In the run up to the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos 2014, we launched a new social platform for world leaders. The aim was to create an online venue for them to collaborate around joint projects and initiatives, plan their event experiences, and be informed of global trends. It also enables the continuation of high level discussions held during our meetings into meaningful networking and co-ordinated action after a meeting’s conclusion.

The platform contains: logistical information and knowledge content for our two Annual Meetings – in Davos, Switzerland and in China. The same is available for regional meetings that include Africa, Middle East, Latin America, and East Asia. The platform supports dozens of community meetings; over 60 projects; 10 meta-projects known as Global Challenge Initiatives; the Network of Global Agenda Councils (the world’s biggest brainstorm with one and a half thousand global experts in eighty councils); data for policy planning across 140 economies; and over 100 Transformation Maps – which reveal the strategic agendas for economies, industries, and global issues.

The creative process and my role
The managing board approved a strategic briefing to create this digital product around communities of Interest, Purpose and Action. From there I defined the platform, mapped out its architecture, User Experience, Content Strategy, design, and oversaw it being built. For the Machine Learning and Data Visualisation knowledge products that it contains, I sourced and managed the specialist external talent required to build these products to our specification. I continue to lead its product roadmap, User Experience strategy and design.

Original product sketches

Development team and technologies
There are many teams involved in the infrastructure, as it uses data sources that are shared across IT products. The core team of 15 covers Information Architecture, Design, Product Management, front-end UI coding, back-end Drupal development, Node API development, Quality Assurance, and Change Management.

In terms of technologies, it is a mix of Drupal, Salesforce, Heroku Connect, Elasticsearch, Neo4j, Node.js, IBM BlueMix and other Machine Learning suppliers, CouchDB via CloudAnt, and D3.js.

(This post has been updated to reflect some additions to the technology stack and product over time).


Scott David leads User Experience strategy and design at the World Economic Forum, across their digital platforms for data-driven knowledge and communities of global leadership.

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