Beyond the GCI: The Competitiveness Labs
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The Global Competitiveness Index seeks to serve not only as the foremost benchmarking tool to track competitiveness, but also as a tool to facilitate the identification of priority areas and the design of public-private collaboration on agendas to make progress in those areas.
The World Economic Forum strives to contribute to this process of closing competitiveness gaps through a model of public-private collaboration toward actionable agendas called the Competitiveness Labs. This box describes the two ongoing Labs in Latin America and Europe.
Based on The Global Competitiveness Report (GCR) series, the Competitiveness Lab project has been exploring how to address key competitiveness challenges in Latin America, specifically Colombia and Mexico. The Lab promotes public-private collaboration, by bringing together representatives from each sector to devise actionable, long-term competitiveness agendas.
The Competitiveness Lab project began at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting at Davos in 2014, with a broad mandate from participants from the private and public sectors in Latin America. Together with Strategic Partner Deloitte and a high-level steering board, the Forum built on the GCR analysis to identify the region’s main competitiveness gaps and produce an Insight Report with a set of policy recommendations. The report, Bridging the Skills and Innovation Gap to Boost Productivity in Latin America,1 was presented during the World Economic Forum on Latin America 2015. It led to requests for a second phase, to help implement the policy recommendations at the country level.
The Lab methodology consists of an initial workshop, facilitated by the Forum, which convenes high-level representatives from government, the private sector, and civil society to select the most pressing policy recommendation from the Insight Report. Workshop participants form a Steering Committee to be the Lab’s main governance and decision-making body. A Working Group, with representatives from government and the business community, writes a proposal with help from Forum’s technical secretariat.
Both Colombia and Mexico chose to focus on the need for new public-private financial schemes for innovation. Although both Labs are currently at the stage of completing recommendations to their Steering Committees, the process has already resulted in a more positive dynamic between relevant agencies in government and the private sector. A forthcoming report will document lessons learned, with a view to replicating the experience and contributing to more vigorous, evidence-based and project-driven competitiveness agendas in the region.
As in Latin America, the Europe Inclusive Growth and Competitiveness Lab aims to support the design, launch, and implementation of actionable agendas for public-private collaborations to increase competitiveness and inclusive growth.2 The Lab is a joint initiative of the Forum, the European Investment Bank, and the European think tank Bruegel. Drawing on the three partner organizations’ established frameworks and the latest academic research, its first phase will run from January 2016 to January 2017.
In the project’s first phase, the partners are currently analyzing the inclusive growth and competitiveness situation in Europe to inform a white paper that will identify priorities. The second phase will implement concrete public-private partnership opportunities at the EU and subregional levels and/or the industry level. The Lab has a strong, cross-cutting focus on the role of digitalization in the regional economy; it considers reallocating resources to invest in innovation and entrepreneurship to be a key driver for change, and deeper integration of the European single market to be a key catalyst.
The Lab will build on, strengthen, and engage the World Economic Forum’s multi-stakeholder communities through sustained dialogue to support informed decision-making on transformation processes in Europe. Mindful of the short-term challenges currently confronting the continent, the Lab is focusing on longer-term drivers of competitiveness and inclusive growth—and providing thought leadership on how to unleash these drivers through public-private action.