Young global shapers are the latest addition to the World Economic Forum population.

Young people, with already a great track record.  They have a unique podium, a direct interaction with the global leaders. No risk of getting lost in translation, they bring their message loud and clear. Their message is unusually positive.

A “can do” mentality and lots of evidence to prove their points.

If they want one thing: “Take us seriously. Give us a chance, let us do the things our way”.

No complex deliberation of policy and politics, but concrete action on issues that really matter: innovation, sustainability and new market approaches.

It is a further dimension to the unique platform that Klaus Schwab has built over the years, and is truly multistakeholder.

As expected, lots of the debate is going on the issues of the day.  But luckily I also spot serious debate on growth, on new opportunities and on building confidence.

The input from very different viewpoints into that debate is core to getting to solutions that work for real people.  From that perspective this is a good Davos. Confronted with doom and gloom it is clear we can’t stay there.

We need to move forward and decide what to do to create 300 million jobs+, because that is the number of people to come to the market worldwide in the coming 10 years. Add to that a number to reduce the present levels of unemployment, and it is clear that marginal steps will not do the job.

As a 24/7 connected world, we also cannot do it in isolation. Protectionism will only bring more misery.

So the challenge is to move quickly into a creative mode, using the input from the young to teach the old.


Ben Verwaayen is CEO of Alcatel-Lucent and a member of the World Economnic Forum Foundation Board