ENGINEERING LEADERSHIP NEWS
"Advancing the Promise
of Globalization: The Road Ahead"
from The Fletcher School and visiting students from HHL
– Leipzip International School of Management, one
Europe’s top business schools, gathered on Friday,
September 24 to hear Professor of the Practice Partha S.
Ghosh speak on the future of globalization and the
opportunities that lie ahead.
To provide the overarching theme for the lecture, Ghosh
began by asking participants to guess the current size
of the global economy. Citing the GDP of various
countries including the U.S., China, Japan, Brazil and
India, Ghosh noted,
"THE GLOBAL ECONOMIC STRUCTURE IS CHANGING AND BEING
INFLUENCED BY CHINA AND OTHER DEVELOPING COUNTRIES. IN
THE NEXT FIVE YEARS WE WILL CREATE A WORLD ECONOMY THAT
IT NEARLY $75 TRILLION. THE QUESTION WE HAVE TO ASK IS:
WHERE WILL THESE ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES GET CREATED?"
Ghosh, who draws from decades of global strategic
consulting experience, addressed three main points: what
have been the models and drivers of globalization; how
do you sense opportunities in a rapidly changing
environment; and what type of personality is required as
a global thinker to ensure a leadership advantage.
By first summarizing the history of globalization all
the way back to 500 BC when the Silk Road was
established from Asia to China, and up to today’s
digital era, Ghosh made it clear that in today’s world
companies, such as Google, are global from day one.
According to Ghosh, today’s multinational must
understand how to make adjustments to a global product
to serve and appeal to local markets. Drawing from a
recent conversation with one of the heads of McKinsey
based in Shanghai, Ghosh noted, "The real challenge of
globalization is how to make every market your home
market. You have to treat the local environment as your
own market." To emphasize this point, Ghosh used the
example of the world’s largest zipper manufacturer, YKK.
The company has 68 manufacturing factories located
throughout the world and each is highly localized yet,
the manufacturing and superior quality of the product is
Referencing his second main point – how a company can
sense opportunities – Ghosh said globalization is how
you take advantage of various types of arbitrage
opportunities. These opportunities can be driven by any
number of factors including cost, brand, customer, or
knowledge. The part of the business that drives
globalization differs by industry, and for a food
company it may be the customer experience that you try
to replicate globally, while a pharmaceutical company
focuses on research and development and then may
localize the molecule to the local market depending on
the nature of the disease.
Looking ahead, Ghosh noted the next stage of
globalization for companies in the 21st century will be
integrating ecological practices and at the same time
inverting the pyramid to drive innovation. Discussing
the waste of materials and the affects on the
environment, Ghosh described how companies have to move
towards a conservation model and look at reversing the
logistics of manufacturing in order to reclaim, recycle
and repurpose materials. In addition Ghosh noted that
the other key factor for companies to consider is how to
invert the pyramid and bring innovation from within.
"The key question for companies will be, how do you
create innovation recycling or in other words how do you
bring innovation from the bottom of the pyramid to the
top?" he asked.
With uncertainty ahead, Ghosh confidently expressed that
the future holds numerous opportunities for wealth and
innovation. Concluding the talk, Ghosh mentioned his
latest research conducted in collaboration with The
Fletcher School’s Center for Emerging Market Enterprises
(CEME) and Tufts Gordon Institute, which aims to uncover
the strategies, operational issues and leadership needed
for emerging markets to succeed in the global
marketplace. Specifically addressing the audience, Ghosh
emphasized that the students, as the world’s future
leaders, need to keep in mind the responsibility that
lies on their shoulders and that to be a successful they
need to be responsible, resilient and reflexive