Pre-Davos 2020 – Mobilising the Global Shapers at PwC’s Experience Center in Zurich

Frederik Gregaard Head Digital Financial Services Advisory, PwC Switzerland 22 Jan 2020

Each year, the WEF invites 50 Global Shapers to participate in discussions about the world’s most pressing issues. Before their trip to Davos they meet in Zurich to prepare for the WEF, and this year, PwC’s Experience Center hosted the Pre-Davos summit. PwC aims to positively impact our society and solve important problems – goals we share with the Global Shapers.
The power of youth

Born out of the World Economic Forum (WEF), the Global Shapers are a grassroots network of young people under the age of 30 who work actively to shape the future. Through ongoing dialogue and a variety of change-driven projects, these young leaders strive to solve the enormous global challenges that they have inherited from past generations. As a part of the largest youth population in history, Global Shapers take on the responsibility of confronting the status quo and offer youth-led solutions for change on local, regional, and global levels. Recognising that powerful voices are stronger together, the Global Shapers Community connects more than 7,000 like-minded members across 369 city-based hubs in 171 countries.

It has become a tradition that the 50 Global Shapers who are selected to participate at the WEF – the Davos50 – meet the weekend before the WEF in Zurich, hosted by the Global Shapers of the Zurich Hub. Here, the Davos50 prepare for their participation at the WEF, meet Swiss Shapers, and engage with experts in business, politics and academia to gain valuable insights and jointly explore avenues for positive global collaboration. In addition, during the three days of the Pre-Davos Summit, the Global Shapers get a crash course in Swiss culture and traditions while discovering the vibrant city of Zurich. The Davos50 leave this Pre-Davos Summit even better prepared for the conversations and culture of the WEF by creating proposed solutions and networking with each other to build collaboration.

The bold ideas and collaboration that spark change

Corporate responsibility is a core value of PwC, and we share key interests and goals with the Global Shapers. Therefore, we were happy to host this year’s Pre-Davos Summit at the PwC Experience Center in Zurich, a purpose-built space to not only generate ideas, foster innovation and create alignment but to implement solutions to complex problems with many interdependencies. Our main goal was for the Davos50 to experience the power of their own Group Genious. We gave them a place to stand in their full humanity and tackle seemingly impossible systemic challenges, and mobilise them as unified change makers for the coming WEF. and To reach these goals, the day full of learning, connecting and ideating was facilitated by PwC’s The Difference team, and top subject matter experts from Industry and academia joined to share their views, experience and beliefs.

The topic of this year’s summit was «climate emergency, technology governance and global health». The event started on Friday January 17 with a Zurich sightseeing tour, followed by a welcome dinner. At this dinner, held in the tradition-rich restaurant Kantorei in the old town of Zurich, the Zurich hub welcomed the Global Shapers warmly and introduced them to their peers.

Throughout the weekend, PwC guided the Davos50 and selected Shapers from Switzerland in an exploration of the following key questions: How can we avert the worst consequences of climate change in the face of a possible economic slowdown? How can we optimise the societal benefits of AI, while ensuring responsible use of such advanced technologies? How can we transform the healthcare industry and ensure that everyone has access to affordable quality care? How can we improve global collaboration in all of these critical areas?

These questions were discussed at length on Saturday, with the help of syntopical readings, fishbowl conversations, and chatrooms. Speeches by opinion-leaders such as Sonia Senevirante, Professor for Land-​Climate Dynamics at ETH Zurich; Dr. Daniel Stauffacher, former Ambassador of Switzerland and founder and President of the ICT4Peace Foundation; and Dr. Adina Rom, PhD at the ETH Development Economics and expert on behavioral and applied microeconomics and public health, inspired new ideas through their additional input and expertise. Before the day’s close, solutions were drafted and reports written. The day ended with a flying dinner combined with open-mic sessions with contributions from the Davos50 and the Swiss Shapers – followed by a Pre-Davos party at the cool SBB Werkstatt that extended deep into the night. On Sunday 19, the highly motivated Shapers travelled to Davos with new insight on global solutions and Swiss culture.

PwC supports the Global Shapers in their ambition for societal and environmental change and wishes them a highly interesting and successful World Economic Forum 2020.

PwC’s continued commitment to corporate responsibility 

Corporate responsibility is in our DNA and it is central to our licence to operate. It aims to create a positive impact on society and the environment while increasing the benefit for everyone. Corporate responsibility is a catalyst to becoming a purpose-led and value-driven organisation. Alongside our stakeholders, we strive to generate the most sustainable business values and make a difference for future generations.

The Pre-Davos Summit 2020 at PwC’s Experience Center clearly revealed that change can be made possible through the collaboration and bold ideas that come to light by joining forces.

Find more about PwC’s corporate responsibility initiatives here


Contact us

Andreas Staubli

CEO, PwC Switzerland

Tel: +41 58 792 44 72

Frederik Gregaard

Head Digital Financial Services Advisory, PwC Switzerland

Tel: +41 58 792 24 81

Samuel Wiedmer

Head of The Difference Switzerland, PwC Switzerland

Tel: +41 58 792 19 97