Opening up Davos

The World Economic Forum has announced a number of good initiatives to increase the transparency of its famous Annual Meeting in Davos. They will aggregate blog posts about Davos, invite all participants to blog on the Forum’s own weblog, increase the number of sessions webcast and “wikify” the Open Forum that runs alongside the Annual Meeting.

I still have a soft spot for the Forum and certainly the Davos meeting itself. A number of civil society groups have long criticized the Forum for its focus on global business. The Forum is an organization of member companies, most of which are giant global corporations. So it’s natural that the corporate voice is heard, and heard loudly in Davos. But far more than the critics acknowledge, other voices have always been sought and welcomed — trade unions, civil society groups like Greenpeace and Ashoka, emerging voices from the poorer parts of the world. I suspect the few days in the Swiss Alps is the most significant direct exposure many of the corporate titans in attendance have to these alternative voices.

Today’s announcement of various newer ways of opening up the Davos conversation is another good step in the right direction.

Note for newbies to Davos Newbies: I started this blog in 1999 when I was in charge of the Davos program. It was intended to provide an insider’s guide to the marvelous, complex beast that is the Davos Annual Meeting. I left the Forum in late 2000 and haven’t been back to its summit since 2002. But I’ve retained the blog’s title out of inertia, pride and a still-strong belief that there is value in bringing together observations and thoughts on a bewildering variety of subjects.

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