At the recent CSOFT’s 11th Annual Summit, one of our keynote speakers, Marisa Drew of Credit Suisse Investment, focused on how she sees the interconnected world in the context of the sharing economy. She talked about the key megatrends of living in a multipolar world, sustainability and demographics, as well as the role of big data.

Keynote Speaker on the Sharing Economy


Our world continues to become smaller and more interconnected. Just a few years back, no one thought that the disruption of Chinese stock markets would send ripples around the world and make the USA change its stock rates. This is precisely what shows how interconnected we are.

Megatrends pose a big challenge and innovation rises to meet these hurdles. Emerging markets are disrupted; it is now impossible to say which economy will be the biggest contributor to the world. Virtually everything is connected by the internet. With just one click, everything can be accessed, wherever and whenever you want it thus creating a sharing economy.  Because of this, infrastructure costs and transportation have been completely shaken up. According to Marisa Drew, if we were to compare how we once connected people, it can be calculated that there is a $160 billion investment that is being disrupted by the ride-sharing industry.

Not that long ago, jobs were centered around full-time employment, but with the sharing economy and innovation, almost half of the US market is now on-demand labor. Because of the sharing economy and social media, we have an explosion of on-demand companies in recent years. Almost everything can be done on an on-demand basis, including services related to the food industry, with groceries and chefs now able to arrive at your door.

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As Marisa underlined in her speech, we need to do everything in our power to become an active part of the sharing economy. It is estimated that by 2050, the world population will reach 9 billion people, with Asia, Africa, and the Middle East experiencing the biggest growth. As life expectancy is on the rise, we can expect to see problems in healthcare and will have to change the world to adapt to these circumstances.  Thankfully, Big Data may prove to be helpful, as it helps us sift through information to learn more about each other, from each other.

We must remember, however, that a rise in population will lead to an increase in food consumption, a subject for fear considering the severe water shortage issue we are facing. Because of those challenges, it is important to continue with the rise of smart cities, fueled by solar energy and wind farms. The US has recently invested in a $9 billion worth of prospect to convert salt water into clean water which, if successful, will prove to be extremely beneficial in the upcoming years.

As she concluded her speech, Marisa was quick to underline that the interconnecting world and sharing economy is far from being a negative thing.  Big-thinker companies, such as Alibaba and Amazon, which have figured out how to harness the world marketplace and foster innovation, will continue to help us with the megatrend challenge. If we accept innovation as our solution, the future appears to be bright. Thanks to innovation, we are not only moving faster, but also addressing challenges at a faster rate.

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