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Year: 2020

25 Dec 2020
Manahel Thabet

The Great Reset

We do not usually reset ourselves, except when the things that hold us up fail us and turn their backs on us. So, resetting here is an alternative solution to our collapse, or when we fail to find better alternatives than what is in our hands.

The Great Reset means keeping up with changes and adapting to new data, reformulating the world for its tools, updating, and rehabilitating the skills of individuals, in line with a new form of the entire business system.

It may be stated that we were supposed to adapt technology to customs and traditions. But what is happening now, due to the compulsion imposed by the Corona pandemic, and with slow transformations that were also led by the transformations of the age of knowledge, is that we are moving in the direction of adapting everything in order to harmonize with technology, just as oil once did when it poured human civilization into its mold and forced it to adapt to its facts.

The aspects of technology have imposed a reset of everything, which imposes adaptation and the assimilation of the new mechanisms that the business system has ended, and the reordering and reformulation of the identity of professions and jobs. In the beginning, it was palatable, including the pattern of remote work and distance education.

The urgent need to reset began coinciding with the beginnings of the Corona crisis, and I consider it a crisis to produce a transformation and accelerate the resetting process more than an epidemic crisis, as many people have lost their jobs, jobs and money invested in stock portfolios, which they spent a long time in their lives to build up. After hoping for an economically stable life that secures their future and the future of their children, panic began to prevail in the world, then, gradually, the black clouds began to dissolve. This happened when the activation of the mechanisms of the knowledge-based practical system provided its features and tools, and many people began to adapt to these, and practice their old work with a new look that keeps pace with the transformations imposed by activation of the knowledge system, and reset them according to its mechanisms, which are mechanisms that are not born or imposed by the Corona pandemic. Rather, they existed before, yet the Corona crisis has brought them all to the surface and imposed activation. When it is in their hands, as an option that secures it from collapse, it will be about the most able to adapt to the new mechanisms in the sectors of business, professions and jobs, and the worthiest will survive. Those who cannot reset and adapt, will be exported outside this square, which has imposed the readjustment on the world to adapt according to the data.

Economic competition, according to the assumptions of the reset, has come to mean that someone is able, through technology applications, to purchase a commodity from anywhere in the world, without limits or distances that prevent it, and it also means that a seller behind screens in China can compete with a traditional seller in a local store in any country in the world.

These transformations and the presumptions of reset impose the existence of radical changes in all sectors, including medicine, in which all the balance of power has changed. So, obtaining a drug using artificial intelligence has become much easier, as well as searching for vaccination against any disease, as it takes five to ten years to find out its side effects. And here we see a vaccine that was manufactured in less than a year.

Keeping up with, and adapting, according to the data of the reset process, which the world has arrived at in the sectors of business, professions and jobs, requires the world to reformulate its tools, through a process of updating and rehabilitating the skills of all individuals in accordance with the new form, which has been reset according to its data, which are both mechanisms and data: The New Transformation.

Life will pass by those who have willpower and those who do not have it, but who will reserve the advanced seats in the future, for those who are always able to reset, for the strongest desire and the most able to change and adapt to the new facts of life?

Finally, one can ask: Do we consider that reality, with all its facts, failed us in the Corona pandemic, so we had to reset to adapt to more feasible alternatives?

Author : Manahel Thabet
Published December 25, 2020
Al Bayan Newspaper

21 Dec 2020
Capacity for Innovation

The 5 Steps That Will Boost Your Creativity and Capacity for Innovation

Today I came across a wonderful article about the creative capacity of one of the characters that I find most fascinating: Albert Einstein and I remembered something I learned from my professor in neuroscience, Dr. Irena O’Brien, when she was talking to me about the science behind the insight generation process or those “Aha Moments!” that we have all lived at some point.

He just gave Albert Einstein as an example, who described his own process of generating these “Aha Moments!” take a big speculative leap to a conclusion and then trace the connections to verify the idea .

But, perhaps like me at that moment, you are wondering what is it to make a speculative leap to a conclusion, and the answer is to think of unconventional, non-obvious explanations or solutions, even without apparent logic, and then how Einstein did trace the connections to verify the idea.

