"Visions of World Benefit & Global Responsibility: Perspectives of McGill Students


Saturday, July 28, 2007

Open Source Revolution

The open source revolution is a more modern movement of businesses towards the use of free and modifiable software that both saves the company money and allows for the tailoring of the software to its needs. In 1998, at the “Freeware summit,” many leaders came together to create the name open source as the new label for its software that is given out to be modified by each individual user as to use the software to each person’s best advantage. John Hall, Eric Raymond, Linus Torvalds and many others ran some of the founding open sources, and these founders decided that they would market their software into the open software revolution as superior, rather than free. Instead of forcing the corporation or user to adopt one way to carry out tasks on the software, open source comes with the code so that those using the software can modify it to fit the needs of his or her company. The lines of code are described and give the user the option to change and revamp the existing lines to create the new result. The open source revolution offers a cost cutting and effective software for the growing corporation that tries to develop its technology to best suit its changing needs.

In the twenty-first century, people rely more upon the Internet and technologies, but it is important, especially for large corporations, that the software purchased and used it fit perfectly for the company, and open source software allows for exactly that. With more individualized software within each company, there will be a better use of the technologies that are actually able to change with each corresponding change of the company. The open source revolution has allowed for a more personal technological database within companies so that as the corporate world evolves, so does its technology. The open source revolution can only develop further into the future since it is able to meet the specific needs of multiple companies without expensive costs for the software and modifications.

The open sources in today’s world can be used not only within the companies, but also within the training of people for the companies. If a student in university is able to understand open source software, he or she is a more qualified candidate for the job since he or she can control and change the code of the software as needed. If training with open source products are taught at a younger age, as they more frequently are in today’s more dependent technological world, it is much easier for the firms to hire qualified and well trained individuals to develop the company.

With the attraction of the ability to conform software to corporate needs rather than vice versa, the open source revolution is at a strong and very appealing advantage as the world moves into the developing twenty-first century.

Employee Retention and Global Talent Management

In today’s world, the need to retain talented employees is among the top priorities of the major companies because of the heightening technological development and need for more in depth training. Many people change jobs multiple times in life, but today’s corporations are sponsoring employee retention with added benefits and extra money in order to keep employees happy. It is the current and future desire of companies to find the most talented employees for hire, and in order to do so they must offer more benefits, which is therefore a movement in improving the benefits and pay of many employees from executives to lower management. Currently many employees in the workforce feel underpaid and under appreciated, which is why studies have shown that about six in ten people are looking for new employment, but companies are now willing to sacrifice more money in order to hold onto existing, trained employees. It is proven that companies with better talent management actually have a better stand in the market and in the industry.

In the twenty-first century the world is going to see more technological advances then before, and it is becoming more challenging for employers to keep hiring new staff and retraining them just because they were not able to keep previous employees happy enough to remain in their positions. In order for the leaders of the future to find the most talented employees who are willing to stay in the same job, benefits and higher pay must be implemented. The trend of today is to change jobs more frequently, but employers are attempting to end this trend by finding talented employees and then doing everything they can to keep them within the company instead of losing the best person for the job. It is getting harder and harder for companies to find talented employees to take the place of those who are retiring. As the baby boomer generation is leaving the work force, there are many positions to be filled, yet businesses are having a very hard time trying to do so. In the future, if companies continue this trend in giving more benefits and higher wages to qualified workers, they will see a return on their investment in terms of holding talented employees for a longer period of time, yet if companies don’t begin right now to try harder to keep up company morale, it is possible that, due to employee shortage, they may find themselves downsizing.

Managers and leaders must follow the trend to employee retention or else. By improving working qualities and giving out more benefits to those who deserve it, leaders will be able to keep their businesses strong and thriving. If the employee is aware that the leaders are happy with him or her, then it will be much easier to make everyone feel appreciated and needed, a key factor in employee retention. If every employer were to tell ten people per day that they were doing a great job and that they are important assets to the company, then people would feel more satisfied with an existing job.

In a corporate world where talented workers are becoming more scarce, it is important for companies to retain every talented employee possible, or the company risks severe failure.

Business Ethics

Business ethics, the movement away from immoral practice within corporations, began around the 1960s when corporate social responsibility also came into play in the corporate sector. As a result of public pressure, many companies began to create ethics codes within their business in order to feed the growing need for guidelines to unethical practices. In the United States, the government began to set guidelines for the new movement with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which made discrimination illegal. In order to better follow the new laws, many companies added new employees to human rights sectors in order to institute the regulations. Over the following years more U.S. regulations enforced and demanded ethics in business, and many companies, including General Motors, began instituting new regulations for overseas sectors of the company. The history of business ethics goes on and on, not only in the United States, but also all around the world, and we can only imagine that it will continue far into the future.

Moving into the twenty-first century, we are seeing the trend towards a very corporate lifestyle, where large and less personal corporations are taking control of society. In order to protect both the employees and the consumers, it is important that each company is under regulations to practice ethical business, since without such regulation the impersonal companies could exploit the people. Business ethics promises a steady and fair future for society, as everyone’s basic rights are protected from immoral business practices. Business ethics does not only play an important part in today’s society, but also in the future, where larger companies will warrant stronger protection for society. There is a long future for business ethics.

Leaders of the twenty-first century should concentrate many resources on maintaining strong business ethics within their companies, since society calls for growing interest in moral practices. In a world where ridiculously low wage and improper working conditions are becoming more and more exposed, it is important for today’s leaders to emphasize the ethics of business. Today’s leaders who follow proper business ethics will go down in history as key factors in the development of stronger and more society-oriented business. Leaders practicing strong business ethics will gain the respect of society, a respect that can even promote business within the company. Within the human resources division of most major companies there is a person or team devoted solely to the institution of business ethics, proving to society, which is demanding more from companies on the human level than ever before, that the company is worthy of praise and therefore increased business.

Business ethics has just begun to be practiced widely, and now that society demands it more, there is no stopping it in the future, when it will be a main focus of many successful companies.

The Worldwide Management of Quality

In an era where competition between organizations has intensified worldwide, businesses in all countries have to stay aware of what techniques are being used elsewhere to remain competitive. Instead of cutting costs to increase profits, a new idea has come to be, the one where there are no more trade-offs between quality and costs and is referred to as total quality management and KAIZEN, as the Japanese call it. This concept has not only been proven to be successful in organizations but is also now being applied by important international organizations.

The idea of the management of quality is different than other traditional techniques of command in control in organizations since it tries to create profit and increase productivity through continuous improvements, innovation and eliminating non-value added activities and defects. It attempts to increase the participation and efficiency from everyone, from CEOs, employees and suppliers, throughout the whole value chain and supply chain. KAIZEN first emerged in Japan at the Toyota Production System Plant, where it was very successful and moved to other industries such electronics. Today, all around the world, the Japanese are recognized for their quality products.

The main leaders in this concept are well known DR. W. Edwards Deming, who emphasized more the statistical process of quality control, and Joseph M. Juran, who focused more on the management of quality. Both of these men help build the science of quality during their stay in Japan after World War II, in the 1950’s. It is only later, in the 1970’s and 1980’s that KAIZEN started to gain attention in the United States, well after Japan, with a third expert named Philip Crosby and his 14 steps program for improvement.

