Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Is the Asian upswing a threat?

by Igor Gazdik, Consultant and owner, IG Innovation
A contribution to the
Summit for the Future

Three decades ago the Asian economic breakthrough started with the emergence of the five Asians tigers led by Japan. Many people remember that in the 1970s Japanese goods were low-cost and of inferior quality. Steadily improving, however. At that time, nobody minded. Nowadays, when Japan, Korea, Singapore, etc., are synonyms for high quality, high performance, appealing design, and exclusive marketing, nobody minds, either.

What some people seem to mind is that in recent years Asian giants, notably China and India, started taking the center stage. Their sheer size makes China and India imposing and impressive is. A billion or more inhabitants jammed in a large, but limited, area in each country. Exploding science and technology. A large proportion of young people. Increasingly high level of schooling. An ever larger middle-class. And it’s not all.

Already, China consumes 55 % of the cement, 36% of the steel, and 30 % of the coal produced worldwide. At the same time, China churns out 2/3 of the PCs, copiers, microwave ovens, dvd-players, and shoes, as well as more than half of the digital cameras manufactured worldwide. There are 260 million fix telephone subscribers and 270 million cell phone subscribers in the country.

Yet, the real winner in the long to medium run will probably be India. The reasons, in my opinion, are two: a firm democratic tradition and more creativity. The former is India’s well established property. The latter depends to a large extent on the greater flexibility of the Indian society. Almost two years ago, the Indian Internet site ran a series of articles on India’s outlook in the field of hi-tech, high-profitability products. Among the authors, two caught my attention. G V Dasarathi asks: “Are Indians really dumb?” He concludes that India needs drastic changes in the education system and in government policies to reward creativity and value addition to produce more visionaries like Vikram Sarabhai (the founder of Indian space research) and Jamsetji Tata ( the founder of Tata Industries). Arindam Banerji (“Can India produce billion-dollar innovations?”) goes in his four part series even further. He analyses American disruptive inventions and quotes some Indian disruptive inventions. He looks at India’s rural and indigenous innovations, advanced manufacturing centers, advanced research national programs and the New Millennium Indian Technology Leadership Initiative. He lists the “institutionalized innovation gap,” and proposes 8 talking points to initiate the discussion on India’s path to become “the designer of monuments, rather than the supplier of granite.” Innovation on a large scale is a way out of India’s numerous miseries. This comprehensive and public (rather than centralized) debate and approach to innovation is what makes me believe India to be the winner.

Are the achievements of China and India a threat to Europe? Some people may think so. By taking up the center-stage, these countries will necessarily eclipse Europe as the center of the world. If India, and perhaps even China, come up with some revolutionizing ideas that open up new avenues in science, technology, the social sphere, or the arts, hardly anybody will be able to hinder them from becoming the focal point of everybody’s attention. This need not be a threat, it may also be an opportunity for everybody.

But is this expectation realistic? I dare say that not yet, for a while. Not while there are too many poor people in both China and India, not as long as they abort female foetuses, or get stuck in the quagmire of the most intricate religious beliefs. Yet, anyone who is optimistic and favors progress is invited to look forward to the achievements that might come from eastern and southern Asia, and enjoy the benefits.

Healthcare Issues

by Ken Rawlings, DHSA, member of the Canadian College of Health Services Executives.
A contribution to the
Summit for the Future

One asks what the management issues of health are today. Perhaps, the first question leads to a second question. What are the roles of health leaders today? Truly, primeval purpose might look establishing strategy. Strategy is transformational of institutional economics. It mandates in both public and private sectors the distinction of competitive identity and status in the tribes. In the act of grasping strategy, order is attempted, building directional ability or functional disability.

Perhaps it might look like grabbing the bull by the horns, pressing for results and all the while balancing competing commitments and thus affording the title functional. As reflected by telling one what they need to know as opposed to what they want to hear. And then position around "what actions are necessary?" aggressively defining the If, Then statements whilst examining the follow through window. Where are we today and where do we wanna be? As today is different than yesterday, so, is its works, to be done.

In our global economy whereas there is a mushroom shape depicted of rapid growth changing the age of the population generating many children relative to the labor productivity and pressed with the expectation of our health laws-policies and whereas the consequences of economical neglect might look like reduced investment resultant of diminished savings and increased consumption by the non productive young and aged alike. Where are we now?

There is valid argument to pursue the margins of healthcare economics.

Questions around efficiencies and equity rotate around alternative approaches lending order and functionality to the strategy. What competing commitments and whose values, beliefs, attitudes, behavior needs to change in order to affect the best outcome?