When Albert Einstein developed the theory of relativity, he made a huge leap over the traditional laws known so far. And when I think of great innovators, like Steve Jobs and his idea of the creation of the first iPod, John F. Kennedy and his speech of the first trip to the moon at the beginning of the 60s, or Bill Gates and the creation of the first operating system for personal computers, I realize that everyone has started making these great “mental” leaps .

At present, scientists have studied in depth how the process of creativity and innovation works within our brain and what conditions can favor the appearance of these “Aha Moments” in human beings.

There are 5 fundamental steps that I want to talk to you about very quickly:

1. Exploration. A creative brain is a brain that has been exposed to different stimuli, learnings, experiences, that has an open and flexible mind. I love to think, for example, of the great Salvador Dalí , who, of course, was an extraordinary architect, but in turn had a great passion for nature, history, theater, painting and literature. It was the combination of all these passions that fueled his extreme creativity.

2. Focus. A brain that, on the other hand, achieves mastery through practice and repetition is also capable of finding innovative solutions to complex problems in a given area. One of the artists I admire the most is named Ed Sheeran, once in one of his interviews he was asked about how his creative process flows. He replied that he spends more than eight hours a day writing songs, he can write up to 10 a day, to end up with more than 200 songs, of which only 12 or 15 are selected for the new album.

He reinforced that out of 200 songs only 12 or 15 are really very good, but that the rest are part of his creative process. This really surprised me! But I loved hearing it because it debunks that myth that people like him are given everything easy. If it is true that they have great talent, but where the real magic occurs is in the hours and hours of dedication, focus and practice.

3. Incubation. This stage, after exploration and focus, tells us about letting that creative idea rest, that solution we are looking for, perhaps taking a relaxing walk, doing meditation, taking a bath, going to sleep, taking a nap, clearing our mind. , have a pleasant conversation with someone. It is a stage in which we let our unconscious mind (or diffuse mode of thinking, if you’ve read my e-book Learning to Learn , you know what I’m talking about, if you can’t download it for free here) to work to find a creative and innovative solution to our problem.

4. Insight (“Moment Aha!). According to the scientific study done by Kounios, J., and Beeman, M. in 2009 ” The Aha! Moment: The Cognitive Neuroscience of Insight “, although it seems that these” Aha! Moments “were sudden and disconnected from previous thought processes, studies carried out through electroencephalograms have been able to determine that these” revelations “really – that creative idea and The only one that comes to our mind without apparent explanation, that sudden understanding of a problem we were facing and its corresponding solution, even the understanding of a joke or the resolution of a riddle, is given by previous thought processes in different areas of our brain .

All have been originated by the previously described stages: Exploration , Focus and Incubation .

That is, while we can’t force ourselves to have these “Aha! Moments” At a specific moment, what we can be sure of is that the process to be able to show them more frequently in our life is to precede them enough: Exploration, Focus and Incubation . They will simply appear because this is their natural process of occurrence.

Isn’t that amazing? That’s how wonderful our brain is.

5. Monitoring or evaluation. This last stage consists of the analytical evaluation of this new creative idea and its validation, and for this we will be using the areas of our brain that are in charge of our critical thinking and decision making.

I hope that knowing these five steps to unleash your creative and innovation process will help you a lot.

Thanks for getting here! I really wanted to share with you this information that I find so fascinating and so important in these times in which we live, in which creativity is one of the most powerful skills we have for the growth and expansion of our life and our endeavors.

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/361391

18 Dec 2020
Manahel Thabet

The “Commodification” of water

The year 2020 refuses to end peacefully. After all the tragedies that have decimated humanity, here comes more. Days ago, for the first time in the world, the establishment of the world’s first market for water futures contracts was announced, and this may lead to speculation by financiers who may trade water as if it were a commodity like oil and gold.

Water is a fundamental right, just like air, and it belongs to everyone. It is a public good. It is closely related to human life and livelihoods, and it is an essential component of public health. It has been so always, and it will remain so.

