Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Assessing futures: Where is globalization leading us?

Many people think that globalization is a new phenomena, but I would say that its been simmering under the surface for centuries since the times of early traders and explorers. Technology, for the most part, has lead to an unprecidented accleration of interconnectivity between people and goods in the last decade or two. Most experts agree that "globalization" is HERE rather than HAPPENING now that 20% of the worlds GDP is made up by 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. Its a complex report, and the scenarios are all somewhat rattling - even the most optimistic which results in 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 came up with after playing out four very different potential future scenarios:
-plan for the unexpected
-engage in the South
-Dont expect "nice" companies to come first
-co-evolve Earth's ecosystem
-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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