For just one week, this is possibly the most important place on Earth.

The big ideas, the big personalities and the big politics all play out here for a week in January.

This is the 50th year of Davos and the World Economic Forum.

As politicians, business leaders and activists argue their point, we experience the strict security, the carefully orchestrated messaging, the attempts to cut-through from major brands.

We also debate the achievability of the UN 2030 Sustainability Goals, the COP26 carbon targets and watch the snow melt around us.

This week, ACS immediate past president Yohan Ramasundara and I joined in the conversation for the first time.

Wonderfully, the Australian brand carries real currency here.

The general positivity towards Australia was enhanced by the genuine and heart-felt concern for the impact of the fires that everyone has heard of.

Believe it or not, we are talking data.

As people debate the future of industry, the need for a circular economy, the changing world population and the need to tackle climate change, the one constant is data – the need for more of it, the need to share it and the need to reframe the conversation in terms of outcomes.

In every session, people are saying we need to act.

The challenge is how.

Everyone struggles with the next step.

After many sessions of Yohan and I being the annoying people in the audience asking “what will you do next?”, on Thursday ACS ran a session on Privacy Preserving Data Sharing.

Dr Ian Oppermann presenting at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Photo: Supplied

This session was based on the 2019 ACS technical whitepaper which outlines frameworks for the “how to” of data sharing.

The session we set up in a corner of the crowded Davos canvas was focussed on the connection between the UN Sustainability goals we had been discussing all week, and the frameworks to make them real.

Our audience was diverse, clearly tired from a long week, and unsure of what we had to offer.

At the end of the evening, we had people skip their next appointments to sit with us to get more detail on what we had highlighted during the overview presentation.

We talked data, data sharing and data standards late into the night.

Who says data is not interesting?

This week, we leave Davos and the World Economic Forum knowing we helped shape the conversation for at least a few people.

We helped outline just how complex and subtle the challenge of data sharing is and also how important.

And most importantly, that just a little further down the road from Switzerland, Australia is having a red hot go to working out practical ways of making it happen.

My highlight remains the statement from a CDO of a major credit card company at our session on Thursday who said, “You mean, you really think we can do this?”.

Dr Ian Oppermann is ACS Vice President, Academic.