Vision Statement for Project Firefly

At a time of diminished expectations and social upheaval, where can the next generation of thought leaders be heard? Project Firefly creates open, merit-based platforms for university students and recent graduates to enhance their profiles. Project Firefly creates an opportunity for tomorrow's leaders to deliberate and cooperate with each other, with established thinkers and to distinguish themselves in the eyes of enlightened organisations and employers.

Today's decision-makers will be attracted to a community that gives them access to ambitious talent on a global scale. Enlightened sponsors want this growing talent pool's insights as they formulate strategic options including their recruitment policies.

As these benefits strengthen, Project Firefly will act as catalyst that ultimately empowers the next generation of thought leaders by fostering their professional development. Project Firefly stands for a cooperative, pluralistic approach to fostering cohesion between the leaders of today and tomorrow.

Project Firefly Rationale

Recent, pervasive trends reinforce the need for Project Firefly.

First, a paradox has developed in the global labour market. Even though worldwide many more people graduate from university, an increasing number of firms say they face talent shortages in both emerging markets and industrialised countries. Something has gone wrong with the matching process in the labour market for university graduates.

With pervasive "grade inflation" it has become harder for university students and graduates to distinguish themselves, especially in a Winner Takes All Society where exceptional rewards are showered on the recognised few. Some recruiters fall back increasingly on the "brand" value of a university, effectively elevating the importance of university admissions' decisions and reinforcing inequality. Stature in Project Firefly community is determined by merit alone.

Perhaps the most worrying development has been the deterioration in public Thought Leadership in 2011. At a time of diminished expectations, more public commentary emphasises arguments that pit "us" versus "them." Ugly forms of nationalism have re-emerged. For example, current European economic challenges are frequently debated in terms of morality--so difficult questions are oversimplified. Countering these developments will bolster support for our integrated and pluralistic world.


Simon J. Evenett and Daniel Garraty
January 2012