Reflections on Davos: How can businesses help to make the world a better place?

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One of the great attractions of Davos is the opportunity to hear at first-hand, often in a very informal way, what is occupying the thoughts of other business leaders.  One thing on the minds of many CEOs is how to better accommodate the beliefs and ambitions of the younger generation.  Those values and goals will find their way into influencing what big business actually does much faster than for previous generations.

Competition for talent is forcing every organisation to reflect on its attractiveness as a future employer. And that goes far beyond providing an exciting product or service.  For example, one outcome is that many companies will work very hard to become carbon neutral as quickly as they can.  They will also push governments and local communities into providing first class infrastructure and scaling up their training and education systems for people of all ages.  Companies will invest substantially more effort into all aspects of diversity and inclusion.  The strong social case there is complemented by the economic case as most mature economies need to grow their available talent pool.

What else can the private sector do?  Successful businesses will trend strongly towards making roles more flexible and better adapted to people’s preferred work and lifestyles at all ages.  That’s all a part of placing a positive human experience at the heart of the future of work, which is theme with which JLL opened the Davos week with at our panel discussion.  Accompanying all of this, the private sector needs to play a major part in ensuring that technology, artificial intelligence, big data and – yes – the robots all enhance work and society overall.  Business collectively has a vitally important, perhaps unprecedented, responsibility there and the case for all large companies to have a clearly defined sense of purpose grows ever stronger.

Overall, reflecting on Davos week, we can take heart from the general mood of optimism and the clear sense that the global business community appears ready step up to its many responsibilities in helping to create a shared, successful and sustainable future.  That again is reinforced by the social and economic cases aligning. 

Thank you for following JLL’s 2018 Notes From Davos.  We hope you enjoyed the insights and observations from our delegate group.  Follow me here on LinkedIn for more blogs and opinion through the year.