My 3 Takeaways from #wef18

Our President and CEO shares his thoughts on the 2018 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting. One big topic: the impact of digital technology on jobs.

The World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting received a lot of attention this year. President Trump attended and spoke about his economic and trade policies. Global leaders met in sessions titled ‘Solving the Economic Generation Gap’ and ‘Fake News versus Real Politics.’ Everyone tried to avoid the mountains of snow that greeted us.

I serve as the Chair of World Economic Forum’s Global Civil Society Advisory Board. Over the last ten years in Davos, I’ve seen how these conversations go and what lessons are learned. It’s easy to ask, ‘What’s going to change?’ but there are always important takeaways. Here are three of mine from this year’s meeting.

First, everyone is focused on how digital technology and artificial intelligence will affect the economy, particularly jobs. I know the importance of having a good job – it ensures a steady stream of income and gives folks purpose. I made it clear in my sessions that as we move further into the digital age, people must come first. We must build from the bottom-up, strengthen our middle class and shape future training and education programs to prepare young people for the jobs of tomorrow.

Hear more from me on jobs and technology HERE.

Second, collaboration is key. Whether we’re trying to eradicate a global disease or build a new middle school, we need to work together. Trying to solve an issue on your own – whether you’re a government, company or non-profit – is difficult. You’ll face challenges amassing the needed resources, support and knowledge. Collectively, however, we can tackle big problems and do so with lasting results. I was glad to see more colleagues understand this and pledge to work together.

Third, global trust continues to fall. We’ve known for years that people are becoming more skeptical of institutions. It’s one reason we see more protests and movements, because people are demanding change and better opportunity. New information presented by the Edelman Trust Barometer showed that trust dropped from 2017 to 2018 across government, business, media and non-profits. However, nearly two-thirds of barometer respondents say they want CEOs to take the lead on policy change. That’s a big opportunity for business leaders to step forward and make a difference in communities.

Each of these three takeaways align with United Way priorities. We are building partnerships in communities to skill and re-skill workers for the jobs of the future. We are working with global corporations and international organizations like the United Nations to develop cross-sector movements that give people goals to achieve. And we’re fighting for every person in every community. No one gets left behind.

The World Economic Forum is an important opportunity to hear great ideas and ensure United Way is helping to shape the conversation. New partnerships get launched and solidified in Switzerland. But that leaves a lot of work for all of us, from global leaders to town council members. We’re all needed, so let’s keep moving forward together.