As we step into 2023, we must not only identify and evaluate tailwinds from headwinds in the context of the recent geopolitical crisis, climate emergencies, pandemic, and economic hurdles but also ensure that the strategies are sustainable and visions are long-term
People walk in a hall at Davos Congress Centre, the venue of the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2023, in the Alpine resort of Davos, Switzerland, January 15, 2023. Image: Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann
‘Aaghaaz’, or the beginning of the year, is an opportune time to contemplate how different the coming year can be in terms of business and economic growth—what novelties can result in a beautiful ‘Anjaam’, or results of our actions. Stepping a rung up from the personal level, I also contemplate what more we should be doing in unison to ensure equitable growth opportunities for all.
Like all previous years, Davos 2023, I believe, will provide answers to many of my queries and anticipations. It is indeed the perfect platform for participants to drive forward-looking solutions and address the most pressing global challenges through public-private cooperation. The discourses and discussions at Davos—the annual global congregation of thought leaders and think tanks, are channelled towards mobilising economies to collaborate, cooperate, and co-create a better tomorrow. For this, we need to realise that each one of us has a role to play here. Even the simplest of ideas can turn the tide during difficult times. After being jolted by the pandemic two years ago, the world has made a powerful comeback. This has happened largely due to our indomitable spirits, entrepreneurial and innovative mindset, and a huge emphasis on technology and digital.
As we step into 2023, we must not only identify and evaluate tailwinds from headwinds in the context of the recent geopolitical crisis, climate emergencies, pandemic, and economic hurdles but also ensure that the strategies are sustainable and visions are long-term.
Here is my Davos wish list for this year:
Agenda 2030: Where do we stand?
It has been two years since the United Nations launched its 'Decade of Action,' which aims to address all common problems of the new normal world, including climate change, poverty, inequality, and closing the finance gap. Before creating any further blueprints, we must determine how far we have progressed in the right direction. 360-degree reviews and benchmarking on relevant parameters by dedicated committees could help get a clear picture.
Harnessing the power of ‘Oneness’
The battles of tomorrow, which we have all imagined, cannot be fought in isolation or by working in silos. Cooperation is like oil for the geopolitical machinery, allowing it to run smoothly and produce beautiful results; thus, the emphasis must shift from competition to cooperation.
Shifting from a ‘shareholder-focussed approach’ to a ‘stakeholder-focussed approach’
Enough has been said about the importance of shifting gears from a narrow 'shareholder-focused approach' to a broader 'stakeholder-focused approach'. We now need to walk the talk. This will allow the benefits of a business' economic growth to permeate into the larger society and its people. Every action must be undertaken with a focus on the welfare and benefit of the world around us. For example, is it possible for a manufacturing set-up to reduce the water consumption in its units and redirect the extra resources to irrigation of local fields? We need more serious discussions and a plausible game plan to instil such forward-thinking ideas in the minds of our people.
Infrastructure and trade will never fade
Policies that facilitate the vision of one world are urgently needed. Efforts must be increased to encourage global investments, trade, and infrastructure for economic prosperity and development. While infrastructure and trade can have a positive economic impact, their actual development impact is heavily dependent on how investment strategies are defined and implemented. Investments in key industries such as energy, telecommunications, and transportation networks have a direct impact on economic growth and sustainability endeavours. The availability of quality infrastructure enhances productivity and competitiveness, giving the much-needed impetus to economic growth, employment and social development. A quality and sustainable infrastructure can lower the cost of delivered goods, improve the physical mobility of people and goods, mitigate productivity constraints, and boost competitiveness.
Technology has been redefining realities for people from different walks of life. It has not only altered the way we work but has also revolutionised how we live. In this highly complicated and competitive brittle, anxious, nonlinear, and incomprehensible (BANI) world, technology can help us navigate the future. With its ability to make accurate predictions in real-time, find drugs to cure diseases, share valuable information worldwide and establish seamless global connectedness, I would say, technology is indeed working to defeat each horseman of the unforeseen apocalypse. It is imperative today for each one of us to leverage technology to prepare for turbulent times by building resilient systems.
Soaring with skilling
Technology is evolving rapidly, and individuals and organisations must focus on upskilling to keep up. In the post-Covid-19 reality, upskilling, along with an enabling ecosystem, will become a key differentiator for organisations seeking to retain and thrive on talent. Hence, it is our responsibility, as leaders, as organisations, and as educational institutions, to ensure that we become the wind beneath the wings for these future generations.
The writer is MD & CEO of Tech Mahindra.
The thoughts and opinions shared here are of the author.
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