The 6th edition of Open Innovations, held on October from 16 to 19 at Skolkovo’s Tecknopark in Moscow, was attended by more than 18,200 visitors from 98 countries, with 700 speakers for the 180 sessions and conferences.

Highlights include quantum technology, advances in robotics and the digitization of various sectors. Jack Ma, President of Alibaba, Xavier Bettel, Prime Minister of Luxembourg, and American scientist Michio Kaku, were some of the outstanding stars.​

“Study, study and study a little more!” It is one of the most frequent sayings of the revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin. One hundred years after Lenin’s Bolshevik coup d’etat, Russia is undergoing another revolution. This time, it is digital rather than political, but international politicians, industry leaders and futurists who met at the Open Innovations forum in Skolkovo agreed on Tuesday that the key to success is once again education.

Prime Minister of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev led the plenary panel entitled “Digital Economy: Society, Business and Government” on the second day of the forum, which was also attended by the president of Chinese internet retail giant Alibaba Group, Jack Ma, the Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Xavier Bettel, Michio Kaku – physicist and theoretician -and Jacqueline Poh, CEO of GovTech Singapore.

“People say data is the new oil, and those who learn how to turn the vast amount of information into useful solutions will win, and those who miss the opportunity will be left behind, perhaps forever” said Medvedev, an enthusiast for new technologies and founder of the Skolkovo innovation center in 2010 during his presidency.

“Education is a very important part,” said Xavier Bettel, Luxembourg’s Prime Minister. “We should believe in young people when they have good ideas. We often condemn them when they fail, but I’d rather take the risk and be part of the next big thing. We should have more support for people who fail the first time” he said. Like the Russian government through the Skolkovo Foundation, Luxembourg also offers grants to new businesses. Regarding risk management, he said: “I would be very happy if we could have the next Jack Ma in Luxembourg. He risked it, and this is what we have to do.”

Jack Ma, Founder and President of Alibaba Credit: Skolkovo.

Jack Ma, Founder and President of Alibaba, is confident that the digital revolution will change the structure of the world’s market and will make people happier. In his speech “Digital Economy, Society, Business and State,” Jack Ma pointed out that the electronic economy will erase borders and allow the new generation to find its place in the changing world: “People care about the future because there is a lack of confidence and a lack of imagination for the future. We have no solution for the future, but there is a solution for the future. Maybe you do not have this solution, but somebody has it. Let us trust on the young people,” said Jack Ma. He also noted that “in the last few centuries we have made people resemble machines, and in the future, especially today, we are manufacturing machines that resemble people. But in the end, the machine should be a machine and people will still be people. “

Dr. Michio Kaku, a theoretical physicist, Japanese-American futurist and professor at New York City College, also agreed that educational models would have to change, arguing that computer chips will soon be everywhere, even in contact lenses that will allow users to access to the information. “My students will blink [to show the information they need], and they will not have to memorize all the things we’ve been talking about. This will revolutionize education, “he said. Like society, the digital revolution is radically changing business. The same contact lenses equipped with computer chips will lead us to “perfect capitalism,” Kaku said.

Dr. Michio Kaku, a theoretical physicist, Japanese-American futurist and professor at New York City College Credit: Skolkovo.

“Even today, the economy is turning digital. Capitalism is based on supply and demand, a seemingly fair system. However, it is not really known what margin of profit actually sets the seller. In the future economy, everyone will know the true price of things, which leads to the ideal system of supply and demand. Undoubtedly, this will be detrimental to some, especially for retailers and intermediaries. But remember: in the past, what made Amazon great was that it replaced intermediaries with digital technologies. If you want to stay in the market, take any field, watch the players and observe the things that still cause problems for people. Then try to solve these things with technology. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be the new Jeff Bezos,” Kaku said.

Organizers of Open Innovation 2017: Ministry of Economy and Development of the Russian Federation, Moscow City Government, Rusnano, RVC, Fasie, Skolkovo and VEB Bank for development.