Welcome Message

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This year we have – we believe – made good progress in moving out of the worst of the crisis cycle triggered by Covid. But we have absolutely no cause for complacency.

To head off social and economic breakdown, governments and central banks have borrowed from the future in unprecedented ways. And during the crisis digital technology has shown both sides of its Janus face: affording huge benefits in the international collaborations that have given us life-saving vaccines at record speed, at the same time as endangering freedom and self-determination in the way it has been used to manipulate attitudes and blur or deny the truth.

Drucker Forum 2021

As we emerge from Covid, attention will have to shift from spending to actually earning the advances we have taken. There is only one way to achieve this – broad-based innovation and value creation, which puts a premium on better management than we have ever achieved before. As Peter Drucker proclaimed, only well-managed organizations and institutions can generate a society that is at the same time both high-performing and human. A perfect society is unachievable by humanity, and therefore, whatever the techno-utopians think, deeply inhuman; but a democratic, functioning one is within our reach.

The bottom line is that the human being in all its imperfection and splendor cannot be replaced by technology, as some people would like to suggest. All important issues must be viewed through the human lens first, not from a technology perspective. This is the stand that we want to make in the face of an increasingly technology-centric world. Drucker gives us the legitimacy and the vision for a well-functioning human society powered by effective organizations and institutions​ – and thus also a positive basis on which to bring together technologists and humanists in a constructive global dialogue on a future that must be both digital and human. But always human first. ​Let our conference mark the beginning of this historic process.

The Drucker Forum journey that we have mapped out this year closely reflects these new realities. In June we brought together our community for a virtual Day of Drucker, something we could only do with the aid of digital technology. But the aim was to prepare the ground for this Forum– two days of virtual events culminating in this face-to-face event on ‘the human imperative’.

In this spirit we cordially welcome you back to Vienna for the 13th Peter Drucker Forum, destined to be one of the most important ever.

Richard Straub

Founder and President

This article is one in the “shape the debate” series relating to the 13th Global Peter Drucker Forum, under the theme “The Human Imperative” on November 10 + 17 (digital) and 18 + 19 (in person), 2021.

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