I just returned from the 5th edition of the World Communication Forum held in Davos. Several innovations in this year’ edition really catched my attention:
- we ran a business game designed by Lena: in about an hour “consultant” players organized themselves in “agencies” and sold their services to “client” players. It is amazing how in such a short period of time, with no preparation and uneven understanding of the rules the simulation did take off, people started literally behaving like in real life. The group I was in created a relatively big agency, we aggressively pursued new business and eventually we bought out a smaller agency. After a while, it was clear we were the largest and most aggressive player in the market and the other smaller agencies reacted forming an association and extolling the virtues of niche, specialized players. Fun and exciting, really got people off their butts and participating, with no exception.
- The organizers were kind enough to allow me to design the panel I chaired (“Do you e-xist?“) in every detail: other than a 10′ intro, we dispensed with all presentations and instead focused on the discussion. Dicran, Virginie, Eric and Lars fielded question after question, agreed and disagreed and – as it was predictable – we reached the end of our hour with still a lot to discuss.
- I participated in a “closed doors discussion” where a sponsoring client grouped a half dozen consultants, explained what their problem was and received some off-the-cuff advice. Together with me were Iekje from Holland, Stuart and Michael from the UK and Christian from Switzerland / China / UK. Without over self-praise, I think we went remarkably far in these two hours, and the client received a number of very good ideas.
Then the usual perks of WCF: international attendance like no other event I have ever been to, lively audience, lots of networking during the breaks and meals, beautiful all-around scenery. I even had the extra perk of presenting the Award Ceremony with Katie, I may well say I really feel accomplished!
I think these interaction elements worked really well, so maybe next year the organizers could put more of them; also perhaps I would move the business game to the second day and – as a final suggestion – maybe we could experiment with the 99 second presentation format, as defined by Scott Berkun.