GCF2011: Summary of Day 2 Proceedings (Jan 24th,2011)
9:00 – 9:25Keynote SpeechHE Minister Al NaimiThe world’s economic power is moving away from the developed world to the emerging markets ofAsia and the Middle East, argued HE Ali bin Ibrahim Al Naimi, Saudi Arabian Minister of Petroleumand Minerals. He gave a speech entitled “Global Energy Outlook 2011” in which he discussed theglobal energy supply and said that Saudi Arabia stands ready to be bear the responsibility of beingchief producer and provider of energy to world markets.He did warn, however, of the threat that the casino culture of the world’s commodities exchangesand futures markets remains a constant threat to price stability despite solid fundamentals of arobust industry.Mr. Naimi provided the audience with an insightful analysis of Saudi Arabia’s energy policy from hisperspective at the highest level of government. He outlined the eight main drivers which inform hispolicies, from technology to international cooperation to environmental protection.The significant advances that the nation’s oil sector has experienced were summarized by Mr. Naimiwhen he said that “the Saudi Arabian oil industry is a model of excellence in advanced technologyand human talent.”9:25 – 10:40Global Risks 2011PanelIn their panel on “Global Risks in 2011” Mohammad Al-Jasser, Tony Blair, Jean Chretien, CarolineDaniels, Carlos Moreira, and James Turley echoed a positive, but cautious outlook on the comingyears. As stated by Mohammad Al-Jasser, “recovery, while promising and optimistic, will be fragile,sluggish and uneven” as the developing world continues to see stronger growth than the West.As the world regains its financial stability after the crisis of 2008 the major challenges that the worldwill face is to instill a collaborative and energized atmosphere. As noted by Tony Blair there is a fearthat in times of crisis countries often go their own way, but moving forward it is “critical that wemanage these challenges in a spirit of cooperation, not competition.”Jean Chretien and James Turley reinforced this idea of togetherness, by highlighting the importanceof promoting optimism within the economy through empowering the citizens of the world. Mr.Chretien, citing examples from his past, believed that confronting financial risk with the underlying“notion to make the populous feel optimistic” will lead people to consume and promote a growingeconomy.James Turley paralleled the (importance) of the individual by noting that “there is a major risk thatentrepreneurs stay on the sideline and not get back into the game.” In order to overcome thisproblem he outlined a number of approaches that both government and companies can take tocontinue to encourage economic growth in the coming years.
10:55-11:55Power of Social MediaPanelOne of the most intriguing panels of GCF also had some of the most diverse and intriguing speakers;from the Director of Google Ideas to a current senator for Northern Ontario. The panel shared theirviews on a multitude of ideas stemming from the pervasiveness of social media to innovation andsecurity.The conversation was started on a forward looking tone from the Director of Google Ideas, Mr. JaredCohen. He highlighted the growth of mobile technologies and internet access over the last 10 years,especially in underserved and less developed countries. Human beings, he concluded, are becomingaddicted to technology and this is opening a new frontier of connectivity and potential for innovationaround the globe.The conversation quickly turned towards the innovative nature of social media. Martin Dickson of theFinancial Times noted how his company’s business model has had to be adapted in the face of thisrising threat of free news. The three keys to the new model that he emphasized are speed,interactivity, and low barriers to entry. David Eilenburg stressed the importance of new businessesbeing able to act globally but provide locally relevant content.The conversation came to a conclusion with a discussion on privacy protection and security. SenatorPoulin agreed that the discourse has to center on a greater role for society in how information isbroadcast through new social mediums. Chrystia Freeland of Thomson Reuters noted an example ofa primary school that proctors its students’ activities on Facebook. The conclusion reached was that arising threat of security could only be combated with technology that monitors and assesses thesetreats.11:55 – 12:20Keynote Speech: Red Queen DilemmaPaul HawkenIn Paul Hawken’s keynote speech on “The Red Queen Dilemma” he spoke about the problem ofglobal sustainability from a unique and refreshing perspective.In his quest for understanding energy consumption in the world today, Paul Hawken confrontedexample after example of how the world is facing diminishing returns in energy