Davos Agenda

Davos 2023: The innovations and innovators to watch

Members of the World Economic Forum's Innovator Communities will be at Davos 2023.

Members of the World Economic Forum's Innovator Communities will be at Davos 2023. Image: Photo by Skye Studios on Unsplash

Verena Kuhn
Head, Innovator Communities, World Economic Forum
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Davos Agenda

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  • More than 90 innovators will participate at the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting in Davos.
  • They're working in diverse sectors tackling a wide range of global issues.
  • Here are just 4 examples from the Forum's Innovator Communities.

What links cancer screening, electric trucks, supply chain traceability and the skills gap?

Well, these are just some of the areas being worked on by the more than 90 innovators joining the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting in Davos.

They're part of the Forum's Innovator Communities, representing both our Technology Pioneers (our early stage start-up community) and our newly formed Unicorn Community.

Indeed, most participants this year represent unicorn companies – that is privately held start-ups with a valuation of more than $1 billion.

And despite the seemingly broad range of interests and sectors, they're all working to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing the world today.

You can find out more about both communities here, and below are just four examples of the companies and ideas involved.

Have you read?

Einride: Electric and autonomous trucks

Transport has the highest reliance on fossil fuels of any sector, according to the International Energy Agency. It accounted for 37% of CO2 emissions from end-use sectors in 2021, with road transport the largest contributor.

Davos 2023; Global CO2 emissions from transport by sub-sector in the Net Zero Scenario 2000-2030
Transport has the highest reliance on fossil fuels of any sector. Image: IEA

Einride is a Swedish unicorn working to reduce emissions from road freight in particular through the development of electric and autonomous trucks.

Einride became the first company in the world to deploy an autonomous electric freight vehicle on a public road in 2019 and became the first company to receive approval to operate such a vehicle on a US public road in 2022. The firm's founder, Chief Marketing Officer and Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Linnéa Kornehed Falck, will be at the Annual Meeting.

Guild: Education and upskilling

The global labour market is changing rapidly – and the skills workers require are changing quickly alongside it. The World Economic Forum's Future of Jobs Report 2020 highlighted the extent of the challenge. It found that nearly 50% of workers staying in their current roles will need reskilling for their core capabilities.

Employers are onboard as well, with two-thirds expecting to see a return on investment in upskilling and reskilling of current employees within one year.

Davos 2023; Resklling needs by 2025
The Future of Jobs Report 2020 highlighted some urgent resklling needs. Image: World Economic Forum

It's against this backdrop that another unicorn, Guild Education, is working with Fortune 1000 companies in the United States to provide education as a benefit to workers. Working with companies including Walmart, Hilton and the Walt Disney Company, they provide real-world education programmes, building employees' skills and knowledge and providing guidance to help them create a better future for themselves. The company's co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Rachel Romer, will be in Davos.

Circulor: Supply change traceability

As the World Trade Organization explains, more and more products are "made in the world" rather than in one particular country. Supply and value chains are complex and can be long.

So, how can you be confident about your raw materials? Are they being sourced sustainably? Ethically? How can you account for their emissions?

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How is the World Economic Forum ensuring sustainable global markets?

Circulor uses blockchain and artificial intelligence to reduce the cost of traceability and due diligence in raw material supply chains. This allows customers to be confident in reporting sustainable sourcing, helps them calculate inherited emissions, and is assisting efforts to develop the circular economy. Circulor's founder and Chief Executive Officer, Douglas Johnson Poensgen, will be at the Annual Meeting.

Hirotsu Bio Science: Effective and affordable cancer screening

Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, resulting in nearly 10 million deaths in 2020 – or nearly 1 in 6 of the total.

But many cancers can be cured if detected early and treated effectively. That is easier said than done though.

Hirotsu Bio Science is working on a more effective and affordable cancer detection technique to tackle just this issue. It makes use of a "biologicial diagnostic" technique and the company has developed the world's first-ever test of its kind, known as N-NOSE.

This uses urine samples, making it non-invasive and simple, and as well as showing high sensitivity and early detection capabilities, it is low cost. The test was launched in 2020. Chief Growth Officer, Shunsuke Mizushima, will be at the Annual Meeting in Davos.

See the full list of innovators coming to the Annual Meeting 2023 here.

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