“A meaningful life is a combination of dissatisfaction and hope” – Shimon Peres, Davos WEF 2013
WEF started with a perfect opening quote by Eleanor Roosevelt, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” With Resilient Dynamism as an overarching theme for the 2013 World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, participated in the main event as well as the activities scheduled for Young Global Leaders two days prior. I won’t hide what a thrilling experience it was to be among peers from every corner of the world, and to have an open conversation about the future of our planet.
1. Think Globally not Locally
“The future of the Global community” remained a hot topic throughout the entire program. The issues of Social responsibility, inequality, aging, youth unemployed are global issues, and would have to be addressed as such. Transitions of the workforce, educational advancements and accessibility, ease of access to health care services, the growing aging population are items that can no longer be ignored and each one of us is responsible to contribute to finding the solution to these vital issues.
Specific to what we do on a daily basis – pressing forward with Health IT innovation – the local vs. global approach is extremely relevant. The ultimate objective is to engage industry experts domestically in order to build out a community of partners to stream innovations and solutions to multiple markets globally.
2. Leadership and Vision
WEF is a rare gathering of global leaders, visionaries, and other remarkable individuals under one roof to exchange ideas that may impact the world economy. The idea of ‘employment’ – once equivalent with just having a job somewhere – has taken on a more sophisticated, entrepreneurial theme where individuals seek to impact the world thru social change, yet gain fiscal independence. In a conversation about human capital, Klaus Schwab made a point that when hiring an individual, it is prevailing to hire someone talented with a vision and train them, rather than base your decisions on the skill set only.
Unilever CEO Harish Manwani described the need to redefine the workplace environment entirely. Burn the traditional operating framework, and move from roles to relationships. Working hours are irrelevant. It is all about the output, the result, and visible leadership — a concept that will remain in fashion.
Again, specific to weMultiply – what is a start-up if not someone’s vision? Coupled with expert leadership qualities and a network of solid relationships, ventures have a much higher probability of survival and success.
3. Innovation is key
“Innovation” is a buzzword that describes the paradigm shift dominated by technology and information flow — refinement of the processes, new takes on existing necessities, and simply power shift between business, government and consumer. Davos reflected on the innovation impact during its Philanthropic Roundtable “RevolutiOnline.edu – Online Education changing the World,” hosted by Victor Pinchuk Foundation.
Khadija Niazi, a 12-year old girl from Pakistan, shared her story of online learning and academic excellence in advanced physics. Rooted technological innovation, Khadija’s story is a testament that what we do with weMultiply daily can have a global impact in the future.
Among some of the incredible individuals that I had the pleasure of exchanging opinions with were Sebastian Thrun (Stanford University), Bill Gates (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation), Peter Thiel (Founders Fund), Larry Summers (Harvard University), Thomas Friedman (NY Times), and Rafael Reif (MIT).
As Larry Summers rightfully pointed out – things will take longer than you think they will, and then they happen faster than you think they could.
Davos is an experience in its own. It is an opportunity to expand one’s vision, to dream big, and to bring about change in the ever-changing world.
Dream big in your aspirations, from local to global solutions, and don’t ever stop innovating.
Top photos courtesy of Victor Pinchuk Foundation.
weMultiply is a Strategic Business Acceleration Program with focus on technology innovation in Health and Wellness verticals.