Posts about davos08

Davos08: The tongue sucker

At the innovation session, Kigge Hvid, CEO of Index in Denmark, told about the tongue sucker as a new necessity in first-aid kids to avoid blocked airways and suffocation. I asked her to demonstrate for my first Reuters mojo video (taken on a Nokia phone):

Davos08: Journalistic innovation

I ask the session on innovation (see the post below) for advice: I tell them that I’ve jsut about given up on seeing innovation from the newspaper industry and so I am thinking about getting a grant to start an incubator. I ask the room whether I should and if I should what it should be.

Larry Keeley says that networks outside of newspapers are 700 percent more innovative (yes, he has a way to measure that, which I’ll get). So he suggests creating an award, like the X prize, to motivate innovators. He’s thinking about the Pulitzer of blogs but I’ll disagree with that since I think the Pulitzers skew journalists to do show-off work that’s not often useful; it’s too inward thinking. But an X prize for a company that solves a problem, now that’s interesting.

Davos08: Innovation

The theme of this year’s World Economic Forum meeting in Davos is innovation and a good thing that is. Can’t have enough of it.

The first session of the first day is a round-table (actually, a round-room with concentric circles of people facing in, confusing all the panelists at the center and making them dizzy as they talk — an innovation itself, I suppose). It’s about innovation and people at the center begin listing what they think are the best innovations of the last year. A few:

Kigge Hvid of Index in Denmark says that the basic first-aid kit has not been updated since World War I. She then tells us that the great danger for the injured is a blocked airway that robs us of oxygen. So she shows a tongue-sucker invented by students at the Royal College of Arts in the UK after the 7/7 terrorist attack. It’s a simple plastic tube with an orange bulb on the end that grabs the tongue and frees the airway, saving lives while waiting for the pros. A person in the room cautioned that this may complicate the simple instructions given to people in CPR; Keeley adds that sometimes we need “di-innovation,” that is, simplification is innovation.

Larry Keeley of Doblin says the Kindle is an innovation that could matter because if all the newspaper readers in America stopped reading on paper and started reading on epaper, the country would meet all the requirements of the Kyoto agreement. But then he says the design of the device is a failure and if more organizations had embraced the concept, it would have given us a more compelling device.

William McGlashan of TPG Growth talks about a bio company that is now producing fuels.

Kiyoshi Kurokawa, adviser to the prime minister of Japan, praises the iPhone and says there’s nothing new in the gadget; it’s all concept and design. Then he talks about programs that get people to make helping people part of life: Table for Two with contributions going to deal with hunger and One Laptop per Child.

Tom Brown of IDEO praises Walmart’s personal sustainability project and the Open Architecture Network, because both are enriched by the network effect of adding and connecting ideas.

And moderator Bruce Nussbaum of Business Week praises the new video conferencing telepresence systems that let us avoid — my words — innovationless airlines, wasting both energy and time, and empower collaboration.

Nussbam also tells us that a Business Week index of “innovation-driven” companies beats the S&P by 20 percent.

In the audience is Maylasia’s minister of innovation — isn’t that also nicely new — and he asks what government’s role should be. McGlashan says the belief in the U.S. is that government does not invest in innovation, though he says in health that’s not true. (Note that this is an issue for Davos: It ends up becoming America-centric; I’d rather hear new ideas of how Maylasia is doing it.)

A Japanese professor frets about how much a company should hold onto and not make open. Thank goodness Brown gives the obvious examples of the benefits of exploiting open networks, starting with Firefox. Keeley says what’s important to open up is the knowledge archive and the challenge archive — that is, what we need — and this opens the network effect by connecting people with each other and information. He also praises X Prize for giving innovators motivation without hierarchy. The professor then asks what countries should hold onto. Keeley replies that governments, such as Maylasia, must provide the infrastructure for networks and then “get out of the way and trust the talent.”

A member of the audience, Carl Bass, says that the thought years ago was that open source would be innovative but not robust, but as it turned out open source is robust but not very innovative. He acknowledges what he’ll say next is controversial but points out that most of the government-backed innovation in the U.S. comes from defense-funded research.