Throughout the recent years, new tools and techniques associated with the concept of quality have come to be very useful for companies, such as the balance scorecard, the quality function deployment, the Taguchi method and value engineering among others. In addition, published standards of quality have also emerged, such as ISO 9000, which ‘sets down the minimum requirements for a reliable and effective Quality Assurance system within a company[1]’, which is given through external assessment. ISO 9000 therefore gives organizations external feedback on every aspect of their company, from employee training, supplier development to new product development, along with invaluable knowledge on themselves and an important competitive advantage. Furthermore, quality awards in the United States and Japan were created and are now sought after by companies.

Moreover, the concept of quality has extended its influence in all areas of life, including the community, the state and international organizations. For example, the ASQ, the American Society for Quality, is using its knowledge and international influence to help the UN Global Compact[2]. The UN Global Compact brings companies together with UN agencies, labour and civil society to support universal environmental and social principles[3]. The ASQ is there to help the Global Compact maximize its work and efforts in a productive and efficient way. This new and innovative partnership is a significant new application of the idea of quality management and continuous improvement since it will better help the achievement of the goal of the UN Global Compact which is to create a sustainable environment for companies and society.

A partnership such as this one brings together knowledgeable people from different areas and corners of the world and can potentially have worldwide effects on nations and communities. This is significant for leaders and managers of companies which will have to get on board to remain on the far front of new development and initiatives in optimizing their systems for the benefit of society.

[1] Gerard Ryan, University College Dublin, Quinn School of Business, 2006
[2] Steven G. Brant, Quanlity and Globalizaiton: Creating Breakthrough Prosperity in the 21st Century, 2003
[3] http://www.unglobalcompact.org/AboutTheGC/index.html, Retrieved July 21st, 2007

The Worldwide Management of Quality

Free Trade Agreements

On July 15 2007, Stephen Harper arrived in Bogota, the capital of Colombia, to meet with Fernando Araujio to discuss the possibility of a trading agreement between the two countries, which did not come without criticism from human rights activists. Five days later, the Prime Minister of Canada was received in Barbados, to continue his quest for more trade agreements.

The history of trading agreements is not a simple one. At its beginning, a strong advocator of free trade was Adam Smith, going all the way back to the 18th century, on the European continent. He defended the idea of an open economy and capitalism and criticised the mercantilist economic system of Europe. David Ricardo, on the other hand, a political economist, brought to the table his theory of competitive advantage and his belief in free competition. Both of these individuals contributed to the movement who led to the expansion of free trade all around the world and in all industries.

Today, three centuries later, the role of trading agreements is no longer simply the exchange of goods and services with no barriers and tariffs between two parties, but a road to a partnership between two important influential bodies. It is a vehicle from more developed countries to promote human rights, democracy and increase the living standards of individuals along with building political relationships with less developed countries. In the age of globalization, many countries around the world are now involved in the process of trade agreements and discussions and this trend is likely to continue.

The concept of free trade has become so important that organisms such as the World Trade Organization and the United Nations now play a significant role in the management of trading agreements. The WTO has an objective to reduce the trade barriers while also facing much criticism from labour rights activists, among others. Also, the UN tries to promote its values of international cooperation in areas such as economics, politics, security and peace, trough trading agreements. When all of this is going on, it is hard to think that this movement will eventually stop. It is more likely to grow, and further integration between existing blocks of countries is a possibility for the future, just like what happened with the evolution of the European Union.

The EU first started as the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), where trade cooperation was necessary to help rebuild Europe after WWII and install a certain stability and peace on the continent. Over the years, more countries joined the original six members for a total of 27 members and more are waiting to join. As further process, economic integration came to be within certain member countries. Although integration such as this one can help the movement of capital from one country to another, there are still a lot of debate and discussion revolving about the success and future of the EU. Issues of control, identity and governance are often centers of debates.

On a positive side, in any trading agreements, countries can benefit from their exposure to new markets and can help leverage knowledge from one country to another. It can help nurture new ideas and product innovations. On the other hand, the political instability of certain countries and the management of various cultures can sometimes create problems. Leaders and managers need to be aware of what trading agreements involve when making the step of venturing abroad and taking advantage of no barriers and tariffs.

Business as an Agent of World Benefit

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has."
- Margaret Mead[1]

Over time, the main objective of businesses has been to make a profit for their shareholders, sometimes at the expense of other stakeholders. With all the revenues organizations generate today, they have the power and the knowledge to accomplish more than simply making money. With their influence and power, they have what it takes to make the world a better place. This is the essence behind the concept of a business as an agent of world benefit (BAWB).

The center for BAWB brings together individuals from various backgrounds and disciplines to foster ideas of how businesses can use their powerful influence in society in a positive way. It has its home at Case Western Reserve Center University in Cleveland, Wheatherhead School of Management, Ohio. It’s location on a university campus is an advantage the center possesses. The field of management needs to reinvent itself to take into account the new challenges of today’s business world. The teachings of management need to integrate the fact that businesses are also there for the improvement of society.

Ante Glavas, a Ph.D candidate at the university, is the executive director of the center and manager of the upcoming Global Forum 2008. The center is composed of Ph. D. students, professionals and faculty members, partnering organizations, friends of the center and other contributors, who all combine theory and practice within all the disciplines to create more knowledge and solutions to today’s societal problems[2]. It has annual online conferences with people worldwide who discuss and share ideas on topics relating to sustainable development.

The center for BAWB is made up of a world inquiry, an innovation bank, a resource center institute and a research and teaching facilities. Through its global forum, the center for BAWB looks into important topics like social corporate responsibility, business ethics, human rights, community development, fair trade, peace making and many more. Bringing all these elements together is important since they are all part of the concept of constructing a sustainable environment in which businesses and society can grow and positively evolve together. In an era where corporations are often negatively perceived by the society in general, present and future leaders and managers need to be aware of associations such as this one in order to develop their organization for the benefit of the people and their environment.

The leaders, managers and academics of today can come together and share their innovative solutions and ideas which can help other organizations do more for their own organizations and ameliorate its impact on society. Through the appreciative inquiry, ideas are shared, relationships are fostered, and minds mingle together to amplify social good. The center for BAWB also has an innovation bank where every idea and innovation that has helped make a positive change in society is archived and analysed for future references and inspiration. The sharing of ideas and their application will become essential in the future.
The center for BAWB is an innovation in itself and is what the world needs today to overcome the future challenges everyone in society will be facing, from global warming to the quest of eliminating the gap between the rich and the poor.

[1] http://worldbenefit.case.edu/partnerships/, Retrieved July 21, 2007
[2] http://worldbenefit.case.edu/center/about-who.cfm, Retrieved July 21, 2007

Friday, July 27, 2007

Population control and aging population

Population control and the aging population is something that needs to be tended to by the leaders and organizations of the world. Many of the “Baby Boomer” generation are now reaching, or have reached, the age of retirement. How will this affect the economy? Employment rates? There is also the issue of extreme poverty in certain Third World Nations such as Africa, the Middle East and Central America. These countries are dealing with increasing birth rates and may, eventually, not have enough resources or land to sustain them .
This issue is significant in the 21st century due to the fact that new enterprises are constantly entering the market and older enterprises are continuously expanding. The retirement of the “Baby Boomers” could lead to two different scenarios: First, there could be the issue of loss in expertise in the work force, labor shortages and consequently, negative effects on the economy . Another scenario could arise should the Baby Boomers decide not to retire but rather continue to work for a few more years due to the decrease in the economy . Being aware of the Panarchy Model, we know that at a certain point, a renewal within management is needed in order for greater innovation. The organizations and enterprises of the world need to be ready for either outcome.

