01/27/2012 09:38 am ET Updated Mar 28, 2012

Toward a Common Purpose

There's a definite urgency here in the mass of Davos participants; faced with the uncertainty that stems from technological, political, economic and cultural revolutions all over the world, it is clear to us all that the time for bold, innovative action to get to the root of problems is now.

There is no lack of energy for doing exactly that. Earnest discussions about values have already developed, but in the very way in which these conversations are framed, we remain trapped in our familiar, flawed, way of thinking.

We are accustomed to measuring success in terms of individual growth, impact, scale, achievement. I believe that to truly adapt to great transformations, we must be ready to find common denominators and, ultimately, a common purpose beyond our own isolated business models.

For most of us, thinking - and, importantly, acting - in terms of commonalities and collaboration takes time. For some of us, this type of behaviour change may simply be too unintuitive to embrace. It requires that we first re-evaluate the models that have guided so many of us throughout our lives and then act according to a new interpretation of success and shareholder value.

The concept of shared value is finding favour with many corporate leaders here. I also believe, very much, in the game-changing potential of the shared value approach. But I fear that the theory is at risk of failing in practice if we are not yet willing to do what it takes for it to succeed. We will have to agree on a common purpose that, by nature, goes beyond brands and individual interests.

streetfootballworld is taking this next step. It's at the heart of who we are. Having identified the world's best-loved game, football, as a powerful common language, we are using it to build a team whose ability to change the world will be greater than that of the sum of its individual parts. We are bringing strong players - from young people in disadvantaged communities to football stars, from grassroots leaders to international CEOs - onto the same playing field to contribute their specific talents and resources to a shared purpose: empowering a new generation of leaders who are ready to collaborate to reach our ultimate common goal, a just and sustainable world. We are still training, we lack talent on some positions and we haven't yet sorted the ultimate tactics. But we do know team play is the only way.

And so, at Davos, we are all faced with a number of questions that loom behind the ones on the programme. Are we really ready to take this significant next step? Will the necessary behaviour change be possible for our current generation of leaders, or is it a standard that only a new generation will be able to reach? And how do we all, in the meantime, keep our world from failing before it can strive for more?

Jürgen Griesbeck, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, streetfootballworld, Germany; Social Entrepreneur of the Year, Europe, 2011