When water is announced as a commodity for trading in the global stock market and, as is happening now, treated as gold, oil and other commodities that are traded on Wall Street’s financial market, within years, the price of water may rise beyond that of oil in some areas. Most countries and all the west will depend on power plants that depend on the fusion of corn (FT) as a source of energy. This will be followed by the demand for oil decreasing to a degree that affects its prices, and as a result, there will be a noticeable rise in the price of water.

The danger is that only agricultural establishments and large industrial facilities will be able to buy water, which will lead to the marginalization of the weak economic sector, such as small farmers. This doubles the hardship of the lower classes in such sectors, and increases the injustice that they face as a result, similar to the wave of “automation” and “adaptation” that imposed a forced exclusion of the workforce in these sectors which replaced humans with machines.

According to a special United Nations report, water is already under severe threat from the planet’s growing population, increasing demand, and dangerous pollution from agriculture and the mining industry. In the context of the exacerbation of the impact of climate change, the report stresses that water is a vital resource for the economy. However, water contains a set of vital values for societies, which the market fails to realize.

These vital values that the market does not realize have necessitated the ongoing global discussions about the environmental, social and cultural values of water, in conjunction with the news indicating that it will be traded on the futures market on “Wall Street” stressing that water is a basic human right.

The disaster that awaits is that countries with rivers and their people who depend on agriculture industry for their livelihoods will end up having to pay for water.

This situation in turn puts the world before the need to reconsider and redefine the seventeen sustainable development goals, both because of the Corona pandemic that befell the world, and to face new challenges, including the challenge of commodifying water that adds up to the exacerbation of climate change impact.

It can be said that the conflict in human history has always been constant, and the human culture, with its renewed ways of life, is changing. This is an obvious fact. Man used to establish his civilization always around water and close to its origins, declaring long wars for that privilege. In spite of having achieved it, we are now returning to square one, announcing the beginnings of a new era – an era of conflict and water wars.

Author : Manahel Thabet
Published December 18, 2020
Al Bayan Newspaper

25 Nov 2020
Manahel Thabet

Manahel Thabet: The Intelligent Elegance

Few who knew about her struggle with autism spectrum Aspergers, and how she defeated all odd crushing massive challenges. 

Nevertheless, Prof Manahel Thabet is ranked amongst the thirty smartest people alive and has held the world record for the highest IQ of a woman in 2013.  A passionate scientist and inspirational voice for a number of matters, including Gifted individuals, women in STEM and mind abilities, Prof. Manahel Thabet currently serves in leadership roles for several international organizations and groups that include SmartTips Consultants, The Think Hub, IBCHN, and World Intelligence Network.

Manahel Thabet, ranked amongst the smartest women in the world, is an inspirational Arab “self made” Leader, intellectual activist, and business entrepreneur. Prof. Manahel Thabet serves in a leadership capacity and advisory boards for several of the world’s most prominent global organizations and groups, including foremost organizations for high IQ individuals, governments, research, and business. A new face for the small- and medium-scale enterprises in the GCC countries. Manahel Thabet brings a clear vision and great perseverance to her global perspective and has introduced herself to a new height while continuing to push individuals and corporate organizations forward.

Currently the Founder and President of SmartTips Consultants in Dubai, a premier provider for tools and techniques to grow businesses on a global scale. Thabet is also the President The World IQ Foundation, Vice President of the World Intelligence Network (WIN), Deputy Director of the Institute for Brain Chemistry and Human Nutrition of Imperial College, and Vice-Chancellor of The Gifted Academy in the UK. A talented leader who least can be called polymath. Thabet is involved as a successful leader in numerous organizations that connect science, knowledge, and business in the global arena. 

As a leading voice on numerous topics Thabet has published articles on topics of knowledge based economy, quantum mathematics, quantum neurology, mathematics of consciousnesses and the quantum brain. Her work and expert opinions have been featured in several leading publications  around the world, and she is often sought out as a subject matter expert in these areas. 

