This year’s overall theme of the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos was “Shared Norms for the New Reality”. While we have been co-designing events with the World Economic Forum for the Young Global Leaders for many years, this was the first time that the YGL community spent a full day together prior to the opening of the Annual Meeting. The objectives for this day were to better understand this New Reality, to discuss the skills needed to successfully navigate it and to reinforce the bonds among community members.

We started by giving an idea of what The New Reality might look like, to comprehend the future by looking at its possibilities through different lenses and from different perspectives.

Nine YGLs, at the forefront of their field gave their vision of the future. The lenses were diverse and ranged from “Shifting Economy”, “Digitalization/Big Data”, “Resource Scarcity”, “Redefinition of Work” to the “Dysfunction of Globalization”. We then gave the YGLs the opportunity to further refine the vision by engaging them in several one-on-one conversations which involved a deep listening exercise.

But we can’t describe all the possible futures! The only way to face it is to be prepared for radical changes. So we proposed the YGLs to experience such changes through an intense simulation run by one of the YGL community members: Dan Shapiro. The main lesson taken away from the exercise was striking. It seems that human beings, even when faced with the possibility of mass extinction always look out for their own individual benefit and not the common interest. Therefore the question remained if we, as a human species, will ever be able to truly collaborate and agree on solutions that benefit all of humanity before irreversible damage to our planet is done?

From that experience, we finished the day by analyzing the competencies required to navigate the New Reality and to address the challenge that human behavior can pose to overcoming global systemic challenges. Different groups worked on such competencies as “Global Facilitators”, “Creating Win-Win Solutions Across Stakeholders”, “Cross Cultural Communication”, “Dematerializing: More Value with Less”, “How to Protect the Personal Asset” and other necessary competencies to navigate the New Reality. Further the YGLs were asked to describe a training module so that these skills could possibly be taught to others in the future.

It was for us a truly amazing experience to see how 150 Young Global Leaders engaged with their soul, body and mind in thinking about ways how to shape a better future. For us it was a real pleasure to accompany such a dynamic community and to help them to become better leaders. By doing so we hope that can make a contribution to prepare our next generation of leaders to successfully deal with what is lying ahead for all of us.

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