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Mark Muro (@markmuro1) is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program.

CEOs are hustling to decide what to do with President Trump’s corporate tax cuts. Unsurprisingly many of them are settling on a new round of stock buybacks and probably dividend hikes. Others are weighing takeovers and acquisitions. Financial maneuvers will likely predominate, along with one-time bonuses for employees.

But here’s another idea: Corporations should instead do something with lasting impact and boost their human factors by investing in worker skills—especially digital skills.

Why is worker training the best use of the new windfall for companies large and small? The reason is clear: Nothing matters more in the knowledge economy than workers’ knowledge, just as nothing matters more in a digital age of artificial intelligence and big data than digital skills.  Rest (WSJ)

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The results generated from these smart cities have caught the attention of forward-thinking world leaders, who see Smart Countries (or country digitization) as the logical next step. Cisco Systems launched its Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) program to address these opportunities, partnering with countries to advance their national digital agendas.

Cisco has launched digitization efforts within 17 countries around the world. The common bond between each state is the desire to help grow gross domestic product (GDP), create new jobs, connect people, and increase opportunities for its citizens. For many emerging countries today, digitization is the single most effective way to jumpstart their economies and enable their citizens to expand commerce and access to the world market. Digitizing a nation is not trivial, and in my opinion, Cisco is the only company that has the vision, execution, partner network and political prowess to drive this strategy at a global level.

A global perspective to connecting nations

Interestingly, one of the early pioneers of the CDA program in France. From the top, France has a vision of connecting not just urban centers, but rural and government areas as well. As a result, France has become one of the fastest growing start-up ecosystems in the world. … France has also extended Internet connectivity to remote areas of the country, bringing commerce and innovation to traditionally underserved areas. With the help of Cisco, India is also transforming itself into a fully connected knowledge economy. Its Digital India program promises to connect 250,000 villages to the internet by 2019. Numerous other nations, including Israel, Germany, and UAE have launched similarly ambitious national strategies to accelerate their digital economies.

One of the reasons why Cisco’s CDA program is so successful is the company’s commitment to building long-term partnerships at the highest levels of academia, industry, and the public sector. Rest

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BY THE OFFICE OF GORDON AND SARAH BROWN

A combination of easy-access technology, greater connectivity and innovations in education delivery will help marginalised children and “remain key” to solving a growing youth skills gap, says Sarah Brown.

Global business leaders last month joined forces to provide access to cut-price technology that will improve school system effectiveness and learning outcomes for some of the 330 million girls and boys around the world who lack basic skills for the knowledge economy of the future.

The Global Business Coalition for Education (GBC-Education) – a coalition of 140 companies including Avanti, Hewlett Packard, 2-Track Solutions and Safe Buses – announced its first instalment of $15million offers as part of a three-year technology pledge at the Global Partnership for Education’s funding conference in Senegal.  Rest

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Recent global Knowledge Economy activity

Enabling the UK knowledge economy: A new STFC e-infrastructure strategy

Fibre optics

(Credit: Pixabay)

STFC has developed a new e-infrastructure strategy, designed to support and strengthen UK research and UK industrial productivity.

As well as setting out STFC’s vision for e-infrastructure, this strategy identifies the e-infrastructure challenges facing STFC, its research communities and the UK, and proposes actions that could be taken to address these.

This document will contribute to a larger debate, as the e-infrastructure needed by UK researchers across academia and industry cannot be developed by STFC acting in isolation. It is expected that working with partner organisations and industry will ultimately lead to an agreed national e-infrastructure strategy for research and innovation to be implemented by UK Research and Innovation and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.

