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Abigail Noble is Head of Impact Investing Initiatives and Associate Director, Investors Industries at the World Economic Forum. The following is her message to investors regarding the WEF’s work on Impact Investing and New Economic Thinking courtesy of Peter Fusaro, an Executive in Hedge Connection’s Boardroom.

We at the World Economic Forum often get asked “So what reaaaaally happens in Davos, anyway?” When we share the truth, that we play games to discuss impact investing, the typical response is a blend of disbelief and intrigue.

Einstein once said “Games are the most elevated form of investigation”. We agree.

Change is never easy, especially with the challenge of mainstreaming impact investing. But when you make change fun you make it easier for those faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges to begin to see opportunities. Often, this involves approaching the problem from multiple angles and incorporating multidisciplinary thinking—including understanding how your professional background can create entrenched perspectives and limited flexibility for innovation, how engaging in solution-building can lead to mindset change because of counter-attitudinal advocacy, and how relaxing the constraints of a problem set can lead to more innovative solutions.

Therefore, over the past three Davos’, we designed and ran 120-minute elaborate and highly competitive games with investors, social entrepreneurs and government officials. Through this we have come to see that understanding people’s current mindset is key to figuring out how to engage them. An open atmosphere which embraces difference is crucial; this creates an understanding of the mandates, interests and loyalties the participants must balance and navigate to be effective in their own worlds. These positions should serve as respectful starting points and not as constraints.

o   Davos 2012 Game: Why should institutional investors consider impact investments?

o   Davos 2013 Game: How can impact investing be a strategy across asset classes?

o   Davos 2014 Game: How will impact investing improve long-run financial performance?


Abigail leads the World Economic Forum’s work on Impact Investing and New Economic Thinking. In particular, she is focused on how global economic systems, financial markets, and innovative policy mechanisms can create more inclusive societies. From 2010 until 2013, she served as the Head of Latin America and Africa for the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. She received her B.A. in Economics from Tufts University, her Master’s in International Development (MPA/ID) from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, was a Global Leadership Fellow with the World Economic Forum and a Fulbright Scholar in Uruguay, where she studied democracy and economic development.


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