‘Creating a shared future in a fractured world’ is this year’s headline theme in Davos. But how? This week’s discussions have repeatedly emphasised three of the big steps governments and businesses can take to move to heal some of the fractures in our world and help to create a sustainable shared future.
First, closing the gender gap. Christine Lagarde, head of the IMF and Erna Solberg, prime minister of Norway, two members of the all-female panel co-chairing this year’s World Economic Forum annual meeting, opened the week by calling for 2018 to be the year for women to thrive. Everyone, in any sort of leadership role, shares a primary responsibility to help make this happen. As Canada’s PM Justin Trudeau said here on Tuesday, hiring, promoting and retaining more women “isn’t just the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do.” Mr Trudeau cited studies showing the significant boost this brings to innovation and organisational performance. I can assure you that JLL, an active member of the World Economic Forum’s gender parity initiative, is determined to continue to play its full part.
Second, we need to fight corruption in all its guises. Last November, I was privileged to be invited to join the Vanguard board of the World Economic Forum’s influential Partnership Against Corruption Initiative (PACI). Over the years, the PACI Vanguard program has become a highly regarded moral compass guiding the wider agenda here at Davos and more broadly. Yesterday, in this week’s keynote PACI Vanguard session, we addressed the global trend of declining trust in governments and major corporations. PACI is shaping an urgent agenda for business and political leaders to take measures to rebuild that trust and, in particular, root out corruption.
Third, how do we ensure emerging technology is focused on underpinning the benefits of that shared future and preventing fractures? Is blockchain set to lead the way there? In this Fourth Industrial Revolution, can blockchain provide a big part of the solution on how technology provides real security, transparency and protection against corruption in global financial services? In fact, it could go far wider than transforming just finance and banking. Health services and public records, government, education and far more could all benefit from the secure ‘distributed ledger’ principles of blockchain technology. And so could much of our business in the world of real estate. This morning I attended a session called ‘Blockchain – a new operating system for society’. Not sure that I fully understood all that was said, there was some pretty mind-blowing stuff. Most of it sounded positive though and we will see how it impacts our lives in the near future.
Three big steps for our world that must not stand still.