TED Conversations

Closing Statement from Daniel Raven-Ellison

Thank you everyone who has taken the time to contribute to this important question. Reading all of the comments, it's impossible not to think deeply about how relationships between global businesses and local communities are developed.

It's easy to think of global business and local community as two different things. This question is perhaps guilty of leading the conversation into such an easy binary. Of course, "global businesses" are made by multiple and interconnected local communities and many local communities are created by large businesses. Neither local or global are innately better than each other, they are so inextricably linked through uncountable or quantifiable relationships that one cannot exist without the other.

Aju made this point well by saying "global business creates a community of beneficiaries such as employees, contractors, vendors and even customers in the local geography. Except for a thin “live wire” of control that runs to the global headquarters, global business in each region have a very local existence."

Issues of supply and demand are woven through the whole of this conversation. What do people want, what is available and what is on offer are all vital questions, but interlaced through all the comments are issues of power. Who controls what is available to people and what decisions do those people make when consuming an idea, product or place? Mitchell started to address this by asking us to turn the conversation's question on its head by asking "How does a community create a fulfilling relationship with a global business?"

Candy shared a way forward by suggesting "Every community requires collaborative partnerships among business owners/operators engaged in facilitated discussion for the good of the community. This requires a common goal. Whether it is education, social culture...". A practical note that is all about a relationship of working together.

The conversation continues at www.thefutureoflocal.com. Please join us.

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  • May 26 2013: Remi, I cant hit reply the system wont let me, so I'll answer your comments here.

    "Luxury companies such as Hermès are keeping alive artisan jobs and savoir-faire that would have in some cases disappeared were it not for their existence."

    This is true, particularly in Haute couture, yet it also is one of the changes that i've seen, the loss of "apprentices", nearly at one time every industry had programs today - significantly less. They expect people - pre-skilled. It would be beneficial to local communities to adopt them again. Yet even if the person leaves the employ, it's been show that those skills are either utilized or transferred, into a small company. Which again brings about more employment and more diversity. But now it's seen as an "economic loss".

    "The disconnection between shareholders and local realities for instance is something that could be a whole conversation in itself. "

    True, the paper form of the connection is not see as valuable or as a part of the business, but a degree of separation, that allows and somewhat encourages, speculation, short term gains & thinking, a shift in perception and duty. Nicely talked about on here at Ted by Dan Ariely.

    "which is very much the case in the hospitality industry, especially in the higher-end segment which I know best."

    I don't know about that being the case, the Intercontinental was in Budapest, and the Hyatt in moved. For the locals and their family life it was not a better time, as the employment practices, typically meant (directly or indirectly) longer hours. Where someone may well have had time for their family and their community before, it came down to a choice of either or.

    I will concede if things are managed properly. If the goal is cost minimization & is the root & sole reason for being there & employment practice then no. Again i can only see that not apply in 5 star, due to expectations, not for mid to lower star. So much is dependent on mindset on the initial goal and ideology.
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      May 28 2013: Thanks for the answer Tify, full of interesting insights once more.

      The apprenticeship issue notably is one that is started to be rekindled in a handful of countries, where governments now realise how useful of a method it can be. I've seen this focus in France and the UK recently, but Germany has been putting the emphasis on apprentices for some time. However, results are scarce for the moment and there is certainly a lot of work to be done on educating not only students but also their parents about the benefits of this option.

      Agreed that the main goal needs to be on value creation, and furthermore on creating value through raising standards of services rather than on cutting costs. I do believe this is something that can be achieved in the higher-end segments of many industries, where the mindset is more easily inclined towards such an end, than in midscale segments.

      That said, I wonder if the problem doesn't lay with the imbalance of many an industry in terms of power of stakeholders. In the travel industry, one could argue that there are many different actors, and that travellers themselves hold a lot of power through online reviews: they can influence travel providers such as hotels, restaurants or online travel agents this way. Maybe this is idealistic and a bit of a professional bias given that I work with them on a daily basis, but couldn't we envision a world where social media could help customers gain more influence over their providers?

      Hopefully, as we are headed towards a more and more transparent world where information is, by and large, easily shared and found, what's important to customers should become more and more preponderant in the eyes of business. First because it's easier for them to know what's important, and second because not acting on this information would mean risking redundancy in face of competitors that would.

      Wishful thinking or real trend? I'm not absolutely sure, to be honest.
      • May 30 2013: Wishful thinking or real trend?

        Both, no doubt people are getting more informed.

        But as said, so much is dependent on mindset on the initial goal and ideology, I'll expand on that, in that, it's the companies philosophy. IE how does it treat the local people who work there? Does it source local materials? Or does it just import? Does it offer value in being there not only (take the hotel industry) to the visitors, but to the local community? Now how can a hotel offer local services, well I mentioned a few above, and a few more above that, and with some real creative thinking it could offer a whole lot more.

        Company philosophy, ideology, and goals are the real keys to success, and in today's market the creative application of them, in as many ways as possible (as mentioned, and there are lots more), is simply put... good business, in what ever country one operates in.

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