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Games-based learning for young business leaders

Guest Post by
Subhash Dhar, Executive Council Member, Senior Vice President and Head, Global Sales,Alliances and Marketing Head, Communications, Media and Entertainment, Infosys Technologies Limited

Day zero of the 41st World Economic Forum Summit started with some good news for Infosys. The Padma Bhushan award conferred on Kris is indeed a great way to kick off the leadership event. However, we have much to prepare for four days of plenary sessions, panel discussions, executive one-on-ones, and media interviews; celebrations must wait.
This year, India is being showcased at Davos - as done earlier in January 2006. We are a sponsor... of the India Inclusive campaign, which is specifically designed for the event. I am excited about the attention it will garner. The Indian adda and our ethnic cuisine served there have already started creating a lot of buzz.

In what has now become a custom, day zero started with the Young Global Leaders (YGL) meet. It is an all-day event, flowing with ideas and energy. The YGL group has grown exponentially since it was founded in 2005. Women representation in the community has grown to 44%. Today, more than 100 young leaders were present from different parts of the world. With diverse professional backgrounds such as art, social entrepreneurship, politics, business, and finance, YGL brought interesting perspectives on the future of our world. The topics of today's debate included decentralization of power as the way to run the world, role of civil society in governance, open source governance models, creating solutions across stakeholders, and the role of big data in managing complex problems.

After the presentations, we had a session on active listening. Participants were randomly picked in groups of three to discuss new global realities. In each group, one person spoke while the other two listened. Later, one of the listeners narrated it back while the other noted it down on paper. The members of my group were from America and Britain. As we started our session, I realized that both of them are now based in China. Migration to China and work in the Asian region were the new realities they wanted to discuss. I, an Indian from Bangalore, wanted to share my views on western markets! The three of us were sitting there clearly on the bleeding edge of two big global shifts - one where skilled work is delivered using global delivery models, and the other where emerging economies are fast becoming the most important markets for global businesses.

The highlight of the day-long YGL summit was a role play exercise around 'tribes'. Groups of ten members were asked to form a tribe. Each tribe had a distinct name, dominant ethnicity, and strong beliefs in socially controversial topics such as abortion, euthanasia and capital punishment. The tribes persuaded one another to join them. The goal was to ultimately unite as one tribe to avoid annihilation of the human race. Playfully, it unveiled some serious challenges faced by world leaders in building consensus around issues affecting the future of our civilization. It also brought to the fore how a single philosophy or idea can potentially save or endanger the entire humanity.

It was a busy and high-energy warm up to the WEF Summit. But when the world's top 2000 leaders converge, one does not expect anything less.

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