Economists were missing in action at the start of this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Instead of the traditional panel of high-profile economists, the forum’s opening panel session featured leading technology CEOs discussing the digital revolution.

Moderated by Forrester CEO George Colony, the panel was titled the New Digital Context and it featured Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T; Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo; Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce; John Chambers, CEO of Cisco; and Gavin Patterson, CEO of British Telco, BT.

Benioff made the obvious point: “it’s usually the Nobel Laureates at the World Economic Forum doing the economic review. We took their spot this year. The banking crisis is behind us. The economists are not on the stage. This is about new ideas. You might call this session the New Ideas Context”.

Leading analyst Donald Tapscott observed the debate and agreed, “rapidly crossing geographic, gender and generational boundaries, digital technologies are shifting power from traditional hierarchies to networked heterarchies. If you want to know where society is headed, follow the technology”.

If you have an hour plus, check out the panel discussion, which ranged from the personal impact of technology to privacy, here:

Moderator Colony summarized the discussion on his blog:

  • The age of the customer underpins what’s coming next in tech: context-driven systems, the Internet of everything, and customer-centric software.
  • Much of the Internet of everything will focus on personal care and health.
  • These leaders want more transparency from the Obama administration regarding privacy — critical to regaining customer trust.
  • Total privacy is history. The national security concerns are too great. In the future, the best that people can hope for is that 90% of their data will be private.

A strategic marketing executive with extensive experience delivering business results for Ansell Healthcare, Mercedes-Benz, consultancies and organisations in Australia, Asia and Europe. Leading-edge skills built around the fundamental principle that, in an era of rapid product and service commoditization, the customer experience matters and is a key driver of competitive advantage. Fully cognizant of the need to synchronize processes, business technology and people to ensure that brand promises are mirrored by reinforcing brand actions. Thrives in “can do”, values-driven organisations which are committed to consumer-focused innovation and making a difference by thinking strategically but acting pragmatically. An accomplished, collaborative business leader and communicator with excellent interpersonal and public speaking capabilities. Key strengths: • Building influence across the business • Harnessing emerging customer trends • Thriving on market and technology change • Differentiating the brand experience • Optimizing the marketing and media mix • Creating and nurturing high-performance teams and relationships Specialties Assets and transferable skills include leadership, strategy development, project management, technology utilization, business process improvement, performance metrics and public speaking. Email:

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