Results tagged “Davos”

Is Data Killing Creativity?

Shantanu_NarayeneditededitedAdobe CEO Shantanu Narayen is in Davos, Switzerland this week, chairing the Media, Entertainment and Information Governors Meeting at the World Economic Forum.  This blog is cross-posted from the Forum Blog.

We are living in a world of “big data”; every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data that flows to and from smartphones, PCs, tablets, TVs and innumerable other connected devices. As chair of the Media, Entertainment and Information (MEI) Governors Meeting in Davos this year, I’ve been reflecting on what this may mean for our society in the future.

We know more, we do more, we’re more connected.  We have real-time access to content and information we never could have imagined.   And yet, I’m concerned that lost in this rising tide of data is the essence of what makes us human:  Creativity.  It goes far beyond the traditional world of art and music.  Creativity is the essence of invention and inspiration, and it is what fuels our economy.

Indeed, global research we conducted in 2012 showed that 8 in 10 people feel that unlocking creativity is critical to economic growth and nearly two-thirds of respondents feel creativity is valuable to society.  But only 1 in 4 people – a strikingly low percentage – believe they are living up to their own creative potential.   Respondents revealed that productivity, not creativity, is what employers currently demand.

creativity infographic

How did productivity trump creativity?   Macroeconomic conditions have certainly created pressure on companies to produce results.  But has more emphasis on technical skills, operational improvements and hard numbers devalued creativity in the workplace?  Or does it start much earlier, in our schools, where the race to improve science, technology and math (STEM) abilities in students has overtaken time once spent on “softer” subjects?  Are we stifling our children’s imagination?

In a follow-up study we conducted in the United States, nearly three-quarters of respondents said creative thinking should be “taught as a course – like math or science.”  We as business leaders should advocate for this type of thinking both in our schools and our companies as we grow our next generation of employees.

Companies like ours who are in the business of content must also take responsibility for encouraging creativity.  All of us in the MEI community need to encourage creativity among our young people and in our enterprises large and small.   Whether it’s investing in small businesses with big ideas, entrepreneur in residence programs or educational scholarships like the Adobe Youth Voices Creativity Scholarship, we must keep creativity front and center.

We live in an extraordinary time where a treasure trove of content—data, photographs, books, music, video—can be made by and shared with the world.  Today, everyone can be a creator.   Everyone can share their creations and gauge the impact of that creativity whether it’s financial, cultural or societal.  What a gift to us all.

Dispatch from Davos

Great (and busy!) first day of the World Economic Forum at Davos today. I feel really privileged to be able to attend this global gathering again this year and was honored to take part in a panel discussion on digital convergence.

The pulse here is cautious – not optimistic. There’s a sense among some that we aren’t sure whether the recovery of 2010 — which appears to have been strong — is holding steady.

A huge part of the discussion at this year’s gathering is the diminishing power of the West to set the tone of debates in finance, governance, education, and to a large extent IT.  The Indian and China contingents feel incredibly empowered to set the course of IT innovation and overall dominance of this recovery.

On the tech front, the key focus is around connectedness and convergence.  How do the business and social norms change when our lives are as connected as they are today?  What does this tell us about the way business needs to change?

In some ways it’s as if Customer Experience Management is the biggest issue in technology right now! Everyone agrees users are driving the changes, and businesses and governments need to be responsive to users.

I really enjoyed the lively discussion on the panel about digital convergence, led by the venerable David Kirkpatrick of the Daily Beast. The panel was a great discussion about the trends in digital innovation that are changing the way we conduct business.

More to come…

– Rob

Follow me on Twitter for more updates from Davos.

Reporting back on my recent trip to Davos for the World Economic Forum

Review of Day 2 at Davos

Interesting day – the world’s response to Haiti is taking center stage in a number of sessions. President Clinton today reminded people to follow through on their commitments once all the cameras turn off. He is making a big push for a worldwide response to get the nation of Haiti rebuilt and retrained, referring to them as “one of the most resilient people I have ever met”. On a personal note, I actually got to shake his hand, which was kind of cool.

Caption: Clinton speaking on how to help rebuild Haiti

The financial industry is on the defensive, calling their role in getting us into this monetary crisis, the ultimate “burden of trust” that they will have to bear with the world community.

IT continues to play a strong role in bringing developing nations to prosperity. In the high-tech philanthropy session Nick Negraponte, Melinda Gates and the Intel Foundation were strong advocates of continuing to push connected devices directly into the hands of children, and not to schools where many teachers are less tech saavy than the kids!

Caption: Melinda Gates, Nick Negraponte, Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia and others discuss high tech philanthropy

Also met several government officials today who are pleased with the WELCOM platform and the role Adobe is playing in transforming citizen interaction. I am pitching everyone, everywhere I get a chance (tirelessly) and will continue this until about 2AM tonight.

Don’t miss Don Tapscott’s article on WELCOM.

More tomorrow.

SVP/GM, Business Productivity Solutions, Adobe

Follow me on Twitter for more updates from Davos.

Review of Day 1 at Davos

Did not get a chance to attend many sessions – Social Networking panel discussion this morning was interesting, but it is clear that no one quite understands how the growth of social networks is really going to impact corporate behavior. Don Tapscott gave example of Best Buy as a company that really uses the power of Community to drive their customer support – I am going to try to spend some time with the CEO to understand better what their strategy is.

Interesting meetings with the large Indian SIs and outsourcers (Cognizant, TCS) as they are very aggressively investing in more resources and headcount in India. Met with George Colony of Forrester who understands the concept that Adobe is transforming user experience in enterprise applications and wants to hear more.

Most interesting conversation of the day was with Bob Kimmitt of Deloitte, former Deputy Treasury Secretary to Hank Paulson and my boss at Commerce One (President and COO there) – Bob sees a tremendous game of chicken with China coming down the road as they seek to list their companies abroad but aren’t willing to play by the corporate rules of other nations. There is a tremendous polarization that has happened based on Google’s response to China, and it will be interesting to hear more of the discussion tonight at the dinner.

Signing off…

SVP/GM, Business Productivity Solutions, Adobe

Follow me on Twitter for more updates from Davos.

About this blog


Welcome to Adobe Featured Blogs, a one-stop information and conversation destination for virtually anyone interested in what's going on at Adobe. Here you'll find the latest company and product news from Adobe's multiple lines of business. We value your perspective and encourage comments that are on-topic and add value but that do not spam, denigrate or offend. Read more