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World Economic Forum Ponders "Creative Imperative"

Business leaders from around the world are in Davos, Switzerland this week for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum. As in past years, the challenges of an increasingly global world economy are on the agenda. The theme of this year's conference is the role of "The Creative Imperative" in addressing those challenges.

The annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland is an occasion for business and political leaders to examine global trends in economics and development. Security is tight due to concerns that anti-globalization advocates could try to disrupt the meetings. But in recent years organizers have attempted to address opposing views. And this year, participants will be discussing creativity and innovation as critical components of sustainable development.

"I think the observation is that creativity and innovation are key to the whole process of globalization,” says Hans Timmer of the World Bank. “It's the most important way to address the important challenges that many of the countries in the world are facing at the moment."

Mr. Timmer analyzes the prospects for development in the global economy for the bank.

"The most important process at the moment that you are seeing in the developing world is an increase in productivity. You see throughout the developing world a very solid increase, around 6 percent for all developing countries together. It's not just China and India; we see it in all the developing regions. And the reason is an increase in productivity and that comes through an increase in creativity and innovation."

Mr. Timmer says you can see the trend in product development and innovation, but also in newly developing methods of trade and cooperation

"You see a large move into, not just more products, but also different kinds of products, as a result of which you see changing patterns of trade in the world, you see competition in global markets with very positive impacts on a lot of countries also."

Economists and business leaders typically deal with issues involving competition for finite resources. That is why it is unusual that this week in Davos they are discussing the role of creativity - a resource that really has no limits.