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The World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting, which brings together the world’s top leaders from government, business, academia and international organizations, takes place this week in Davos, Switzerland.
“Responsive and Responsible Leadership” is the theme for this year’s gathering and was the top discussion subject of many of the panels on the first day of WEF 2017.
In the opening press conference, Meg Whitman, CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, said that responsible leadership in the business sphere means giving workers the skills they need for the coming wave of change. “Technology is disrupting every single industry and every job,” she said. “The pace of change will only accelerate.”
Among the key leadership challenges highlighted for WEF 2017 is the Fourth Industrial Revolution – a huge leap powered by emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things and autonomous vehicles, which have the potential to transform the way we live and work.
In the panel discussion titled “Preparing for the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” Mary Barra, Chairman of General Motors, echoed these sentiments : “Advances in technology make education crucial for today’s workers.”
Accenture has long partnered with the WEF on research programs such as the Digital Transformation Initiative. At this year’s meeting, Accenture is presenting the latest research on the new demands and opportunities of the digital age and its effects on the workforce.
Ellyn Shook, Chief Leadership and Human Resources Officer at Accenture, joined Arianna Huffington of Thrive Global, and ManpowerGroup CEO Jonas Prising on a panel titled “Creating the Future Workforce.” All three panelists agreed that resilience, adaptability and learnability are the key skills workers will need in the coming years. Huffington said organizations will have to “upskill workers to deal with automation,” while Prising emphasized the obligation leaders have not only with regard to future success and growth but also to “doing well and doing good.” Shook outlined a three-step strategy businesses need to create: “Adapt your existing workforce, create a new definition of how work is done and reshape the supply chain.” She added: “Companies need to think about what it takes to elevate their people, rather than eliminate them.”
To learn more about the Future Workforce research, download the report: Harnessing the Revolution
Follow live updates from the Accenture community at WEF 2017.