Institute for Business in the Global Context

Where the World of Business Meets the World

Tag: Contextual Intelligence

10 Questions: If Cash is Dead, Why is that Fat Wallet Still in My Pocket?

checkcashingAfter more than 2,000 years as king, cash is facing competition. From credit cards to the myriad new payment technologies available today, there are now safer, cheaper, and more accessible payment options for both consumers and businesses. Yet cash continues to hold on. Why? What are the intrinsic benefits of cash that no alternative can provide?

Read more about Fletcher’s original research on the topic:


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.

10 Questions: Will Fewer Bridges Go Up When Oil Prices Fall?

Bridge - CROPPEDThere is a burgeoning gap between global infrastructure needs and funding sources. Sovereign wealth funds, government pension funds, and other institutional investors could help bridge that gap. But how resistant are these funds to the highs and lows of oil prices? Can they withstand the volatility of the energy market and underwrite the major infrastructure projects so desperately needed in so many corners of the globe?

Read more about Fletcher’s programming in this area:


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.

The Battle Over iPhones in India

Winning over Indian consumers seems to officially have become one of the global tech industry’s Next Big Things. Some estimates indicate that there will be one billion users online in the country by 2030. Although only one-fifth of its 1.3 billion people have online access today, India has already overtaken the U.S., becoming the second largest smartphone market in the world.

Read the full piece by Dean Chakravorti in Harvard Business Review

10 Questions: Is Growth for Good also Good for Growth?

Growth - CroppedCompanies often view the social challenges that surround business opportunities – poverty, poor sanitation, loose governance structures – through the lens of corporate social responsibility (CSR) or philanthropy. But today, as economic growth in emerging markets has begun to outpace the growth of supporting institutions and infrastructure, many of these “contextual gaps” have begun to pose real threats to long-term business success. To reframe how business is done in these contexts, companies must consider how sustainable and inclusive business activities are becoming what’s good for business.

Learn more about our research on this topic:


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.

10 Questions: Can’t I just Tweet the Change I Want to See in the World? #InsertCatchyCallToArmsHere

TahrirSquareSocial media-driven revolutions have transformed the branding and mobilization of social movements. It would seem these leaderless revolutions have displaced the Gandhis, Mandelas, and Kings of movements past. Yet the reality is that even this new breed of political revolution requires a Mandela—something we’ve forgotten in our eagerness to celebrate the power of a decentralized, digital generation. It turns out that #ACatchyCalltoArms isn’t enough to make changes stick, and without a clear leader so many recent revolutions have devolved into chaos.
Learn more about our thinking on this question:


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.

10 Questions: Are Cheeseburgers the Key to Peace in the Middle East?

Amid the scars of continued sectarian violence in Iraq there is a new player emerging in the streets of Baghdad: western-style fast food chains. American businesses have a unique role to play in stabilizing post-conflict zones. Faced with an immense untapped market but the very real threats of security and corruption, can investors see the risks as opportunities?

Learn more about Fletcher’s discussions on this topic:


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.

Transcending Boundaries through Contextual Intelligence

Disruption, innovation, inclusion. These days, there is a multitude of business school jargon used to discuss development, both in the realm of the public and private sector. But here is another one for you: contextual intelligence, achieved through innovation and inclusion.

Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti in the Huffington Post

10 Questions: Can Phones Fight Poverty?

empeaThere are twice as many mobile phone subscribers as bank accounts in Indonesia. Last year, smartphone audience growth in India was almost 80% – the largest in the world. In Kenya, cellular phones have long been a hub for banking transactions. Cell phones as banking access points offer an unparalleled opportunity to improve the livelihood of millions through mobile financial services. Can mobile phones lead the un-banked out of poverty?

Learn more about Fletcher perspectives on mobile banking:


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.

Lessons from Facebook’s Fumble in India

The factors that define the “context[ual intelligence]” are different across the developing world, but, more significantly, they are different from the environments in which digital innovations are developed – whether it is in Silicon Valley or in Boston or in tech enclaves in India and China. In these high-tech pockets, context is almost invisible: institutions function, data is the coin of the realm and a digital application’s “killer” value proposition rules the day. In this way, tech companies operate from a distance; they are not usually embedded within the local environments.

Read the full op-ed from Dean Chakravorti in Harvard Business Review

10 Questions: Forget BRICs. Is it Africa’s Turn?

KiberaFrom technology start-ups addressing Nairobi’s traffic jams to a regime change in Nigeria predicated on a platform of anti-corruption, Africa is a continent emerging as 55 distinct and dynamic nations. Its potential for broad-based growth is catching the eyes of entrepreneurial and private sector actors looking to expand. But where are the most viable areas of growth, and where will they fall short?

Learn more about how Fletcher thinks about Africa’s role in the global economy:


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.