Wednesday Scribbles : The Local vs. Global Debate for Solving Mega Challenges

Notes from a changing world…
May 10th

 The global neighborhood we have today is, like most neighborhoods, far from ideal; it has many imperfections. Its residents are not all fairly treated; they do not have the same opportunities. Millions are so deprived that they do not even think they belong to a neighborhood.” 


Before understanding how global solutions can be applied to local problems, it is important to understand what globalization truly is and the opportunities and challenges it brings along. The world today is far more connected and access to people and information is fast, easy and effective. That being said, Globalization does come with its own set of challenges to combat.
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In its determined pursuit of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, the United Nations has been clear about the importance goal number 17 holds for the world. Goal number 17 – Partnerships For The Goals, focuses on global conversations that bring together influencers and investors, to mobilize global resources to achieve local level impact.
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With Indonesia’s increasing energy demands, global corporations and solutions are crowding in to check the prospects of working in the country. At the recently concluded Indonesia-Denmark Business Forum attended by global giants such as Siemens and Vestas Wind System, there was widespread talk about Danish investors being interested in Indonesia’s wind energy potential.
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Multiple universities, especially in the United States, are actively conducting research centric immersion programs for their students to find solutions to local problems in other countries. An example of this, is a team of 7 scientists from the University of Illinois who visited Mexico to explore solutions to the growing obesity and diabetes rates in the nation.
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What is also encouraging to see is how technology companies from frontier markets, such as Tech Mahindra, are coming forward to bring together global knowledge to find solutions to local problems. Tech Mahindra’s Code2Connect is a platform for their worldwide partners to join hands and find solutions to human problems on the grassroot levels.
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When Uber, the Silicon Valley dynamo wanted to conquer the market in China, little did it realize that one size may not fit all. Here are some reasons why Uber failed in China and lost to its local competition Didi.
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The question is, can a multinational company be “locally integrated” outside its home base, or will it remain a foreigner, a “visitor”, seen as trying to maximize its own performance by adapting its business to the local market and leaving at the first sign of distress?
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In 2016, the world witnessed early signs of the ever growing debate on Global vs Local solutions and associated insecurities. There is merit in breaking this dichotomy to focus on a third dimension- the region. Since, it suggests that entrepreneurial opportunities may be available at this intermediate regional level.
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It is interesting to look at top challenges in the world today, whether it’s turning promises on climate change into action, rebuilding trust in the financial system, or connecting the world to the internet, these are local and global problems and need extensive collaboration.
In an increasingly polarized world and conflicting worldviews of locals vs cosmopolitans, complex international trade practices will determine the path for global and local solutions to be able to bring about positive impact.
This elite group of nations is way ahead of the rest of the pack and that’s why their dominance is still rooted firmly in the scientific playing field. Only China and its enormous pool of human resource have been able to find its way into the top research-oriented countries.
(Disclaimer: All information quoted here is linked to the respective source articles)
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