Insights for Procure-to-Pay and Finance Leaders

Curiosity at the edge: announcing the panel program for Tradeshift at Davos 2019

We’re excited to be back in Davos, and even more thrilled about what we have in store. This year, we have a provocative program where we’ll be gathering business leaders, academics, scientists, and artists from around the world to discuss Curiosity at the Edge and explore what’s in the “in-between.”

Sometimes we see edges as fractures, but with an inquisitive mind, we can find surprising connections and see fractures as part of the whole. New things happen where one idea ends and the other begins: shift happens.

Africa and China are creating a foundation for a cultural renaissance. Media outlets like the New York Times are exposing hard truths that happen before our eyes while brands are redefining corporate citizenship in a new era of consumerism. The forces of commerce, culture, and opportunity flow through the fractures and contradictions, creating fusion, friction, and even art.

Want an insider view into what’s happening at Davos? Join us: we’ll be your passport to the cutting edge conversations at Davos.

Take a look at our panels, bookmark our Davos content hub for live stream events, and subscribe to our blog for the latest updates:

Tuesday, January 22 12:30 – 1:00 pm

Magic at the edge of menace: How tech makes us human

Some champion the rapid advancement in technology, which has created instantaneous communications, given people greater access to information, and has simplified global trade. But others worry what the increasing reliance on technology means for humanity. Is this progress really for the greater good or is it just benefiting the corporations that control it?

Moderated by: Margot Edelman, VP, Edelman


Christian Lanng: CEO & Co-founder, Tradeshift
Andy Maguire: COO, HSBC
Kai-Fu Lee: Kai-Fu Lee, Chairman & CEO, Sinovation Ventures and author of “AI Superpowers”
Laszlo Bock: CEO of Humu, Inc., author, and former SVP of People Operations at Alphabet / Google

Wednesday, January 23 12:00 – 12:30 pm

Conscience at the edge of capitalism: Redefining corporate citizenship

As corporations and brands take a stance on politically charged and ideologically divided issues related to immigration, equal rights, etc., the power dynamics are shifting along with the public markets. From Nike’s support of Colin Kaepernick to Dick’s Sporting Goods tightening its gun sales and Salesforce’s stance on transgender rights, corporations are wading in where they once stood back. What does this mean for business and how should leaders balance their conscience/political beliefs with their commitment to shareholders as they navigate these waters?

Moderated by: Anna Lewis, Chief Strategy Officer, XPRIZE


Sarika Garg: Chief Strategy Officer, Tradeshift
Claudia Edelman: United Nations, We Are All Human Foundation
Hayley Romer: Publisher & Chief Revenue Officer, The Atlantic magazine
Sarah Kate Ellis: President & CEO, GLAAD

Wednesday, January 23 12:30 – 1:00 pm

Opportunity at the edge of crisis: The economics of water

Water is a path to prosperity. Like trade, it links all of humanity in a myriad of ways. People have always established societies near water, not only for survival but to create connections with each other. Whether connecting through trade routes or over a glass of beer, water is a vital ingredient to both our personal and professional lives. This discussion focuses on water, trade, and how access to both relate to economic mobility. Our panelists discuss how inaccessibility to water isn’t a problem to be solved, but a market to be served.

Moderated by: special guest


Matt Damon: Actor & Co-founder,
Gary White: CEO & Co-founder,
Christian Lanng: CEO & Co-founder, Tradeshift
Tony Milikin: Chief Sustainability and Procurement Officer, AB InBev

Wednesday, January 23 6 – 6:30 pm

Art at the edge of truth: How messages shape markets

With a single tweet, Trump can have major effects on domestic and global trade, sending stock markets fluctuating and experts scrambling to make sense of it. Especially when they see his messages as less than truthful or pushing an agenda based on his own biases. But is this anything new? A single news article can have a similar effect. And news organizations are also potentially conflicted with their own need to make deals with corporate investors and advertisers. This discussion will examine whether trade routes are truly connected by the free exchange of ideas and how stories—real, fake, biased, photographic, etc.—impact trade, both locally and globally.

Moderated by: Carol Christ, U.C. Berkeley Chancellor


Andrew Ross-Sorkin: Columnist, New York Times
Mark Thompson: CEO, New York Times
Christian Lanng: CEO & Co-founder, Tradeshift

Thursday, January 24 12:30 – 1:00 pm

China at the edge of Africa: 4 Perspectives

With a combined population of 2.4 billion, the potential economic, societal and cultural impact of the relationship between China and Africa is huge. It may redraw global trade flows, drive unprecedented technological innovation, and create a foundation for a cultural renaissance for both societies. Or it may see the African continent become China’s largest overseas territory.

Moderated by: Mikkel Hippe Brun: Co-founder and SVP APC, Tradeshift

Chin Okeke: Managing Director, Eclipse Live Africa
Cherie Blair: Founder of Omnia Strategies & Cherie Blair Foundation

And two special guests

Panels With Partners

Tuesday, January 22 8:00 – 8:30 am

Building blocks and blockchains: how to avoid fragmentation of the global trading system

The global trading ecosystem is highly fragmented, complex, and inefficient. And while many consider blockchain to be the antidote for these issues, there are concerns about the maturity of the technology and its ability to support global trade. So is blockchain ready? Or should we be looking at alternative ways to establish a digitally-connected economy? Our expert panel will separate the hype from reality.

Moderated by: Special guest


Gert Sylvest: Co-founder and GM of Tradeshift Frontiers
Natalie Blyth: Global Head of Trade and Receivables Finance, HSBC
Thérèse Couture: Director Treasury Operations Department, World Bank

Tuesday, January 22 8:30 – 9:00 am

At the edge of centralization

Has centralization reached the edge of its potential? Everywhere we are looking, decentralized models are gaining territory where centralized structures and approaches have ruled. This is impacting the fundamental structures of enterprises – their financial supply chains, their spend, trust, access to market and access to finance, how products are created, distribution and demand, funding models and internal organisation.

Moderated by: Aaron Stanley, Live Journalism Editor, CoinDesk


Mark Foster: SVP, IBM Global Business Services
Greg Medcraft: Director of OECD Directorate for Finance and Enterprise Affairs
Yorke Rhodes III: Principal Program Manager, Blockchain Engineering, Microsoft Axure
Gert Sylvest: Co-founder and GM of Tradeshift Frontiers

Come and Join us

New things happen where one idea ends and the other begins. We’re exploring all these themes at Davos 2019, and we’re excited for you to be a part of it.


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