I attended this afternoon in Abu Dhabi the introductory session for new members of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Action Council (GAC).
Not one to shy from big ideas, I was more than impressed by the scope and impact of WEF overall, and the GAC in particular.
Klaus Schwab, WEF Founder and Executive Chairman, presented the mission, philosophy and record of WEF. At its heart, the focus of WEF is positioned as harnessing entrepreneurship for the benefit of social interest.
Clearly, Schwab has been successful in engaging business, political, academic and other leaders to shape regional and industry agendas. His original goal was (and remains) to assemble key stakeholder group representatives together as a community.
WEF has a proven vision of identifying technology change pioneers having involved firms such as Google and Facebook very early in their lifecycle (Facebook had only 30 employees at the time).
The soul of WEF centers on three annual meetings:
- Annual Meeting in Davos each January to shape the global agenda on a geopolitical and economic level;
- Annual Meeting of the New Champions (entrepreneurs) to shape sustainable growth; and
- Annual Summit on the Global Agenda (current meeting of 500+ persons) to shape intellectual debate.
There are a number of further regional and industry interactions as well.
As it relates to my participation, I have been appointed to the Global Agenda Council on Intellectual Property. This is a group of about 20 individuals from around the world.
I am familiar with a number of my fellow IP Council members (such David Kappos from the USPTO and Antony Taubman from WTO); I am looking forward to meeting a number of new IP thought leaders as well. The GAC on IP has as its general purpose to seek strategic insight and impact on those sub-issues I detailed in my last post.
Schwab concluded with a bold mandate for WEF to prepare the world for risks — known and unknown. He explained how service of the WEF is directed towards information dissemination and connecting relevant interests rather than recommending policy to political and NGO leadership.
WEF has an impressive 40 year track record operating under a business-like model without an endowment or government grants. This model supports and allows an independent view.
Look forward to my next update from the Summit.