December 10, 2013

Taleen Ananian, 202.778.4993

WASHINGTON — The Atlantic Council’s Strategic Foresight Initiative hosted a two-day forum this week on Harnessing Disruption, highlighting ways in which the technology revolution is shaping government, business, and civil society. Many panelists focused on the effects of technology on individual empowerment and globalization, and the need by both public and private sectors to better adapt to coming change.   
During day one, panelists debated the decisive role that governments will play in shaping the relationship between man and technology in the coming decades, and agreed that the US and its allies must support innovation in a way that balances competitiveness and individual freedoms.
On day two, the opening session emphasized the importance of cross-border data flows as a key to prosperity. As innovation transcends national boundaries, according to Chief Economist of GE Marco Annunziata, 90 percent of innovation will come from cooperation across companies and across countries—more should be done to support this collaboration. The emerging role of megacities and the upcoming bio revolution were also highlighted as major global trends to watch for, and adapt to, in the coming decades.
Highlights from panelists:

  • Anne-Marie Slaughter on the US education system: “It’s insane that schools of public policy do not teach coding. Digital literacy is going to be critical for the future; coding needs to be built into the education system.”
  • Brent Scowcroft on globalization: “Globalization is eating away at the Westphalian world. Less and less of what a country needs to do can be done alone.”
  • Espen Barth Eide on Internet governance: “We need a global dialogue on what we want the Internet to look like. The current model is under strain.”
  • Andrew McAfee‘s mnemonic device illustrating the role of government in the changing world: “E-I-E-I-O government supports Education, Infrastructure, Entrepreneurship, Immigration, and Original research.”  
  • Peter Schwartz on managing change: “We are learning to live with uncertainty and need to be humble about what we can control.”

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Read summaries and analyses of the panels here:

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The Strategic Foresight Initiative of the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security develops actionable foresight by identifying and assessing long-term, emerging global trends; connecting them to current challenges to inform policy and draw implications for strategy; and designing innovative strategies to reach desired future scenarios.


The Atlantic Council promotes constructive leadership and engagement in international affairs based on the central role of the Atlantic Community in meeting global challenges. For more information, please visit