Prof. Manahel Thabet has the been the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions, which include Freedom of the City of London, Brain of the Year Award, Guinness World Record in mind ability and largest memory lesson, Middle East Achievement Awards in Science, Prosperity Foundation Awards at the British House of Lords, and Genius of the Year 2013. She has been listed amongst the most powerful 500 Arabs in the world and the 100 most powerful women in the Middle East and was included on the BBC’s list of the 100 most inspirational women across the world.

Her accomplishments and professional record are unmatched by others at her age, and her societal contributions have withstood the test of time and brought about positive, systemic global change. Prof. Mahanel Thabet has influenced the lives of many with her work, and she has managed to create an impact not just in her native  nation, but across the globe while continuing to make great strides in the global arena for all. Thabet founded and leads a mind ability enhancement center called Think Hub believing that human capital is the future asset. 

Manahel Thabet is indeed an autistic heroine who put the impossible into shame.

Prof. Manahel Thabet is an active member of Mensa, the British Royal Society of Medicine, British Association for Neuroscience,

Honors and awards Prof Manahel Thabet has received:

Freeman of the City of London – UK
Dame of Saint Catherin – UK
Member of The Royal Society RSM
Royal Grand Cross Officer with Justice Eagle
Saint Lazarus Honor
Genius of the year 2013 Asia
Brain of the year 2014 UK
Science Achievement Award – UAE
Avicenna Science Award – UK
World Guinness Record in Mind Ability

Source: https://londondailypost.com/manahel-thabet-the-intelligent-elegance/

25 Oct 2020
The next Apple or Amazon will be a company built on blockchain - and it'll be based in Asia, not the US, a cryptocurrency chief says

JP Morgan Veteran Daniel Masters Explains How Blockchain Will End Commercial Banks

  • A cryptocurrency chief predicted that the next biggest company in the world will be one built on blockchain – and it will be based in Asia, not the US.
  • Crypto regulations are a lot clearer in Asia, whereas uncertainty in the United States does not help consumer confidence and discredits the overall industry, Ben Weiss, chief operating officer at CoinFlip, said.
  • “I haven’t heard any specific plans from Biden, or anyone, on Bitcoin regulation, but there needs to be sensible regulation,” Weiss said. “There needs to be regulatory clarity, because the US is losing the blockchain battle right now to a lot of different countries.”
  • He believes any presidential candidate who is pro-crypto will win the youth vote for the next 15 to 20 years. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The next Apple or Amazon will be a blockchain company based in Asia, not the US, according to Ben Weiss, chief operating officer at CoinFlip, the world’s biggest Bitcoin ATM operator. 

That’s because the US still doesn’t have the regulatory clarity required for the crypto industry to grow and innovate, Weiss told Business Insider in an interview on Tuesday.

Compared to Asia, where regulations are a lot clearer, the US does not have well-defined rules that could boost confidence in digital currencies and help legitimize the crypto industry. Weiss specifically touted Singapore as the potential home to the next biggest blockchain company in the world.

After having jumped about 46% this year, Bitcoin was trading at $12,338 on Wednesday. Weiss expects the price to hit $13,500 in the near-term. The US government has basically ignored Bitcoin over the last few years, and they’re going to have to address it at some point, he said.

 

The crypto chief said regulations in the US are required not just to protect consumers, but to spur innovation as several institutional and retail investors realize the risk of not having some amount of bitcoin in their balance sheets.

But despite growing interest in the digital currency space, there is still a lot of uncertainty around the crypto industry, as US regulators and trading authorities have not issued any updated policies or guidelines ahead of the November presidential election. 

Weiss believes buying Bitcoin is one of the most political purchases an investor can make, as it’s the most democratizing and inclusive financial revolution.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, who is currently ahead of President Donald Trump in the polls, has no particular stance on Bitcoin or cryptocurrencies, although he has supported financial innovation.

 

“I haven’t heard any specific plans from Biden, or anyone, on Bitcoin regulation but there needs to be sensible regulation,” Weiss said. “There needs to be regulatory clarity, because the US is losing the blockchain battle right now to a lot of different countries.”

Weiss believes any presidential candidate who is pro-crypto, whether in this election cycle or the next, will win the youth vote for the next 15 to 20 years. “I’m surprised no major presidential candidate has gotten fully behind Bitcoin yet,” he added.