Another points out that the most important part of openness on the internet is “view source,” for that spreads the knowledge.

Just as the discussion gets good, the format gets in the way and we’re supposed to share our favorite gadgets with each other, one-on-one. Reminds me of hand-shaking time in church. My favorite, by the way, is bandwidth. We are told to mash-up and invent things together. After we hear a few, Brown says that what we should be sharing instead is the challenges for these attempts at invention are frankly banal. But hearing problems is what leads to real innovation. Innovation is a solution.

In Davos: notes

I’m in Davos.

The WEF’s new mobile sign-up kiosk is utterly hosed this morning as delegates try to sign up — I assume — for Al Gore and Bono.

I’m watching people leave my hotel and their breath is forming complete cumulolimbus clouds.

The hotel room has one electric plug. I was prescient and bought an extension cord in Munich. Talk about expanding the grid. Start here.

I have my mojo kit from Reuters, thanks to Nokia as well: An N82 phone with which I plan to take and post videos. I’ll also be posting to Comment is Free.

Last night for dinner: rösti with ham, mushrooms, and racelette cheese. I’m in a two-week European no-cholesterol-counting zone.

Getting ready for leading two panels tomorrow with an incredible bunch of panelists. One is on internet (over)stimulation; I’ll argue we’re not. Another fascinating topic asks whether the challengers (e.g., bloggers) are still challenging as they join the stream. Panelists at the first session include Lee Bollinger of Columbia.
Panelists at the second include one of Google’s founders, Cisco’s John Chambers, Accel’s Joe Schoendorf.

So off we go. I’ll post as the Swiss power grid allows.

Join the Davos Conversation

The world’s leaders are asking you to tell them what to do. This YouTube video from the World Economic Forum at Davos asks, “What one thing do you think that countries, companies or individuals must do to make the world a better place in 2008?” Starting now, they’re also asking you to vote on the responses you like best (as of now, there are 60 to see). They will be shown at the annual meeting of machers in the Swiss Alps, starting January 23, and the machers are suppose to respond back at a YouTube booth at the conference.

I was lucky enough to go to Davos last year and I’m lucky enough to go again this year. How can you pass down the chance to hobnob with everyone from Bill Gates to Gordon Brown to Chad Hurley to Mark Zuckerberg with more political, business, and media machers mixed in? I was also privileged to work on the Davos Conversation project last year and this video effort is an extension of that. The conversation expands.

When the folks at WEF first talked with me about extending the conversation that occurs at their annual meeting outside the cloistered confines of the charming dorf of Davos, they admitted some nervousness. These echelons aren’t accustomed to conversation. But the WEF folks were smart enough to want to teach the powerful there that the internet age is all about conversation. So it started with steps. The Davos Conversation page (disclosure: built by Daylife) included blog posts from bloggers there as well as Technorati links to others from elsewhere who joined the conversation, plus some videos we took. (Here are Arianna Huffington and me at the end; here‘s my video of YouTube’s Chad Hurley announcing his revenue sharing program.) I wandered around with my little camera shooting video and not even knowing that that itself was breaking a few rules. But the castles didn’t tumble and so the conversation continues and grows.

That’s why Davos is involving YouTube and the world in trying to extend this via video. There’ll be a booth on the main floor of the conference center where the powerful can record a message to the world — “Hey, YouTubers” — or a response to your messages. Blogging continues with some new guests (Michael Arrington of TechCrunch is joining this year and I know they were trying to get a few more unexpected participants). And Reuters is extending its mojo (mobile journalism) project by equipping some of the participants with their kits (I weaseled my way into this one!) to chronicle the meeting in text, photos, audio, and video.

To join this conversation, just use the Davos08 tag wherever you put up blog posts or videos or respond to the Davos invitation here.

Here’s one reply to the Davos question, arguing for technology to spread education:

This reply takes only eight second and makes sense:

This gumchewer says the single thing that would improve the world would be universal internet access: free wi-fi for all:

Here’s a guy who wants to use YouTube to actually spread knowledge:

This Canadian wants product labels revealing the impact of the products we buy on the world:

Here’s a sermon on the mount of YouTube: