The World Economic Forum was created in 1971 by Klaus Schwab. The motto of the WEF is “entrepreneurship in the global public interest.” Since it’s founding, it has grown into the pre-eminent forum for global leaders in industry and government to come together to explore issues effecting our global society. The 2010 annual meeting has just ended. Unlike recent years where the focus was on broader topics such as innovation, this years conversations centered on the financial crisis and reputation of banking/business overall.
A couple of years ago, I participated in an agenda planning session in Davos. I was awed by the thoughtfulness and breadth of discourse present. I watched a couple of videos from this years Annual Meeting and again, the degree of open discourse and thoughtfulness was compelling. Rich thinking has an important place in a world that also embraces 140 character Tweets.
TED is a similar forum that started in 1984 to bring leading contributors from entertainment, design and technology together for a similar level of discourse. If you’re ever stuck in a rut and need an alternative perspective, just watch a TED video and I’ll guarantee you’ll think different and probably better.
Both TED and the WEF are terrific examples of how working wider opens up opportunities, innovation and taps our hidden potential. Each helps us grapple differently with difficult issues. And there are others from the Clinton Initiative to ones you know about and others don’t. In any case, they are bright lights in our rapidly globalized but still fragmented world.