harvesting. Heidentified that “one of the largest new oil reserves in the world today has taken decades to exploit,and will only last the world 15 months.” In addition, Mr. Hawken expressed the difficulty of meetingthe necessary carbon reductions over the next twenty-five years based on current energytechnologies, stating that we would have to “create a 100 mega-watt geothermal power plant everyday for the next twenty-five years” to meet carbon reduction targets.Currently, producing output requires greater resources (be they foods, minerals, or the use soils)than in the past to harvest the same output, “reversing the trend of productivity since the industrialrevolution.”To Mr. Hawken, the dilemma is to recognize that our world is an interdependent island where thecurrent methods of harvesting resources are unsustainable. While not offering a solution, a first stepwould be to understand our actions within the context of a global system that is interdependent.Only then, does Mr. Hawken believe we can begin to consume and innovate for a sustainable world. 2
1:20 – 2:20GreenovationPanelOur world is in need of new designs and technologies to run our planet. Yesterday’s panel session“Greenovation” was tasked with addressing this most relevant of issues in a world which isincreasingly populous, connected and wealthy in the case of Asia. Joseph Adelegan, Janine Benyus,Paul Hawken and Nicholas Parker drew from their wide-ranging firsthand experience in marrying theprofit motive with the pursuit of a sustainable and efficient world economy.Mr. Adelegan kicked off the discussion with a variety of practical and workable solutions to theworld’s coming waste management crisis, with both biological and technological approaches. Theability to use something we engage with everyday – nature – in order to draw inspiration for moreeffective and powerful technologies, systems and tools was analyzed by Ms. Benyus, who providedseveral eye-opening examples of this phenomenon.Mr. Hawken criticized the massive amounts of toxic byproducts created by our existing energy andeconomic infrastructure, including so-called renewable energies like solar and wind.The panel gave a compelling case that in order to reach our full potential as a society we must focuson building sustainable systems and energy production which will both preserve our environment aswell as creating massive efficiency gains economically. Luckily, Mr. Parker demonstrated that capitalseems to be flowing into those very clean technology endeavors that may create this change.2:20 – 2:40How to Achieve Global Car ManufacturingPanelIn Hans Dieter Potsch’s Keynote speech “VW 2018: How to Achieve Global Car Manufacturer #1” heoutlined a bold strategy to become the dominant car manufacturer in the Middle East and thenumber one automotive company by 2018. This strategy will be underpinned by innovation,environmentally friendly practices, and taking advantage of the region’s expanding markets. Torealize this goal VW must ensure a steady stream of new models to keep customers buying.To support its steady stream of models and keep production costs low, VW has created a highlymodular production line. They are able to distill cars down to a set of key, similar, parts that can beused across a wide range of products. This has reduced unit cost by 20%, one-off expenditures by20%, and engineering hours per vehicle by 30%.As the company focuses on its expansion the region, becoming green is also an imperative – and thecompany does not believe this is at odds with speed and design. The Porsche Sypder 918, a newmodel by the VW subsidiary, is a highly-efficient hybrid sports car that has utilized the latesttechnologies from across the conglomerate to produce a next generation product. Simply put, VWbelieves “green and fast are not at odds ends.”Lastly, VW believes that emerging markets can fuel their growth in the coming years; allowing themto become a truly global car company. In particular, they believe they have the product linenecessary to succeed in Saudi Arabia and will leverage these product lines to expand its footprint intothe region. 3
