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Nicholas Davis


Nicholas Davis is a Professor of Practice at Thunderbird School of Global Management and the Managing Partner at SWIFT Partners, a Geneva-based consultancy focused on helping companies harness emerging technologies to create sustainable value. 

From 2015 to 2019, Nick was Head of Society and Innovation and a member of the Executive Committee at the World Economic Forum. He led the Forum’s thought-leadership on the concept of “The Fourth Industrial Revolution”, oversaw engagement with civil society communities and managed teams across the information technology, telecoms and media industries. With Klaus Schwab, the Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, he is the co-author of Shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution, published in January 2018.

Originally from Sydney, and previously a commercial lawyer, Director at Oxford Investment Research and the World Economic Forum’s Head of Europe, Nick is a Certified Professional Facilitator and a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts (FRSA) in the UK. He is currently a Visiting Professor at UCL’s Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy, an Associate Fellow at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, an Adjunct Professor at Swinburne University and sits on the board of the IMPROVE European Innovation Management Academy. He holds degrees in Arts and Law from the University of Sydney as well as a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Oxford.

Areas of expertise:

  • The Fourth Industrial Revolution
  • Agile governance
  • Innovation strategy
  • Entrepreneurship and early-stage growth strategies
  • Artificial intelligence / machine learning
  • Cybersecurity


  • BA, University of Sydney
  • LLB, University of Sydney
  • MBA, University of Oxford

Shaping the Future of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (co-author with Klaus Schwab), Crown, Oct 2018

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (Klaus Schwab), (key contributor), Random House, January 2016

The Geopolitics of Artificial Intelligence” (with J M Rickli). Input paper for the project “The Effective and Ethical Development of Artificial Intelligence”, Australian Council of Learned Academies, July 2019

“Transitioning Industries”, Chapter 3 of Industry Insights: Globalising Australia, Department of Industry, Innovation and Science of Australia, July 2018 

"The Future Relationship Between Technology and Inequality", Chapter 7 of How Unequal? Insights on inequalityThe Committee for Economic Development of Australia, April 2018

The Fourth Industrial Revolution: Shaping a New Era” (with Thomas Philbeck), 
Journal of International Affairs. Vol 72, No. 1 Fall/Winter, 2019 

TEN Youth: Unlocking Enterprise Growth by Focusing on the Fortune at the Bottom of the Talent Pyramid”, (with Hansmeyer, Minic, Prakash and Rangan), Innovations, MIT Press, September 2013

Does Investment Promotion Work?” (with Andrew Charlton) The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy: Vol. 7: Iss. 1, Article 42, 2007

Global Technology Governance: A Multistakeholder Approach 
(with Thomas Philbeck), World Economic Forum, November 2019

Artificial Intelligence: governance and leadership 
(with Farthing, Santow and Webber Corr), Australian Human Rights Commission, January 2019

Civil Society in the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Preparation and Response 
(with Sangokoya, Magnoni and Declercq), World Economic Forum, January 2019

Values, Ethics and Innovation: Rethinking Technological Development in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (with Philbeck and Engtoft Larsen), World Economic Forum, August 2018

Agile Governance: Reimagining Policy-making in the Fourth Industrial Revolution 
(with Broekart, Elmi, Engtoft-Larsen), World Economic Forum, April 2018

Advancing Human-Centred Economic Progress in the Fourth Industrial Revolution: A Leadership Agenda for G20 Governments, (with Richard Samans), G20 Insights, June 2017

Collaborative Innovation: Transforming Business, Driving Growth 
(with Lilia Planjyan), World Economic Forum, June 2015

The Future Availability of Natural Resources: A New Paradigm for Global Resources 
(with Van der Elst, Hatour, Bishop et al), World Economic Forum, November 2014

Enhancing Europe’s Competitiveness: Fostering Innovation-driven Entrepreneurship in Europe, 
(with Jelinek, Kiessler, Ruppert et al), World Economic Forum, June 2014

The Future Role of Civil Society (with Jennie Oldham), World Economic Forum, January 2013

Sustainable Health Systems: Visions, Strategies, Critical Uncertainties and Scenarios
(with Atwood, Lovric and Van der Elst), World Economic Forum, January 2013

Scenarios for the Mediterranean Region (with S Mergenthaler), World Economic Forum, October 2011

Global Risks 2011, Sixth Edition (Co-Editor with Kristel Van der Elst), World Economic Forum, Jan 2011

The GCC Countries and the World: Scenarios to 2025, World Economic Forum, October 2008

Why cybersecurity matters more than ever during the coronavirus pandemic” 
(with Algirde Pipikaite), Forum Agenda, March 2020

Five Trends to Tap Into”, Company Directors Magazine, Vol 35, Issue 11, December 2019

How satellites can solve Africa's eco-challenges, from deforestation to illegal mining” 
(with Anne Marie Engtoft Larsen), Forum Agenda, September 2019.

A world of change in the modernising workforce”, The Australian, Op Ed, 4 December 2018

The power of trust and values in the Fourth Industrial Revolution” 
(with Simon Mulcahy), Forum Agenda, October 2018

Hope and fear surround emerging technologies”, (with Aleksander Subic), The Conversation, May 2018

Learning from Martin Luther About Technological Disruption”, Project Syndicate, October 2017

Fall 2021
Course NumberCourse Title
TGM 549Global Leadership
Fall 2020
Course NumberCourse Title
TGM 549Global Leadership
  • Custom Programme Lecturer (co-lead on multiple 5 day modules): “Oxford Scenarios Programme”, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, 2019

  • Lecturer on Advanced Foresight Approaches (instructor for multiple MBA and Executive Education Programmes) Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, 2020

  • Course Co-Director (7 day module): “Systems Leadership in the Fourth Industrial Revolution”, Saïd Business School Executive Education Module, University of Oxford, March 2019

Industry Positions: 
  • Windeyer Dibbs Solicitors, Sydney, Australia - Solicitor admitted to the Supreme Court of New South Wales
  • Oxford Investment Research, Oxford, UK - Director, Research and Consulting
  • World Economic Forum, Geneva, Switzerland - Head of Society and Innovation, Member of the Executive Committee
Executive Education Courses: 
  • Masters in Global Leadership, World Economic Forum Executive Education with INSEAD, LBS, IMD, Wharton School 
  • Global Leadership and Public Policy for the 21st Century. Executive Education Program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University