Just got into into the town of Davos. The famous economist Joe Stiglitz was on my flight but I didn’t recognize him. Someone with a sign bearing his name was at the front door of the plane when it opened. Looks like Joe gets a ride to Davos. He deserves it. This is his time. Stiglitz has warned of unregulated free markets for years and the meltdown in the global financial markets underlines his cautions.
I can’t wait to run into Robert Shiller, the economist who has been warning about a housing bubble for many years. He is the Shiller of the Case-Shiller index of housing prices, which has been declining sharply of late. His earlier book, Irrational Exhuberance, warned of the internet bubble. I wonder what Bob is thinking now.
Beautiful snow on the trees, people skiing and snowboarding. The conference began this morning and I’m a bit late for the opening. I expect people are in the Conference Center because there aren’t many folks on the streets. I wonder if people stayed away this year. I’ll find out in an hour or so.
I have a dinner with Harvard’s Michael Porter tonight and Intel’s Craig Barrett tomorrow. That should be very interesting. Both are deep into innovation and change.
Because companies cut back their sponsorship of the World Economic Forum this year, the WEF dumped the series of workshops teaching innovation and design thinking that was so popular in 2008 and 2007. Too bad. These workshops were mobbed with corporate, government and NGO managers and leaders trying to learn the skills and tools of innovating their institutions. It was hugely successful. Alas, no more.
Instead, there is a series of presentations by universities. I’ll go to a few to check them out but I’m not hopeful. I expect there will be famous professors talking about the latest research and case studies without the actual learning experience and abilities that come with workshops.