Our world is organized in the same way it was after the Second World War; systems like the tax system, education, and the social contract have not changed materially. At the same time, the acceleration and convergence of technology (the Fourth Industrial Revolution) are fundamentally transforming the very fabric of society, business, and international relationships leading to inequality, polarization, and frustration between stakeholders.
In a nutshell, the system we live in is bumping against its own limits. The old policies and structures that formed the system have outlived their usefulness. And while we have a strategy for humankind – the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals with 169 targets and 244 indicators – we’re not moving nearly fast enough to reach these goals by 2030.
This was the context for the World Economic Forum Annual meeting in Davos with the theme ‘Globalization 4.0: Shaping a Global Architecture in the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.’ The theme is a call to not just adapt, but to fundamentally redesign processes, institutions, and policies to ensure we curb climate change, leverage new technologies in a responsible fashion, and create a fair and just society for all.
It’s easy to be skeptical of 3,000 wealthy people flying from all around the world to a mountain village to rub shoulders, drink champagne, and make deals. It is also true that even these powerful people find it hard to create real change in such a short time and come back with concrete results. Maybe Davos is as much about multi-stakeholder discussion as it is about changing the culture at the top.
At THNK, we find it helpful to drive culture change via four levers: role modeling, storytelling, measuring & supporting, and skill building. Let’s look at what the World Economic Forum Annual meeting did on each of these dimensions to create culture change at the top.