A game of ideas at Davos

31 January 2012

Creating a positive legacy from the 2012 Olympics and debating the pros and cons of complexity resulting from hyperconnectivity were two of the themes addressed by the Oxford Martin School Director, Professor Ian Goldin, at his recent trip to the 2012 World Economic Forum Meeting in Davos.

Taking part in the WEF IdeasLab, Goldin led a group of academics from the Oxford Martin School to discuss hyperconnectivity in relation to pandemics, supply chains, data deluge, citizen science and governance.

Considering how to create a positive legacy from the Olympic Games 2012, Goldin also chaired the lunchtime discussion, The Olympic Games: more than a medal.

Participants addressed the question of what winning models for driving sustainable economic growth can be drawn from the Olympic Games, as well as determining the long term social and economic impact of the Games. Joining the discussion were Sebastian Coe, Chair, London Organising Committee of the 2012 Olympic Games; Boris Johnson, Mayor of London and Sir Michael Rake, Chairman, BT Group.

Building on the hyperconnectivity theme discussed at the IdeasLab, Goldin moderated a two hour dinner session on managing chaos. “While hyperconnectivity and growing complexity create the potential for more chaos, they also create potential for better information sharing and management,” said Goldin. Along with Oxford Martin School academics Angela McLean, Chris Lintott and Felix Reed-Tsochas the group addressed the question: How can the emerging science of complexity help us foster creativity while managing chaos? The Oxford Martin School team were joined for the dinner session by Stephanie Forrest, Professor of Computer Science at the University of New Mexico, USA and Scott E. Page, Leonid Hurwicz Collegiate Professor of Complex Systems, Political Science and Economics at the University of Michigan.

“The WEF meeting in Davos is a very efficient way of presenting the Oxford Martin School’s work to senior opinion formers from around the world and for exploring potential collaboration and involvement with the School,” said Goldin. Following the discussions at Davos 2012, he commented, “I am convinced that the work that we do at the Oxford Martin School is deeply relevant to solving the global problems we are facing now and will face in the future. That is why it is so valuable to be present and engaged in these fora.”