Creativity has been described as the ability to connect the seemingly unconnected. And, as we gather to look at what 2006 holds and to shape the global agenda, it is this ability that joins us in the common cause of trying to make sense of a rapidly-changing world. It is this creativity in pursuit of the common good that represents the “spirit of Davos”.

The assumptions, tools and frameworks that leaders from business, government and civil society have employed over the past decade seem increasingly outdated. A global networked economy, economic imbalances, new mindsets, demographic shifts and the gravitational pull exercised by India and China are just some of the factors that are radically reshaping our world.
The emerging global economy is the logical extension of the globalization that has swept the world over the past 150 years, but which has quickened almost exponentially over the past decade. Globalization has become so entrenched and seemingly irreversible that we have even started to talk of a world that is flat. But if our world is indeed flat, it is not yet a uniform surface – not yet a level playing field. It resembles more a myriad of badly-fitting but nevertheless interconnected plates. Our task is to make those connections better – with new rules, new institutions and, especially, through creative leadership.

In business, too, digitization and global supply chains are fast creating a level playing field on which all can play. A world in which being cheaper and faster is no longer a sufficient means of differentiation, and where knowledge is becoming ubiquitous and commoditized. In order to survive – and thrive – in this changing environment, we must master these new systems, processes and products while taking on new creative capabilities. In short, to make sense of this complex world, to connect the seemingly unconnected, we must strive to be creative: we are entering what I term the “Creative Economy”.

The Annual Meeting and Global Agenda bring together world-class leaders and thinkers to light the way for us. This magazine and the work we will do at Davos and in the coming year will set the global agenda and create the framework within which we will strive to improve our world for all. So let us join together in the ‘spirit of Davos’ and jointly exercise our creativity – let us all strive to be artists in pursuit of the common good.

Klaus Schwab,
Executive Chairman,
World Economic Forum