There is also the issue of sustainability in over-populated areas. Third World Nations are becoming poorer as rich countries are becoming richer. It is up to the leaders of the world to intervene in corrupt governments and educate the people. Our “American” way of life does not need to be imposed in order for other countries to thrive. It is, however, the duty of firms to go into impoverished areas and teach the people basic skills such as how to read and write and give them the opportunity to work for a decent wage. Governments, firms and enterprises need to involve themselves in society and offer the possibility of employment as well as the right to a better retirement.

Racism, Extremism and Global Dialog

Racism has been always around. Recently, the degree of racism has been heated up due to the immigration trends, wars and many social events related to races. The fundamental root of racism is the lack of global dialog. In terms, the cause of the lack of global dialog is extremism.

Many people are essentially “selfish”. This “selfishness” can be defined as the desire of the well being of the self. The self can have many layers. The first layer possibly is the physical entity of one individual person. The second layer could be the family of the person. After passing through many different layers, then there is the race of the self. Eventually, there is a layer of all the races. Due to the “selfishness” of people, we always protect our inner layers before even considering the outer layers. And each of these layers carries one common and extreme message. That is “I will survive and prosper at all cost.” When “all the races” in the outer layer survive and better prosper than the race of the self in the inner layer or when the interests of these two layers are in conflict, racism appears as the inevitable product of these situations.
The extreme message of the “selfishness” prevent from harnessing the power of different layers. The only solution to deal with “selfishness” is global dialog. By establishing global dialog between different layers can enable the sharing of some common values, such as equality, integration, democracy.

21st century leaders should frequently question themselves if they are trapped in the “selfishness” mentality. By avoiding this mentality, leaders can make decisions based on the interest of different parties but not just the self. Consequently, this kind of decision will benefit the company globally.

Search for Meaning, Reflection and Spirituality

What is the meaning of life? This question has been haunting human since the beginning of time. However, materialism is taking place of the spirituality as companies impose their commercial values of their products to the customers. The search for meaning and spirituality is necessary to maximize human capacities and push our society to the desirable stage.

As the economics grows, human’s need is gradually met by the commercial products. Quality of life is improved. Essentially, meeting people’s need is not companies’ priority. Their priority is to increase their own profit and win out in the competitive market. Consequently, they are making better and better products regardless the real need. Of course, they understand their products will be useless if the need does not exist at all. So they create the need. In order to creating the need, they subtly send their messages through different kinds of media. And they try to convince people that their lives are miserable without their products and their lives will be much better if they buy their products. The artificial need have adverse effect on human’s psychology. It makes human more self-centered, materialistic and indifferent towards the meaning of life. It not only affects customers’ mentality but also leaders’ mentality. It can convince leaders that creating new needs and meeting these need are the way to succeed in the business world.

Since the financial resource of customers is limited, they always want to use their money in the most efficient ways to improve their lives. Recognizing people’s real needs and creating products that can meet these needs is the only way to succeed in business.

Collective Intelligence and Web 2.0

Wikipedia.com, Youtube.com, Digg.com, and other web 2.0 companies understand the power of collective intelligence and turn their ideas into “killer apps”. These apps make our lives much easier and better. At the same time, these companies also made huge amount of fortune. Is the collective intelligence plus Web 2.0 just the formula for making fortune? The answer is no. This combination has far more powerful implication than anyone could image. It may even push human society into the ideal stage where democracy reaches its climax.

By harnessing the combination of the collective intelligence and Web 2.0, leaders could embed their products into Web 2.0 to serve anyone who needs it. If the ones using the product can better engage in the cooperative activities, more and more people will use the product due to the advantage of the product. Meanwhile, the quality and the quantity of the cooperative works created by these people will increase with popularity of the product. Progressively, these works could be widely used by many people including those people who are neither interested in the product nor the creation of the work. Furthermore, the works are created by people and used by people. Therefore, the complaints against the products will be minimal and the royalty of the creators and the users will grow continuously. Namely, leaders can use the collective intelligence and web2.0 to create the best customer ever.

Leaders also need to realize that the combination of collective intelligence and web 2.0 is based on the belief that people can freely express their ideas and build up works without the restriction from companies. 21st century leaders need to maintain the subtle balance the freedom given to the users and the control over the product.

Media and Media Technologies in the Future

Media 2.0 is a recent emergence from Media 1.0, which is a new and improved fix on the way things are changing in a technological sense. It enables corporations and organizations to create and strengthen a community. Media 2.0 starts out as a community marketplace giving them a place to give and take, or buy and sell: similar to classifieds. Edutainment is another emerging media technology, which is being introduced slowly which is enabling users to learn while being entertained at the same time. It basically seeks to instruct its audience by adding lessons in familiar forms of entertainment like television programs and computer games. Media 1.0 was a very content driven model, which is build to find a community and marketplace centered on a brand. As time has evolved, Media 2.0 has basically reversed itself. It has a platform, which enables it’s own digital identity, allowing a community to build up and give and take. Platforms like: MySpace, Facebook and Ebay are great examples of Media 2.0. After the community is strengthened, the organization looks to differentiate their platform by offering exclusive content offerings. Successful Media 2.0 organizations build from the bottom up, making the community the judge and focusing mainly on users and then on audience.In the diagrams above, you are able to see the main focus and plan of each of the different media styles, as explained above.Similar to Media 2.0, newly evolving edutainment builds its product around a community, trying to satisfy its users by educating and entertaining them with information which is important and they want to learn more about. In the recent past in the United States and United Kingdom, edutainment has been very focused on things like substance abuse, teenage pregnancy and HIV/AIDS.Managers and organizations will be able to use these new concepts (Media 2.0 and Edutainment) to build a sense of community for their source of commerce. They will also be able to let users customize theirs platforms to create to suite their tastes and needs. These organizations will also be able to partner with brands, beyond a selling audience to offer, but also to provide valuable opportunities for user research and more partnership and affiliation

Change Management and Organizational Development in the Future

Organizational development and Change Management is a structured development and change in a corporation to attack the negative aspects, which are hindering it from its mission statement and trying to make it more sustainable and like the future goals. Change from an individual standpoint may be a new behavior, but from a corporation’s standpoint, it may be a new process or technology. In society, change may be something similar to a new public policy or passing of new legislation. But successful change is more than just one of those factors; it must come be from the engagement and participation of people involved. Change management in the past has taken a negative approach on corporations, looking at their flaws and drawbacks, but I feel that in the future, there will be a more positive approach to “Change Management and Organizational Development.” Appreciative inquiry is an Organizational development process that is an accepted organizational system that is there to renew and change corporations and organizations, but uses more of a positive approach. It looks at good relationships and builds on the basic goods and enhances them to be even better. Appreciative Inquiry uses a 4D staging process, which focuses on:1. Discover2. Dream3. Design4. DestinyThe discovery stage is the where the corporation identifies the processes and technologies which work well. The dreaming stage then envisions the processes that will work well in the future. The corporation then plans and prioritizes processes that will work well. Finally, the last stage is to implement and execute the new design for processes, which will work well. This approach is more to work and build up around processes and technologies, which work, rather than trying to fix what doesn’t work. Managers and corporations are able to use these new processes of Appreciative inquiry along with the old action research processes to create plans to be able to build on corporations strong points and fix the negative points/ weaknesses to be able to work as closely as possible to maximum efficiency.

