Innovating for the Future: Leading Through Global Transformation
A gathering of top female executives and members of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women community will feature special interviews and a town-hall style discussion about leadership in a time of monumental change.
● PANEL DISCUSSION: CLOSING THE GENDER GAP
The share of female CEOs in the Fortune Global 500 jumped 20% last year, but their numbers are still tiny: 29 CEOs or less than 6% of all chief executives. Still, that total represents a record, proof of progress but still far short of equal representation. A conversation with top female executives will identify the factors keeping women from the C-Suite and share best practices for building a deep bench of female talent.
● TOWN HALL DISCUSSION: HOW LEADERS ARE NAVIGATING A WORLD IN FLUX
Various disruptive forces—the green transition, the AI revolution, and geopolitical crises—are converging to fuel unprecedented uncertainty and present unparalleled opportunity in today’s business world. In a town-hall style discussion, top leaders from different industries will share their best practices for navigating this era of change; how they’re stoking innovation, addressing gender inequality in leadership roles, and adapting their management style to meet the moment.
● WHAT CUSTOMERS WANT: DECODING THE GLOBAL CONSUMER WITH AI
How the world’s largest retailer is using AI and social media to tap into customer preferences, concerns and complaints across a far-flung portfolio of different markets.
● COPING WITH CHAOS: BUSINESS STRATEGIES FOR AN AGE OF UPHEAVAL
The convergence of technological advancements, climate threats, geopolitical volatility, and market unpredictability is upending everything we thought we knew about global trade. Business leaders share how they’re leveraging technology and rethinking supply chains as our understanding of ‘globalization’ continues to evolve.
● UNLOCKING ASIA'S AI POTENTIAL
Asia is full of AI potential: the region is home to over half the world’s internet users, and investments in the technology in Asia-Pacific are expected to reach $78.4 billion by 2027. The challenge for business leaders now is to capitalize on that interest and demand—and turn it into opportunity and growth for their companies. Top executives reveal how they’re integrating AI into their businesses and ensuring all the AI buzz generates real results—not just hype.
● IS JAPAN ‘BACK’?
The world’s third-largest economy is emerging from three decades of stagnation and deflation. Investors are cheering; the benchmarked Nikkei stock index is nearing its pre-bubble high. But Japan faces daunting challenges, including a shrinking and aging workforce and massive government debt, to keep its recovery on track.
Fortune editors host interactive discussions on key topics including：
● THE FUTURE OF FINANCE: ARE WE MOVING BEYOND BANKS?
The world of finance is in tumult. Advances in digital technologies have transformed the way people in rich and developing countries alike pay for even the most basic purchases. Are currency and coins on their way out—taking with them the rationale for banks as physical structures? And if so, what comes next? Will the future of finance be dominated by decentralized cryptocurrencies? Central bank digital currencies? Or something else? Will financial innovation bring financial stability—or its opposite?
● SPOTLIGHT ON INNOVATION: REDEFINING BUSINESS IN A DIGITAL AGE
The business world is in the midst of an era of transformation. Global markets are undergoing a radical overhaul, science and cutting-edge technologies are tackling monumental challenges, and companies face a stark choice: innovate or fall behind. How are business leaders embracing game-changing innovations, from AI to Web 3.0, to maintain a competitive edge?
● ACCELERATING THE GLOBAL ENERGY TRANSITION
The head of the International Energy Agency has argued that military conflicts in Gaza and Ukraine will accelerate the global shift away from planet-warming fuels and toward renewable energy. But other experts warn that the pace of that transition has slowed amid geopolitical uncertainties, energy supply shocks, and rising interest rates. What must be done to speed the global energy transition and meet the worldwide goal of keeping warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius? What are the technologies that will make that transition possible? And how will the world find the capital necessary to implement that tech at scale?
● NAVIGATING ASIA’S CHOPPY MARKETS
One size has never fit all for investors in Asia, but that is especially true now. Asia’s best-performing major index (Japan) gained nearly 30% last year, while its worst-performing (Hong Kong) lost 14%. The region is a puzzle for investors hunting for growth, but there are opportunities to be had for those who grasp how factors like geopolitical shifts, the promise of AI, and China’s challenged economy are altering the landscape.
● BAYWATCH: CHINA’S GREATER BAY AREA AS INNOVATION CATALYST
The Chinese government’s bold plan to link the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau to nine other cities in Guangdong’s Pearl River Delta would create a single integrated economic hub with more than 70 million people and a GDP almost as large as South Korea’s. China’s blueprint for a “Greater Bay Area” is often compared to America’s “Silicon Valley,” but it has the potential to outshine rival international “bays”—not just San Francisco but also New York or Tokyo—by using world-class infrastructure to connect a diverse combination of innovative companies across sectors. The Greater Bay Area promises enormous opportunities, but the challenges to meaningful integration are daunting. Can the grand vision for connecting the region be achieved?
● ON THE ROAD AGAIN: REIMAGINING TOURISM AND TRAVEL
With borders reopening, the world is on the move again. But in the pandemic’s aftermath, what about tourism and travel feels permanently changed? Different regions seem to be bouncing back at different speeds and in different ways. What are the major variations? And what have industry leaders—in the hotel, airline, and online booking sectors, as well as government officials—learned from their COVID ordeal?
