MT's Davos Blog: Signing off...

Kevin Kelly, CEO of Heidrick & Struggles, reports on the weekend action at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Friday night was Google party night in Davos. As DJ Norman Jay spun some tunes, I recalled the fact that Google had committed to put coal out of business by backing alternative energy sources. If companies are stepping out of their day jobs to save the world, where does that leave world leaders? The question still bouncing around my head from the weekend’s discussions was: ‘What’s Government for?’ – as some government advisers privately begin to acknowledge that they can’t guarantee the safety of their citizens any more.

Bill Gates, who is about to go full time working in his own Foundation, stated publicly that business people like him know how to hit deadlines and make things happen, which is why they are well equipped to help solve the world's problems.  Will business disciplines and drive turn out to be more effective than Government mandate?

Back at the Google party and at just 22 years old, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was in as much demand as a statesman, people jostling and pushing forward just to shake his hand. The Facebook generation – Generation Y, call them what you will – present business with an interesting challenge. Raised in the shadow of 9/11 they are familiar with risk, would rather text than talk and want meaning as much as money from their work. Could it be a happy coincidence that business is getting busy with big issues just as the new generation of talent looks for work with more than a profit motive?

What’s certain is that there is an energy, resilience and optimism at Davos that I for one, am going to take back to my day job.

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