“We need new measures of progress.” Point #9 focused on discussions around GNP and GDP as inadequate measures of a nation’s progress. The premise is that these measure ignore activities that are beneficial, such as volunteerism, and ignore events that support growth, but are evidence that social well-being is negatively impacted, such as when a pandemic boosts sales in the medical industry. Forum attendees generally felt positive about supporting new measures of success being developed by some governments and academics when back in their own countries. Question for International Business: will this impact your ability to expand internationally? Will businesses be held to an even higher standard of social responsibility than today, and how will different cultures affect those decisions?

 Lastly, point #10 is easily linked to #9, but also starts to paint a picture of the broader thinking of attendees at Davos 10. A new big idea: The Global Commons relates to the shared planetary resources like atmosphere, oceans and space. It also references successful global collaborations for the greater good, such as sharing basic intellectual property to bring medical products to market faster. The underlying premise is that the current generation has an obligation to pass on an undamaged planet to our children, and we have a lot of work to achieve that, and that our young people hold great potential. This has even more implications for companies looking to expand international operations, from a financial perspective, a human resource perspective, and an operations perspective.

 Across all 10 points, what should companies take away? If we didn’t realize it before, the past couple of years have taught us that the world is interrelated in ways both obvious and not so obvious.  The author talks about a “sea change” with women’s roles, but this conference gives us another indication that there is a sea change underway that will change the way governments work, business is conducted, and individuals interact and impact the world. As global businesspeople, what foundations can we put in place today to give our companies the best possible chance of both short- and long-term success?

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