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World leaders embrace "The Creative Imperative" at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2006
It’s no longer business as usual as leaders at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting seek new, creative capabilities to meet global challenges

25 January 2006 - Davos, Switzerland

The 36th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos has opened with calls for business, political and civil society leaders to harness creativity to provide new answers to the world’s problems.

“The assumptions, tools and frameworks that leaders have used to make decisions over the past decade appear inadequate. It is imperative for leaders of all walks of life to develop new capabilities if they expect to be successful and to maintain relevance,” said Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.

“The Creative Imperative is very important because although the outlook for 2006 is generally positive, there are clouds in the blue sky,” said Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Nestlé, Switzerland; Member of the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum, and a Co-Chair of the Annual Meeting 2006.

Creativity is needed to find new tools and solutions to tackle dark clouds like global imbalances, according to Mukesh D. Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director, Reliance Industries, India, also a Co-Chair of the Annual Meeting 2006. “The world has a real chance if we form global partnerships to banish poverty and we need creative solutions. What we are going to do at the Annual Meeting is have a dialogue among the different constituents to form a partnership to create a more balanced world,” he said.

“Whether it’s the global environment, nuclear proliferation, global poverty or global governance, the challenge is finding the energy to address tomorrow’s problems today. This is not something that can be done by the public sector alone, or without business, but it should be done collectively. And this is why the Annual Meeting is such a valuable one because we can confront fears, marshal hope and move forward,” said Lawrence H. Summers, President, Harvard University, USA, another Co-Chair of the Annual Meeting 2006.

“The Creative Imperative is about innovation and differentiation and has geographical and functional implications,” said Sir Martin Sorrell, Group Chief Executive, WPP, United Kingdom, a Co-Chair of the Annual Meeting 2006. The four Co-Chairs agreed that technology is a key area where creativity and innovation can be used to deliver solutions.

This year’s Annual Meeting sees the highest level of top business participants – 735 of those participating are at the CEO or chairman level – the highest ever. Around 50% of participants are business leaders drawn principally from the Forum's members – 1,000 of the foremost companies from around the world and across all economic sectors.

“Business is in a unique position to play a leading role in helping to shape the global agenda, and can provide government and civil society with the tools and capabilities to better adapt,” said Jonathan Schmidt, Director, Global Agenda, World Economic Forum. “The Annual Meeting aims to bring this message to participants, in order to stimulate creative capabilities and the courage to embrace change, which is at times disruptive and painful, but can ultimately be uplifting and rewarding,” he said.

The Annual Meeting kicks off with the “Big Debate” – an interactive session during which participants will exchange their views and experiences. The programme will follow five main themes that are high on the global agenda in 2006. These range from “The Emergence of China and India” and “The Changing Economic Landscape” to “New Mindsets and Changing Attitudes”, “Creating Future Jobs” and “Regional Identities and Struggles”. There will be three responses: "Building Trust in Public and Private Institutions", "Effective Leadership in Managing Global Risks" and "Innovation, Creativity and Design Strategy".

Notes to Editors:
· Everything about the Annual Meeting 2006 can be found here: www.weforum.org/annualmeeting
· Here are the key Participants: www.weforum.org/annualmeeting/participants
· In-depth Interviews with key business participants are here: www.weforum.org/annualmeeting/indepth
· The entire Programme can be downloaded here: www.weforum.org/annualmeeting/programme
· Follow the discussions and read the Session summaries once the Annual Meeting starts here: www.weforum.org/annualmeeting/summaries2006
· Watch the key debates live in our Webcasts at: www.weforum.org/annualmeeting/webcasts
· Download key debates as Podcasts or Audio Blogs at: www.weforum.org/annualmeeting/podcasts
· Leave your comments in our Weblog at: www.forumblog.org
· Subscribe to or download Press Releases here: www.weforum.org/pressreleases
Download print-quality high resolution Photographs of the Annual Meeting free of charge here: www.swiss-image.ch/forum (login: world; password: forum)


The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging leaders in partnerships to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

Incorporated as a foundation in 1971, and based in Geneva, Switzerland, the World Economic Forum is impartial and not-for-profit; it is tied to no political, partisan or national interests. (www.weforum.org)


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Last updated: 25 January 2006
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