At the Economic Times Global Business Summit 2022, notable national and global leaders from a variety of backgrounds discussed ways to accelerate progress toward sustainability, improved governance, and tech-driven innovations for the future world order. Here's a quick recap

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

SpeakersGBS

At the Economic Times Global Business Summit 2022, notable national and global leaders from a variety of backgrounds discussed ways to accelerate progress toward sustainability, improved governance, and tech-driven innovations for the future world order. Here's a quick recap

Prominent national and international CEOs, opinion leaders, and government leaders shared their thoughts on the rapidly evolving geo-political calculus, the disruption in economies, and the path to the new normal at the Economic Times Global Business Summit in March, 2022. They discussed and deliberated on an accelerated move towards sustainability, better governance, and tech-led innovations for the new world order , in diverse topics sewn together under the broad theme “The Great Resurgence: Now, Next, & Beyond.”

Nitin Jairam Gadkari, Minister for Road Transport & Highways, who delivered a keynote speech at the summit, opines on the positive multiplier effects of development, particularly of infrastructure projects that the government is focusing on, and believes this, will radically improve the quality of life and investment opportunities.

India’s role and status in the global community of nations have also catapulted many notches, a point that Meenakshi Lekhi, Union Minister of State for External Affairs and Culture, buttressed at length in a session aptly titled “India and the Great Powers” at the summit.

The biggest transformation is taking place in the area of digitalization, particularly in the context of the metaverse, which has held out enormous promise to overwhelmingly change the way businesses are transacted, goods are bought and sold, the experiential potential of augmented reality, and the influence of artificial intelligence in our everyday lives.

Shantanu Narayen, Chairman & CEO, Adobe, offered a peek into what’s happening within the tech giant as well as in the broader universe of research and innovation. The role of leadership in ushering this change cannot be over-emphasized.

“I think in our roles as leaders, it’s about saying, are we planting the flag in terms of where we want to go as a company and making sure that it’s aspirational enough so that employees find different ways to demonstrate and add their own value to this really, truly. So, having said that, when you talk about web, 3D and when you talk about the metadata, maybe I’ll talk about a simple example, which is clearly what has happened, is a lot of the things where we participated in a physical world are going to move into a virtual world”, Narayen said in a session titled “Shaping the Digital Revolution”.

While the world of meta beckons with a promise to turn many things physical into digital, experiential occurrences, there are still many areas that need physical human movements. Travel and tourism is one such examples.

The pandemic’s impact on travel and tourism was analogous to pressing a mechanical button to bring a car in cruise control mode to a screeching halt. People have to crisscross across locations for the revival of the sector, which has been laid low by multiple COVID-19 waves, leaving a debilitating trail in hotels and homestays.

On top of it all comes the Ukraine-Russia conflict, prompting the question: Will the conflict set back recovery in the global homestead business?

Nathan Blecharczyk, co-founder and chief strategy officer at Airbnb was upfront. “I think it’s really early to tell. All of this has played out in the span of a couple of weeks. Two weeks ago, no one would have predicted where we were at. I’m an optimist. I hope things will take a turn for the better. So far, this conflict has been in a focused geography. Obviously, we’re seeing the impacts of it broadly in terms of fuel prices, refugees, et cetera. I think one thing we’ve learned from the pandemic, though, is that there is this appetite to travel,” he said at a session titled “Tourism: Riding the Recovery Wave”.

The key challenge, though, remains how to build a resilient and sustainable future. How is sustainability going to impact the Indian economy, the world economy, and businesses?

Expressing his views, Jamshyd N Godrej, chairman and managing director of Godrej and Boyce, stated that, “this transition has been in progress for some time. I believe you must consider the change that will occur over a long period of time, because science has clearly stated that if we do not do this, the weather will become rather catastrophic by the turn of the century.So, I think the most important point is that people know that they must now decarbonize”.

Another defining characteristic of the pandemic has been the way people work and the way education is imparted. Is working from home going to be a permanent feature of the new normal? Probably. more towards a hybrid, blended mode.

Mark Read, CEO, WPP, put things in perspective at the summit. “It’s become closer, more trusting, and more critical. Although hundreds of millions of people have faced working from home for longer than they may wish, their physical distance has not stopped work from building stronger bonds in the workplace. Will businesses want to walk back these bonds, or has it now become a permanent new way of working? Our industry is historically an in person collaborative business. We’re bringing people together to associate with better results, especially when innovating or creating,” Read said.

What about education? Is the future one where tech companies will necessarily have to promise education with a job guarantee? Ronnie Screwvala, Co-Founder and Chairperson of upGrad.com, shared an intriguing ROI-based insight.

“ROI on your investment is very critical. Does that equal a job guarantee? Absolutely not. Let’s be very clear. Even when you’re an entrepreneur, you’re not guaranteed because you could be busted out”, opined Screwvala.

Written By Anupama Sughosh

Edited By Queenie Nair

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members