Source: https://markets.businessinsider.com/currencies/news/next-big-tech-giant-blockchain-based-crypto-expert-2020-10-1029705362#

22 Oct 2020
Disruption Vs. Innovation

Disruption Vs. Innovation

What do you think of when you hear the word disruption? Maybe a start-up with a lofty, if not somewhat unattainable, idea. Perhaps any number of Apple product launches. Or perhaps, in these times, your home internet going out right before a Zoom call.

In the start-up and tech world, the word disrupt is often presented to delineate an innovative idea. Disruption is not synonymous with innovation. Sure, Airbnb completely changed the hospitality industry in undeniably innovative ways, but it also caused negative effects on local neighborhoods and housing markets. Sometimes, even with the best intentions, disruption exits innovation terrority and enters dysfunction territory.

Inventive Innovation or Disruptive Innovation?

But, if you are in the throes of creating something new and innovative, you must decide: do you want to be an inventive innovator or a disruptive innovator?

Despite its ubiquity in its use for products, ideas, and processes that produce fundamental change, disruption in this context does have a full name: disruptive innovation. It was first described by Clayton Christensen in 1995 and thoroughly explained in his groundbreaking 1997 book, The Innovator’s Dilemma

What’s often overlooked is that innovation takes many forms, and it isn’t always disruptive. Just because you don’t break and remake markets doesn’t mean you’re not an innovator. That quest to completely break and rebuild often leads to failure. Oftentimes, innovation doesn’t look like disruption at all – it’s a silent hero giving us new and better ways to do things without us even realizing it. I think of my own community at SailPoint, and how our team has taken a leap into global, widespread remote work without hardly a moment of disruption in innovation, productivity or customer service.

Simply put: there are healthy and unhealthy ways to (try to) create change.

Tech at large has been under the microscope for its boundary-crossing innovations – from increasing privacy concerns to security risks. On the other hand, it has enabled us to operate more globally and efficiently.

What do you want to be known for?

So, as you shape the future of the technology or service you provide, think about the kind of innovation for which you want to be known. Are you aiming for iterative innovation or true disruption? In our case, we want to disrupt, but not leave a path of dysfuntion in our wake. It’s the old, “leave it better than you found it,” idea, which means finding better ways to deliver solutions to our customers, without, ideally, leaving a mess in our wake. After all, we strive to be the kind of parter whose customers constantly look to us to solve their problems before they know it’s even a problem for them.

So choose carefully what kind of innovator you want to be ahead of time, and hopefully, you can create real value for your community without leaving disfunction behind you.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbooksauthors/2020/10/21/disruption-vs-innovation/#73dcf5242e6b

20 Oct 2020
Why disruption is now a springboard for innovation in manufacturing

Why disruption is now a springboard for innovation in manufacturing

Mark Hughes, Regional Vice President, UK & Ireland, Epicor looks at Why disruption is now a springboard for innovation in manufacturing.

The effects of COVID-19 have rippled across every industry, but its impact on manufacturers has brought positive change, as well as disruption. Despite the difficult choices manufacturers have faced over the course of the year, digitisation has accelerated – a process which has long been challenging in the industry.

The reasons behind this vary; those with ageing workforces have sometimes been sceptical about new technology, while others have been uncertain the investment would pay off. However, the onset of lockdown saw restrictions from mandatory remote working to limits on how many people can be in one area at a time. Manufacturers had to adapt to stay in business – and now they’re in the fortunate position of being able to pick and choose the best of those new processes and technologies. So, what should they be focusing on?

People power

Mark Huges, Regional Vice President, UK & Ireland
Mark Huges, Regional Vice President, UK & Ireland

As a result of lockdown, businesses and factory floors had to evolve at speed. To highlight just one example of adapting to this change of pace and reacting with an innovative solution, manufacturers implemented Internet of Things (IoT) sensors on machinery to monitor performance remotely. But can those sensors compete with the good old-fashioned hands of a seasoned engineer on a long-term basis?

