Davos sets new Boardroom priorities.

Davos is over for another 12 months. The theme was “Globalisation 4.0: Shaping a Global Architecture in the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution”.

The debates, interviews and discussions identify 8 areas that boards will need to consider in planning for their future.

  1. Global Risks – Worsening economic and political confrontations between major powers anticipated this year.

The Global Risk Report 2019 report presents the results based data from nearly 1,000 decision-makers from the public sector, private sector, academia and civil society assess the risks facing the world.

Over a ten-year horizon, extreme weather and climate-change policy failures are seen as the gravest threats.

The report includes “what-if” Future Shocks that examine quantum computing, weather manipulation, monetary populism, and emotionally responsive artificial intelligence

  1. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is introducing technologies at a speed and scale unparalleled in history.

Regulation, cooperation amongst and between countries will an imperative to harness the value of the new oil, which is data.  We are still in the foothills of Fourth Industrial Revolution and have to find a way that uses data to advantage but at the same time having a global GDPR.

  1. Ecological challenges, including but not limited to, climate change, are threatening socio-economic development

Human basic needs, such as food, water, health, shelter are affected by climate. Changes in climate may threaten these needs with increased temperatures, sea level rise, changes in precipitation, and more frequent or intense extreme event

  1. The Gender Gap is not closing fast enough

According to The Global Gender Gap Report 2018, the world still has a long way to go when it comes to political and economic leadership. Across the 149 countries assessed, there are just 17 that currently have women as heads of state, while, on average, just 18% of ministers and 24% of parliamentarians globally are women. Similarly, women hold just 34% of managerial positions across the countries where data is available.  Full parity on this indicator is already a reality in five countries (Bahamas, Colombia, Jamaica, Lao PDR and Philippines); and in another 19 countries there are at least 40% of women in managerial positions.

  1. Climate change is real

Climate change is real but is not as high on politicians agendas as it should be. The broadcaster David Attenborough was there to promote the need to address climate change, and climate activist Greta Thunberg (a fiesta 16year old Swedish girl) both used the forum’s spotlight to promote climate activism.

Trump who did not attend Davos has never been a fan of addressing the climate change as it would impact his coal mining support base back in the USA. Angela Merkel said Germany would need coal for “a certain time” but which disappointed many environmentalists.

  1. Geo political risk has increased

Geo political risk has increased as a result of Brexit and the impact of no deal, the USA – China Trade War and unease about the global economy.  The impact of globalism and nationalism in many countries will cause political instability.  Concerns that the tech bubble will burst as many impending IPOs like Uber are overpriced.

  1. Greater focus on diversity and inclusion

Seven top businesses backed the new Partnership for Global LGBTI Equality.  “LGBTI inclusion is not only the right thing to do from an interpersonal point of view, it is also a business imperative because CEO’s recognise that a culture of equality creates trust, innovation and therefore business growth” said one of the executives whose company is supporting the partnership.

  1. Global Data Governance

Japan’s prime minister, Shinzō Abe, pledged action on global data governance which is a start. He told the Davos audience that personal and security data must be placed under strong privacy protection, while at the same time allowing a free flow of medical, industrial, traffic and other data.

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