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Everything you need to know about the Pioneers of Change Summit


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Stephan Mergenthaler
Head of Strategic Intelligence; Member of the Executive Committee, World Economic Forum
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This article is part of: Pioneers of Change Summit
  • The Pioneers of Change Summit will occur online 16-20 November.
  • It will bring together more than 2000 leaders from governments, business and civil society from more than 90 countries.
  • The key thematic areas include sustainable production, digital business models, urban innovation, health systems, new financial technologies and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

2020 has confronted us with so many changes in such fundamental ways that all we aspire to return to some form of normality.

But the COVID-19 crisis has also illustrated that there are real alternatives to our established ways of doing things, and it has accelerated the spread of many innovations, driven by people and companies that have seen an opportunity to do things differently.

Have you read?

We need the power, the inspiration and the creativity that comes from those innovators to make this moment a real reset for the better.

The World Economic Forum’s Pioneers of Change Summit will showcase and connect innovators who are leading transformative change across a range of different sectors.

What’s on the agenda?

The summit will focus on several key thematic areas:

Sustainable production: Almost 50% of the world’s energy consumption and 20% of greenhouse gas emissions are attributed to the manufacturing sector. How can we accelerate sustainable production and make it a competitive advantage?

New digital business models: While much of the physical world came to a standstill during the global pandemic, digital connectivity soared. How can new digital business models help companies provide value and build resilience?

Urban infrastructure and services: Many cities face serious obstacles to providing basic services, and COVID-19 has made it even more difficult. How can urban innovations help cities improve quality of life, resilience and sustainability?


Keeping populations healthy: The pandemic has revealed the need to strengthen health systems and ensure that populations have better information and control over their health. How can technologies help to improve and maintain healthier lives?

Financial innovation: New financial technologies are shaping how services are provided around the world. How can we ensure that they are accessible and deliver greater value and efficiency to all parts of society?


Frontier technologies: Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies, such as artificial intelligence, blockchain and synthetic biology, are heralding a global transformation. How can we create, scale-up and govern these technologies so they “do no harm” while delivering the value we need?

New work models: New work models are essential to address the challenges created by a transforming labour market, new skillset requirements and globally connected technology-driven industries. How can we ensure that employees are able to keep up with the evolving demand for skills and have the opportunity to contribute purposefully to the workplace of the future?

The summit will spotlight individual innovations and the innovators behind them. More important, it will challenge participants to contribute to two large societal transformations that constitute the Great Reset: the green transformation, the grand redesign of our economies for sustainability; and the digital transformation, a shift that has the potential to include and empower everyone.

To do that we need to connect the dots, learn and collaborate so that we can scale and amplify what works - and that is what this summit aims to achieve.


How do I follow the Pioneers of Change Summit?

Who is participating?

The summit will bring together more than 750 leaders from government, business and civil society from more than 90 countries. They include:

  • Christine Lagarde, President, European Central Bank
  • Luis Alberto Moreno, President, Inter-American Development Bank .
  • Cameron Hepburn, Director and Professor of Environmental Economics, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment (SSEE)
  • Yossi Vardi, Chairman, International Technologies
  • Dana Alami, Curator, East Jerusalem Hub, Global Shapers
  • Lindiwe Matlali, Chief Executive Officer, Africa Teen Geeks
  • Marian Croak, Vice-President, Access Strategy and Emerging Markets, Google Inc.
  • Mohammad Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Ministry of Cabinet Affairs of the United Arab Emirates
  • Hina West, Director, Nature Pays, WWF International
  • Helmy Abouleish, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, Sekem Group
  • Simon Mulcahy, Chief Innovation Officer, Salesforce
  • Susan Graham, Chief Executive Officer, Dendra Systems
  • Georgie Benardete, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, Align17
  • Julie Sweet, Chief Executive Officer, Accenture

How can you follow?

Companies can participate in the summit by becoming a member of our New Champions Community. (If you are already a member of the World Economic Forum, you can register for the summit on TopLink.) Learn more here.

As an individual, you can participate in the summit by becoming a World Economic Forum Digital Member, which will provide access to select parts of the programme.

During the meeting, we will publish articles by participants on our content platform, Agenda. You can also keep up-to-date on the developments on social media using the hashtag #PioneersofChange. You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok.

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The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

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May 21, 2024

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