Reflections from Global Opportunity Panels: Personalization & Precision

This year’s eight Global Opportunity Panels in San Francisco, Sao Paulo, Johannesburg, Oslo, Abu Dhabi, London, Delhi and Beijing are now completed. The panels brought together more than 200 inspirational and insightful professionals from both business, academia, NGOs and the public sector to discuss what opportunities underlie five of the global, systemic risks we face. The panels produced more than 80 ideas for global opportunities for both society and business in addressing these five risks.

Innovative ideas were developed at the Global Opportunity Panels pointing to a number of overall trends. Two of these are “Personalization” and “Precision”.


It concerns the trend of taking the needs of consumers and users as the starting point. From a centralised to a decentralised and open approach to identifying solutions to overcome global risks. Overreliance on government policy to no longer a viable road for change.

Co-creation of solutions with consumers to define new types of collaboration between the public and private sector is a clear trend. Citizens as consumers with valuable ideas and a demand for information was part of all conversations around the globe. Sustainable products and services need to be the easy choice – less hassle when it comes to living sustainably.

Personalized mobility

The personalization trend was in particular evident in the discussions addressing the risk of urban transport emissions. Here, several panels pointed to the possibilities of using the latest technologies for designing a transport system with focus on the needs of the individual. Different services such as trains, metros, busses, bicycles and electric cars (maybe even driverless cars), should be much better integrated offering the individual the optimal move from point A to B. The sustainable choice should be the easy choice.


Personalized public transport also has very clear elements of the second trend: precision. Scarcity of resources requires us to become more efficient and precise with how we use these. This is particular evident in relation to the global food crisis where everyday millions of tons of food on the global scale goes to waste due to inefficiency. We have to develop more precise agriculture production methods produce more precise quantities and also make it easier for consumers to consume more precise quantities, lowering our food waste.

Precision Medicine

Precision is also relevant in relation to many of the other risks. In terms of the risk of resistance to life-saving medicine there is a need to support and inspire further development of precision antibiotics that is specialized at attacking only the bad bacteria not the good. Precise diagnosis, precise treatments for a stronger immune system are main messages.

The Precise Match

Many panels reflected on precision in relation the risk of a wasted generation. In this context precision is understood as a need to improve the education system to making the students and graduates more prepared for their professional lives either in business or as entrepreneurs. To achieve this, the panels pointed to the importance of increasing dialogue between academia and business on the development of curricula to have business people teach classes but also to give students chances to experience business life through internships. It is all about developing the precise match between skills and demands.

The two trends of personalization and precision will be further developed over the months to come, as the analysis of the opportunities progresses.

We will dive more in depth with the recommendations and ideas from the Global Opportunity Panels and we will be testing the 15 most promising opportunities in a global survey this coming October. The results can be found in the Global Opportunity Report 2016 to be released in January next year.

Learn more about the Global Opportunity Report 2017

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