Andrew Maloney

The Aging Population and the Growing Demand for Elderly Services

As the baby boomers from the 1940s to 1960s all around the world age, the growing demand for elderly services will become more and more in demand. These services for the elderly can consist of nursing homes and home-caretakers to retirement communities and golf courses. As peoples bodies and minds deteriorate with time. Their memory and functioning abilities decreases and decreases and are not able to recover like it was able to when they were 30 years younger.

Retirement is a big change in life for all of society. Not only the retirees but for everyone. When retirees spend most of their life in a job where work has occupied a lot of their time, they are most of the time ready to change the pace and relax, since they have worked all of their lives for this, and now want to see some return for their investments. This may mean moving; like into a more luxurious area or somewhere like a ‘golden-age community’ where the surroundings are geared towards the elderly, and there are other couples similar to them living close by and more facilities for activities and meetings like playing golf and socializing. Now, it is not always the case that people chose to move or change their lifestyle. Sometimes deterioration of the body occurs faster in some people than others, which can disable some functions and not allow them to take care of themselves properly anymore. The need for in-home caretakers and retirement homes will also increase. As the baby boomers retire, job opportunities open up, and more of an emphasis will have to be put on meeting the needs and demands of the elderly, since they are the bulk of the population. Thus, creating more jobs in sectors coming into contact with elders. Retirement and aging also affects family and friends who may or may not be in their daily lives. When baby boomers are incapable of taking care of themselves, friends and family try and help them out as much as possible, and most of the time puts a strain on these people trying to help. Whether it be time constraints because they are juggling a family and taking care of an elderly, or a financial constraint where both the baby boomer and the family does not have much money to begin with, and then feeling responsible to pay for a caretaker or a residence which will look after them.

Managers and organizations can use this information look into the near future and to gear their products and services more towards the needs of the elderly. This will be able to create more jobs in the sector and also meet the steadily increasing demand for these products or services (adult diapers, caretakers, retirement courses, golf courses, etc.). With the great demand there is right now, only a select few are able to use these services, because when the demand goes up, the price goes up because there is only so much the market can provide/service. If the supply is increased, the demand will not decrease, but the price will decrease for the services, which is in essence what we want to see happen,


Andrew Maloney

Learning Organizations

Define:
Learning organizations is an organization where people are as a group; constantly looking to grow and reach the goals they aspire. The predominant leader of the learning organizations paradigm is Peter Senge, the author of The Fifth Discipline. In that book he describes that the distinguishing factor of learning organizations is learning and practicing the five basic disciplines. These five disciplines consist of 1. Systems thinking, 2. Personal mastery, 3. Mental models, 4. Building shared vision, and 5. Team learning. Each of these should be applied to the organization if it is to learn.
Significance:
Building a learning organization and mastering the five basic disciplines is important for organizations of the 21st century because it will allow for them to continually grow. In relation to panarchy, a learning organization would be a sustainable one even at the point of k, because the organization is not content, and has a clear vision of the future. This vision cultivates the necessary commitment for the organization to keep expanding as there is no end to their growth.
Contribution:
One form of application that Senge recommends is the use of “systems maps”, in order to view how key elements of systems connect and allow people to see the big picture when looking for solutions. Leaders of the 21st century should also strive for personal mastery, a lifelong discipline where one searches for continual improvement. Senge encourages that we should do an internal reflection so that we can understand and review our predisposed beliefs. Thinking together is a great asset that is taught in learning organizations that help people understand others through communication rather than maintaining assumptions. Overall learning organizations is a framework beneficial to societies as a whole and can help the society function in a more peaceful and progressive fashion.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)

Define:
Neuro-Linguistic Programming is a tool influenced by hypnotherapy and psychotherapy. It is a form of communication used to reach the subconscious mind. It is useful for building rapport with others and is a valuable skill set for leaders of any type. Some notable practitioners include John Grinder and Richard Bandler who are credited for developing the model of NLP after studying the psychiatrist Milton H. Erickson. A current famous practitioner is Tony Robbins who is acclaimed for his motivational techniques and practices. NLP has been criticized for not having a proper regulating body to monitor practitioners.

Significance:
I believe that business leaders, who learn NLP, will have a competitive advantage those who do not. This is because NLP teaches rapid rapport building and successful communication techniques. People who have the ability to connect with their peers will be generally accepted and given more opportunities than those who do not.
I see NLP being incorporated into our everyday business activities during the 21st century as leaders search to find ways to establish positive relationships with their customers and co-workers.

Contribution:
People can use Neuro-Linguistic Programming as a more effective way to communicate with others. Although NLP is taught in the field of psychology, it can be applied in business to help motivate oneself and employees. As well it has usefulness in making connections with desired people and making a point very effectively.

Self Efficacy

Define:
Self Efficacy is a term that describes one’s perceived ability to demonstrate influence over events that affect them. A strong sense of self-efficacy allows people to look at difficult tasks as a challenge to conquer as oppose to threats to stay away from. With efficacy one sticks with their goals, and quickly recovers from failures. Failures are looked at as happening either because of lacking effort or inadequate knowledge and skills that can be obtained.

Significance:
I believe that leaders of the 21st century are going to face bigger and greater challenges than ever before. In order for them to cope with the pressure, leaders must have an incredibly strong mind-set that will not be discouraged by these challenges.
In the future I see there being a greater emphasis on encouraging youths to develop this skill. I see courses being taught with the intention of building ones sense of self-efficacy.
Contribution:
Leaders and managers can use self-efficacy to overcome the personal stresses that are caused by events in the workplace. With the acquisition of self-efficacy people can understand that the proper response to a challenge whether the outcome is success or failure is to learn and grow from the experience.
I believe that the development of self-efficacy in our future generations can have a great impact and will transcend improving our business leaders and organizations and help the overall quality of life for all of those who obtain it.

Investment in Human Resources, Education and Training

It is very apparent from the current business models that a great emphasis is placed on the human capital – the accumulation of knowledge, experience and other intangible assets that are part of a company’s competitive advantage. In the 21st century, though, the investment in human resources, education and training will increase greatly to accommodate the shifts in priorities and expectation for a successful business. This trend has started already, with cooperative movement. It originated in the 19th century, but it was not until 1940’s and the foundation of the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation in Spain that it became more than just an experiment with non-traditional models of business. Semco Corporation in Brazil is also an example of how a simple restructuring and highlighting individual development for the improvement of the organization as a whole is extremely beneficial for a competitive company. The more employees know about the mission, vision, and operations of a company, the more invested they are in its well-doing, creating a much more responsible and responsive workforce.