Both offer convenience, but the cost of ongoing high-tech maintenance, training and equipment might present a barrier to continued use. Manufacturers need to strike the balance between traditional factory set-ups and the new now, incorporating the benefits of digital acceleration while retaining the perks of having human staff on the floor.

The human vs. machine debate also affects recruitment. It might be more difficult or more expensive to find staff who are well versed in any new implemented technologies. But with remote working enabled, manufacturers are free to choose from a much wider pool of talent – something that’s especially relevant to the industry given its often isolated site locations.

The proposition of a truly flexible role in a field that used to be the very opposite could be a draw. Combined with manufacturing’s relative stability compared to other industries and it’s not difficult to see why the sector is reputationally bouncing back to be considered a solid place to be employed and do business – which, in turn, causes a surge in fresh blood to drive digital change.

Mind over matter

It’s not just those employed in the industry who saw the benefits of recent digitisation. Many factories pivoted almost overnight to produce completely different in-demand products – including Mercedes F1BrewDog and Dyson. While few businesses would have considered swapping from making vacuum cleaners to hospital beds pre-COVID, these organisations have witnessed their own power to pivot – and, with any luck, this inspiration will fuel further change in the near future.

The real silver lining beyond merely accelerating digitisation was a shift in mindset. With the experience of 2020 behind them (and support from recently digitised platforms), manufacturers should all feel more confident in running with new ideas and innovations.

While budgetary and practicality constraints persist, they’re no match for manufacturers having the confidence to follow their ideas and the drive to see them through to completion. As we’ve seen, small developments can have a butterfly effect. Each step towards digitisation attracts more forward-thinking people to continue the trend, as well as inspiring existing team members to think and actively reach outside the box. Change is never easy but, with the right tools in place and attitude in mind, anything is possible.

For almost 50 years, Epicor Software Corporation has specialised in helping customers grow their businesses, expand their capabilities, increase their productivity, and improve efficiencies. A leader in Enterprise Resource Planning for medium-sized businesses, Epicor serves as a trusted partner for thousands of companies worldwide across key industries such as manufacturing, distribution, and retail. 

Source: https://www.themanufacturer.com/articles/disruption-now-springboard-innovation-manufacturing/

14 Oct 2020
Brain-scanning backpack brings neuroscience into the real world

Brain-scanning backpack brings neuroscience into the real world

Call it neuroscience on the go. Scientists have developed a backpack that tracks and stimulates brain activity as people go about their daily lives. The advance could allow researchers to get a sense of how the brain works outside of a laboratory—and how to monitor diseases such as Parkinson’s and post-traumatic stress disorder in real-world settings.

The technology is “an inspiring demonstration of what’s possible” with portable neuroscience equipment, says Timothy Spellman, a neurobiologist at Weill Cornell Medicine who was not involved with the work. The backpack and its vast suite of tools, he says, could broaden the landscape for neuroscience research to study the brain while the body is in motion.

Typically, when scientists want to scan the brain, they need a lot of room—and a lot of money. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanners, which detect activity in various regions of the brain, are about the size of a pickup truck and can cost more than $1 million. And patients must stay still in the machine for about 1 hour to ensure a clear, readable scan.

Approaches like transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) that zap the brain—often to treat severe depression—are also not portable; patients must sit still and upright in a lab for about 30 minutes while a large coil delivers magnetic pulses through their scalp to electrically activate neurons.

Searching for a better way, researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), have developed what they call the mobile deep brain recording and stimulation platform.

Here’s how it works: A wand snakes up out of a 4-kilogram backpack to rest near the top of the patient’s scalp. There, the wand can communicate with a neural implant that lies deep in the brain. Meanwhile, the backpack is filled with monitors—a setup that allows for real-time data collection from the implant. At the same time, depending on the experiment, the participant can wear additional gear for measuring brain and body activities, including a scalp electroencephalography cap with electrodes that monitor surface brain activity, a pair of virtual reality goggles that track eye movement, and other devices that track heart and breathing rates. All of this information can then be synchronized with signals from the implant.

“The beauty of this is that you have many streams of data that are coming in simultaneously,” says study author Zahra Aghajan, a UCLA neurophysicist.

