World Economic Forum Roundup: Formula One arrives in Davos

formula 1 race

Early on the morning of January 20th it was cold enough to freeze the hairs in your nose. In Davos, a group of delegates escaped the icey conditions and boarded a coach to take a twisting road out of the town, towards the Rinerhorn.

Davos is the highest town in Europe, a winter sports paradise, but for one week each year skiing tourists are replaced with men and women in suits and snow-boots, as the town is taken over by the World Economic Forum. The Congress Centre is the hub of activity with further meetings and gatherings spilling over into cafes, restaurants and private rooms. At 1,560 metres, the air is thin but conversation runs fast as delegates take the opportunity to meet with colleagues, peers, influencers and even competitors. This rarified atmosphere provides the unique opportunity to grab a coffee with a world leading neuroscientist in the morning, meet the leadership team of a global corporation over lunch and attend a discussion on the ‘future of health’ in the afternoon.

Reaching peak performance

So why was this group leaving the ‘action’ behind, to venture even higher in the Albula Alps? On their journey the delegates were encouraged to reflect on a series of questions: What is your mission? Do you have a clear sense of where you are headed in life? Is anything impeding your progress towards your goals? Do you have a strong sense of your personal identity? At the base of the mountain, the guests took a cable car up to 2,528 metres, to the WEF’s ‘Basecamp’ venue; an exclusive location featuring a week of presentations on the theme of reaching peak performance.

The Hintsa team was already present, soaking in the panoramic views from the windows of the Alpine restaurant which had been converted to host the two sessions we had been invited to deliver, during this year’s Annual Gathering. The sky was clear, offering spectacular views of surrounding peaks and a welcome change of perspective – the perfect metaphor for the morning’s theme; a challenge to ‘rethink success’ and understand how performance can become a by-product of wellbeing.

Our founder, Dr. Aki Hintsa, was joined by 2-times F1 World Champion Mika Häkkinen, 4-time F1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel and F1 test driver Susie Wolff. Aki shared the origins of his approach which was birthed and shaped during his time in Africa, the Hintsa philosophy was brought into reality through the considered insights of our speakers from the world of F1 and the delegates themselves were challenged to explore what these perspectives could mean for them – using a range of Hintsa tools to consider their inner world, their true source of motivation and the real status of their health and wellbeing.

The audience engaged with the material with enthusiasm. Two hours flashed by and we were soon descending the Rinerhorn by the same cable-car before being whisked back to the Davos pressure cooker. However, the guests carried a host of new ideas and points for discussion along with them. Themes from Hintsa’s Basecamp sessions continued to echo through sessions in the Congress Centre and beyond.

Building new relationships and sharing ideas

The Wall Street Journal suggested “Why CEOs Are Like Racing Drivers”. The Huffington Post recounted Dr. Hintsa’s conversation with Dr. Murali Doraiswamy, professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke, during the ‘Brain At Work’ session, where they discussed sleep as the ‘glue for our health’ and a means to enhance performance. The BBC shared it’s learnings from Hintsa’s session, framing them in the context of what Formula 1 could teach business leaders.

The Annual Gathering’s theme ‘Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution’ – a movement characterised by speed, connectivity, and change – provided a rich context to build new relationships and share ideas. After an intense week of high-altitude discussion and debate, the real challenge is, what do we need to do to succeed in this world, without sacrificing what truly matters?

You can find the top articles which covered Hintsa contribution to the WEF, here: