Institute for Business in the Global Context

Where the World of Business Meets the World

Month: June 2016

Brexiters are making a dangerous mistake in their argument for leaving the EU

An essential claim of UK campaigners who want to leave the European Union is that the country could negotiate the same access to European markets from the outside as it now has from the inside.

This is a dangerous folly.

Read the full piece from Prof. Bhide at Quartz

10 Questions: Flying Cars, Zombies, and the Great Russian Novel: What Can They Teach Us About Becoming Better Leaders?

Leadership of global organizations involves an understanding of complex phenomena. Sometimes metaphors and cultural references are key to finding parallels, deriving insights, and communicating complicated ideas to a wide audience. Metaphors can be powerful in moving entire organizations to take action with a common vision.

Learn more about how Fletcher faculty tackle complex leadership challenges by making unexpected connections:


As part of our “10 Questions” Series, we delve into hard questions of international business not easily answered by a single book, class, discipline, or school of thought. They herald a future where the world and the world of business are ever more interconnected, where decisions can’t be made in a bubble, where real expertise demands deep ‘contextual intelligence.’ This series reflects that contextual intelligence we cultivate in our students in the MIB program.

Silicon Valley’s Obsession With Flying Cars Flies In The Face Of Business Logic

Bemoaning the state of innovativeness, Peter Thiel — don of the PayPal mafia, Silicon Valley VC, and most recently revealed as the nemesis of Gawker — remarked, “We asked for flying cars. Instead, we got a hundred and forty characters. It seems Thiel’s moans have been heard by no less than Google/Alphabet’s Larry Page, who has quietly been investing in, not one but, two flying car start-ups, Zee Aero and Kitty Hawk. Page, of course, has only taken a page out of the books of other pioneering legends, who have shared this strange obsession. The obsession dates back even to pioneering legends who knew a tad more about cars than Messrs. Page and Thiel; Henry Ford tried his hand at it and even managed to get a person killed in his own pursuit of a flying car. Of course, the industry is far from take-off; the only successful situation involving a flying Ford I am aware of is of Ron Weasly flying a 1962 Ford Angilia to rescue Harry Potter in The Chamber of Secrets. But I digress…

Read the full op-ed from Dean Chakravorti in Forbes

Student Research: Sowing Growth: Catalyzing Development through Inclusive Agribusiness

by Lauren Bieniek, (MALD 2016)

Agribusinesses that include smallholder farmers in their operations present an opportunity to grow incomes and livelihoods. Targeted support from the development community and other social finance partners can catalyze this growth and ensure shared benefits.

In Tanzania, a cadre of small- and medium-sized agribusinesses are emerging to take hold of opportunities in the agriculture sector. Population and urbanization rates are both growing and demand for food products is increasing. There is an additional pressure to meet this demand in a more sustainable and traceable manner. This group of agribusinesses are not only attempting to leverage these trends, but bring smallholder farmers into their value chains as they do so.

Bagamoyo_Pineapple

Pineapples at Bagamoyo Farms estate

As new agribusinesses enter the agricultural market in Tanzania they see smallholder farmers as a critical component of long-term, sustainable growth. They are not alone. Multinational companies are working with smallholders to strengthen local supply chains and secure future access to raw ingredients. Additionally, development partners continue to work on connecting smallholder farmers with markets as a way to reach the approximately 2 billion people who live on small-scale farms around the world.

Supporting inclusive agribusinesses is an avenue for the development community – comprised of both public and private actors – to create positive social impact on a large scale. Linking its funding and programming with a single agribusiness is an efficient way to effectively reach thousands of smallholder farmers and ensure their inclusion in a profitable enterprise. But what types of support are required to catalyze the potential for social impact?

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Sustainable Business and Sustainable Development: Two Sides of the Same Coin

Given that 2030 is not that far, when one considers the magnitude of the [UN Sustainable Development] goals, it is worthwhile asking, which of the many stakeholders can maintain the momentum? Whose incentives are most closely aligned with achieving the goals and who has the resources to execute at scale across countries?

The answer is unavoidable: global business, as a stakeholder group, is best positioned to take the lead.

Read the full op-ed from Dean Chakravorti at The Guardian

What the Next Silicon Valley CEO Traveling to India Must Read to Avoid a Dusty Downfall

In case you had any doubts that the Valley sees India as its next Valhalla, witness the parade of tech titans coming through. Apple’s Tim Cook was only the latest, following in the footsteps of Messrs Bezos, Ma and Zuckerberg, among so many others, along with the homegrown lads, Nadella and Pichai. India is a market like no other; here lies seemingly endless opportunity.

Read the full op-ed from Dean Chakravorti in The Indian Express