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 30 2013: I think we also benefit from discussions around considering LOCAL - and how we define what LOCAL means -- as a function of ownership, rather than solely as a function of geography.

    Global businesses can truly be part of the destination and the local community when they adopt innovative new models of ownership, which include more than just hiring a percentage of employees locally or donating to local charities. That thought may not sit well with many corporate boards or shareholder groups, but that must be part of the discussion.

    Global brands can be active members of the community when they have a stake in the future of the community. There are proven processes corporations can work through to thoughtfully develop meaningful policies and implement social responsibility into organizational culture. Making meaningful connections requires a long-term view and commitment to more than just the bottom line.
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      May 30 2013: So you are proposing more shared-ownership brands?
    • May 31 2013: Hey Billy, I hear what you're saying. Although many large hotels these days are locally owned; they're just flagged with global marques such as InterContinental who operate, distribute, sell and market the properties. Sometimes the brands will have an equity stake, sometimes not. But from what I'm hearing in the industry, that is becoming even less so moving forward. Hotel brands are more and more divesting themselves of ownership due to the volatility of real estate in the last 10 years across so many different global markets.

      It would be cool if someone from IHG wants to refute/confirm/adjust that.

      Billy, curious to hear more about: "There are proven processes corporations can work through to thoughtfully develop meaningful policies and implement social responsibility into organizational culture."

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