AGENDA  September 17

The Ritz-Carlton Astana, Business Center, 2nd floor, Ballroom I and II

Invitation only events

Registration and Breakfast
Sign up for Conversations and Field Trips for Day 2 (September 18, 2019) 
Welcoming Remarks
The Global Federation of Competitiveness Councils is pleased to open the 2019 Global Innovation Summit in collaboration with the Kazakhstan Council on Competitiveness, the Center for Research and Consulting and its partners and sponsors for the event. Join us as we commence the outstanding discussions and listen to some introductory words form GFCC and Kazakhstan leaders. 

Launch of the GFCC Global Competitiveness Principles and Best Practices

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The GFCC and its members are proud to launch its annual flagship publications: 

The GFCC and its multi-stakeholder network with representation in more than 30 countries around the globe agreed to the 2019 Global Competitiveness Principles. First launched in 2010, the Global Competitiveness Principles offer an overarching framework for national strategies and programs aimed at fostering innovation, competitiveness and prosperity in the 21st century economy. This year’s edition focuses on action-oriented solutions to transform competitiveness across the globe. 

The GFCC promotes debate and dialogue with the idea of accelerating competitiveness through collaboration. In this year’s edition of the Best Practices report, we highlight examples from GFCC members in Ecuador, Kazakhstan, Qatar, and the United States. 

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Transform Competitiveness: The GIS2019 Agenda

What can you expect from the coming three days of activities? What will we learn? What is the action plan that we could develop in the conversations and discussions at this event? 

Join us as we give you a more in-depth answer to these questions and jumpstart the rest of the content-packed day. 

Transformation Spotlight: The Future of Talent and Work

The Great Talent Transition 

Talent is the lifeblood of competitiveness. Top talent is key for innovation, technology and business growth. And yet, the talent landscape is changing faster than ever. Companies and countries are facing what we call “The great talent transition”.


Work as we know it is about to end. Automation, artificial intelligence, digitization and robotics are changing the way we produce, sell, and consume goods and services. Factories and offices are giving way to digital workspaces and some tasks currently performed by humans will be taken over by computers or machines. Even highly specialized white collar jobs such as those of surgeons, accountants or lawyers will change as a result of new technologies. Some skills will become expendable while others will be much in demand. We have seen such transitions in the past – but today’s transition it is faster and deeper. Success will depend on who fast we can upskill and reskill employees.


Other trends also challenge the current talent dynamics. Superstar cities, sectors and firms that offer better pay will be more attractive to talent. Digital technologies will change workplaces and attitudes of millennial talent are challenging businesses’ purpose and . The gig economy will enable us to work from anywhere anytime. Demography and migration will redefine employee profiles, training needs and entire workplaces. Given the pace of change, employees, and education systems need to prepare to go through a few careers in a lifetime.


In this session, we will explore how the skills landscape is changing. What are the dynamics that affect the talent landscape? How can countries and companies navigate the great transition and prepare for it? What are the solutions that work in countries and companies? Which countries are ahead of others?

Panel 1 --
Nations in Transformation -- Challenges and Opportunities for Economic, Technological and Social Development across the Globe

The topic of national transformation has been in the spotlight recently, with several countries launching transformation strategies and initiatives across the globe, particularly in the emerging world. Traditionally, such initiatives aim to promote growth and enable countries to transition to higher income levels and build more sophisticated national economies. For decades, this has been the realm of economic and industrial development strategies and policies, but new and more systemic approaches have emerged.

Contemporary national transformation initiatives tend to be more systemic, connecting societal issues (health, education, security, sustainability etc.) with talent development, innovation, internationalization and industrial sophistication and diversification. They also put strong emphasis on the modernization of institutions, the improvement of government structures and processes, the dynamization of public-private interfaces and the dissemination of new technologies, particularly digital ones.

National transformation is certainly an important topic for countries transitioning economic systems or that went through long stagnation processes. Through a combination of investment, trade, industrial, education and innovation strategies, they strive to create new economic dynamics and modernize productive structures. With technology acceleration, national transformation became a topic of much broader reach and relevance.

Technology has reached unprecedented level and speed, challenging existing business models, companies, industries, skill sets, government structures and institutional frameworks. In the past, adaptation to technology change was a feasible strategy; today, transformation is needed to avoid disruption. The good news is that technology also opens a variety of new opportunities. It is in this context that individuals, organizations, institutions and countries are increasingly focusing on transformation.

  • Why is transformation an essential topic for national agendas?