2:40 – 3:40Innovation in Heavy IndustryPanelInnovation is possible in the industrial sector as long as the correct mechanisms are put into place toincentivize employees and management alike to think about innovation. This was the consensusamong some of the world’s top industrial CEOs on the panel titled “Innovation in Heavy Industries”,in which Mohamed Al-Mady, Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, Thomas Connelly, Jean-Pascal Tricoire andAlberto Pirelli gave an overview of their strategies for innovating in their respective fields.Several methods were put forward by the panel. Mr. Clamadieu proposed that “setting very cleargoals for innovation and for clean targets like CO2 reduction is very important in order to achieve theresults you want from your staff”. The potential for huge efficiency increases and cost savings fromthe adjustment of the material makeup of industrial products and consumer goods alike wasdescribed by Mr. Kleinfeld, with specific reference to the benefits of aluminum.Mr. Tricoire verbalized a malaise that seemed to be present across the panel when he mentionedthat the new new economic powers are much more innovative and determined than the developedworld.For those managers aspiring to achieve the next level in innovative technologies in their fields,perhaps the most practical advice came from Mr. Clamadieu who advised, “you don’t frame theinnovation on the how, you frame the innovation on the what.”2:40 – 3:40A Full PlatePanelA sense of seriousness and urgency came out of this panel as the important issue of food securitywas discussed. The distinguished panel highlighted the shortage of food for the next generation ifnew, more efficient practices are not adopted. The panelists gave quick summaries of their specificareas of work, and how this will resolve the impending problems. The entire panel agreed that therewas not one easy fix, but rather a collaborative effort from governments, non-profits, and individualsis needed.The conversation was started by Mr. Jason Clay who spoke of his experience with the WWF workingwith major food producers (large corporations) to stop deforestation in their production processes.Mr. Clay warned that current production practices will not satisfy future food demand.“Sustainability is a precompetitive issue” he said which resounded well with the audience.Mr. Jian Kang Zhu, a researcher and professor from KAUST, is at the forefront of genetic plantengineering. He described the positive effects that technological advancements have played on hisown hometown in China. Innovations have come from both genetic engineering and processmanagement. He emphasized that these innovations need to continue into the future, regardless ofsocial taboos. According to Mr. Zhu 70% of plant production is lost due to abiotic factors.Maximizing plant production through the control of biotic factors was at the heart of Steven Smith’spresentation. He showed a video of a company engaged in these practices, Verticrop. Verticrop usesinnovative computer software to track and maximize the potential of plants. Verticrop can producethe same crop yield with 90% less water and only a fraction of the land. 4
3:55 – 5:25Cities of the FuturePanelIn the panel “Cities of the Future” Wim Elfrink, David Gensler, Mohanud Helal, Timothy Hester, andThomas Krens outlined the integral components needed to create future cities that are moreinnovative and sustainable. These integral components include advanced technologies, forward-thinking architecture, culture, rule of law, and an empowered government and regulator. Each ofthese integral parts aids in increasing interconnectivity and productivity.Timothy Hester promoted the rule of law as it “reduces risk and promotes certainty which are criticallevers to attract talent and produce innovation.” However, rules alone will not attract theseinnovators to cities noted Thomas Krens and highlighted the importance of culture as “what attractspeople to cities, and what brings them together to promote innovation through collaboration.”Effectively investing in these integral components will allow future cities to meet growing demand asthe trend towards urbanization accelerates and provide high quality of life to citizens.3:55 – 5:25i20PanelThe question of how to develop the best platform for spurring innovation is a difficult one whichseveral inspired policymakers have endeavored to solve. This issue was addressed yesterday byexperts and government officials in the session “i20”. Alfonso Martinez Cearra, Rod Glover, MikeHughes and John Kao participated.Mr. Kao defended the American reverence for risk-taking but cautioned his country for the future,saying that “it is the one place in the world where failure is forgiven, however it has taken its foot offof the pedal in terms of continuing that”.An inspiring concept of the “quatemary sector” – beyong primary, secondary and tertiary economicphenomena was described by Mr. Cearra, who said that less developed countries would have theability to “leapfrog” to this sector and skip the many mistakes the West has made on the path toindustrialization.While Mr. Glover warned that we are facing a “wicked world of new risks” requiring new solutions,Mr. Hughes put forward his view that “the application of science technology and innovation isindispensable”.Ultimately, many important lessons can be drawn from the experiences of Australia, Spain, the USand Rwanda, however we must remember that innovation is a tool to wider development goals, notthe endgame. 5