The Planet in transition: Engaging with the New Normal

The emerging Global Environment characterized by the increasing intensity of knowledge in our economic and business models, - do not present a singular set of challenges and/or uniform nature of opportunities to businesses and national governments; rather, they offer a range of complex and dynamic possibilities that are unique to each nation, and even to local communities/states or provinces within each country.Particularly as the world gets increasingly intertwined and dependent on finer and more powerful forces of nature such as nuclear, Nano, photonic and/or genetic, - levels of technological uncertainty associated with economic advance will only increase. Coupled with this trend, the risks associated with escalating scale of natural disasters (e.g. Tsunami in Fukushima) and man made calamities such as the ones in Syria, Middle-east, are going to make the emerging environment in an evolving state of “heightened uncertainty”.

In such a state of global turbulence, in absence of strategic perspective at national level, nations seem to continually get mired into difficult situations, - often exposing the larger community to sudden economic, financial and/or political jolts which could have been avoided. In the process the trust people place on political leaders and the governance process within governments and businesses is systematically diminished.

Time has come when leadership of governments (parliaments and senates), academia and businesses –large and small, need to step back and invent a governance process that will help different nations to benefit from the positive side of the possibilities ahead, while containing if not eliminating the risks that come with them.

In view of this backdrop, a nation’s leadership, irrespective of its economic biases – capitalism or socialism, particularly given a nation’s geographical positioning, must rethink its long term possibilities, define a common vision – which industry, government and academia will agree to, and then determine how different regions of the nation could work with each other to resolve the common issues in a mutually rewarding and a commercially viable fashion. A nation must seek to define innovative ways to establish “plus sum”- geo-political and geo-economic relationships with various economic clusters and/or nations of the world.

Given the economic experiments in terms of liberalization and globalization and socio-economic ups and downs most of the nations, - both developed and emerging have gone through in the past 25 years, it is indeed an opportune time for leaderships of governments to revisit the fundamentals of what constitutes “country strategy” and then define a more dynamic path forward.

I found him to be a very strong strategic and conceptual thinker. He also possesses a good nose for the strategic and operational insights.

He has also been a very effective counsellor for CEOs of major multinational corporations’ independent from their national origin. For instance, I know one Chairman of major Korean Chaebol and one CEO of the Japanese major chemical company, both of whom sought after him as truly trusted top management counsellor despite his language handicap. In both cases, those CEOs highly appreciated his advice bases on his strategic insights.

Strategic Imperatives: In order to do so a nation’s leadership from government, business and academia must find ways to embrace several essential imperatives, - in securing competitive advantage in select industries while ensuring socio economic advance, which is inclusive – enabling distributed wealth creation dynamic:

  • “Wealth creation in an equitable fashion” is the primary purpose of region’s (country or state) socio-economic strategy in enabling socio-economic advance at all levels of society

  • Leadership group’s vision, values, and symbolic actions (including monuments, “visible wins”) are the energizing forces, which need to be continually challenged. A common vision that defines an socio economic trajectory that various segments of the population could relate with and is inspired by, should be at the heart of socio-economic policies

  • Macro social and economic policies / strategy (taking advantage of global mega trends) should precede economic plans / budgets; particularly infrastructure development programs (social, educational, physical and digital) that will enable distributed all inclusive socio- economic development need to be innovatively structured in support of the region’s strategy .

  • Innovative strategies take advantage of competitive dynamics between regions, such that a nation could draw capital, technology & management skills in developing competitive industries (which are sustainable, value creating on a global scale); in turn external (commercial and diplomatic) relationships should bedefined by “resilient & robust” policies that enable “high velocity give and take” dynamic between nations.

  • Development of Human Capital including skills, work-ethics and hope should be at the core of the key components of a sound socio-economic strategy. Economic and cultural nexus that will foster self-determination and foster national pride in various segments of the nation will need to be consciously managed

  • Creativity, commitment and discipline, not luck, are the scarce resources to leverage existing strengths and build new ones; leaderships of governments have to ensure all the three components are cultivated and managed in a visible fashion:
  • Targets, tasks and action programs should be defined and religiously adhered to with clearly defined responsibilities and accountabilities.

  • Un-orthodox organizational mechanisms to enable superior fact based and hard-nosed execution to reach targets underlies most successful strategies.

In view of the above, that thought leaders from academia, governments and industry in each nation should come together to debate and discuss the above points toward envisioning a national building process. A process that will enable inclusive economic development toward a more enlightened stewardship of geopolitical and geo-economics equations of our planet, and in turn advance the promise of our civilization.

Innovation without Illusions: Avoiding the Dangers of Linear thinking with Partha Ghosh