January 11, 2017
From CES to the WEF, a lesson in technology’s impact to transform industry and society
By: Nathaniel Kenninger, INSEAD MBA student and recent Accenture Strategy intern


With the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Conference in Davos just a few days away, it’s been interesting to see the highlights coming out of another important conference, the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, and consider implications that these new technologies will have on industry and society in the coming years.

In essence, this was what Accenture Strategy was tasked to look at as part of its Digital Transformation of Industries (DTI) research project: the ways in which new technologies (from artificial intelligence to autonomous vehicles and everything in between) disrupt certain industries and ways governments can proactively develop policy to reduce any implications for society. As one of a number of MBA interns supporting the project, I worked with a team specifically focused on the impact and adoption of technologies in the retail sector.

Looking at the technologies demonstrated at this year’s CES, it is uncanny to see the same discussions pan out as the ones we had with Accenture partners and project managers from the World Economic Forum: Which technologies will actually be adopted? Are these technologies realistic, and will they have an impact in the next 5-10 years? Is there some sort of substance and value in these new technologies, or is just hype?

I wanted to work with Accenture Strategy on the DTI project because Accenture is uniquely positioned as an expert on technology strategy and implementation; CEOs and government leaders look to the firm for thought leadership on when and how to implement new technologies. I personally felt I lacked this level of digital or technology expertise, so I jumped at the chance to work with Accenture and learn more about the firm, how it works and, most importantly, the company’s view on the ways technology will radically change industry and society.

So I suggest that if you’re going to follow the highlights of the World Economic Forum in the coming week, brush up quickly on the technologies presented at this year’s CES. Sure, the technologies at CES are purely consumer focused, whereas our work looked at impact across the value chain, but at the same time, many of these technologies presented will have a profound impact on the retail sector (and many other sectors), and society and will be closely watched and discussed in Davos.

Check out opportunities like this and more that Accenture Strategy offers MBA students and graduates.

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