globalEDGE Blog - By Author: Nathan Bashaw

Check out this ranking of the top MBA programs outside the US, from BusinessWeek. Just in case you're curious, here are the contenders:

  1. Queen's University, in Canada
  2. IE Business School, in Spain
  3. INSEAD, in France
  4. University of Western Ontario, in Canada
  5. London Business School, in the UK
  6. ESADE, in Spain
  7. IMD, in Switzerland
  8. University of Toronto, in Canada
  9. IESE, in Spain
  10. Oxford University, in the UK

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File under: Environment

"If you can't measure it, it doesn't exist."

So says the old adage about the importance of quantifying results. If we're applying it to environmentally friendly products, then our progress is almost non-existent. Customers at the store don't have the time or information to calculate the environmental impacts of various products, and so they are forced to balance their taste for saving mother earth with their suspicion of empty greenwashing.

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Imagine a 3D videogame like environment, except instead of a game, you are attending a virtual trade expo, with other real people, over the internet.  Could this ever catch on?  Personally, I think there is no replacement for meeting in person, however, this has a lot of potential applications for international businesspeople that can't afford to travel overseas often. 

Here's an interview with the CEO of InXpo, talking about his product:


 

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File under: Globalization, Technology

Check out this great lecture by Thomas Friedman, the author of "The World is Flat" and "Hot, Flat, and Crowded."  It's a great example of tying together the phenomenon of globalization with what I think is the ultimate reason for the changing media landscape.  Every good business idea starts with inspiration, and Thomas Friedman is a deep thinker that also an excellent communicator.  It's long, but definitely worth watching.

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The media and communications industry has traditionally consisted of the people who were at the cutting edge of information technology - those who could broadcast to the biggest audience. In turn, these people hired talented individuals who could develop the content that was broadcast. The entire industry was structured around the assumption that, in order to physically reach any significant sized audience, you had to have access to technology that was too expensive for the vast majority of individuals to own.

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File under: Innovation

Creativity is always an important factor when deciding where to do business, especially if you are an innovator with a novel idea, looking for a receptive market. If you want a concise listing of one publication's opinion on the matter, check out Fast Company's slideshow: "The 13 Most Creative Cities in the World". They are a little heavy on cities in the US, but oddballs like Malmo, Sweden keep the list interesting. Oh, and just in case you were wondering, Seattle is apparently the most creative city of the year.

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File under: United States, Investment

Solutions to this economic mess may seem to necessitate complex plans, but a deceptively simple old visa program is starting to garner growing attention as a means to lift especially troubled areas of the U.S. out of their economic woes.

It works like this: immigrants invest $500,000 in a new or struggling business via an approved regional center, get green cards for their families, don't have to manage day-to-day issues with the businesses, and get to pull their money out after 2 years if they pass an audit. Sounds good?

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For those of you not familiar with the concept of "heirloom sustainability," the basic idea is that producers should design quality, durable goods, that will last a long time and be passed down for generations. The approach is - in theory - a good way to reduce waste and eliminate the cheap products that end up in landfills.

For example, instead of buying hundreds of plastic pens, you could buy one quality pen and even be able to pass it down to your children. Of course, you'd have to make a big investment up front, but if you keep it for long enough, it would eventually - in theory - pay for itself.

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A couple of days ago we posted a video on the importance of innovation, but it left me wondering: who's best at it?

Luckily, a survey done by the Boston Consulting Group, working with the National Association of Manufacturers' Manufacturing Institute, seeks to answer just that question. They rank the top 30 most innovation-friendly countries on the basis of government policy and real business results.

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File under: Globalization, Technology

You may be missing out on a new breed of technology that some experts are heralding as the computing method of the future. Already, many companies use a system where software is offered as a service rather than a good. You don't buy a box with a computer program, you use an online application, hosted elsewhere. The same concept that made these technologies so explosive is also hitting the hardware world.

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File under: Globalization

Check out this excellent video synopsis of the new book, "Globality," by Harold Sirkin, James Hemerling, and Arindam Bhattacharya. The subtitle, "competing with everyone from everywhere for everything," gives you a good clue about how the book views the future of global business. The bottom line is that western businesses must adapt in order to stay relevant globally, because there are lots of challengers from emerging markets that are changing the rules of the game.

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I am a huge fan of pretty much everything that Monocle publishes. They are always on the cutting edge, whether the topic is public affairs, business, or even culture and design. Recently they partnered with UK Trade & Investment to produce a series of videos on the business climate in different sectors and countries around the world. So far the topics have been: Doha, Boston, UK Creative Sector, UK Motorsport, London, São Paulo, Guangzhou, and Sofia. 

