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Facebook Çhanged The Face of Davos.

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on February 3, 2009

If you want to see the future of conferencing, analyze the Facebooking of the World Economic Forum in Davos this year. Facebook polls were injected into 12 major sessions. As big-shots were speaking on-stage, people were asked questions and the results were posted real-time on a screen behind the speakers—so they had to respond to them.

In one session, Advice to the US President on Competitiveness. 120,000 people from around the world responded to a question on whether Obama’s stimulus package was “on taget.” 59% said “no,” and only 15% said “yes.” The rest were unsure.

This was interesting because the panel overwhelmingly said “yes.” Who was on the panel? Rupert Murdoch (CEO News Corp.), Ellen Kullman (CEO DuPont), Duncan Niederauer (CEO NYSE Euronext), David Rubenstein (Managing Director, Carlyle Group) and Ronald Williams (CEO Aetna).

So who do you think was right—the panel of august CEOs or the masses of 120,000 facebook folks, whoever they are. Actually, the Facebook people were probably in their 20s and 30’s, right, while the CEOs were in their 50s and 60s, with Rubert in his 70s, no?

Does that explain the difference in response?

Reader Comments


February 4, 2009 5:00 PM

Really it is very joking but more than interesting situation. Let me remember a nice Film, "Sense&Sensibility" and think about the present situation: perhaps we need to think seriously on "Participation and Transparency" all over the World. ¡Good luck!


February 7, 2009 3:55 PM

Bruce: I think age does have something to do with it.

Three years ago I joined a 1,000 employee insurance company to lead change and bring it into the 21st century. As most of the boomers running the company seemed intent on slowing change at every turn, the X and Y generation were constantly cheering me on and begging me to push harder.

What I was most struck by was Boomer unwillingness (or inability) to acknowledge that others' experiences might be valid. The mantra was, "if I haven't experienced it personally, then it can't be true." Many of the younger folks look at their elders and ask, "how can you not see what is so obvious in this situation?"

I think the same thing is happening on the world scene, and it is going to require (probably uncharacteristic) humility on the part of the Boomer leadership - the self-styled masters of the universe who attend Davos - to acknowledge that they need to start listening more and take some leaps of faith urged on by their juniors. We need a partnership between those who wield power and those who are seeing the future. In very few cases are they the same people.


February 7, 2009 5:10 PM

Does what explain the difference in response?

a. CEO vs. "masses"
b. sample size (5 vs. 120,000)
c. age (>50 vs Does what explain the difference in response?

a. CEO vs. "masses"
b. sample size (5 vs. 120,000)
c. age (>50 vs d. facebook vs. non-facebook
e. all of the above
f. who cares

answer b

The difference in response is probably the 120,000 that are out of work and are voting on facebook about something they have no control over.

though e and f are probably valid too.

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Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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