(See the infographic enlarged.)
The 250-odd panels at the core of the Davos schedule began on Wednesday. Rather than scramble for seats, browse this rundown for the highlights animating Davos thus far today.
HERE’S THE THING “The New Digital Context” panel saw AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson dub smartphones “the new remote control” for people’s lives as the fabled Internet of Things takes shape. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer called 2014 the “tipping point” for the field, asserting that mobile will pass PC traffic for Yahoo this year. Cisco CEO John T. Chambers upped the prediction game, saying that the impact of the current web will be “dwarfed” by connectivity across everyday objects.
TRUSTING INNOVATION For a quick look at how a Davos panel can distill complex issues, scroll to 20:45 in the video of the full “The Big Brother Problem” panel to watch Bain and Company Chairman Orit Gadiesh explain Rap Genius’s temporary removal from Google search results for trying to inflate its ranking. Gadiesh explored implications for companies that must garner user trust while controlling transparency for business reasons, drawing a thoughtful reply from Microsoft EVP and General Counsel Brad Smith.
Cisco’s Chambers called the Internet of Things a “wild wild west” that has prompted recent security-oriented acquisitions like SourceFire and will continue to drive his strategy. Gadiesh suggested companies employ a data ombudsman or specialized evaluations to better meet consumer demand for privacy and clarity while pursuing big data initiatives.
WOMEN OF THE WORLD A panel called “Reshaping the World through Entrepreneurship, Employment, and Education” saw South Korean President Park Geun-hye champion reduced regulation, embrace a “system of risk, but one that helps those that fail get back up,” and claim that only imagination breeds broad economic advancement. Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf pointed to complex, structural, and global youth unemployment, now at its highest in the Middle East and North Africa, as an immediate problem on the flip side of the drive for economic growth.
KEYNOTE KEYS William Saito, special advisor to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, spoke to Reuters about Japan’s challenges and previewed Abe’s Wednesday Davos keynote speech, emphasizing a commitment to fostering entrepreneurship and female business leaders.
2050: TIME FOR AFRICA Green and white Nigerian accessories turned heads as the lively “Africa’s Next Billion” panel pondered ways to boost intra-continental trade.
Aliko Dangote, President and CEO of Dangote Group in Nigeria, laid out a vision for a “united Africa with one common market, free movement of labor, goods, and services” in 2050. Presidents Mahama of Ghana and Jonathan of Nigeria shared this desire for interconnectedness, especially when Africans may face more internal travel restrictions than foreigners. To sustain the continent’s current “democracy dividend” while pursuing a “demography dividend” as populations grow, panelists eyed more public/private collaboration, citing the success of telecom privatization in Nigeria, while expanding their capacity for more advanced industry in order to chase China-level potential.
IN CONFIDENCE As CEOs slowly regain optimism, the “Doing Business the Right Way” panel explored the role of business in rebuilding public trust. Panelists espoused long-term planning over serving short-term investors. Dennis Nally, Chairman of PwC International, laid out a four-P strategy framework: People, Planet, Profit, and Purpose. Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo, put equal blame on the media for public distrust of business, imploring moderator Maria Bartiromo to favor broad CEO interviews over sound bites.
LAUNCH PAD Big names are already targeting Davos for product release buzz. Arianna Huffington announced a new commitment to global coverage with The WorldPost, and the WEF itself launched a site called Forum Academy to offer online courses to key audiences.
ECONOMIC SHIFTS While Davos is sleeping, check out this infographic that shows how the world economies have shifted since 2008. We’ll be back tomorrow with another daily digest.
This article was produced on behalf of Bank of America by the Quartz marketing team and not by the Quartz editorial staff.