The Power of Collaborative Innovation In Action

The theme of Davos this year is "the power of collaborative innovation". As it happens, I’m talking to one veteran delegate who explains that I’m wearing a piece of collaborative innovation around my neck.

In years past, the World Economic Forum, like all such talking shops, gave its participants ID badges which were worn on one of those ubiquitous ball chains. And as anybody who’s ever been to a conference knows, there are two big problems with those things. Firstly, the IDs invariably flip around so you can’t see the name which is meant to be prominently displayed. And secondly, the ball chains are so long that you find yourself staring obviously in the general direction of your fellow participants’ groins. Davos regularly asks for feedback from its delegates, and this was one of the things they complained about. (Rich people: they’ll always think of something to complain about.)

So now, at Davos, we have much more sophisticated ID badges – and I’m not referring to the fact that they incorporate RFID chips which allow you to log into the meeting network with a simple tap. The much more impressive innovation is the fact that the badges are attached not to a ball chain but rather to a short piece of elastic. It never flips around, and it’s short enough that the amount of eye movement needed to see someone’s name is minimal. It should be adopted everywhere.

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