“The only thing that is constant is change” – never before this statement of the Greek philosopher Heraclitus is true than today. The world has changed dramatically in last 10-20 years – and I am referring to the positive change, not the negativity surrounding the change (like inequality, extremism & radical views, etc). And we as professionals working in this world for last 10-15 years have actually experienced the change with our own lives. Further we can see further dramatic change in the near future as well – we don’t need to be a philosopher to predict this.
I believe the fundamental drivers behind this major change are two main reasons : 1) the rise of the so-called “third world” economies now often referred to as BRIC countries and 2) the rise and popularity of internet and ability to do business across the world almost seamlessly. And when I refer to internet, it is not the “conventional” desktop / laptop based internet, but the revolution that was triggered through the mobile technology (be it our smart phones or our tablets or a combination of the above).
The economic growth in the “third world” countries has helped in not only creation of wealth and “hunger” for materialistic goods, but also helped in drive huge “aspirations” to compete with the once-upon-a-time Goliath’s of the world. Even the population of some of the BRIC countries (once perceived as total “curse”) has helped in bringing in that aspirational energy into life – that to some extent has become the “strengths” of the emerging countries. The average age of working people have reduced drastically in these countries. This has not only increased consumerism but also making available global pool of skilled resources that is challenging some of the foundations of the west.
The cheap availability of internet along with its capability to force business through has helped in driving more global optimisations within corporations. Hence, issues like supply chain optimisation across the globe is now possible – wherein you look for quality but cheaper supply chain catering to different market segments. While there will always a set of the market looking for the best of Ferrari, Apple; there will also be a big part of the market who are ready to accept a product having 60% of the features but at 40% price discount. All these potentially can be addressed through a global enterprise taking into account pockets of expertise – whether that comes from Taiwan in Asia or Netherlands in Europe or USA, it does not matter anymore. That is why for a given market, we have products sourced from various countries. I feel UK is the best example for that where in the supermarkets we have tomatoes from Spain, clothes from Bangladesh or India, chillies from Africa and nuts from Brazil. Just imagine driving the entire supply chain in such a scenario without internet – will drive you crazy I am sure!
Let me share some statistics that I found recently in the internet:
– 36% of global GDP is through movement of goods & services
– cross-border internet traffic has increased by 18 times in approximately last 7 years
– 38% of total cross-border movement of goods & services are coming from emerging economies
– since last 5-6 years, increase in cross-border calls through Skype has been over 500%
– globally more than 2/3rds of the population has mobile phones
The above scenario is a huge opportunity for all of us as individuals. We ideally are no longer restricted by local constraints – jobs / opportunities within our cities / countries. If we are rightly skilled (rather if we are “timely” skilled) and look forward to make the entire world out village, this is the time.
Opportunities are huge but as we enter into the broader world, the one thing we all need to keep in mind is “the only thing that is constant is change”—which to us means that if we do not adapt to “change” (in mind-sets, in updating our skills, in taking challenges, etc), we can also perish in this process.
We are really living in dynamic times!