Global Peter Drucker Forum 2012 – Think Young Article by Alexander Brown

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Held in Vienna, Austria, between the 15th and 16th of November 2012, the Global Peter Drucker Forum explored in detail the system of capitalism. Moreover, the focal question was whether or not maximization of shareholder value should be the primary concern of a business.
Two members of the ThinkYoung team attended the conference to offer a youthful insight to a setting one would assume to be habitually dominated by seasoned representatives of multinationals.


Richard Straub, President of the Peter Drucker Society Europe, referred to the participants of the conference as essential components in an engine of change, driving towards new and better horizons, both socially and economically.
He later quoted Winston Churchill in his opening comments, in which he spoke of capitalism as ‘ the worst form of economic system, except all the others that have been tried’.
This statement very much set the tone for the two day event, and implied that rather than deconstructing the current capitalistic systems, where the hedge fund and investment of firms of Wall St ‘ruthlessly and often irresponsibly fight to game the system’ (Roger Martin, 2012), most power figures in business believe the best tactic to be improvement of this economic approach, tweaking the rules, tightening loopholes and creating value on various levels.


It would seem that the message voiced by a number of young people in attendance, suggested that if joblessness is the end-product of higher education, the institutions that provide the programmes of supposed ‘learning’ shouldn’t be surprised if students choose to find their own tailored methods of development and focus their efforts towards more personally interesting and beneficial activities. The need to be resourceful and proactive has never been of such significance.


The Global Drucker Forum raised a number of points that are strongly cohered to the activities of ThinkYoung. Lynda Gratton, of the London Business School, referred on multiple occasions to the European wide issue of youth unemployment and touched upon the skills mismatch phenomenon, an issue that leaves many employers deficient of suitable candidates. Tammy Erikson, of Erikson Consultants and Dan Shechtman, of the Israel Institute of Technology, further spoke of the fear of Entrepreneurial Failure as something we should see as a concern, and in addition, highlighted a number of stigma points that should be better acknowledged and combatted in this continent. To supplement this, Dan Schechtman identified an imperative need to teach ‘real’ physics at kindergarten level, explaining that Europe must embrace a scientific mind-set to foster future technology entrepreneurs.


Skills Mismatch is currently a topic of real interest because of economic stagnation and soaring unemployment rates. It is defined as the gap between an individual’s job skill’s and the demands of the job market.
ThinkYoung recently launched a pan European survey of the skills mismatch phenomenon as a portion of the ‘Our Future Mobility Now’ initiative, a project realised by the European Association of Automotive Manufactures. This study involved 868 respondents from 48 different countries, encompassing 16 different languages, and produced a number of conclusions very much interrelated with thoughts of the Drucker Forum:


For 2013, ThinkYoung are launching a ‘Failure Campaign’, consisting of a survey targeting young individuals in 4 EU member states, an accompanying documentary; and will be collaborating with a San-Francisco based initiative in the organisation of the first European Failcon – An event bringing together technology entrepreneurs, investors, developers and designers to study their own and others’ failures and prepare for success.
We want to convey the message that failure is acceptable, but standing up and rediscovering entrepreneurial drive is compulsory. I particularly like the notion that a failure should be called a ‘Nearling’ (21lobsterstreet, 2012), in the sense that you always learn from things that are not entirely successful, but are pursued initially with the correct intentions.


In response to the perceived deficiency of Entrepreneurial spirit at European level, ThinkYoung has taken action to combat this, hosting two consecutive entrepreneurship schools for those individuals who are interested in startup yet lacking the self-confidence and knowledge to move forward. In direct complement to this, whilst speaking in Vienna, Hongjun Wang, founder of TAOTPR ‘The Art of Taking Personal Responsibility’, highlighted the need for people to take control of their own development, defy the norms and constraints placed upon them and enter into the unknown in search of personal gains and professional growth.
Whatever goals one may have, the 2012 Global Peter Drucker Forum has began to aggregate a critical mass of business power figures, that not only focus on providing maximal returns for shareholders, but share inspiration to create social value, engage in philanthropy, demonstrate passion and think in an unorthodox fashion to pursue different avenues in search of multi level prosperity.

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