McKinsey: What are some key takeaways from your time in Davos?
Gautam Kumra: We are living through a period of profound uncertainty. If you look at business executives, they are all trying to make sense of how this world will evolve over the next many years. And I think Asia, in particular, is a very complex and a dynamic part of the world.
A range of voices [at Davos] have presented the best of private sector, the social sector, the public sector, and the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). Also, we saw range of people from different markets ranging from the Philippines to Indonesia, Vietnam, India, Japan, Korea, and so forth.
And I think because of that, we were able to bring together multiple different perspectives on how people are seeing the forces that are shaping the world today, and the ones that are going to shape Asia. And I think that diversity is critical, and that divergence, contradictions, and different viewpoints were very valuable to this group and for people to hear.
McKinsey: What is one thing that has surprised you?
Gautam Kumra: I think what surprised me is how people, depending on which part of the world they are in, feel differently about the outlook.
I think the world is becoming more granular. I think if you’re sitting in Indonesia, you’re feeling very excited about things. If you’re sitting in some parts of Europe, I think it feels a little different. If you’re in China, it’s a wholly other story, and it’ll be a different story three months from now.
So, the thing that surprised me is how much of the sentiment is driven by what people have been through and what they’re facing right now, and how sentiment changes so fast.