  • What countries are at the edge in implementing transformation initiatives? What have they done?

  • What are the key enablers? What is missing?

Transformation Spotlight: The Future of Energy

Wildfires burning out of control, hurricanes increasing in frequency and ferocity, massive flooding and the loss of arable land are among the early symptoms of climate change. William “Bill” Lese, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of New York based Braemar Energy Ventures, whose focus on energy innovation and related businesses spans over 35 years, will provide a perspective on how the global energy transition is accelerating at an unprecedented pace as governments and the private sector continue to support and implement climate change legislation, policies and strategies to help mitigate the increasingly catastrophic effects of global warming. This snapshot of the energy transition will include a discussion of key technology-enabled trends which are providing tools that are unprecedented in their ability to accomplish positive change. These trends include the “3Ds”: Digitization, Decentralization and Decarbonization, which are changing the way communities manage, plan and implement energy innovation in order to ultimately make clean energy ubiquitous. The “3Ds” are complimented by the “3Rs”: Reliability, Resilience and Remuneration. The “3Rs” protect against disruption from the increasing regularity of extreme weather and cyber-attacks while increasing overall system efficiency through advances that enable existing centralized infrastructure to be seamlessly integrated with distributed energy resources. 

Bill has been passionate about energy since his earliest days where he designed and built a solar panel after receiving an NSF scholarship. Since those early years, he has been involved in R&D, project development, manufacturing and in more recent years in venture capital where he has concentrated heavily on startups that have the potential to be disruptive to both energy supply and demand side applications across industry verticals including transportation, fuels and chemicals, utilities and the built environment. Since co-founding Braemar Energy Ventures, Bill and his team have invested in over 70 companies and created $ 12+ billion of enterprise value via 11 IPO’s and 23 M&A exits 


Panel 2 --
Energy in Transformation -- Bridging Supply with Future Sustainability

It seems clear at this point in history that the future of energy has to and will be about clean and sustainable sources. However, the path ahead and the pace for energy transition across countries and worldwide is far for clear. 

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the global investments in energy totalized US$ 1.85 trillion in 2018, including power, oil & gas, energy efficiency, coal supply and renewables for transport and heat. The oil & gas industry accounted for $726 bi and renewable power projects attracted $304 bi in capital, roughly 2.4 times more capital than fossil fuel ones. Energy transformation will require a different capital allocation profile in the years and decades to come. The shape it will have still is to be determined.

Affordable energy is a critical lever for national competitiveness, business growth and society wellbeing. We live in an era of energy abundance – oil prices are significantly below past levels and new technologies and business practices are making new energy sources accessible. Developments like the expansion of shale gas production in the US contribute to economic growth and manufacturing competitiveness and are a good example of the opportunities that emerge with energy abundance.

Still today, 1.1 billion people around the globe don’t have access to electricity, tells the IEA. Considering population trends, it is clear that energy investments necessarily have to factor electricity access for citizens. Global population growth and development will pump future energy demand – for instance, in the next 30 years, 2.5x the floor area today existing in China will be built in emerging nations, creating massive challenges but also opportunities to incorporate new standards and drive energy efficiency.

Coupled with new solar and wind, nuclear technology, storage and batteries, smart power grids, advanced manufacturing, mobility, construction and large-scale carbon management technologies present opportunities for the greenification of energy matrixes. To come to fruition, they will demand public-private collaboration to support R&D. The application and scale-up of new energy technologies in a capital-intensive and complex industry marked by long cycles of adoption will also require a lot of learning and adaptation, in industry, standards, regulation etc. – testbeds and pilot projects are very important to that end.

Energy resources are main sources of income for countries. The wealth they generate can be used to fund research and technology development in energy and beyond, helping to kick-start new industries and driving economic transformation. Critical policy decisions related to energy and the use of energy resources are not just about the relationship between affordability and sustainability, but the connection between today’s and future economy.

  • How can countries simultaneously secure affordable energy supply and drive transformation in energy matrixes?

  • What opportunities are being created by technology growth?

  • How can energy-rich countries leverage today’s assets to build a sustainable and prosperous future?


Lunch Break
Transformation Spotlight: Industry

Getting Industry 4.0 Ready: Lessons from Successful Policies & Implementations

Industry 4.0 has been a buzz across various industrial sectors. Quite a few plants, especially those in the traditional extractive and power generation business, are still struggling to fully embrace industry 3.0 standards.  Besides the enterprise digital infrastructure maturity there are a number of factors that turned out to act like prerequisites for successful implementation of industry 4.0 technologies. This presentation briefly examines those factors in a real case implementation for a mining operation in Kazakhstan. Human capital and an enterprise-wide adoption turned out to be the most critical items. The presentation will introduce a few state initiatives that help to drive successful transition. Though it is still early in the process, the introduced policies of incubator-like technology transfers and startup involvement have been showing a positive dynamics. 