So today we have the emergent patterns of engaging the margins, encouraging unity amongst diversification and directed by global concerns. We are engaging the margins, encouraging unity amongst diversification and directed by global concerns. We are engaging communal tribes to share a common vision. The mission being, One global tribe of co-opetitive (a hybrid of co-operation and competition) community health outcomes, re-ccountable(a hybrid of responsibility and accountability) in nature and guided by informed decisions of community health determinants.

These changes force our institutions and governance model to clarify their value and values. Who am I and how much am I worth? These changes force our institutions to collaborate and co-operate, to embrace new strategy, to adapt in new pastures of competitive tribes, to be subject to lessons learning and measure the lessons learned, to define the assurances of organizational capacities and capabilities. The new tribes will be competitively challenged feeling the pinch of economic reality. What is the adaptive challenge? What are the alignment tools, skills, and conditions that are necessary to create this new structurally informed stage as to affect the community and communities of health determinants?


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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Rise of Spirituality

Ralph Freelink, founder of the Centre for Holistic Inquiry, is a psychologist in the knowledge stream on the future of trade. Ralph will be a "catalyst" at the Summit for the Future

Spiritual inquiry

The book
Megatrends 2010, written by Patricia Aburdene, predicts the rise of spirituality. She claims this will be the number one megatrend for the future. A megatrend, according to Patricia, "is a large, over-arching direction that will shape our lives for a decade or more". Whether you believe deeply in spirit or think it is a religious hoax, it will influence your life one way or another. It is inevitable. What is spirituality?

We are in a universe that is inside us. Spirituality is the practice that brings up this inner universe. It gives a sense of belonging and profound inner peace. Spirituality is about loving what shows up. There is a great array of techniques and religions available that show us the path to liberation. Our choice is entirely personal. These are all different ways that point to the same thing. The Buddha is within each of us and therefore always available. What does it take to become awakened, enlightened or liberated? In plain words; we have to become aware. Self-awareness is the premise of spiritual living. Moment to moment we endeavor to remain aware of the change. Everything changes all the time, things rise and pass away, around us and inside us. If we learn to observe the impermanence of life, without attaching and identifying, we are developing spiritually. It takes years of practice to become an expert in this art of living, but we can start here and now. All spiritual inquiry is about consciousness.

The zone

What is consciousness? With consciousness I mean presence or wakefulness - the ability to observe without attachment, to remain aware and to experience the world in acceptance. As it is. In America, when athletes, artists and performers, reach this state of presence in their work they say they are in 'the zone'. To be in the zone, means to be one with the activity, to feel no separation between self and other. The other could be a person, a canvas or a playground. We all have had moments when we 'forgot ourselves' and blended with the activity. Remember? If we become aware of the nature of this experience we can bring it into our daily lives.

Now. The moment has a lot offer. It is the place that determines who and where we will be next. If we open up to the potential of the moment, it can literally inform our presence and bring up our true nature. Some deeper experiences of life, known as glimpses of something other than our current sense of self, could cause a permanent shift in our consciousness. This is a very important point on our spiritual journey, because the otherness becomes undeniably real. The idea that 'there is more' suddenly takes on a whole new meaning.

The phenomenon of spirituality is present in all the things we do and create. Only most of it remains unconscious. However there is no invention in life, whether social or technological, without consciousness.

Stewards of the Earth

Consciousness fuels creativity, because people are driven by a faculty deeper than their individual minds. When we are in the zone, submerged in the now, we are dwelling in the realm of consciousness. It is the primacy of inspiration, invention, happiness and of course love. It is here with us, always has been, and all we need to do is allow it.

If we develop a more awakened relationship to life we begin to feel responsible. And responsibility is needed if we don't want to continue causing fragmentation in a world that is intrinsically whole. We have reached a point in human history where we have to design a future based on our relationship to the whole community of life. The gift of consciousness will shine in our actions, if we dare to become caring stewards of the Earth. With a silent, non-attached mind, we can begin to see this wider context and align various aspects of our life with it.

Consciousness externalized

Consciousness is the vital element to all technological and social innovation. In spite of this most lives are still driven by the unconscious mind. With access to a more responsible and mature mind we are on the verge of a new era. All human expression, including technology, is an externalized manifestation of consciousness. Society as we know it, is a reflection of our inner world. The two are inseparable. Things are in our own hands.

The creativity of consciousness, or the universe, is freely available, and is becoming a more important resource than capital, fossil fuels, and consumer products. Through activities such as meditation we cultivate this essential substance. The performance of awareness, the non-dual mind, is an very simple thing. Yet its realization is a life-long commitment and practice to the unattainable. A paradox resolved only in direct experience, where the attaining mind and the unattained mind come together. Small meets big.

