live longer than any other generation before it, as well as unprecedented health data security issues.

Reading list:

Pacesetter: Vijay Venkatesan, Sutter Health

Pacesetter: Wendy Perchick, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Photo credit: astra490/Thinkstock by Getty Images


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