Kuwait Knowledge Economy Forum

Kuwait just recently held their Knowledge Economy Forum with a focus on “Knowledge Governments: Best Practices and Lessons Learned” – more information can be found at www.keforum.org

If you’re not spending 5 hours per week learning, you’re being irresponsible

Why has the best investor in history, Warren Buffett, invested 80% of his time in reading and thinking throughout his career?  Why has the world’s richest person, Bill Gates, read a book a week during his career? And why has he taken a yearly two-week reading vacation throughout his entire career? … What do they see that others don’t?  The answer is simple: Learning is the single best investment of our time that we can make. Or as Benjamin Franklin said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” This insight is fundamental to succeeding in our knowledge economy, yet few people realize it. Luckily, once you do understand the value of knowledge, it’s simple to get more of it. …

To shift our focus from being overly obsessed with money to a more savvy and realistic quest for knowledge, we need to stop thinking that we only acquire knowledge from 5 to 22 years old, and that then we can get a job and mentally coast through the rest of our lives if we work hard. To survive and thrive in this new era, we must constantly learn.  Working hard is the industrial era approach to getting ahead. Learning hard is the knowledge economy equivalent.  Rest

Reimagining India’s learning landscape, By Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO Coursera

India is sitting on an untapped goldmine – a demographic dividend in an otherwise aging world. By 2030, India will have the largest working-age population globally, expected to reach 962 million. The world economy meanwhile, is plunging into a skilled manpower shortage. Manpower Group’s 2016-17 global Talent Shortage Survey reveals that 40% of employers are having difficulty filling positions. This opens up an opportunity for India that, if realised, can catapult it into an advanced knowledge economyRest

‘People’s Platform’ connects global knowledge economy

Characteristic of the knowledge economy are “man-made brainpower industries” where there is rapid development, and the subsequent merging of new information and communication technologies, creating a global inter-connected economy.

In this global economy, time and distance are compressed through advances in information communication technologies and travel, leading to the intertwining of the world’s economic and cultural systems, in a process known as globalization.

Globalization has been defined as “a set of economic, social, technological, political as well as cultural structures and processes arising from the changing character of the production, consumption and trade of goods and assets that comprise the base of the international political economy.”

Globalization is one of many phenomena within the knowledge economy, and is the result of a larger building process of a world markets that started when mankind first began exploring the world by land and sea expeditions.  Rest

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The Government of Dubai will impose two new fees – Knowledge and Innovation Dirham fees – on services provided by government authorities.
The UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has issued laws on the Knowledge Dirham Fee and the Innovation Dirham Fee, a Wam news agency report said.
The Knowledge Dirham Fee of Dh10 will be levied on all transactions for government services in Dubai including federal government services whose revenues are allocated to the Public Treasury of the Government of Dubai. The law aims to engage the community in supporting educational and cultural projects in Dubai, as well as create simple and clear procedures for the collection of the Knowledge Dirham Fee.
The Innovation Dirham Fee aims to support innovation-related projects and involve the public in supporting innovation. As per the law, Dubai government entities will charge the Dh10 fee for all transactions. The revenues generated from the fee will be allocated to the Dubai Future Foundation (DFF).
The chairman of DFF’s Board of Trustees will set up the ‘Innovation Dirham Investment Committee’ to explore opportunities for investing revenues from the Innovation Dirham, and identifying innovative projects for support. Suggestions for investment and allocation will be presented to the board for approval. Rest
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MR. [Gerard] BAKER [WSJ]: Turning to the issue of technology and what you’ve called the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Clearly, there are great concerns about jobs going away. Artificial intelligence is advancing very, very quickly. What can the world come together and, through an event like Davos, do to come up with solutions to the human consequences of this technological change?

‘We have to find the right balance between globalization and making sure that we maintain the social contract,’ says World Economic Forum founder Klaus Schwab.

