Deputy Mayor, Economist and Neurobiologist among highlights of CoreNet Global's European Summit

CoreNet Global's ninth annual European Summit has attracted nearly 500 delegates to the UK capital to participate in a packed conference program which has taken the theme 'Ingenuity at Work: Bold Approaches to Corporate Real Estate' (September 27-29).

London Deputy Mayor Richard Barnes and Baroness Susan Greenfield

London Deputy Mayor Richard Barnes and Baroness Susan Greenfield.

Highlights so far of the three-day event have included an official welcome from Richard Barnes, the Deputy Mayor of London, who addressed the packed hall to say that London has been voted as the top European city for business for the past 20 years, and that it benefits from a flexible, skilled labor market where one in three people has a university degree.

"More than 300 languages are spoken here, and London is one of the greenest cities in the world," he continued. "And the London 2012 Olympic Games will generate tremendous business opportunities." London, he concluded, "is still very much open for business."

Also during the first session, economist and author Norbert Walter provided an update on his uncompromising economic forecasts presented at last year's Summit via a specially recorded video. During the presentation Norbert said "I am pretty sure that after improvements in the first half of 2010 in a number of countries, we do have a slowdown," he said.

"The impact of fiscal stimulus is fading. If [government stimulus] goes too far, it crowds out private initiative."

There are concerns about the medium-term direction of the global economy, Walter cautioned, adding that emerging markets will continue to achieve the highest growth rates. Political authorities cannot afford the risk of another financial crisis, he urged.

"So we will have a different regulatory environment in the future."

In addition, Baroness Susan Greenfield, a neurobiologist and international expert on the brain, presented a highly popular session where she explained the connections between brain function and creative thinking. During the thought provoking presentation, Baroness Greenfield demonstrated how environment is often a more important factor than genes on brain function, and looked at how this ties in very directly with creativity, ingenuity and work-force issues.

"Who is your work force going to be?" Greenfield asked. "They're going to be influenced by the world around them". Baroness Greenfield also highlighted on one particular area of concern: the amount of stimulation children get from computer games and electronic devices.

"Between their 10th and 11th birthdays, a child spends about 900 hours in class, and about 1,277 hours with family. But they spend almost 2,000 hours in front of a screen."

Other highlights of the first day included a lively 'Pecha Kucha' debate on the impacts of the recession on corporate real estate, with participants addressing the motion 'The Recession has Crushed Courage: Bold approaches to corporate real estate are no longer possible, and we are entering a new era of caution' with responses both for and against the statement. Participants arguing for the motion included Nigel Baker (Microsoft), An

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