Institute for Business in the Global Context

Where the World of Business Meets the World

Author: IBGC (page 1 of 25)

A Lynching in the Digital South

 The fervour of the lynch mobs was largely facilitated by social media, which efficiently delivered rumours to solidify a “common cause”. Among these, WhatsApp is the prime carrier, with over 200 million Indian users in a given month. WhatsApp, of course, is an important part of the largest digital media enterprise on earth: Facebook. It has captured the attention of Indian users like no other app, has become an addictive and efficient spreader of forwarded “good morning” cheer, Santa-Banta jokes, pictures of newborn grandchildren — and, without question, venomous rumours that can whip up a digitally orchestrated frenzy.

Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti in The Indian Express

Technology May Seek To Flatten The World, But The “Digital South” Will Chart Its Own Course

With trade wars, anti-globalization rhetoric and nationalist politicians hogging headlines around the world, mercifully, there are two things that can still bring the world together: viral messages on digital media and the FIFA World Cup. In fact, the real magic happens when the two global obsessions intersect. A quarter of the world’s active Internet users had planned to watch the games online; with over 4 billion online, that counts for a lot of people who are then poised to instantaneously pour their emotions onto social media. Once the World Cup final gets done on Sunday, July 15th, however, we might be back to digital virality carrying the flag solo to battle the forces of de-globalization.

Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti in Forbes

Growth in the Machine

Without question, the race for AI dominance is between the US and China. However, despite its junior status — and this might come as a shock to some — there are, indeed, AI-relevant advantages unique to India. Three are particularly worth noting and give me reason for hope.

Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti in The Indian Express

MIB Alumni Nathan Cohen-Fournier (MIB’ 17): The Place I Call Home

Not every MIB journey is the same. Alumni wind up at major consulting firms, multinational corporations, international organizations, foundations, governments, and everything beyond and in between. One of the more unique journeys belongs to Nathan Cohen-Fournier (MIB ’17). Building on his work as part of the Global Research Fellowship, Nathan took a job in the remote region of Nunavik, in the northern reaches of Quebec. There he works as the Socio-Economic Development Officer for Makivik Corporation. Part of his charge there? The design and implementation of a youth entrepreneurial strategy in Nunavik — exactly what his research through IBGC looked at in the first place.

Not everyone comes to Fletcher looking to promote entrepreneurship deep in the tundra, but with the skills you’ll learn on campus, a healthy dose of passion, and a lot of hard work, the MIB can take you to places you never even knew you wanted to go.

Learn more about Nathan, his journey to Nunavik, and the exciting work he is doing.


On May 30, 2016, I discovered Nunavik for the very first time.

Two years later, as I write from Kuujjuaq [the Great River], my gaze is drawn to the outdoors. My mind wanders through the stillness and along the gentle curves of the tundra. Truth be told, I did not expect to live in the North, where delicate snowflakes and wandering ice sheets fill the landscape with a silent beauty. Even as June approaches and cherry blossoms have long faded in other parts of the world, Nunavik awakes slowly from the long winter.

What brought me back here?

When the opportunity presented itself to take up a position in Kuujjuaq, I naively thought that getting away from the concrete jungle could help me find peace. I thought that, in a remote community, the pace would slow down and that I’d be able to touch the essence of life in a more authentic, simple way. Don’t get me wrong, I love cities. The unique amalgam of colours, scents and noises. The chaotic embrace of a bustling street market. The sweet taste of anonymity. I was looking for something different, a place where I would be more vulnerable.

Read the full post from Nathan on his blog

The Future Of Work Isn’t All Bleak For Women. Here’s Why.

Many workers who have been displaced are experiencing the early signals of how technological change will transform the way we work, what work we do and who gets to work. With AI and automation creeping into our daily existence in that Macbethian “petty pace from day to day”, if all the tech chatter is right, humans will be handing tasks over to machines at a scale that boggles the mind. The degree to which the mind is boggled depends on which pundit you believe. While the OECD projects that only 14 percent of current jobs will be affected, the European think tank, Bruegel places the displacement factor at 54 percent. The McKinsey Global Institute offers a more nuanced view: 60 percent of occupations have at least 30 percent of constituent work activities that could be automated with variations across geography and occupation; about 15 percent of activities on average would be displaced by 2030, with some occupations at risk of a third of all constituent work activities being automated.

Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti in Forbes

EdTech, Curiosity, and Adaptability: Fletcher Alum Grant Hosford Helping Code the Future of the Digital Planet

“Learning to code … gives kids a powerful boost in other core subjects” – Grant Hosford, CEO, Codespark

Fletcher alumnus Grant Hosford is up to some amazing things as CEO of Codespark. Leaning on a basis of coding, Grant hopes to bring both real world computer science skills and a growth mindset to childhood education. “Coding requires students to learn transferable skills like pattern recognition and sequencing that are foundational for reading and math. So, learning to code with a visual app like ours gives kids a powerful boost in other core subjects,” he told Forbes. Through his work with Codespark, Grant is helping to build a foundation for the next generation in this increasingly digital planet.

Read the full article about Grant in Forbes

What brought Grant to Fletcher? Learn more in his 2017 Why Fletcher video below.

Tech Companies Embrace Some GDPR Privacy Practices Outside of Europe
by Dawn Kawamoto

“Support for regulation varies widely from country to country — and of course, within countries. Public opinion in some EU member states shows support for stringent rules, but that support is not always shared in other countries,” [Bhaskar Chakravorti] said.

Read the full article in Government Technology

Associate Director of Research and Doctoral Research Fellow for Innovation and Change, Ravi Shankar Chaturvedi speaks on the latest Digital Planet Smart Societies research at Digital Nations 2030 in New Zealand.

MIB Alumni Stories: Ammar Karimjee (MIB’17) Happy With His Landing

Originally posted on the Fletcher Admissions Blog

Way back in the fall, an email snaked along to me and I reached out to the writer, Ammar Karimjee, a 2017 MIB graduate, to ask if I could publish it in the blog.  He agreed right away, so the delay in sharing it is all on me.  And yet with students entering in September 2018 still considering what this all means for them, and with the Class of 2018 searching for their own post-Fletcher jobs, I think Ammar’s post is instructive.  Note that the original recipients were staff and faculty associated with the MIB program and the Office of Career Services.  And, again, when Ammar refers to “a month ago,” he was reflecting on summer 2017, but I have confirmed with him that his work situation hasn’t changed.

Ammar Karimjee (MIB’17)

About a month ago, I moved to Tanzania to begin work with One Acre Fund Tanzania (OAF) as an “Impact Ventures Associate.”  As many of you may know, OAF’s core model provides a range of products: better seeds and fertilizer, along with training — all provided as part of a reasonably sized loan to farmers across East Africa.  On average, farmers who work with One Acre Fund have yields that are 50-100% higher than similar farmers who do not.  In Tanzania, OAF works with about 30,000 farmers.

While the model has significant impact for farmers, growth is relatively slow because the work is very hands-on.  Each new community we enter has to understand the product, be trained, and see results only after a full growing season (or one full year).  To tackle that problem, my team is trying to understand other ways of approaching and impacting farmers that may be faster to scale than the model OAF uses traditionally.

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Facebook’s Privacy Changes Leave Developers Steaming
by Sheera Frenkel

Bhaskar Chakravorti, senior associate dean at The Fletcher School at Tufts University, said Facebook had to walk a fine line. “They have taken a blunt instrument approach, which is the right thing to do from a public relations standpoint,” he said. “But now they need to reach out to developers and smooth things over.”

Read the full article in The New York Times

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