Panel 3 --
Industries in Transformation -- Building New Industries and Boosting Productivity in Today's Economy

With the accelerated innovation of new technologies and the increased use of connectivity in the production process, most industries have experienced a drastic change. The service industry has become even more consumer oriented, the manufacturing sector has seen a revival. Long gone are the days of noisy, highly polluting industrial manufacturing sites – they have made way for modern, innovative, heavily digitized manufacturing sites.

The way in which countries will perform globally in the competitiveness landscape, however, will largely be decided based on their ability to keep up with these transformations – which challenge the way that companies do business, the path and longevity of policies and the way that citizens work and live.

At this point it is clear that advanced manufacturing and artificial intelligence are the future – and they are unavoidable. At the same time, nations around the globe face different realities: For some who already face very innovative industries, Industry 4.0 and Artificial Intelligence will be a “step up”, while for others with more old-fashioned industries and a lack of investment into innovative technologies over the past decades will be confronted with difficulties to keep up and will face disruptions in the process.

Additionally, industrial sectors will face different paths forward. The possibilities for rationalization and automation vary from sector to sector. The automotive industry may face a very different future from the mechanical engineering sector, the textile industry will develop differently from advanced materials, biotech and bioengineering will develop differently from construction. What we are really facing is not one single future, but rather multiple futures and countries ability to foresee these challenges and different realities will impact their competitiveness potential in the decades to come.

  • How can countries accelerate the introduction of advanced technologies across industries and boost productivity economywide?

  • Which industries pose the greatest opportunities for future growth? What do countries need to do to position themselves in that context?

  • What are some of the best recent examples of countries that succeeded in building new industries and transforming their economies?


Transformation Spotlight: Cities and Mobility

Nur-Sultan as a Resilient yet Competitive City

The global quest for talents has intensified. Cities around the world are competing to attract professionals, talents, innovators, entrepreneurs and investors.

For Nur-Sultan city the quest for talents is vital in order to keep its further development, to build a knowledge-based economy and to become a global city in Eurasia. Achieving these goals would require a transformation of the city into a comfortable, smart, business friendly, open and connected hub. Geographic remoteness, challenging environmental conditions, socio-economic fluctuations set a framework for Nur-Sultan to be resilient city. It is on city’s agenda to provide a hospitable and inclusive urban environment, affordable housing, integrated public transportation, quality education and healthcare, safety and security for its citizens and visitors.


The city plans to enhance its competitiveness by developing and providing conditions for advanced manufacturing, digitalization, creative sectors, financial sector and tourism as well as improving its connectivity with other global cities and regions worldwide. The city has a capacity and potential to transform and achieve these ambitious and challenging goals. The impulse the city has received two decades ago since becoming a capital of Kazakhstan, propelled and transformed it into a modern and growing city in the region. Now the city is ready for its next step – becoming a global city.

Panel 4 --
Cities in Transformation -- Transforming the Urban Landscapes and Building Future Competitiveness Centers 

The world is becoming increasingly urbanized. According to statistical forecasts by the UN, almost 70 percent of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2050. Cities are attracting talent, investment, business – in short: innovators from around the globe are moving to cities. And this development is one experienced in the Global North, and the South, albeit at different levels. UN Habitat predicts that Africa will urbanize from 30% to 50% in the next decades.

With this change come a variety of opportunities for development – and challenges that will arise along the way. Housing in the new, innovative cities is a key issue – a decade after the financial crisis, housing prices have increased to almost the same level as in 2007 (inflation adjusted), while wages have remained stagnant or below 2 percent in increase over the same time period. A growing problem of metropolitan areas in innovative nations around the globe is not just economic inequality, but also increasingly geographic inequality. Finding solutions for these pressing issues will have an impact on how these cities will compete for skilled labor, and hence innovative businesses around the globe. 

With growing urban populations, cities are also faced with the need for innovative infrastructure that is able to adapt to new technologies as they arise. With city growth, traffic and public transport solutions are requiring new management with additional connectivity to newly developed areas. New technology can be used in order to make these transformations a success and improve city living, competitive performance and economic growth for modern metropolitan areas.

