GEM 2012


The theme for the Global Empowerment Meeting 2012 was Trillion Dollar Ideas to Build Prosperity. The goal was to examine transformational shifts in the strategies to create prosperity, to understand the dynamics of innovative initiatives and empower disadvantaged populations around the world.

The fifth in the Global Empowerment Meeting series, GEM12 brought together one hundred senior policy makers, business leaders, development experts and academics to continue last year's productive discussion on new strategies for accelerating growth and unlocking the potential of developing countries.

Discussions included:

  • the role of conglomerates in driving development
  • new methodologies to building capacity in institutions to support learning and implementation of new policies
  • how neuroscience and psychology can help solve development challenges
  • the role of networks in building prosperity

GEM12 offered a thought-provoking program and interactive platform for engaging these new ideas, while promoting direct interaction between ideators, implementers and supporters in order to turn these insights into actuality.

Download Agenda PDF

Keynote speakers:

The Prospects for Developing Countries
in a Changing World

Lawrence Summers and Ricardo Hausmann

The Future of Development Aid

Douglas Alexander

The Role of Conglomerates in Driving Development: Conglomerates have been successful in emerging markets and have leveraged their size and resources to work within existing institutional voids and market failures. From Chile and Mexico to South Africa, India, Indonesia and Korea, many highly diversified groups have grown handsomely, raising considerable funds in the international market and creating substantial gains in shareholder value in the process. As conglomerates look for future sources of growth, their unique position as globally connected microcosms with many internal capabilities could be catalytic for emerging economies to help them sprout new, complex and innovative industries that would be riskier for smaller players. This session explores this potentially catalytic and socially validated path to growth, and suggest that emerging-market conglomerates are here to stay, provided they adapt to their ever-changing environment. View individual presentations below or group discussion here.

Conglomerates in Emerging Markets:
Tigers or Dinosaurs?

Ricardo Hausmann

Presentation slides

Business Groups in Emerging Markets:
Paragons or Parasites?

Tarun Khanna

Presentation slides

Building State Capability: A new initiative at Harvard’s Center for International Development aims to research practical approaches to building capability and promoting alternative practices for implementation. This framework "Problem Driven Iterative Adaptation" (PDIA) provides a new way to think about this challenge and approach building capacity in institutions in the developing world.

Building State Capability: The PDIA Approach

Lant Pritchett and Matt Andrews

Presentation slides

How do we get the Better Angels of our Nature? Using neuroscience, psychology and economics to solve development challenges: Understanding how humans behave, in particular the poor, who have sparse financial and psychological resources, can have huge implications for programs, policies and technologies designed to fight poverty. Thanks to brain science and experimental psychology, we know that this tug of war between what we 'should do' and what we feel like doing is real. This panel features views from neuroscience, psychology and economics to help us understand our tendencies and the biases we possess. The panel offers insights into how these factors can affect the planning of programs, policies and products to solve development challenges. View individual presentations below or group discussion here.

Angels and Devils

Sendhil Mullainathan

Presentation slides

Emotion, Reason, & Moral Progress

Steven Pinker

Presentation slides

Preventing Crime and Violence

Jens Ludwig

Presentation slides

For the Greater Good: Learning to Use
our Moral Brains

Joshua Greene

Presentation slides

The Role of Networks in Building Prosperity: We can think of the poor as those who are excluded from networks of productivity. As with any network system, the strength of a human network improves as it grows in size. By being connected to networks of productivity, the poor can be made part of developing and enacting creative solutions to the problems they face. Made evermore possible with the aggregating power of technology, greater connectivity in the development space has wide implications for topics ranging from disease control and disaster relief to aid coordination and political participation. This multi-disciplinary panel considers how network thinking and participatory platforms have changed and can continue to change the way we think about economic development. View individual presentations below or group discussion here.

The Laws of Networks

Albert-Laszlo Barabasi

Presentation slides

Network and Infectious Diseases

Alessandro Vespignani

Presentation slides

Tweetquake

David Lazer

Presentation slides

Natural Disasters Decentralized Responses

Asim Khwaja

Presentation slides

The Structure and Dynamics of International Development Assistance

Ricardo Hausmann

Presentation slides

The Power of Social Influence

Sinan Aral

Presentation slides

Rising Tide: Is Growth in Emerging Economies Good for the United States? It has long been a central tenet of US foreign economic policy that growth in the rest of the world is good for the United States. But recently, economists have questioned whether the US does benefit from growth in emerging economies. Their concerns relate to the effects of such growth both on aggregate US welfare and on US income inequality.

Rising Tide: Is Growth in Emerging Economies Good for the United States?

Robert Lawrence

Presentation slides