What about the other 360 days?

WE Communications Blog: Alan VanderMolen

— Alan VanderMolen 

My friend and industry commentator, Arun Sudhaman from the Holmes Report, messaged me yesterday from Davos. 

Over WhatsApp, we had a conversation about how it was going this year, the major themes, how marketing services and PR were showing up in the mix of industries attending, etc. 

In his sign off, he gave me this very cynical quip: Back to the corporate world’s annual five days of atonement. 

I follow Davos closely.

My attention is on what are the dominant issues, what are the emerging opportunities, who are the dominant voices at the top-of-the-pyramid, what is meaningful dialogue vs self-congratulatory noise,and what does all of this mean for us? 

More specifically: What does this mean for what business delegates do the 360 non-Davos days of the year?

In my Davos-related blog last year, one proposal I made was for non-NGO delegates to ‘come down the mountain’ as qualification for Davos entry. The call to action was for delegates to prove they had spent one week of the year addressing one of Davos’ priority issues in the field.

That invitation related to only 5 days. The same number of days most delegates spend at Davos. 

I think an improved invitation is for business participants at Davos to spend the 360 non-Davos days a year giving a voice to the segments of society they talk about empowering every year. 


Project 360: The power of partnership  

Earlier this week, Oxfam published a startling statistic: The world’s 26 richest people have the same amount of wealth as the poorest half of society — roughly 3.8 billion people. That statistic provided context for most of the broad issues discussed at Davos, which one way or another, ladder up to sustainable and inclusive development. 

Business delegates to Davos nobly spend billions every year on development and empowerment projects across countless areas of focus. They also spend millions of dollars each year on Davos activations promoting their work and/or their studies. 

I think business delegates and the WEF should partner to launch Project 360: Every Day Voices of the Impoverished. 

Business delegates would pledge an amount of money equivalent to what they spend on Davos activations. Their agencies would pledge a percent of the profits they make from Davos activations and the WEF would activate Project 360. 

Project 360, hosted jointly on portals owned by the WEF, by delegate companies and by their agencies would then give daily voice to the struggles and the incremental successes of the world’s poorest and disadvantaged on their journey to a sustainable and inclusive future. 

In addition to putting the people at the core of the issues into focus, it may well address the cynicism that is the enemy to many of these efforts.