Institute for Business in the Global Context

Where the World of Business Meets the World

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Competing in the Huge Digital Economies of China and India

The global digital economy crossed an important milestone recently: the number of internet users in two countries — China, with just over 800 million users, and India, with 500 million users  – surpassed the aggregate number of internet users across 37 OECD countries combined. In both countries, users spend more time on the internet than the worldwide average of 5.9 hours per day. They also have room to grow; China has just under 60% of its population online, while India, with one of the lowest rates of internet penetration in the world, has under 25% of its population online.

While it’s tempting to group China and India together as a block of emerging digital markets, they offer several important distinctions, especially for international entities and countries looking to invest

Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti in Harvard Business Review

There’s a Gender Gap in Internet Usage. Closing It Would Open Up Opportunities for Everyone

We have all heard about a gap when it comes to participation of women in the tech industry. Facebook, Google, and Apple have 17%, 19% and 23% women in their technology staffs, respectively. Multiple surveys, such as the “The Elephant in the Valley,” have documented systematic discrimination against women. And there’s a continuous barrage of news stories regarding the challenges that women face across a raft of iconic Silicon Valley firms. No more than a quarter of U.S. computing and mathematical jobs are held by women, consistent with the data that around 26% of the STEM workforce in developed countries is female. In developing countries, those differences are even greater.

But the gender gap problem doesn’t stop there. There’s also a shortage of women using some of the industry’s products. The International Telecommunications Union reports that the proportion of women using the internet is 12% lower than the proportion of men; this gender gap widens to 32.9% in the least developed countries. And even when a woman gets on a phone or is online, she might face additional hostility. A World Wide Web Foundation report says “women around the world report being bombarded by a culture of misogyny online, including aggressive, often sexualized hate speech, direct threats of violence, harassment, and revenge porn involving use of personal/private information for defamation.”

What this speaks to is an opportunity for the tech industry — both to address internal diversity issues and to address how companies think about the products they create around the world.

Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti in Harvard Business Review

Early Lessons from India’s Demonetization Experiment

Did India just pull off a monetary and political miracle?

Consider the sequence of events in its demonetization saga. In November the government made a high-risk, high-stakes economic intervention in the world’s largest democracy, with an objective to reduce corruption. Overnight, 86% of cash in circulation was voided. In a country almost 90% cash reliant, chaos ensued. As I said at the time, it was a case study in poor policy and even poorer execution.

Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti in Harvard Business Review

How Companies Can Champion Sustainable Development

Given political climates around the world and a new wariness around international cooperation, the private sector could find itself in the hot seat: trying to pick up the slack on big issues from climate change to sustainable development. This demand for taking on a larger role may come not only from advocacy and watchdog groups but also from customers, investors, partners, and employees.

Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti in the Harvard Business Review

India’s Botched War on Cash

[In the wake of demonetization], retail and wholesale markets have stalled around the country. Supply chain transactions, real estate deals, and even weddings and funerals have been frozen. Consumers are coping with lines that are frustrating even for Indians used to standing in lines or waiting for basic services. People up and down the income spectrum are dealing with changing cash withdrawal policies and empty ATMs. The nation’s status as the world’s fastest-growing big economy has been severely imperiled and its currency risks being further devalued, a situation made worse by prospects of a strengthening dollar after the U.S. election.

Sounds bad, right? But there is a question that hasn’t been asked: Is there a digital upside to this crisis?

Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti in the Harvard Business Review

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

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

Dean Bhaskar Chakravorti to Host HBR Webinar – “Where the Digital Economy is Moving Moving Fastest”

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
12PM EST
hbr.org/webinars

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

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

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