Reflections on Davos 2013

February 5, 2013 — 1 Comment

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I recently returned from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The overall sentiment there was one of cautious optimism. While there is a long list of major problems to be tackled, the immediate prospects for the global economy seem reasonably good and there is a sense that most economies will grow this year.

The theme of the week was resilience—the question being, how do companies and countries weather the increasing volatility of markets, society, and climate? One obvious conclusion is that resilience requires the ability to rapidly react and innovate in changing circumstances. Creativity and design can help make organizations more resilient.

Another theme was the growing focus on tackling global problems that are associated with basic human needs. I couldn’t help but reflect upon the Designing for Life’s Necessities post in December. Access to healthy food and clean water, achieving active healthy lifestyles, redesigning broken healthcare and education systems, creating new jobs, supporting aging communities, and mitigating the effects of global warming—these were all topics of discussion in Davos. My sense is that in the next year more large corporations, governments, and NGOs will be looking for creative ways to address these issues.

Davos is a place to meet intellectual superstars and I was fortunate to spend time with both Daniel Kahneman (father of behavioral economics) and Clayton Christensen (of The Innovator’s Dilemma fame). They both offered wise words about purpose, success, and happiness—while commenting on the dangers of taking a conventional view of success and happiness. In particular, how companies measure success today in terms of return on capital.

How will you measure purpose, success, and happiness this year?

(Posted also on my LinkedIn Thought Leader blog)

Tim Brown

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One response to Reflections on Davos 2013

  1. Hi Tim
    Reading this blog about the interest in “resilience” reminds me the almost forgotten book by Donald Schön “Beyond the Stable State”. In my view one of the absolutely best books making the argument for design as an approach to change. Making something relient can, I guess, be done either by creating resilient structures that can resist change (“the stable state”) or by developing approaches for change that constantly can handle change and thereby be resilient. The latter approach is what Schön lays out in his book and what later became his broad philosophy about reflective practice. So, your statement “Creativity and design can help make organizations more resilient.” is fully in line with the early works of Schön.

    Anyway, I have not payed enough attention to your blog, will do in the future.

    Thanks
    Erik

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