World Economic Forum 2019

The World Economic Forum, based in Cologny-Geneva, Switzerland, was founded in 1971 as a not-for-profit organization. It gained formal status in January 2015 under the Swiss Host- State Act, confirming the role of the Forum as an International Institution for Public-Private Cooperation. The Forum’s mission is cited as “committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas”

The WEF hosts a annual meeting at the end of January in Davos, a mountain resort in Graubünden, in the eastern Alps region of Switzerland. The meeting brings together some 2,500 business leaders, international political leaders, economists, celebrities and journalists for up to four days to discuss the most pressing issues facing the world.

This year the WEF lacked buzz without Donald Trump as unease over Brexit and global recession dominated the summit. The top 4 trends for the future of business from the
summit were:

1. It’s smart to hire people smarter than you – This is the top advice from Jack Ma, Executive Chairman Alibaba Group Holding.
2. Recruiting women into technical roles will make machines learn more efficiently. LinkedIn Co-Founder and Vice-President of Product Allen Blue notes that AI and machine learning are becoming fundamental to how all technology is built, when one considers phones, banking and many other products and activities. “It’s important, as we go forward, that we are designing and building that tech in the right way,” he says, reflecting on the inherent biases that many algorithms have because they were designed and built by white males.
3. Invest in training the youth and the unemployed. France’s Minister of Labour, Muriel Pénicaud, described her re-skilling programme, which includes giving employees 500 Euros a year to choose their own training programme. “Today access to capital is easier than access to skills”, she said, noting the need for pro-action.
4. Survivors of mental health challenges are good for business. Mental health was on the agenda at Davos with a number of discussions on how to break the stigma and create more supporting workplaces. John Flint, the CEO of HSBC, noted that survivors are assets.

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