I have never gone to Davos, but World Economic Forum happened in Beijing several times and I attended then. They were the most invigorating conversations I ever had.
It was a pompous mission statement: “To improve the state of the world.” And I pondered on that. There are two standard ways: to distribute/allocate resources appropriately, or to create new technologies to solve problems better. WEF somehow had a different idea: by inviting people to have conversations.
Somehow, just talking about things, at the right level, use the right data, with the right facilitator, is powerful. I sat on the table that talked about anti-piracy and global warming and heard many sides’ arguments: prepared, passionate, and sincere. They were not debates; there were no winners or losers. Decisions, if made, happened behind the curtains. Several years later, both are no longer contentious in the world, at least at governmental policy level.
I applaud WEF to organize and facilitate these conversations. But honestly, do they have to be Switzerland in January? Good thing they do “summer meetings,” frequently in China.