The World Economic Forum, held annually in Davos, Switzerland, is a high-altitude, high-profile gathering of the globe’s business and political elites. Microsoft’s Bill Gates is a regular, as are Google’s Eric Schmidt, Sergey Brin, and Larry Page, who throw an amazing party at the Kirchner Museum every year. Bill Clinton usually hosts a late-night gab-fest, and last year it seemed like half of U.S. Congress and much of the Bush Cabinet were participating in sessions on trade and foreign policy.
Attendees at this year’s meeting, which begins on Jan. 24, will see many familiar faces. But they’ll also notice an influx of people no one would have thought qualified to join a few years ago: designers. Davos 2006, in fact, is shaping up to be a very different kind of forum. In addition to the standard topics, an unprecedented 22 sessions will focus on the general theme of “Innovation, Creativity & Design Strategy.”