Nicholas Davis

Professor of Practice at Thunderbird School of Global Management and the Managing Partner at SWIFT Partners

Talk Title: The Value of Practical Ethics in Times of Digital Disruption

Talk Abstract: 

Over the last decade, we’ve come to realize that emerging technologies are fundamentally changing the way we live and work. Over the coming ten years we will experience the decade of technology governance, as individuals, companies, and governments around the world try and develop strategies for ensuring that new systems, behaviors and capabilities deliver more in benefits than they do in costs. But developing effective policies and governance mechanisms for a disruptive age isn’t easy. The age of tech governance will also be the age of tech scandals, with numerous legal, ethical and cultural issues arising in almost every organization. In this speech, Nicholas Davis will present a new framework for making sense of four types of challenges that organizations can expect to face: those related to new legal and compliance duties; ethical dilemmas that can divide their stakeholders; risks related to the misuse or reckless design of new technologies; and ethically-concerning impacts that affect entire systems. This framework draws on Nicholas’s work with large and small tech firms, influential multinationals, pioneering civil society players and leading international organizations, developed during his decade at the World Economic Forum and his time as an academic, consultant and strategic advisor.


Nicholas Davis is a Professor of Practice at Thunderbird School of Global Management and the Managing Partner at SWIFT Partners, a Geneva-based consultancy focused on helping companies harness emerging technologies to create sustainable value.  From 2015 to 2019, Nick was Head of Society and Innovation and a member of the Executive Committee at the World Economic Forum. He led the Forum’s thought-leadership on the concept of “The Fourth Industrial Revolution”, oversaw engagement with civil society communities and managed teams across the information technology, telecoms and media industries. With Klaus Schwab, the Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, he is the co-author of Shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution, published in January 2018.

Originally from Sydney, and previously a commercial lawyer, Director at Oxford Investment Research and the World Economic Forum’s Head of Europe, Nick is a Certified Professional Facilitator and a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts (FRSA) in the UK. He is currently a Visiting Professor at UCL’s Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy, an Associate Fellow at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, an Adjunct Professor at Swinburne University and sits on the board of the IMPROVE European Innovation Management Academy. He holds degrees in Arts and Law from the University of Sydney as well as a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Oxford.