Value of money

We have to go inside. We are loosing the rat race outside ourselves. The ideas, beliefs, and assumptions rooted in our inner domain shape our behaviour. What if we would act out of a non-assuming and non-biased mode of consciousness? What if we would learn to sense, think, and act intuitively? It changes our direct experience of the world and our perception of it. It would be incredible. We begin seeing the intrinsic value of all life and our personal values would shift accordingly. Each moment is a presentation of openness and free respond.

Any organization that wants to change through responsibility, creativity, and innovation is going to have to invest in the growth of consciousness. Within our capitalistic system we have the wonderful opportunity to invest in this element and profoundly change the direction of the human enterprise. If a company advances in the development of this higher good it will bring forth new realities and a more encompassing value system. The result will manifest in higher quality of life and socio-economic sustainability. We finally give money a chance to work for us. Money is the enabler of economic traffic, not the purpose. If this insight dawns on us we will reclaim our original position within the dynamics of value exchange. Right in the centre of all activity. If we flow, moneys flows. If we get stuck, money gets stuck. Money is another aspect of consciousness externalized.

Conscious capitalism

When we master ourselves, become more aware of our thoughts, feelings and emotions, we develop freedom and presence. The world leaders of the coming decades are men and women who master their shadows. Only daily spiritual practice will bring forth self-mastery. It will be the difference between conscious and unconscious capitalism, between mature and immature investments. If we have the courage to dialogue with the numerous aspects of the self, silently observe change, and mindfully approach the world, miracles may happen. With a sharpened intuition our planet becomes a spiritual playground for awakened human beings.

The future of risk

Do you dare to take the risk of investing in the unseen? In reaching out for the intangible? What are consequences? Stepping into the unknown is a hazardous thing to do. Especially for business. Maybe 'letting go' will be the new core business of all organisations. It will be the source of all innovation. Because if we let go, we also let come.

Is this the future of risk?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Release the power of cultural diversity in international business

Finn Drouet Majlergaard, founder and managing partner of Gugin International Business Development, is a speaker in the Interdisciplinary Stream about Cross-Cultural Competence at the Summit for the Future, May 3-5, 2006 in Amsterdam.

How come that companies, who have been doing business internationally for decades suddenly fail? And how come that companies who wouldn't have had a chance 25 years ago suddenly become a global success?

This paper deals with the links between cultural awareness, corporate strategy and performance. It is based on my 15 years of experience in international business management, academic research in this field and experiences from our company Gugin, who helps corporations in Europe, US and Asia improving their international businesses.

But lets look at why it has become so important to take different cultures into consideration.


Cultural awareness has become important due to increased globalisation. The global political structures have changed. We do have a United Nations that almost all countries respect and honour and the post war division of the world has changed after the collapse of the Soviet Union. New countries have been born and we have a more diverged political picture. We create political/economical relations in new ways e.g. the ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting) process, which is a direct result of these changes. By 1992 East Asia accounted for 24 percent of global production. By comparison, the EU accounted for 35 percent and North America for 28% of global production. According to World Bank figures from 1991 - 1993 growth of real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in East Asia averaged 8.7 percent. On the basis of growth rates recorded during 1978 - 1991, many economists including those from the World Bank projected that East Asia's GDP would overtake that of North America and EU in 2010.

Economically we are emerging as well. Europe is turning towards larger entities with common currency, one Central Bank and merges and close collaborations between stock exchanges. ASEAN is another good example however different. But since its foundation in 1967 a lot has changed. Evolving relations between the EEC/EU and ASEAN have lead to a lot of initiatives, such as joint ventures in the exploration of AEAN resources, the possibility of EEC participation in ASEAN manufacturing activities and the mobilisation of capital for financing ASEAN projects.

Technologically the Internet has made it possible for companies to market themselves virtually everywhere and enabled the companies to establish inexpensive global infrastructures. And when you need to go abroad it is less expensive than ever before, so we travel much more than 20 years ago.

So from both a political, economical and technological point of view we are encouraged to discover cultures we have only little knowledge about. For the adventurer it is good news but for international corporations it might as well be bad news.

We have been working with two types of companies: Those who want to expand their international business in either Asia or Europe and those who have tried and faced a lot of challenges they didn't predict or could even imagine. We like the first group very much, because we can help them become successful before they make any serious mistakes, however it is more interesting to look closer at the last group - those who tried and didn't have their expectations met.

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