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Dawdling At Davos, Innovating @ IBM

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The World Economic Forum officially kicked off in Davos, Switzerland earlier today.

Once again, there must have been a misunderstanding, as my tickets never arrived or got lost in the snow or something.

That’s okay, I’m too busy getting ready for Lotusphere, but I do like to keep at least one eye on the discussions and memes emanating from Switzerland this time of year.

Joke though you may about the $100,000 cocktail parties and fancy dinners featuring dishes with fish we’ve never even heard of in Texas, and would much less put in our mouths, there’s plenty of important people talking about issues relevant to the day, and to the global business environment.

If you’re looking for some venues to follow the tidings yourself, The Wall Street Journal has a special Davos section. And The New York Times “Dealbook” has its “Davos Diary.”

Even the headlines of the coverage so far are most revealing.  These from the Journal: “Europe’s Fate Still Looms in Davos.”  “Uneven Global Growth Bedevils CEOs.” “Banks Return With a Goal: Pushing Back.” “At Davos, Focus on China.” “Food Prices, Inflation Seen as Key Pressures.”  “Michael Dell Sees Upside of Austerity.”

I’m sorry, did someone mention there was a global economic recovery going on somewhere on the globe?  Anybody?

Even the headlines on China coming out of Davos seem bearish, as if waiting for the Great Red Chicken Little to come clucking down from the top of the Great Hall of the People to announce China’s growth has receded into single digit positive growth territory.

Me, I’m more of a glass half full kinda guy.  (Though I’m not going to specify what it’s typically half filled with. This is a family blog!)

And so, it seems, is Michael Dell. According to the Journal’s report, Dell reckons the austerity measures will prod governments and companies around the globe to invest in technology in order to boost productivity.

I’m all for that.  Imagine me now doing my Jim Cramer “Mad Money” impression: BUY BUY BUY!

To be somewhat fair and balanced, there was at least one slightly bullish headline: “Davos Forecast: Crowded With a Chance of Optimism.”

Niiiiice layup (of a headline).

The story goes on to observe though there are still lingering concerns around financial risk and sovereign debt and the like,  others are looking towards longer-term threats (like managing cybersecurity threats or natural-resource scarcity).

Note to Self: We’re also going to have to become more sensitive to the feelings of those “emerging” economies around the globe.  WPP’s  head honcho, Martin Sorrells, explained that we had to “get out of the lexicon the words ‘developing’ or ’emerging.'”

To which I pose the question, how, really, emerging can you be when you’ve had years of double-digit economic growth while much of the West has been trying to dig out of a big, black hole that even Stephen Hawking might have trouble finding the bottom of?

That’s why I liked Obama’s SOTU speech last evening.

Innovation.  Education.  Infrastructure.  Those are all ideas I could get my head around and which seem a logical way forward if we in the U.S. wish to become a “re-emerging” economy.

So, team, I’ve decided it’s time for a pep talk, or in this case, a pep video.

I share this following video, by one of my favorite documentary filmmakers, Errol Morris, commissioned by us as an homage to IBM’s contributions to the world over the past 100 years.

So go ahead, please, and ignore the Davos idle chatter and doom and gloom.

Put that purchase order through, everything’s going to be okay.

We at IBM have already helped invent this future and send a man to the moon.

As we stand on the precipice of this still new century, why wouldn’t we stand ready to innovate our way around the globe and through the next 100?

Written by turbotodd

January 26, 2011 at 2:52 pm

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