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Davos: If you come in with your pre-conceptions, the only thing you'll fall in love with are your own assumptions and biases

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A recent article by Anya Schiffrin "Confessions of a Davos Wife" (see here)  on Reuter's website sparked my interest. Since the site seem to have censured my comment on the blog ( here goes freedom of expression... Note from author: I stand corrected: after this article was published on Competia's site, and picked up in a number of pinboards, Reuters finally allowed my comments on the blog. Thanks Reuters ! ), I thought I'd publish it here. I can use also the excuse to introduce what will go on in Davos at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2012 for me this year.

Sensing weak signals

I have been a Davos participant for over 10 years in different capacities ( from spouse to speaker...) and I treasure the immense privilege of been invited to attend - and actively participate. Over the years, I have attended amazing discussions on issues that are  close to my professional and personal interest, ranging from corporate governance, decision making in complex environments, science's new boundaries, or how to integrate innovation into the leadership of our companies.

Davos has be a key source to spot trends long before they are identified by the mainstream press. I heard from Robert Scoble about Twitter years before anyone I knew used it,  watched Google take-off, listened to Goldman Sachs' chairman on board governance after the crisis, heard about the origin of universe and the impact for science from Harvard Prof Sasselov, experienced life in a refugee camp, discussed peer to peer sharing and privacy with Paulo Coehlo. I listened to our world leaders, sometimes exchanged over coffee at the break, asked many questions to the technology pioneers to understand which technology will hit the headlines and our companies in the future.

I would never trade those discussions for hot chocolate.

I have also attended many architecture sessions - by choice. I find fascinating how architects are able to pick weak signals and incorporate them concretely in their work- from the urge for tighter communities, the adequation of the building to the new urban landscape, the need for cross generational ties. Many large corporations from GE to IBM or Veolia are struggling today with the thought process to integrate this into their products and business models. Those who have are doing well.

There has been an immense respect from all participants who know well that many spouses attending often have rich professional and personal lives. From Canada, Ana Lopes who accompanies Don Tapscott just got the highest honor in the country, the Order of Canada . We could also mention Marissa Meyer's spouse, the co-founder of a private equity fund, Maria Seidman, a former VP Business Development for Warner Brothers, who accompanies her husband Dov Seidman, or Lyn Taliento, a "spouse" but also a partner at McKinsey & Company who does pioneering work in Haiti... Those extraordinary women and men never saw the shadow of a ski or horse sleigh in Davos, their learning agenda packed from 7am till late in the evening.

To get value from Davos, you have to make it "your" Davos- pick carefully the content that interests you, reach out to those who inspire you, enjoy the serendipity encounter. If you come in with your pre-conceptions, the only thing you'll fall in love with in Davos are your own assumptions and biases.


Need to know more about what happens in Davos ?

Please find below how you can follow Davos ( I extracted many of those sources from the excellent summary by Matthias Luefkens at the WEF : see here for sources and here for how to follow Davos on social media ).

  • At the video corner there will be "hang-outs", live video Q&As on Google+ giving the general public the rare opportunity to "hang out" and interact with world leaders on the Forum's Google+ page.
  • The Social Media Corner will also feature a special Facebook studio where we will conduct live interviews with participants streamed live on the Forum's Facebook fan page.
  • Lots of going on on Twitter: The Forum has compiled an official Twitter list including all the participants active on the microblogging service . There is also a special media list with the accounts of the key journalists present. The tweets from the official Twitter list will be displayed on the official Twitter wall . The World Economic Forum on Twitter @Davos as well as our live tweet account @WEF where key quotes get tweeted from official plenary sessions and where most of the Twitter chatter will happen. The best tweets, pictures and videos from the Annual Meeting will be collated on  Storify . hould also follow our communities: @GlobalShapers, @TechPioneers, @SchwabFound and @YGLVoices. Chinese speakers can get updates in Chinese on Sina Weibo .
  • Your magic word on twitter is #WEF , the hashtag used by all participants at the event
  • Pictures from participants taken with their mobiles phones can be viewed here on Sharypic.
  • During the Annual Meeting all official plenary sessions are available on webcast here .Here is the webcast programme .
  • Finally, Reuters, CNN have created 'Davos spaces"
  • Enjoy...

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  • Posted by Charles said:

    09/09/2013 1:54am (4 years ago) The article that you written on weak signals is very useful and thank you for sharing it. I have confusions in sensing and detecting weak signals and now it is solved. Keep sharing these kinds of essential reads and article through your blog.

  • 03/01/2013 1:26am (5 years ago) This is one of the best summaries, insights on Davos I've come across. Thanks for the mind-share on how to make the most of it.

  • Posted by Deb said:

    24/02/2012 9:01am (6 years ago) This is one of the best summaries, insights on Davos I've come across. Thanks for the mind-share on how to make the most of it.

  • Posted by kevin Lodsen said:

    22/01/2012 11:43pm (6 years ago) Thank you for being my own mentor on this topic. I enjoyed the article a lot and most of all cherished how you handled the areas I widely known as controversial.

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