The important point is that investment in human resources, education and training is not limited to on-the-job training simply oriented towards performing specific tasks. The new development is towards extending the education to understanding the bigger picture and developing the phenomenon of collective learning and participation, thus increasing dramatically the dedication and personal satisfaction with the company. The more involved the workers are with the operations of an organization, the more productive and loyal they are. The closely-knit employees promote the cooperation in the company itself that will further extend in the 21st century to encompass the relationships between entire companies. Intra-industry and inter-company education will gain more attention as the years go by because leaders will realise that to reach common goals they will have to work together, sharing and building upon the knowledge that is being created.

The leaders of the organizations have to start investing in the people who work for them. Limiting the information that goes out to the workers does not make their job easier, it creates misunderstandings and misconceptions about the role they play in a company. The more aware they are, the better they can do their job. More leaders have to educated themselves, too, about the advances that other companies has made in the area of human resources management to learn from the pioneers of different movements. Overall, the managers of 21st century have to learn how to work together to create a more knowledgeable and productive society based on common goals, cooperation and mutual vision of a better world, and for that they have to invest in their people, in education and in creating lasting relationships between different companies, different corporations, and, ultimately, the governments of the world.

Customer Integration into Business

Customer integration into business is not necessarily a new concept altogether, but it is gaining a new perspective and importance in the 21st century due to the current shifts in values, paradigms and social culture. At the heart of the concepts is an idea that customers are not only the end users of products or services created by an organization, but also participants in the creation and production. The benefits are two-fold – the organizations receive better information to base their decisions upon, and the consumers get an opportunity to shape the commercial culture around them. There are companies (like Hubspan, for example) that are creating new systems for businesses to use in order to consolidate their customer knowledge data and make it easier to interpret and maintain. However, as the 21st century moves along, we shall see an increasing importance of creating a relationship with customers that extends beyond the traditional exchange of goods and services to the complete integration upon which the futures of both parties become intertwined.

The idea of customer integrations has to do with differentiation between shareholders and stakeholders. While “shareholders” are the ones responsible and (often) benefiting from the profits of an organization, “stakeholders” are the ones ultimately affected by the organization’s actions. Customers fall into the “stakeholders” category, and with the increasing attention given to this particular group, they are slowly gaining more control over the business functions. As the old paradigms are replaced by new ones, and the world is moving towards a more holistic vision, it is natural to see a gradual integration of consumers’ interests and concerns into those of organizations. This process is simply a part of the much greater change in the social fabric of the world as a whole. The customers (or the end users, stakeholders, consumers, etc) become a part of an organization, and it is in their power to make a company either a success or a failure. The companies that choose to accept this new way of thinking and doing business will ultimately have a great competitive advantage over those who do not. Ultimately, though, customer integration into business will become as essential to the concept of doing commerce as profitability is now to being successful.

In all, customer integration allows for a greater share in common knowledge, which is benefiting to everyone involved. It equalizes the providers and receivers of goods and services on many levels, connecting the society as never before. It is not merely a merging of different groups of people that were not working together before; it is a comment on how the present society as a whole is moving from the isolationist view of the world to the interconnected future. The beginning of it is clearly seen in the increasing number of resources being devoted to understanding the customers’ innate needs and wants, separate from those created deliberately by consumption-oriented organizations. It is furthermore expressed as the influence customers are exerting on the companies to be more socially responsible – just one of the examples how the stakeholders are moving from a very passive onlookers to active participants in the world business. In the near future, managers will find it essential for their business to adapt techniques and strategies directed at integrating the customers’ knowledge, concerns, needs, wants and expectations about the future into their decision-making.

Corporate Social Responsibility

As the concerns over environment and sustainability become more urgent today, corporate social responsibility (CSR) is gaining momentum. The concept itself is as old as the oldest companies in the world, for an organizations’ action always had an impact on the stakeholders. However, with the depletion of resources, growing population and exponentially increasing consumption, it is more important than ever for the corporations to become active members of the global movement for sustainability, environmental leadership and social innovation. There are a number of policies being created by the governments to ensure the responsible actions of corporations, but so far the effort on the side of the law is almost equally matched by the determination of organizations to continue to put the “bottom line” first. In the 21st century, however, we will see that the world leaders will learn to adopt the “guidelines” for corporate social responsibility as fundamental attributes of doing business, for they are not only essential to profitable and sustainable operations, but also to the success of the humanity as a whole.

Corporate social responsibility embodies the mental shift from egocentric materialistic view of the world to a more cooperative and holistic way of thinking, according to the Spiral Dynamics theory. It is significant because it stresses the importance of responsible management of resources, both human and physical. It promotes the vision of common good and common best, thus inspiring leaders to take charge and make positive change in the world. The more professionals adapt the socially responsible way of thinking, the more beneficial business operations will be not only for the economy, but also for the global community. The results will be exponential. With more investment in sustaining and improving the world around them, the organizations will benefit in the present by complying with the regulations and attracting the socially and environmentally conscious customer base, but in the future they will reap immense rewards by sustaining and even improving the condition of resources in the world. The standard of living in the world will improve, the developing countries will be actually able to develop their industries, and the people will be able to move away from simply trying to survive to living full, satisfying and productive lives.

The benefits of applying the principles of corporate social responsibility are much like the benefits of financial investment in the economy – the expenditure in the present, even though it declines the “official profits” for a period of time, provides for much faster growth in the long-run. With the investments in sustainability development and intra-industry cooperation, one would expect substantial returns in the future. The main obstacle right now in the way of increased cooperation is the emphasis on competition and struggle to succeed over the other players in the industry, which is a great attribute of the recent and somewhat current state of business despite the great awareness of the global situation and the need to change. However, as the 21st century is bringing about a complete shift from old paradigms to new, it is time for the leaders of business and progress to grow into responsible adults, in control of the future and common good.

S.W.O.T. Analysis after viewing "The Corporation"

This is from a few classes back but gave a global overview of key points pertaining to corporations in general.

(Internal)
Strengths
Wealth/Power
Networking
Manpower (Human Capital)
Flexibility
Strategic Adaptability
Innovation
Access to Ownership
Enjoys Legal Rights/Limited Liability

Weaknesses
Extreme Focus on Materialistic Aims
Neglecting Ethical Values
Accountable to Their Shareholders
Power and Politics Issues
Exploitation of 3rd World Countries
Short-Term Thinking
Unsustainable
Worker Rights

(External)
Opportunities
Better Use of Information
Redefine Images
Corporate Social Responsibility
Positive Mentality
Generate Wealth for Society
Use Better Technologies
New Innovative Practices (Social Innovation)
Differentiation and Specialization
New Principles: Business as an Agent of World Benefit, The Millennium Goals

Threats
Misuse of All Strengths and Power
Ecological Disasters
Failure to Meet Expectation of Stakeholders
Acting as Political Power Houses
War Threats/Global Threats

It is important to note that Strengths can also be Weaknesses and vice-versa; this also applies to Opportunities and Threats. This is most striking with the last point under Strengths whereby the corporation can enjoy legal rights with limited liability. This could be either a strength or a weakness depending on your point of view.