● SHAPING THE NEXT ERA OF HEALTHCARE
In recent years, we’ve seen a sliver of what can be achieved when we embrace collaboration in biotechnology. Invisible cochlear implants, genome-edited crops, and vaccines for once-incurable diseases are all examples of the leaps and bounds that have been made in biotech. What more could be possible when the world comes together to develop mutually beneficial technology?
● HONG KONG’S NEXT ACT
The newly appointed CEO of Hong Kong Exchange and Clearing, the exchange’s first-ever female chief, shares her vision for preserving—and expanding—Hong Kong’s role as a global financial hub and capital market super-connector.
● CHINA’S ECONOMY: WHAT TO EXPECT IN THE YEAR OF THE DRAGON
The lunar new year got off to an auspicious start for China as consumer spending and travel during the holiday period surged to pre-pandemic levels. But the world’s second-largest economy still faces many headwinds: mounting public debt, a troubled property sector, a shrinking labor force, and daunting levels of youth unemployment. Aggravating those challenges: continued trade tensions with the West—which could intensify depending on the outcome of the US presidential election. There are a few bright spots, including a booming electric vehicle sector, and surprising resilience to Western in key areas like chip manufacturing. What’s in store for 2024? A panel of distinguished global analysts share their predictions.
● THE SKILLS CHALLENGE: TRAINING THE WORKFORCE OF TOMORROW
By and large, business leaders agree that technology—especially generative AI—will unlock growth and deliver cost savings in the coming year. Yet, according to one recent estimate, just 6% of companies have trained at least a quarter of their workforces on gen AI. Employers must take on the dual challenge of closing such gaps in technological readiness while easing workers’ anxiety about AI replacing jobs.
● WHAT’S NEXT? VENTURE CAPITALISTS PREDICT MEGATRENDS OF TOMORROW
Venture capitalists have become more selective with their dollars, but that hasn’t moderated their hunt for the next game-changing company. Panelists share how they’re evaluating opportunities in a more conservative investment environment and identify the industries and technologies that are ripe for the biggest payoffs.
● THE GREEN TECH PARADOX
The green transition is more urgent than ever, yet green innovation, as measured by patent filings, has declined since 2010, according to the IMF. What factors are stymying advancement and how can today’s leaders help unlock technology’s promise to aid in the essential mission of decarbonization?
SPRINTING TOWARDS BABYLON?
One of Asia’s best-known AI experts, in a fireside conversation with FORTUNE, discusses the significance of recent breakthroughs—on both sides of the Pacific—in large language model technology and talks about how he is driving innovation at his own recently launched AI venture.
● NEW PERSPECTIVES ON TRADE, TECHNOLOGY, JOBS, AND GROWTH
The global economy continues to surprise: a stunningly resilient U.S., inflation that’s falling faster than expected, and a long hoped-for soft landing that now seems achievable. A renowned economist, and former finance official with a unique perspective on technology shares his views on the challenges facing the world economy.
● SMART HEART: HOW AI WILL SUPERCHARGE MEDICAL DEVICES
One of the world’s largest medical device makers has enormous economies of scale, but it can also pose impediments to innovation. The chairman and CEO, shares how the $100 billion company is overcoming that challenge as it embraces AI, embedding the technology into many of its devices, from insulin pumps to heart monitors, and using it as a tool to train surgeons.
● CRYPTOCURRENCIES AT A CROSSROAD
Cryptocurrencies have been dogged by scandal—and yet recently earned a stamp of legitimacy when the U.S. approved Bitcoin ETFs. Other financial hubs, including Hong Kong are seeking regulatory regimes that would allow for innovation but still protect consumers. Crypto experts discuss what’s next for cryptocurrencies and how they’ll shape the future of how we buy, borrow, and invest.
● INNOVATION IN AVIATION
The CEO of one of Asia's largest carriers explains how his airline thinks about innovation and describes how new technologies will transform the way we fly.
● SUSTAINABLE SUPPLY CHAINS
The textile industry is a big emitter; it consumes large quantities of water and energy, and textile waste is enormous—92 million tonnes annually. Industry leaders explain how they’re innovating to shrink the sector’s environmental footprint and rethinking globe-spanning supply chains.
● CHARGING AHEAD: WHO’S WINNING THE GLOBAL EV RACE?
Electric vehicle adoption is key to helping the world reduce its carbon emissions, but consumers remain hesitant, scared off by cost and range anxiety. Some companies—and countries—have overcome these barriers and are pulling ahead in the global EV race. What has distinguished the winners from losers so far, and how can the industry as a whole win over the remaining skeptics?
● CHINA’S GEN Z CONSUMERS
China’s young consumers are more discerning than ever. Pragmatism—not impulse—is driving their purchasing decisions in a challenged economic environment; they favor quality, sustainability, and the chance for social interactions in their retail experiences. How can brands keep up? Leaders at the forefront of this revolution share how they’re leveraging technology and data to meet the evolving demands of today’s consumers.