In lab testing, the team was able to show that the backpack records activity and stimulates various brain regions without requiring people to stay still. It was also able to collect the same data as an fMRI machine and stimulate the brain in a way similar to TMS, the team reports this week in Neuron.

Not being tied to a lab setting could enable scientists to study how the brain functions while people are in motion and interacting with others, rather than lying still inside an fMRI machine, the researchers say.

There’s a catch, however: Only patients who have neural implants can use the device. About 150,000 people worldwide have such implants, which doctors use to treat and monitor a wide range of conditions including Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

The team has released the backpack’s software and blueprints for all scientists to use, says study author Uros Topalovic, a Ph.D. student at UCLA. The hope, he says, is that other researchers can use the technology to study neurological conditions of all kinds without the constraints of a lab or hospital bed.

Source: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/09/brain-scanning-backpack-brings-neuroscience-real-world

13 Oct 2020
Digitalization of MSMEs needs broad support package

Digitalization of MSMEs needs broad support package

Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Europe and Central Asia need an integrated package of financial and non-financial instruments to help them adapt to the twin challenges of COVID-19 and accelerated digitalization, according to the panel for the recent GMIS Digital Series webinar, “Industrial Recovery in Europe and Central Asia: Accelerating Digital Transformation for MSMEs”.

Taras Kachka, Deputy Minister for Economic Development, Trade and Agriculture – Trade Representative of Ukraine, stressed the need for “better balance” in mitigating the pandemic while preserving the economy, particularly the MSME sector. He noted the need to improve skills, and the certification of products and services, and to increase transparency. “MSMEs are the key drivers of regional economic growth but the lockdown measures put in place in every country have impacted their ability to produce, trade and serve their communities as supply chains were disrupted,” lamented Kachka.

Naira Margaryan, Armenia’s Deputy Minister of Economy, noted the imperative of building capacity for women and youth, given the paucity of leadership positions they occupy. She said, “Although the crisis has been devastating for some, for other businesses it creates new employment and self-employment opportunities. In Armenia, we are seeing women embrace this as an opportunity to step up, so, to support their efforts, we in the government are working to provide better access for women to enter business networks and are supporting capacity and skill-building, particularly in the manufacturing sector.”

Milena Angelova, Vice-President of the EU’s European Economic and Social Committee, focused on the need for targeted investments to specific sectors, for digitalization of MSMEs, digital skills and financial support to MSMEs, particularly through enhanced partnerships. “The main challenge is to prevent any loss of industrial production but to do this, we need to map out the impact of the pandemic on individual sectors and countries to identify where support is needed the most. Until now, much of the business community’s response to the crisis has been on a local level. This approach will not deliver a sustainable recovery. To do so, we need to draw these efforts together, to form a network across Europe and Asia to build cohesion and a multiplier effect,” said Angelova.

Maja Tomanic-Vidovic, Director, Slovene Enterprise Fund, noted that since the outbreak of COVID-19, 75 per cent of MSMEs had lost employees, 70 per cent had falling revenues, while 40 per cent suffer from liquidity issues. In the long-run, she noted, MSEMs will have to adapt to the accelerated paradigm of digitalization. She warned, “We have to accept that nothing will be the same as before…companies that don’t accept this will have problems in the future.” Concluding, Jacek Cukrowski, Chief of UNIDO’s Regional Programme, Europe and Central Asia, noted that the MSME sector is the backbone of any national economy, and that innovation is “at the core of modern business”. He listed UNIDO’s interventions in this area, including tailored programmes for the digitalization of MSMEs, enhancing digital resilience and competitiveness, digital upskilling and training. Cukrowski stressed, “Ensuring [MSMEs’] resilience is key to creating a more inclusive and resilient, human-centered future and a thriving global economy.”

Source: https://moderndiplomacy.eu/2020/10/11/digitalization-of-msmes-needs-broad-support-package/

12 Oct 2020
Asia's digital economy needs a clear global tax framework

Asia’s digital economy needs a clear global tax framework

Jeff Paine is managing director of the Asia Internet Coalition, an industry association comprising leading internet and technology companies including Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon.

