So, this morning I signed up for the first Editorial Intelligence event of 2013 and to be honest, I did not actually know what ‘2013 Pre-Davos Predictions’ was and stupidly I had not done my homework so, I have to say I was slightly out of my depth.
So, after the debate I was still a little unsure on what Davos was and had taken away that it was an elite event, and that it was for top business specialists and leaders to share their opinions and that it was to discuss the overall state of the world.
So, I came home and onto Google I went, ‘What is Davos?’ the answer is a mountain in Graubünden in eastern Alps in Switzerland so very confused but I did pick up on the comments of snow and cold. So, next question ‘What happens at Davos?’ the answer it is World Economic Forum and funnily enough this afternoon while having a cup of tea at a friends, I mentioned I had attended the breakfast and another guest was very impressed with that. Well, it’s not always only about SJD Events and weddings and parties, I love Editorial Intelligence and see it as a great way for personal development. So, next question ‘What is the World Economic Forum’ and it said, it was where 2,500 selected invitees convene who are business leaders, international political leaders, selected intellectuals and journalists and are all committed to improving the state of the world.
So, now I move onto this morning’s debate at the Financial Times and what I took away, remembering that I am not a journalist or, in communications or, a politician but a small business owner with a voice.
The panel was chaired by Lionel Barber who is the editor of the FT and was very good and kept the flow of the debate which included two questions. Firstly, the Eurozone and Mervin King with the response being ‘we’ll muddle through’. Secondly, identifying the emerging markets and which are the most risky and the most positive and this was fascinating. The emerging markets at risk are China and Russia, as they have had a steady growth but have they peaked to come crashing down? Then, the most positive or you could say promising countries, i.e. ones to watch where Indonesia and Eastern Africa and Columbia. So, it will be interesting to see and personally I agree on the Eastern Africa prediction.
The panel was made up of five experts and it started with Gillian Tett also from the Financial Times and I thought was very good, as she explained in words that I could resonate with. Her highlights were on ‘Trust’ and that it had shifted from vertical trust, being our confidence in banks and politicians, to a horizontal trust lead by peers through social media. Next up was Prof Ian Goldin, who had attended seventeen Davos forums and had been privy to some amazing sub-meetings as someone put like ‘speed dating’ having to smooch? And, his main point was ‘two ships in the night’ and the absence of cohesion. It was then onto Lady Lynne Forester de Rothschild and she also touched on ‘trust’ but for her it was about ‘inequality’ and salaries in the business world, which I couldn’t agree more with as the investment banks start to announce their profits and subsequent bonus’s or lack of. She also touched on ‘remuneration’ and the involvement of politicians and whether shareholders and investors should have a bigger voice – answer yes. Then, it was Terry Smith of Tullett Prebon and he was probably the most controversial and had never been to Davos. He touched on ‘inflation’ and likened it to the ‘devil’, the way it reappears and that not a lot was going to change, which is not far from the truth, as we are six years into the financial crash, and can we see the light at the end of the tunnel yet? He also felt that ‘remuneration’ should be at the discretion of the owner and not the government – absolutely agree. Lastly, it was Helena Morrissey who was amazing, as not only did I establish when I got home she has nine children and quite frankly didn’t look old enough, but that she is the founder of 30% Club which highlights the importance of women on boards in the workplace. She also wrote a really interesting article that was commented on by others, for the Telegraph ‘Voice of Business – Davos could do with a dose of Accountability’ (check it out online from 12th January 2013). Her point was ‘accountability’ and the importance of lack of joined up thinking and the need to be more focused (how true). She also touched on the importance of ‘listening’ to the young people and having authority and influence. Also, a suggestion she commented on was that actions raised at Davos should be notes and measured showing accountability. She also had never attended.
Then, Lionel Barber wrapped up the debate with the all important question also asked by someone in the audience, which David Cameron will be answering ‘Should the UK exit the EU? Bearing in mind we have not had a referendum since 1975 is the timing good? And the panel’s responses were: From Helena it was about getting the timing right and ensuring the general public know what they are voting on. From Gillian it was ‘never say never’ and then Lynne said that it would cause discussions and may have a backlash. Ian said we would be ‘sleep walking’ into it but after next elections. And, Terry was for the democracy and the electoral voice.
So, what will happen … I will now have the follow the forthcoming World Economic Forum, at Davos so, watch this space as they say.
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