Having participated in the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum for 11 years, we could feel the winds of change blowing through the corridors of the newly expanded congress center in Davos. Often attacked for hosting a party for the world’s elite with much talk and no action, we believe to have seen more commitment to action than any time before.
The Value Web had the opportunity again to support the World Economic Forum in bringing the art of collaboration to many of its sessions throughout the week. The WorkSpace is certainly best known to participants where they can expect to engage collectively in tackling some of today’s most challenging problems. This year the WorkSpace has been mostly reserved for Forum initiatives around challenges such as Gender Parity and Sustainable Consumption. The large part of our work has been bringing together the communities that are involved in longer-term work streams that are facilitated by the Forum.
We also, again, supported the Ideas Lab which ran a fascinating series of sessions in collaboration with the world’s most renowned academic institutions.
Entirely new territory for us was our latest concept, the WorkStudio, which ran not only collaborative but, at times, highly experimental sessions. Most WorkStudio sessions were open to all participants.
The most challenging and impactful session of the week was however the design and facilitation of a full day-gathering of about 150 Young Global Leaders. We could literally feel the energy and intent behind their conversations in the room. While coming from all different walks of society from across the globe, one can only be nominated as a Young Global Leader if he or she dedicates a substantial amount of time to tackle today’s societal and environmental issues. The outcomes of their gathering left us hopeful that there is a growing movement of a younger generation that is not losing any time to resolve some of the biggest risks that we as a human species face.
Lastly, we had the privilege to support one of the most exciting initiatives of the Forum that aims to tackle the issues of Food Security. We have been working with the Forum on this issue since 2006. Back then we helped them to put the issue of fighting hunger onto the global agenda and brought it to the awareness of some of the world’s largest companies. Now 6 years on, we helped to convene over 90 participants to tackle the looming food crisis. The participants were looking at real examples, notably the pilot projects in various countries, that aim at producing food in an environmentally sustainable way, whilst also creating economic opportunities for the local population. We asked the participants to make concrete pledges to support these initiatives. Rarely over the past decade have we seen such commitment and determination from such an exclusive group of the world’s most important stakeholders representing the world’s agriculture ecosystem. The session also included farmers from different continents making sure that their voices were heard.
All in all, we concluded that this has been the most exciting and most hopeful Davos ever. We look very much forward to see how these different initiatives unfold over the coming year. And even more so, we have seen how our knowledge of designing and facilitating collaboration among stakeholders can make a tremendous difference in achieving the Forum’s mission of improving the state of the world. We also learnt that transformation takes time. Seeing that some of our work that we did years ago now finally resulting into real action has filled us with pride and determination to meet our mission: by 2020 our toolkit around collaborative processes will be integrated into all critical decision-making gatherings that impact our shared future.