‘We have to find the right balance between globalization and making sure that we maintain the social contract,’ says World Economic Forum founder Klaus Schwab. PHOTO: FABRICE COFFRINI/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

PROF. SCHWAB: Davos can make a contribution in that we combine the fourth revolution with the educational system [ED: Davos thus contributes by strengthening the Knowledge Economy]. I personally feel that our present educational system should be much more flexible. We should have modules which allow people, lifelong, to continuously update themselves and maybe even to be certified every year with the progress they have made in terms of taking care of their own up-skilling.  Rest

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41gkUl1TAKLThe topic of workplace diversity has vexed businesses and employees for decades. Increasing diversity has long been promoted as the right thing to do, but that notion could be viewed as simplistic and ignoring the deep benefits that inclusion can bring to an organization. Scott Page, a professor of complex systems at the University of Michigan, tackles the issue in his new book, The Diversity Bonus: How Great Teams Pay Off In The Knowledge Economy. He discussed why diversity must be more than “feel-good metaphorical statements” on the Knowledge@Wharton show, which airs on SiriusXM channel 111.

Knowledge@Wharton: What drove you to research this topic?

Page: It’s a little bit of a C.P. Snow moment. He was the British academic who said there are two academies: science and arts. Within the University of Michigan or almost any university, you’ve got people in the humanities and in the arts and philosophy departments talking about the need for inclusion on normative grounds, a sort of moral case for a more integrated society. Over in computer science and ecology and business, there are all these people showing in a knowledge economy this incredible value from people who have different perspectives, different ways of looking at problems, different tools.  Rest

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CityLab – The Urban Fitness Revolution

… But there are some more insidious elements inside the urban fitness revolution. For one, the obsessive focus on staying fit reflects the growing pressure that many urban professionals face to look young and in shape. Exercise can also be a method of generating the physical stamina and mental focus required for long hours of knowledge work. As such, it is bound up with the relentless trends of the knowledge economy, which creates a lifestyle of continuous improvement, and the commodification of human capacities. Indeed, this is built into the very mantra of many urban fitness studios. Many of them pledge not just to change your body, but to “change your life” and help you “find your soul.”

Make no mistake: Good health is among most important things in life, and time devoted to keeping fit is rarely time wasted, wherever and however you choose to exercise. But as you head out to your preferred gym or fitness studio this New Year, it’s worth keeping in mind that your workout is not only about helping you look and feel better; like it or not, it enables you to be a productive cog in the knowledge economy machine.  Full post

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Human capital is what counts at all times

That conversation though sparked a couple of questions in my mind: can an oil economy and a knowledge-based economy coexist? Or does an oil economy, or any natural resource-fuelled one, precede a knowledge-based economy? Here’s the thing. When the economy is driven by revenues from oil or other natural resources, those revenues are mainly channelled into one, spending in the economy, which could be to create jobs, to increase demand via pay raises, and to spur growth ultimately; and two, saving for the future and investing in it. For the sake of this article, I am interested in further elaborating on the second part, especially that such savings and investments could deter a country’s resolve in attaining a knowledge-based economy. …

To eventually create a knowledge-based economy, a country must invest earlier on in its human capital, with revenues from natural resources being a facilitator rather than a reason to sit back and relax. With or without natural resources, developed human capital in different fields are the true economic drivers. And in its pursuit, countries must know what skills and specialisations they would require in the coming decades. Laying the ground for tomorrow’s balanced, continuous economic growth by today’s implementation of policies that would warrant that those skills are home-grown. A knowledge economy is one that is driven by people who understand what it takes to move away from oil and other natural resources, not desire to further invest in them. A knowledge-based economy is also one where different policies are scrutinised via a rigorous cost-benefit analysis that does not take revenues from oil and other natural resources for granted.  Rest

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Put all these things together and you essentially redefine the notion of a good job. No longer does it mean simply assembling parts, serving customers, or driving a forklift. It involves thinking like a business owner—someone responsible for tracking and managing the key numbers and figuring out how to improve performance. It also involves sharing in the rewards of success rather than just collecting an hourly wage. That definition seems fitting in our knowledge economy—and makes for more-engaging work for employees at every level of the organization.

Rest at https://hbr.org/2018/01/more-than-a-paycheck

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