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Stephen Archer is a speaker with great charisma. By using illustrations and personal experiences and not being afraid to share his own point of view of the current situation and who is to blame for it, he engages the whole audience, at the same time helping us all to understand the credit crunch a little better.

— Warwick Business School

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Globalisation – Lessons from Egypt and beyond

Globalisation is changing

The fact that Twitter and Facebook can accelerate the demise of a government is now well understood. So well understood that the likes of China are unlikely to permit such an occurrence and have tightened their grip on the internet. Iran also learnt that lesson in 2010 and other less free regimes with sophisticated infrastructures may also prevent technology aiding democracy. But the lessons to be learnt from such events reach beyond politics.

The now accelerating changes in technology, speed and capacity mean that the impact on global trade is the next barrier to be at least lowered if not broken down.

We have already seen a surgeon operating in the US on a patient in France. Such remote control is significant for its virtual presence. What else can be managed remotely as sophistication grows? It is already happening. Supply chain, finance and many other commercial functions can be and are housed in far flung places. However, much of this has so far suffered from shortcomings of reliability and locally managed skills.

What will emerge I believe is a partial reversion to a more mediaeval style of trade. By that I mean that small traders with niche skills will be able to deliver on the world stage in a manner that was simply unthinkable a decade ago.

Look at it like this. Almost any intellectual skills can be applied remotely; design, engineering, consultancy and much else besides. This is not just about the lower cost, ‘new economy’ services getting in on the territory once held by more established players.

We must now consider globalisation to mean the reach of small businesses onto the world market. Small no longer means local.  Indeed, the inherent advantages of small organisations such as speed and flexibility mean that they can become very significant in the global economy and not necessarily have to grow to prosper. There will just be a lot of these small businesses.

The failure of mature economies to be able to provide enough jobs after the recession will lead to a growth in small enterprises able to export their intellect and specialist expertise. This will become very attractive to large businesses with traditional R&D models. Pharmaceuticals for instance.

This change is likely to catch some of the larger, less efficient corporates off guard. Their high overheads, bureaucracy and high levels of in house expertise can be overtaken my leaner, faster and smarter, more virtual organisations.

All large scale Global organisations need to examine their business models very carefully. It’s no longer about off shoring – it’s about Virtual In Skilling.


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