Thursday, June 07, 2007

Assessing futures: where is globalization leading us?

Many people think that globalization in a new phenomena, but I would say it has been simmering under the surface for centuries since the times of early traders and explorers. Technology, for the most part, has lead to an unprecedented acceleration of interconnectivity between people and goods in the last decade or so. Most experts agree that "globalization" is HERE rather than HAPPENING now that 20% of the world's GDP is made up of global trade - and this is only set to grow.

The consultancy SustainAbility has put out an innovative report looking at four different scenarios for how the future might unfold. It's a complex report and the scenarios are all somewhat rattling - even the most optimisitc which results in a world where demography, politics, economics and sustainability all gel - but only after a terrible pandemic nearly paralyzes the world but yet shakes us into accepting a new way of living and working together.

I have found in my career thus far that it is wise to heed SustainAbility's recommendations, as they are usually on target. Here are the seven recommendations for business they come up with after playing out four very different potential scenarios:

-plan for the unexpected
-engage in the South
-Don't expect "nice" companies to come first
-co-evolve Earth's eco systems
-think opportunity and innovation
-reach beyond comfort zones to find new models
-take a stand and exercise vision, leadership and courage

It's long, but it's worth a read!

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