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January 22, 2015

Day 1 at Davos

Posted by Sandeep Dadlani (View Profile | View All Posts) at 10:45 AM

This week, I'm at Davos for the 2015 World Economic Forum, where the world's business and political elite have gathered to debate and discuss the persistent issues of our time. On the very first day, I had the pleasure and privilege of meeting a number of brilliant business leaders, including Adi Godrej (Chairman - Godrej), Carlos Ghosn (Chairman and CEO - Renault-Nissan), Cyrus P. Mistry (Chairman - Tata Sons), Ivan Menezes (CEO - Diageo), Klaus Kleinfeld (Chairman & CEO - Alcoa) and our CEO & MD, Vishal Sikka.

The theme of Davos changes every year. This year it is "The new global context"...but the common underlying theme is the networking opportunity it gives us to connect with new people with new ideas and build new value together.

Tuesday evening was the opening night where Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum, urged attendees to help create solutions for today's pressing issues - the highlight of his speech was how he defined leadership - Brains, Heart, Soul and Strong Nerves! This was followed by, among other things, an amazing rendition by Andrea Bocelli, the legendary Italian operatic tenor and songwriter (he turned blind at a young age). Andrea Bocelli's famous line of the evening was of course "Human beings enjoy when they create something". And perhaps that's the reason why innovation continues to drive businesses.

Wednesday was full of amazing meetings with some amazing leaders. Besides the ones mentioned above, I also got to meet Erik Brynjolffson (MIT Professor and author of one of my favorite books - The Second Machine Age), and Hugh Herr (the legendary MIT Robotics professor who has artificial legs and has amplified his original human ability). I also attended a great luncheon debate on How Tomorrow's Consumers Will Evolve, and an equally enlightening dinner debate on Mastering the Machines - on Robotics and AI and how automation will affect jobs.

The underlying themes in all discussions big and small were the top issues facing the world: Inequality of wealth and opportunities, the Eurozone crisis, the Greek elections, political conflict and terror. But the brave business leaders I met exuded optimism and hope: Hope in the human spirit, a strong belief that while the world is volatile and changing violently - new and different opportunities are emerging fast that could solve problems, and a stronger belief that technology was at the center of all solutions and opportunities.

I'm looking forward to an enriching and learning week at Davos, as part of a strong Infosys contingent.

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