  • What are the key attributes today for a competitive city? Which cities are on the rise? What are they doing?

  • What decision areas and types of solutions cities should prioritize to become more efficient, healthy and sustainable? How can technology be used for that?

  • What institutional and financial frameworks are needed to catalyze investment in sustainable urban infrastructures?


Coffee Break
Transformation Spotlight: A Country on the Move


Greece’s upcoming Transformation – From Crisis to Rebirth

After a ten-year crisis during which Greece seemed to hit social, political and financial bottom, the only way left to go is up. One of the crucial sectors that will definitely affect the forthcoming transformation is the modernization of the public administration: simplifying bureaucratic procedures through digital transformation, improving the judicial system and reforming a complex tax system for a start, can drive further deep, structural changes that will boost investments and the economy.


In only a couple of months the new Greek government has shown determination and swiftness in adopting changes such as fast-tracking slow procedures that kept large-scale projects back in the past such as Hellinikon, while moving towards strategic co-operations and joint investment programs in renewable energy and green technology, among others. Yet the priorities are not merely restricted in the financial sector.


In order for Greece to restore its credibility inside and out of the country, it must aim to profound, rooted value reforms like transparency and meritocracy, which can be achieved by enhancing all educational stages and linking especially higher Education with employability, and reinforcing social responsibility. Growth, job creation and security are the pillars to a healthy society, and the transformation taking place right now might change the austerity-weary caterpillar to a spectacular Greek butterfly.

Transformation Spotlight: The Innovation Story and Innovation Future

Competing Against Luck: a better approach for corporate innovators and public policy makers

Corporate leaders seeking to unleash innovation and growth and policy makers working to fuel prosperity share some unfortunate attributes: smart people, working hard, investing billions – and consistently falling short of expectations.

Some might say it’s simply the nature of the risky work while critics might detect a popular definition of insanity. Could it be that there is a better way – and even a proven approach that applies both to corporate innovators and growth-minded policymakers?


Taddy Hall will share findings of his 20-year collaboration with Harvard Business School Professor, Clayton Christensen, as well as his work in applying and refining their approach and tools with leaders – public and private sector – in markets and enterprises around the world. Whether it’s consistently successful innovation outcomes or policies that energize sustained prosperity, consistent success is a choice – not a game of chance.

Panel 5 --
Transform Competitiveness! What can we do?

The world is experiencing a time of unprecedented change with technology growth simultaneously challenging and creating opportunities for business, work, society and life. Technology has rendered the world a better, safer, healthier, more prosperous place. However, many challenges persist, and technology alone will not provide all the answers. Climate and demographic change, urbanization and increased connectivity give origin to a moment in history in which we require new solutions in order to build sustainable and thriving businesses, economies and societies.

Competitiveness is not static. Being competitive today does not guarantee future competitiveness for companies, regions or nations. In fact, history has shown us that organizations and nations go up and down. Competitiveness is a never-ending race and agendas have to be always evolving.

A GFCC survey with its members has identified at least three generations of agendas: the 1st is essentially about trade and the business environment, the 2nd is centered on innovation and the 3rd includes a variety of emerging issues, such as sustainability, gender, social progress, resilience, creativity and more. In practice, all those things come together: nations need to simultaneously pay attention to the business environment, promote innovation and address a variety of new things related to future growth

To add more complexity to the competitiveness equation, technology speed and acceleration conform a completely different environment from the past, when governments and institutions had time to play catch-up and adapt. The game now is different: institutional learning and innovation are needed in a systemic way and in large scale, not just to react to change but to unleash value creation. Cities, regions and countries that are able to create innovative institutional frameworks for the controlled test and deployment of new technologies will increase their chances of attracting research and development facilities, innovators and new business — they will jump ahead of their competitors. 

In order to cope with this increasingly complex scenario, different countries and cities are experimenting with new policy frameworks and forward-looking approaches. In this session, participants will share experiences and discuss what new topics have to be factored in competitiveness agendas, and also explore what new policy approaches can be used to envision future reality and expand the frontiers of competitiveness agendas.

  • How are the frontiers of competitiveness being re-shaped?

  • What new topics should be part of competitiveness agendas?

  • What types of new policy solutions are countries implementing to drive future competitiveness and growth?


Launch of GIS2020

The GFCC is proud to announce the host of the Global Innovation Summit 2020. 

Closing Remarks

GFCC leadership closes the first day of the 2019 Global Innovation Summit and provides a peak into what to expect from the second day of field visits and conversations.