E-Commerce

E-Commerce

E-Commerce stands for electronic commerce, which is commerce that is conducted electronically using computers, networks and the internet. Transactions take place through networks instead of in “brick and mortar” buildings or over the phone or through mail. E-commerce gained recognition starting in 1994 with the wide public acceptance and use of computers. There are four main types of e-commerce: 1. product transactions, also called e-tailing (electronic retailing), 2. service transactions such as online trading services, 3. auctions and 4. business-to-business transactions. There are numerous advantages to e-commerce as compared to conventional commerce such as convenience and time-effectiveness, from the removal of the necessity of travel, lower associated costs and comfort, from pressure-free consumption in the comfort of personal offices and homes. There are also disadvantages such as the need for a great deal of advertising investment in order to promote awareness of the presence on the network for sales and the fact that the number of products and services that are suitable for e-commerce is limited.

E-commerce is significant to professionals, business managers and leaders of the 21st century as it is an emerging market that continues to grow. “E-commerce now makes up 1.9% of all U.S. retail sales. Economy.com Chief Economist Mark Zandi believes that e-commerce's piece of the retailing pie could double over the next four years.”1 Professionals, business managers and leaders will be working towards capitalizing on the growing e-commerce market. E-commerce promises speed, convenience and round the clock access. The future for e-commerce is bright as its market is growing, however, it is unlikely to ever completely replace “brick and mortar” commerce for two main reasons. First, not all products are suited to e-commerce. For example, consumers prefer to test out certain products such as furniture. Also, furniture tends to be heavy and generally has a low value to weight ratio, which becomes important in considering shipping costs. Second, consumers often enjoy the social aspect of conventional commerce – human interaction.

E-commerce offers benefits of lower overhead and inventory costs as business owners are not required to set-up a store front nor hold inventory, facilitated through dropshipping where wholesalers ship directly to the consumers. However, an important lesson from the dot-com bust is that there is a significant advertising investment required to ensure public awareness of the network presence and in turn sales.


E-commerce can be divided into:

· E-tailing or "virtual storefronts" on Web sites with online catalogs, sometimes gathered into a "virtual mall"

· The gathering and use of demographic data through Web contacts

· Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), the business-to-business exchange of data e-mail and fax and their use as media for reaching prospects and established customers (for example, with newsletters)

· Business-to-business buying and selling (B2B)



Reference:

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2003-12-22-shoppers_x.htm

http://www.export.gov/sellingonline/whatisecommerce.asp

1 http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/04_27/b3890449.htm

http://encarta.msn.com/text_701509010___0/Electronic_Commerce.html]

http://www.bodhost.com/web-hosting/index.php/2007/07/17/e-commerce/

http://www.marcbowles.com/sample_courses/amc/ec1/ec1_3.htm

Planetary Citizenship

Planetary Citizenship

The concept of planetary citizenship comes from the book, published in 2004, entitled Planetary Citizenship: Your Values, Beliefs and Actions Can Shape a Sustainable World by Hazel Henderson and Daiseku Ikeda. The book examines grassroots people’s movements of globalists all over the world that are working towards achievement of lasting positive change. The notion of planetary citizenship encompasses the ideals of global citizenship: responsibility of the individual to work and act for sustainable development, social justice, and promotion of diversity in addition to individual awareness and understanding of economic, social, cultural, technological and environmental issues and their connections from a global standpoint. However, the concept of planetary citizenship covers a broader spectrum of issues such as economic justice, equality of the sexes, compatibility of current practices with the needs of future generations, recognition of the wisdom of the indigenous peoples as well as democracy in politics and international institutions. Planetary citizenship is also different in that it calls to action governments and large corporations as well as individuals.


Planetary Citizenship is both highly significant and relevant for professionals, leaders and societies around the world since it is the emerging movement that is growing in power, importance and prevalence all over the globe in the 21st century. Professionals will see its principles applied in their work as practices change to conform to the growing global consciousness. Leaders will need to support it or risk termination as increasing numbers of people join in the cause. Societies will move towards harmony by acting to uphold the ideals of planetary citizenship. Support can only increase for planetary citizenship as it promises a brighter future of spiritual, intellectual and economic growth and environmental reparation that will increase the quality of life for everyone living and future generations.


Leaders, managers and organizations can use planetary citizenship to bring about change in their practices. The growing market for hybrid cars is discussed and presented in Planetary Citizenship as evidence for the growing awareness of consumers to global issues. It is then argued that this indicates that businesses can and eventually must move towards responsible business practices in order to ensure success. Individuals can apply the concept of planetary citizenship everyday to their actions and choices in order to make a positive difference as the sum of the actions of individuals can certainly be a powerful force. As people and organizations adopt planetary citizenship, the world will change dramatically as spiritual and economic growth, social and economic justice, sustainable development, renewable energy sources, environmental reparation and protection as well as equality all become paramount in the 21st century.


Reference:

http://www.middlewaypress.com/planetary.html

http://sustainability.open.ac.uk/gary/papers/onlinetools.doc

http://www.oxfam.org.uk/coolplanet/teachers/globciti/whatis.htm

Ecological Economics

Ecological Economics

"Ecological Economics is a policy-oriented perspective that addresses the interdependence and co-evolution between human economies and their natural ecosystems."1 This perspective is the result of growing concern over the negative adverse impacts that human economic growth has had on the environment. Ecological economics differs greatly from traditional economics. In the past and even currently, economics has primarily dealt with using ecosystems and their natural resources to maximize wealth. With economic growth being the primary objective, consideration for the effects of economic activities on the interdependent ecosystems has been severely lacking. This is accounted for by the commonly held belief that the effects of economic activities on our environment are reversible given adequate time, money and technology or else that economic systems will be able to find replacements for lost ecosystem materials. Therefore, prevailing economics RELY on the adaptability of ecosystems to serve the primary goal of increasing human economic wealth. In contrast, ecological economics is primarily concerned with what future humans want for themselves and the ecosystems upon which THEY rely. The idea is then to use this goal to determine appropriate ecosystem management practices to ensure the requisite ecosystem health is achieved. Activities for economic gain are then limited by what the ecosystem can tolerate while still at the requisite level of health. Thus, ecological economics relies on the adaptability of human economies to preserve natural ecosystems.

The acceptance and application of ecological economics is crucial to the 21st century. Already the effects of traditional economic thought can be seen by global warming, THE melting of the polar ice caps, THE changes in climate, THE shortages of petroleum and so forth. It is critical that leaders and societies around the world adopt this perspective in order to achieve sustainable development. Otherwise, humans risk altering natural ecosystems to the point of endangering the wealth AND HEALTH of future generations. Ecological economics leads to sustainable development, which ensures that resources will indefinitely continue to be available for humans. This perspective also EMPHASIZES that economic growth need not be compromised as continued development of the use of ecological materials can also lead to economic growth. In spite of the eventual required adoption of this perspective, change is likely to be slow due to the knowledge requirements for proper administration. An IN-DEPTH understanding of how each economic activity affects natural ecosystems and how changes in natural ecosystems affect economic activity in addition to knowledge of human economic adaptability IS required. Thorough research requires considerable capital as well as time. Moreover, development of appropriate indicators of sustainable economic health and a system for valuation of ecosystems and their services is needed. Finally, changes to property rights systems, laws and institutions for incentive compatibility with sustainability must be made. It is evident that there is a huge investment in time, capital and resources that is necessary to attain the compulsory understanding and knowledge and the development of indicator, valuation and incentive systems.

