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
Mastercard’s Chief Security Solutions Officer Ajay Bhalla was on campus on Wednesday, March 28, to discuss the ways in which companies need to reimagine the relationship between technology and human understanding to stay relevant.
Bhaskar Chakravorti, Senior Associate Dean of International Business & Finance at The Fletcher School and the founding Executive Director of the Institute for Business in the Global Context, introduced Bhalla to the audience of students, faculty, and administrators. Chakravorti and the team at IBGC have been working with Bhalla and Mastercard since 2011 developing the Digital Evolution Index, a measure of digital change and trust across the globe. The issue of trust is a key one for Bhalla, who is responsible for ensuring the safety and security of every payment for the over two billion cardholders using the Mastercard network.
During his talk, Bhalla compared the rapid change in technology throughout the past few decades to a rollercoaster. “Riders are comfortable in one moment and then the rollercoaster flips upside down,” he said. He went on to note that in combining rapid technological innovation with the pace at which human knowledge is expanding globally, changes in technology can be expected to create some uncertainty.
Britain’s Digital Advantage
No wonder then that there is much anxiety among Brexit-watchers about the UK making a clean break and rejecting the ‘four freedoms’ that EU members enjoy − free movement of people, goods, capital and services. I would argue that there is a fifth freedom that negotiators ought to keep in their sights, one that may hold the key to re-balancing the terms of Brexit. This freedom has to do with the free movement of data.
Data matters because it is the fuel − and exhaust − of a critical part of the overall economy: the digital economy.
When one considers the digital economies of the UK and that of the EU, the latter would be losing a genuine star if barriers to UK-EU data flows were to be erected.
Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti on the Chatham House website
Growing the digital economy
The creation of the innovation hub will be a critical component in the drive to boost the Philippines’ ranking in the Digital Evolution Index (DEI), which ranks countries in terms of their readiness for the quickly expanding digital economy. The Philippines is one of the so-called “break-out” nations in the recent global DEI study conducted by the US-based Fletcher School at Tufts University, using data from 2008 to 2013. The country stands alongside China, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam as one of the “rapidly advancing countries” in the global digital topography.
Read the full article in Speed Magazine
Brexit Could Deepen Europe’s Digital Recession
Brexit, as the British referendum to exit the EU is widely called, has caused turmoil in politics and stocks and head-shaking among the UK’s partners. All of this, of course, comes on the heels of many overlapping crises afflicting Europe.
In addition to the ones regularly in the news, I have argued earlier in HBR that there is a fundamental crisis unfolding over the longer term: the continent is suffering from a “digital recession” – a loss of momentum in their evolution toward a digital economy. Of the 50 countries we studied using a Digital Evolution Index we created, 15 European countries have been losing digital momentum since 2008 and EU countries occupy the bottom 9 spots in our ranking of digital momentum .
With the UK at 34 out of 50, it is worth asking: what is the impact of the Brexit referendum on this already dismal state of affairs?
Read the full op-ed from Dean Chakravorti in Harvard Business Review
Where is the digital economy is moving fastest? Which countries are poised for rapid changes? Where is digital progress slow or stalled?
Dean Bhaskar Chakravorti helped provide the answers to these questions and many more as part of his webinar with the Harvard Business Review. The one-hour session, moderated by HBR editor Angelia Herrin, built on our cutting edge research into the digital economy with the Digital Evolution Index, previously featured in HBR with further coverage on Europe’s digital recession and the need for benchmarking in digital growth.
The executive summary of the webinar can also be found online.
If the above video does not work, you can view it on the HBR wesite.
How Benchmarking Can Help Countries Become More Digital
When it comes to understanding the pace of global digital evolution, the digital growth of developed countries usually has little to tell us about the digital future of developing ones. This has big implications for businesses, entrepreneurs, and innovators seeking growth beyond their home markets: there just isn’t a one-size-fits-all app or approach to building scale in the global digital economy. But if a country wants to become attractive to new investors, what it can do is learn from its better-connected peers and play some “digital catch-up.”
Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti and Ravi Shankar Chaturvedi in Harvard Business Review
We are on our way to becoming a truly digital planet. But every country is at a different place in the journey of becoming a digital economy, progressing at a different pace.
So just where is the digital economy moving fastest? Join Dean Bhaskar Chakravorti for a live and interactive FREE webinar through the Harvard Business Review, tomorrow at 12PM EST, to examine this question and the Digital Evolution Index (DEI), assembled by the Planet eBiz team here in the Institute for Buiness in the Global Context at The Fletcher School.
March 9, 2016
Dean Chakravorti will share insights on where the digital economy is moving fastest, which countries are poised for rapid changes, and where the digital process is slow or stalled, all as part of this live webinar.
More on the DEI:
To better understand the status of 50 economically important countries in becoming a digital economy, the Fletcher School at Tufts University has created a Digital Evolution Index (DEI). This index shows how countries compare in readiness for becoming a digital economy.
In analyzing these 50 countries, they have been sorted into four trajectory zones:
- Stand Out – High levels of digital development and an upward trajectory.
- Stall Out – high levels of digital development but losing momentum.
- Break Out – low levels of digital development but with the potential to develop strong digital economies.
- Watch Out – countries with low level of digital development, and with significant opportunities and challenges. Some seem stuck while others may overcome challenges and break out.
Learn more and read the report
Before becoming consumers of digital marketplaces, the current three billion Internet users started with surfing and emailing. But the next billion will be different. They will start not as mere users, but rather as e-consumers – and this has profound implications for the future of global commerce and digital marketplaces. Who are the next billion e-consumers? So, who are the standouts of the future?
Which countries will race to the front, and which will be left behind? Hint: It’s not the usual suspects.
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.
Where is the digital economy moving fastest? And, when we know that, what it all mean for what the future holds?
These questions and the many more answered and posed by the pioneering research of our Planet eBiz initiative have captured the attention of thousands of Harvard Business Review readers (including Bill Gates). As the calendar flipped to 2016, HBR looked back on the year that was and found the February piece from Dean Bhaskar Chakravorti, Ravi Shankar Chaturvedi, and Rusty Tunnard among their Top 20 “Most Read Articles from 2015.”
The piece, “Where the Digital Economy is Moving Fastest,” examined 50 countries around the world over a five-year period and categorized their digital performance into four trajectories — Stand Out, Stall Out, Break Out, and Watch Out. The article even inspired a corresponding video from HBR based on the Digital Evolution Index.
Read the original piece for yourself!