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File under: Business Risk

One of the blogs I regularly read, ResourceShelf, recently put together a great post on the concept of due diligence in business. They include links to several different articles on variations of the topic, but the one that I found most relevant was from Deloitte, called Cross-Border Investigative Due Diligence: The Look Before You Leap Imperative. The article outlines hidden risks that firms can easily overlook before expanding internationally, and how with due diligence you can identify and neutralize those risks.

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The United Kingdom recently unveiled a new plan to revamp its inter-city rail system, awarding Hitachi a contract to develop new, more efficient and lightweight trains, called the "Super-Express". The 7.5 billion-pound upgrade comes in the midst of the worst global recession in decades, but transport secretary Geoff Hoon is confident that investing now will pay off, both in the short term job creation and the long term infrastructure boost.

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File under: Technology

We all know the internet is a crucial place to do business globally, especially for a small company. It takes lots of time and money to develop in-house tools, and also makes it harder to connect with international partners. Here is a great post from the Mashable blog, detailing the best web-apps that can help your business venture succeed. Let us know which ones you like best!

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File under: Entrepreneurship

In today's tough economic climate, many small businesses are worried whether or not they will survive. If the future isn't looking bright, you may want to give exporting another look. A variety of factors make now a better time than ever:

  • A weak dollar means, relative to the field, your products are on sale.
  • Depression? Not everywhere in the world! Look to other markets to fill in for slumping domestic demand.
  • Is your product seasonal? Look to a different hemisphere to fill in off-season sales.

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File under: Free Trade

As the economy slumps, experts predict a rise in protectionism. The reasons range from obvious to interesting. Trade liberalization has the potential to decrease wages for blue-collar jobs in developed countries, which, especially in hard times, can cause political pressure to raise barriers to trade. Also, emerging markets are having a harder time exporting, which decreases their incentives to strive for freer trade. If they can't boost domestic demand, it will be hard for politicians to resist the pressure.

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File under: Technology

Although computer technology first caught on developed nations, there has been a steady trend of emerging markets quickly catching up to the west.

One example is high-tech research and development. A recent report by the OECD indicates that Asia is on average outpacing the west in R&D spending. If you look inside most consumer electronics, even if they are from an American company, you will find that the majority of the internal components were designed or manufactured in Asia. This looks like it is going to become even more likely in the future, with countries like China increasing spending 23% between 2001 and 2006, with the US and Europe only increasing 1-2% over the same period.

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File under: Globalization

If you still think outsourcing, caused by globalization, is the biggest threat to the American labor market: think again. According to a new book by Colombia Business School professor Bruce Greenwald and historian Judd Kahn, aptly titled Globalization, technology, along with other miscellaneous productivity measures, are much more likely to result in job cuts than shipping jobs off to China and other developing countries. The authors cite statistics from the Commerce Department, showing that between 2000 and 2006 only 35% of lost jobs were replaced by foreign labor. Contrast that to the 65% that were lost to productivity increases.

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File under: Branding

I have been particularly interested in branding recently (I recommend the Branding Strategy Insider blog), and how difficult it is to successfully build a solid, consistent brand message that reaches across diverse cultures and languages.

One of the fundamentals of effective branding is consistency. If a firm sends mixed messages, consumers are less likely to have a strong conception of what the brand stands for, what its characteristics are that distinguish it from the competition. Brands that try to change with every passing fad seem hollow, like followers rather than leaders.

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This is the final installment of globalEDGE's series on global entreprenuership, in celebration of the Global Entrepreneurship Week.

The Impact of Globalization

With the rise of transportation and communications technology, globalization has come and dramatically shifted previously stagnant notions of comparative advantage. In the past, local producers could count on being the most efficient option, because the costs of storing and transporting goods made any long distance selling unfeasible. Now, markets are restructuring because of technological advances, and nations have put in place various restrictions and regulations - for better or worse. Regardless of your opinion on government regulation of markets, legal barriers to trade are a reality facing today's business leaders, and knowing how to successfully navigate the complex web of legal issues related to trade is essential to any successful business endeavor.

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File under: United States, India, Energy

President Bush achieved one of his top legislative priorities Wednesday, but the magnitude of the occasion may have been obscured by other news. What I’m referring to, of course, is the US-India civilian nuclear agreement.

The nuclear deal is the culmination of an initial joint statement between President Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, which was signed in 2006. For the past two years President Bush and Prime Minister Singh have trudged through domestic opposition, international hurdles, and legal bureaucracy to produce a finalized agreement. The pact allows full nuclear cooperation between the United States and India, as well as opening up the Indian market to US nuclear technology suppliers. The necessity of the seal of approval by the Nuclear Suppliers Group also makes it a de facto recognition of India’s status as a legitimate nuclear power, despite their abstinence from the NPT.

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Glossary