10 key takeaways from Davos 2024

Despite seemingly endless geopolitical and economic uncertainty, global business leaders are coming away from Davos cautiously optimistic about 2024. While challenges and surprises remain inevitable, opportunities abound. This was a common theme at the 54th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF), where delegates from global business, government, civil society, media, and academia convened to focus on the fundamental principles driving trust. Read on for 10 key takeaways from this year’s meeting, the largest in WEF’s history—and register now to join senior partners Tracy Francis and Sven Smit on Tuesday, January 23 at 12:30 PM ET / 18:30 CET, as they discuss their experiences at Davos and reflect on key actions for global leaders. 

  1. Speed is crucial to outperformance. Compared with peers in slow-moving companies, leaders in fast-moving organizations report 2.1 times higher operational resilience, 2.5 times higher financial performance, 3.0 times higher growth, and 4.8 times higher innovation.

    Read: All change: The new era of perpetual organizational upheaval

  2. Cooperation is multifaceted and can coexist with competition. Leaders can practice “coopetition”—balancing cooperation and competition—to advance shared interests in specific areas, despite lack of alignment elsewhere.

    Read: The Global Cooperation Barometer 2024

  3. The generative AI revolution is only just beginning. Gen AI is poised to transform roles and boost performance across functions such as sales and marketing, customer operations, and software development. In the process, it could unlock trillions of dollars in value across sectors from banking to life sciences.

    Read: The economic potential of generative AI: The next productivity frontier

  4. Sustainability is a business imperative. Navigating the net-zero economy has become more complicated over the past 12 months, but companies that take courageous action can accelerate value creation and reposition themselves ahead of competitors.

    Read: Full throttle on net zero: Creating value in the face of uncertainty

  5. Better women’s health is correlated with economic prosperity. Investments addressing the women’s health gap could add years to life and life to years—and potentially boost the global economy by $1 trillion annually by 2040.

    Read: Closing the women’s health gap: A $1 trillion opportunity to improve lives and economies

  6. A comprehensive approach to transformation is most effective. Four essential elements for transformation success—will, skill, rigor, and scope—could give leaders a better chance at outpacing the competition in a time of constant disruption and change.

    Read: How to gain and sustain a competitive edge through transformation

  7. Business leaders need to focus on matching top talent to the highest-value roles. In many organizations, between 20 and 30 percent of critical roles aren’t filled by the most appropriate people. Skills-based hiring could help organizations access new talent pools.

    Read: Right skills, right person, right role

  8. The best CEOs leave organizations in a better place than they found them. Complacency is a common challenge for chief executives, but it doesn’t have to be. Top-performing CEOs create truly distinctive value.

    Read: The CEO Journey: A collection of content to master the CEO role

  9. Performance and diversity are not mutually exclusive. At a time when companies are under extraordinary pressure to maintain financial performance while navigating a rapidly changing business landscape, the business case for diversity not only holds, but grows.

    Read: Diversity matters even more: The case for holistic impact

  10. Don’t overlook India’s potential. India is transforming rapidly as one of the fastest growing large economies in the world. When it comes to technology, talent, healthcare, and other areas, its future in 2024—and beyond—is worth paying attention to.

    Read: India Ahead