• Business pioneers are central to building a better collective future in the face of emerging technologies, environmental challenges and radically changing markets.
  • The World Economic Forum's New Champions Community gathers together leading innovative companies from around the globe to create a more inclusive, sustainable, resilient world.
  • Industries from strategy consultancy, fintech, sustainable production and cryptocurrencies are among the companies leading our initiative.

Our society has never been in such a need to transform itself to adapt to the latest changes it faces – the pandemic, a lack of international co-operation and disruptive technologies, among other challenges. We have to work together to make the world more resilient, inclusive and sustainable.

Emerging technologies, environmental challenges and changing market landscape and business models mean that pioneers of change are much needed to build our collective future into a better shape. Innovation by individual companies that is added together could bring fundamental societal change. The World Economic Forum's New Champions Community gathers such companies, which use innovative breakthroughs to contribute to a positive great reset.

BTS on new work models

BTS is a global professional services firm that focuses on the people side of strategy consulting and helps leaders turn decisions into actions. During the pandemic, like most other companies, BTS was faced with the challenge of transforming face-to-face work to virtual collaboration in 32 international offices.

Its approach of innovating in this new environment was to operationalize three questions: 1. Who, what, why? 2. How might we? 3. What would have to be true for this to work? These questions help to focus on the targeted problem, invite openness to ideas and pathways to experimentation. With rapid ideation, divergent thinking tools and an agile checkpoint plan, it allowed BTS to double the innovations using half the time, as compared to 2019. The pandemic pushed BTS to rethink and find opportunities of change.

“We have seen the light, will continue in this direction and encourage everyone to join the adventure,” says Peter Mulford, Chief Innovation Officer of BTS.

Unlimint on frontier technology

During COVID-19, fintech has become the enabling factor for business digitalization. Unlimint uses digital models to transform financial services worldwide. It pioneers open banking in the context of cross-border payments, which is a $22 trillion market that continues to grow. Open banking is revolutionizing the market as it quickly moves from a concept to a financial product, with the belief that it will enable efficient collaboration worldwide, with faster transactions and increased communication efficiency.

According to Anton Komukhin, Head of Product Management of Unlimint, with countries such as Australia, Singapore, Japan, Malaysia and Mexico moving towards open banking, he believes this technology will become truly global in the next two to three years. Hubs that connect hundreds and thousands of open banking APIs across the world will help companies build transparent and cost-efficient financial services. With fast verification, affordability checks and cross-border payments, Unlimint believes we will witness the beginning of this journey in 2021.

Dalberg on urban infrastructure and services

Dalberg is a strategy consulting company that focuses on economic development and inclusive infrastructure. It applies three essential steps to measure project impacts: 1. Listen, 2. Open architecture for service data, 3. Engage. This method was applied to address the issue of urban migration in India. During the next 35 years, 400 million new inhabitants will move to urban areas in India. Digital maps could contribute to building smart cities.

Dalberg started with a question: What is the social and economic value of digital maps for the urban users in India, including citizens, businesses and government? Qualitatively, nine case studies were used with examples including faster ambulance routes, saved commuting time, better-allocated disaster-relief resources etc. Quantitatively, Dalberg found that smarter maps could potentially help India gain $8 billion, save 13,000 lives and reduce one million metric tons of carbon emissions per year in urban areas. These findings were outlined in the report Smart Maps for Smart Cities, released in association with the Confederation of Indian Industry and Google.

Optel Group on sustainable production

Optel Group develops and deploys traceability solutions as well as machine vision systems, which are the building blocks of its Intelligent Supply Chain® (ISC) platform. Acting as a control tower, the ISC platform brings visibility to the supply chain, collecting valuable, actionable data that companies can leverage to improve their business.

For instance, Optel applies digital traceability for increased transparency to enhance food security. It offers a software application to record activities related to receiving, inspecting and grading, packing and dispatching produce consignments, which monitors produce flow from farm to grower, processor, distribution centre and point of service. The farm-to-fork data collection helps with problem-diagnosis when an issue occurs. It also helps to control pests and diseases, improves post-harvest operations and food quality.

What is the World Economic Forum doing to champion social innovation?

Social innovators address the world’s most serious challenges ranging from inequality to girls’ education and disaster relief that affect all of us, but in particular vulnerable and excluded groups. To achieve maximum impact and start to address root causes, they need greater visibility, credibility, access to finance, favourable policy decisions, and in some cases a better understanding of global affairs and access to decision makers.

The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship is supporting more than 400 late-stage social innovators. By providing an unparalleled global platform, the Foundation’s goal is to highlight and expand proven and impactful models of social innovation. It helps strengthen and grow the field by showcasing best-in-class examples, models for replication and cutting-edge research on social innovation.

Meet the World-changers: Social Innovators of the Year 2020. Our global network of experts, partner institutions, and World Economic Forum constituents and business members are invited to nominate outstanding social innovators. Get in touch to become a member or partner of the World Economic Forum.

Bittrex Global on Financial Innovation

Bittrex Global is a digital asset exchange platform that provides a wide selection of cryptocurrencies and exchanges. It uses blockchain technology to innovate crypto trading. Bittrex Global recently launched tokenized stocks – essentially tokenized derivatives that represent traditional securities, such as equities of Apple, Tesla and Amazon, which allows fractional ownership and 24/7 market access.

Tokenized stocks are revolutionizing the traditional financial system as the platform said that traders and investors will have direct access to listed companies without having to use an external broker or pay additional fees.

As a part of the New Champions Community, businesses enjoy access to Forum networks and expertise, which offers visibility and time-sensitive insight into strategic decision-making on the systemic issues. Apply here to join.