The benefit of ecological economics is the guarantee of a bright future for both natural ecosystems and economics for future generations as their interdependence is addressed. Ecological economics can be applied to all economic structures and processes as ecosystem materials are required in all sectors including information and service sectors that still require material goods.

Reference:
Daly, Herman E. “Economics in a Full World”, Scientific American, September 2005, Vol. 293, Issue 3.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Global Journalism Ethics

New technologies with the vast acceleration in globalization have changed journalism in a whole. Today, news media use these technologies to gather text, video and images from around the world. This same technology allows the news media to spread this information around the globe. Globalization has increased the connection between people through media.
However specific countries have different codes of ethics and a standard set of principles have not yet been created that are followed by all major journalism associations. That is why the members of Journalism Ethics believe they should aim to create a set of principles. Members of this movement are professor Stephen J. A. Ward, the director and graduate students of the school of Journalism at the University of British Columbia.
In recent years, creating a global code of journalism ethics has been the primary concern of journalists. A group of scholars and ethicists gathered at the University of Stellenbosch in a discussion entitled “In search of global media ethics”. This roundtable took place in March 2007, at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS).
[1]
Following through with creating a set of rules for journalism is a crucial for a few reasons. With the vast communication today the information we share should be accurate. A biased report can destroy our tightly linked global world unless reported properly. These reports may encourage ethnic groups in a region to attack each other, causing a war to break through.
In order to help this matter, UN agencies such as UNESCO are building a set of principles to follow. As these principles are forming journalists should play their role in helping to keep their reports accurate by correctly informing the public and by promoting non-biased reports.

[1] http://media.mcgill.ca/en/report_in_search_of_global_media_ethics

Global Strategy on Diet

Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health is a program created by the World Health Organization in May 2004. This organization is directed and coordinated within the United Nations system and aims to reduce the risk factors for chronic diseases that develop from unhealthy diets and physical inactivity. It also aims to increase the awareness and understanding of the influences of diet and physical activity. The strategy develops action plans to improve diets and encourage individuals to engage into physical activity as well.
According to the World Health Report in 2002 low intake of fruit and vegetables is estimated to cause about 31% of heart diseases, 11% of stroke worldwide and 19% of gastrointestinal cancer. Overall, 2.7 million deaths are caused by low fruits and vegetables intake. And physical inactivity is estimated to cause, globally, about 10-16% of cases each of breast cancer, colon and rectal cancers and diabetes mellitus, and about 22% of heart diseases. Overall, 1.9 million deaths are caused by physical inactivity.
[1]
Unhealthy diets are also causing individuals to become obese and overweight. In a global study in 2005, researchers found that approximately 1.6 billion adults (age 15+) were overweight and at least 400 million adults were obese.
Promoting strategic plans seems as though is the only way to reduce the risk of diseases. Global Strategy on diets is a critical concept for the 21st century want to maintain good health.
As a whole we should try to promote healthy eating by properly monitoring our food intake and engaging in physical activity. The program described above encourages stakeholders to take action at global and local levels to reduce the development of chronic diseases.
Promoting awareness in a school can be one of the most effective ways a nation can make, to improve health. The World Health Organization promotes school health programs as a strategic mean to prevent important health risks among teenagers. It seems more effective if we start health awareness at a younger age.


[1] http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/en/

Work-Life Balance

Over the past decade individuals are finding it difficult to balance their work life with their personal responsibilities. Employees are pressured to complete the demands of their employers. Workers are becoming more and more stressed when they are not able to fulfill their family’s responsibilities either. As a result their physical and mental health is declining, their quality of production is also declining and their family life/ relations are deteriorating.
The Canadian Policy Research Networks have generated studies and have found that 47 percent of employees in 1991 work with high overload. Ten years later the percentage rate has increased to 59%. And from this research The Public Health Agency of Canada have decided to design a few programs for employers and employees to follow.
Balancing your work life is crucial because if it is not, it will slowly deteriorate personal relationships. This may cause family problems, possibly even cause divorces. When an individual experiences stress and fatigue from work they tend to be more absent. They are less focused at work because they are worried about issues from home and when they are at home they are distracted by work issues. Therefore by trying to follow flexible work arrangements or by taking a leave of absence; will help individuals balance everything. They would also be able to spend more time with their family and friends. Also as a result the quality of work by workers will increase and companies would benefit.
Managers of companies can make the effort to keep all their workers lives balanced by ensuring that their employees are following a life balance program.
Program links:
http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/en/lp/spila/wlb/imt/08family_friendly.shtml
http://www.canadian-health-network.ca/servlet/ContentServer?cid=1093450836180&pagename=CHN-RCS%2FCHNResource%2FFAQCHNResourceTemplate&lang=En&c=CHNResource

Economic Globalization and a Global Currency

One of the trends of globalization is the increased economic interdependence between nations. Our world is moving towards increased financial contact such as goods, capital, and labour. The EU is a perfect example of economic globalization in a regional level, enjoying the benefits of free trade and a single currency.


The current situation is that the world is moving towards economic globalization, but there still remain the barriers imposed by many countries themselves. Traditionally, countries have implemented free trade barriers to protect the financial stability of its citizens. For example, there is a tariff (or tax) in Malaysia on imported cars to protect the local car industry. A country could also implement a quota on another importer, that is to restrict the amount of imports. The lack of a common currency to trade in is another significant barrier to free trade. Different countries have different standards of living, so the volatility of a country's economy affects its currency. If a country's currency is not stable, it will discourage its trading partners to invest in its currency. This is where a global currency will come in useful.


A global currency here is defined as intra-national and international transactions carried out in one single currency. There are many ways to implement this: by the establishment of a global central bank, or by consensus from a select partnership of key nations that currently dominate the international economy. A preexisting currency is the digital gold currency, which is a form of electronic money denominated in the weight of gold. The benefit from this idea is that most of the currently existing barriers to free trade will be eliminated, thus promoting economic globalization.


The removal of global trade barriers will allow countries to benefit from economies of scale through comparative advantage. This is when, in an ideal situation, each country specializes to what it has a significant advantage in production over other nations, and trade without restrictions, creating a necessary web of interdependency. Thus companies will have the cheapest raw materials and labour and consumers will benefit from goods that are competitively priced.


While we are not at the stage of complete economic globalization, its progress remains promising. Trade barriers are slowly being broken down by the same governments that once imposed them, and free trade agreements are becoming more and more frequent, like NAFTA, AFTA, and the Eurozone. One day, it may be possible for any company to market its goods to the entire world without restrictions.

References:

"Digital Gold." Wikipedia.

"The Global Economy." Wikipedia.

"World Currency." Wikipedia.

Creative Cities

As cities continue to develop in the 21st century, they face age old problems such as pollution and traffic congestion, and more recent ones such as urban sprawling. Well-established cities in developed nations have to deal with constantly deteriorating infrastructures. On the other hand, growing cities in developing nations have to confront the effects of mass urbanization. Therefore the new city of the 21st century needs to redefine, not just improve the way we live. A creative city is such a concept.

