Milti Layered Engagement at Davos

500 formal sessions Invitation only sessions Bilaterals for all combinations of people

Day Two for me began quite oppositely than planned, with a call to the ambulance for severe stomach pains.  With no real diagnosis, it seems that the lack of sleep and altitude change, coupled mainly with a finite appetite and lack of eating much, resulted in some terrible pain. Fortunately, it went away, and I was able to make it at 8am for Day 2 with the Shapers. We dove into project management, since that’s the bulk of our work as Hubs. Some tips that stood out to me were to mobilize our Hub members with key talking points about projects, so our message is consistent. Also, we discussed inviting our local Swiss ambassador to participate in events and projects (since the WEF is based in Switzerland). During projects, we talked about celebrating small milestones along the way, as well as to be sure to gather feedback and evaluations for ourselves and to share with the community of Shapers.  Another emerging theme around the idea of not recreating the wheel is to leverage our resources who have experience already in the work we choose to do. Other groups who can help include other Hubs, YGLs, Schwab Entrepreneurs, and the WEF (i.e., validate projects first and do our research). After some great planning and brainstorming, we broke for a lunch with the YGLs and Schwab entrepreneurs.


Instead, I went back up the mountain to see the BBC, and to film an interview on being a Shaper and my expectations for the week.  It was a great experience to film with such a reputable outlet, and a great learning experience for me, too. 


That afternoon, we came back together and had sessions with our counterpart organizations, and then went our separate ways in order to arrive and register, finally, at the infamous labyrinth of a Congress Centre. Part of managing your time in Davos is ear-marking sessions you’d like to attend, and reserving seats in lunches and dinners, which fill up quickly… in some cases almost immediately. To those who listen, often they’ll hear the theme of Davos as being multi-layered. On the surface, you have the 500 sessions offered from Wednesday to Saturday in the Congress Centre, and meals in local hotels. The next layer down are private (invite-only) meetings for the Global Agenda Councils, working on everything from engaging consumers in sustainability choices, to the global epidemic of youth unemployment, to entrepreneurship, to tech innovations, and many more.  Beyond that there are meetings (also known as bi-laterals) between any combination of people you can imagine. Many say that some come and never attend a session: rather, they stack these meetings, and get more work done with global leaders in one week in one place than they could in months otherwise.


Mind you, I’ve described only the daylight hours. Who can leave out the legendary slew of parties every night, hosted by global companies, media outlets, and countries. If you haven’t gotten the picture yet, Davos is oddly both a marathon and a sprint, as you spend your days doing a combination of learning, having bi-laterals, and allowing for the ever-popular ‘serendipity’ moments. Then you dive into private dinners and/or go from event-to-event all night.


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