Davos Diary, Day 1: First impressions at Davos: Collaboration is the Name of the Game
Guest Blog Entry: by Ashok Vemuri, InfoSys
This is my third time in Davos for the World Economic Forum and my overwhelming impression is that the atmosphere is 'muted'. If you walk through the Congress Hall or global village, it's as if someone has thrown cold water over the delegates, plunging the temperature to match the weather outside. There is just not the same energy and ebullience that usually defines Davos.Naturally, debate at the World Economic Forum is centring on the current global economic crisis; there is no surprise there. The situation is unique as we have never witnessed a recession on this scale before. Therein lies the difference this year; every country is impacted to some degree, in both the East and the West. What is evident here, is that the world must stand together to stabilise the situation and dig ourselves out of crisis. No one country can do this on its own.
In fact, a highlight yesterday was the keynote speeches made by Prime Minister Putin from Russia and Premier Wen Jiabao from China. To have two emerging markets open this event was telling in itself and acknowledged the importance of countries like Russia, China and India to help us out of recession. Both were quite admonishing of the actions so far by the West and what can be described as the excesses of the consumption culture. However, interestingly, they warned against isolationism and 'unrestrained economic egotism', furthering the notion of global collaboration to solve the economic crisis.
So, not only are we looking for East and West to participate, but also both the public and private sectors. This year there are 41 heads of state participating and in general there is far more interest in what the politicians have to say. The mindset has shifted towards the realisation that it is government that has the power and ability to bail out private sector industries such as banking and manufacturing and to play an important part in coordinating our rise from the ashes. Yet, while we need to use any and every lever to solve the problems, the private sector must not lose sight on the need to continuously innovate across all aspects of business.
The feeling is that if we can build a stable environment over the next two quarters, this will help the global economy to ramp up in years to come. How can this be achieved? People here are questioning what the parameters are that determine organisational success. After sharp growth and the scramble for profitability, these lines have been blurred. In order to set the parameters, the debates focus on sustainability and employee engagement in particular. Of course capitalism will not disappear, however it is important to learn how to curb the excesses and bring compassion to the system.
So, what will the next few days bring? It feels like Davos is looking for an agenda and someone to step forward to be the voice for the global community. We're beyond looking to the US or one big nation to take the lead. This year it's about collaboration, participation and importantly trust between East and West and the public and private sectors. It will be interesting to see who steps up to the plate.
Ashok Vemuri is SVP and global head of banking and capital markets for InfoSys Technologies. He is blogging about his experiences and the role of technology in the financial markets throughout the World Economic Forum. This is his third time attending the WEF in Davos. This is his first blog entry for Davos 2009.This is my third time in Davos for the World Economic Forum and my overwhelming impression is that the atmosphere is 'muted'. If you walk through the Congress Hall or global village, it's as if someone has thrown cold water over the delegates, plunging the temperature to match the weather outside. There is just not the same energy and ebullience that usually defines Davos. Greg MacSweeney is editorial director of InformationWeek Financial Services, whose brands include Wall Street & Technology, Bank Systems & Technology, Advanced Trading, and Insurance & Technology. View Full Bio