Urban planning will go beyond implementing improved models of our current systems. Recently emerging issues such as mass urbanization and sustainability problems need to be approached in a non-traditional way. Therefore urban planners need to re-examine the fundamental problems of a city today. For instance, instead of designing better roads and traffic system, we can have communities that are completely transit oriented to eliminate the need for cars and even roads.

Multiple urban villages within creative cities is a new urban planning concept that has been proposed recently. Urban villages combine the efficiency of living in a large-scale environment with the sense of a small, close-knit community. The purpose is to create self-sustaining communities that allow people to live and work in. Not only do urban villages increase community development, they also eliminate the need to commute across town for basic necessities. If successful, a city made up of urban villages can expand indefinitely and still be sustainable.

Another possible attribute of a creative city is the idea of autonomous buildings. British architects Brenda and Robert Vale came up with the concept of a “house with no bills”. These self-sustaining buildings are capable of producing electricity, collecting water, and managing waste. While these capabilities are far from being realizable, efforts have already been made to materialize this idea. For example, the solar cells installed on Kyocera headquarters in Kyoto supply 54.8% of the building's power supply and 50% of its heat demand.

Wonderful concepts have been conceived by architects and urban visionaries, such as Megastructures – where an entire city is confined in a single enormous building – but the vision of a creative city is still essentially in the drawing board stage. People are still generally stuck in the mindset of a traditional city, and thus are reluctant to welcome change. But as time passes, technology will advance and lifestyles will change, so the concept of a creative city will seem less foreign and easier to accept.

References:

"Autonomous Buildings." Wikipedia. .

"Kyocera's New Headquarters." .

"Megastructures (Architecture)." Wikipedia. .

"Urban Sprawl." Wikipedia. .

"Urban Village." Wikipedia. .

Global Language and Lingua Franca

As our global society moves towards globalization, we are encountered by many communication barriers. One of the most important barriers faced on the path to greater global connectivity is the lack of one language to communicate with.


Throughout history, people of diverse speech have adopted a lingua franca or common tongue for commercial or diplomatic use. In our time, English has emerged as the primary language of most international businesses, and this is largely due to the legacy of the British Empire and the superpower status of the United States, in the 19th and 20th century respectively. But like most natural languages, English is often difficult for non-native speakers to use it effectively due to the dissimilar nature of their mother tongue. This lead to the recent resurgence of an international auxiliary language (IAL). An IAL is a language constructed to allow easy international communication.


The idea of a global language for better communication is not a new one. The idea was pioneered in 1880 by Johann Martin Scheleyer, a German priest. He created the VolapĆ¼k language by combining English, German, and French vocabulary. Many other constructed IALs were later introduced. Perhaps the most well known IAL initiative is the Esperanto movement. This movement was introduced in 1887 and has now developed into a global phenomenon with between 100 000 to 2 million speakers and even some native speakers.


An IAL has many advantages over an ethnic or a national language. It is more suitable for international communication since it was designed for that specific purpose. They were conceived to appeal to speakers of many different native tongues. This concept of neutrality is important, as an IAL is not associated to any one ethnic group or state, The linguist who created these artificial languages also kept ease of learning in mind. For instance, Interlingua which is another IAL developed in the mid 20th century, was developed to have the most simple grammar and vocabulary consisting of words that are common to the widest possible range of languages.


The success of IAL is further boosted by the popularity of the Internet. The emergence of the Internet in the 90s made information about IAL easily available to the world. It also made learning the language easier as enthusiasts and new learners can practice over the Internet. As of July 2007, the are over 86000 articles in Esperanto on Wikipedia, making it one of the largest wikis (15th overall in term of articles on Wikipedia).


The uses of IAL are numerous. In the world of politics, diplomats can bypass the need for a translator and converse directly with each other, this allows for more efficient and effective communication. The same notion can be reflected in the business world and in academics, and can make global partnerships and collaborations easier to forge, as more prominent business leaders and researchers are emerging outside the English speaking world.


While IALs are still a long way from replacing the prominent languages of our time, Its potential is to great to be ignored. As we move towards globalization in the 21st century, key barriers such as the lack of a means of effective communication should be removed to allow for a better integrated global system.

References:


"Esperanto." Wikipedia. .

"Interlingua." Wikipedia. .

"International Auxiliary Language." .



Social Capitalism

Social Capitalism

Adam Smith’s the Wealth of Nations, the book that laid the groundwork for capitalism, contains a surprisingly number of perquisites that are contradictory to the capitalist system that we live in today. Many people would be surprised to find for instance that according to Smith’s perquisites things such as the financial markets and large retailers should not exist. In Smith’s time capitalism was still just a theory however and times do change. Similarly, the old theory of supply and demand is also in the process of changing.

Traditional microeconomic theory holds that people’s demands are affected be perceived product quality and price, two factors that affect mainly the individual. However, the 90’s brought a form of activist capitalism, where products weren’t just judged solely by individualistic qualities but the larger social and environmental footprint of their consumption. Today, many companies are taking advantage of these new demands for social responsibility by creating ethical products such as sweatshop free clothes, fair trade agricultural products, hybrid automobiles. American Apparel, now makes not only trendy clothes but trendy sweatshop free clothes. Ad-Busters, a magazine often accused of being anti-capitalism introduced sweatshop free sneakers in the late 90’s to combat the flood of Nikes, Adidas and Reeboks on the market. The concept of thinking locally and acting globally is not only alive in people but now, companies.

In the new millennium, we are now entering this second stage of social capitalism by integrating these concepts into capital markets. Ideas such as pollution credits, which ties pollution directly to the profits of a company – it’s very reason for their existence, have taken hold. Publicly traded companies now publish social reports that are freely available to their shareholders and there are even funds such as Ethical Mutual Funds in Canada that hold all the companies to an ethical standard before investing in them.

Global Branding

Global Branding

Traditionally, the world has thought of McDonald’s as American, Airbus as French and Toyota as Japanese. While perceptions have largely stayed the same, the reality is the opposite. The opening up of global markets have allowed for corporations to become more multinational and operate as global actors. It’s no longer good business to neither have all the factors of production in one country nor do business in that one country. Companies now may have head offices, factories and marketing department all over the world, each catering to the specific need of a particular region.

Toyota is a company that realized this early on in its existence and today it is the largest automaker in the world, overtaking GM in 2006. Toyota is in name, a Japanese company. In reality however, it is much more than Japanese. For one, it has more factories in America than it has all of Japan. It has a separate corporate slogan in every region in which it has a head office and its latest Toyota Tundra, a pickup truck was designed completely in America. In fact, Toyota employs more American employees than any of the American automakers who themselves have more Mexican employees than they have American ones. It is not so clear if Toyota is a clear cut Japanese company.

Creating a global branding is more than just making sure that your product is sold worldwide, it requires a new way of thinking which embraces the differences in cultures that adjusts the company policies to that particular country or region. It requires a adjusting policies to address global needs, not trying to adjust global needs to company policies and that is what will separate successes from failures in a new globalized world.