Over 135 countries, led by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, are working hard to build a multilateral consensus around international tax issues arising from the growth of the digital economy. This consensus is sought through the OECD-Group of 20 Inclusive Framework on base erosion and profit shifting.

The evolving debate around international taxation seeks to address two primary concerns. The first is profit shifting, which relates to differences in countries’ tax laws existing in the present system. The second concern is that the present system may require a more comprehensive overhaul to suit today’s globalized and digitalized economy.

 

The framework applies to all consumer-facing businesses. Many people assume it is aimed at technology companies. On the contrary, it is a broad framework that recognizes that digitalization has transformed businesses and economies around the world.

A large part of the current tax system was designed after World War I and includes approximately 3,000 bilateral treaties. Simplifying this complex framework is crucial. In addition, a modern global tax framework needs to reflect the interconnected and complex trade patterns that drive our globalized world. The original framework was built around single-source products and doesn’t reflect the international nature of the way goods and services are created and sold today. Global commerce has evolved, and so must our tax system.

The OECD has recognized the need for progress and has indicated that a partial framework could be presented in October 2020 for discussion. However, there remain a few obstacles to getting this deal done. A global system that is fair and simple needs consensus. A lack of consensus and potential delays means that government revenues are impacted, and increased uncertainty for businesses.

The adverse economic impact of COVID-19 has led to an acceleration in unilateral digital taxation measures by some governments, creating double-taxation and administrative hurdles for companies, and prompting the U.S. to threaten sanctions. This regressive unilateral thinking and protestations from countries large and small are threatening to undo the OECD’s global efforts and could do more harm than good.

Against this backdrop, the world is facing a digital tax deadlock that could adversely impact economic growth, innovation, and jobs unless government leaders return to the negotiating table to find a simple and equitable solution. The lack of coordination means that companies are holding back on plans to establish operations in new markets which have resulted in fewer jobs.

The digital economy has played a transformative role in the world’s response to the challenges faced during COVID-19. Emerging technologies have been developed and deployed at an extraordinary pace. Artificial intelligence and big data analytics have enabled innovative, rapid, and wide-ranging responses to public health and essential service delivery.

In addition, COVID-19 has accelerated existing trends. With the traditional shop front temporarily shut, access to customers for most businesses has been aided by the digital economy. A lack of consensus on a global tax framework could end up restricting access to the digital economy and widen the digital divide even further by restricting investments, cross-border trade, and access to innovations for many communities.

The business community wants the certainty that an agreed global framework would bring. Fiscal consensus enables better long-term planning and a level playing for companies operating across multiple markets. The cost and complexity of individual countries creating and applying their own rules ultimately hits the pockets of the consumer and could potentially dampen the ambitions of companies to invest in future growth.

This is not just an issue for established global companies. If you are a startup operating across Asia, the cost and complexity of adhering to multiple and inconsistent rules might mean that you think twice about offering services to overseas customers.

The Asia Internet Coalition believes that all companies have a responsibility to pay taxes in compliance with the law of countries in which they operate, and members make significant economic contributions in the countries and communities where they do business. However, we believe corporate tax policies should not discriminate against companies and certain sectors and should be applied consistently in accordance with internationally agreed tax systems.

At its core, the new rules being considered by the OECD are to decide how profits are divided among countries in an era of global commerce, and where the line between goods and services is increasingly blurred in an increasingly global modern economy. We believe this is for governments to decide. However, it is in everyone’s interests for new tax rules to provide long-term stability and certainty for businesses to continue to innovate and invest in the future.

Agreement built around the key principles of neutrality, efficiency, certainty, and simplicity will give governments comfort on revenues, businesses the ability to grow and invest for the future, and consumers an understanding of the impact on their wallets.

Harnessing the potential of the digital economy is essential in driving global growth. Working together to create an enabling and harmonized regulatory environment would go a long way toward achieving this. Going it alone does not lead to a more integrated digital economy for any country, it will likely lead to the opposite.

Source: https://asia.nikkei.com/Opinion/Asia-s-digital-economy-needs-a-clear-global-tax-framework