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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  • Jun 1 2013: In my hometown, Lenoir, NC, we have a bumper sticker. It says S.L.O.B. That is, Support Locally Owned Businesses. A global brand is really no different than a mom and pop shop downtown. The only difference is the scale in which they are working with. Brands like Band-Aid, Windex, Apple, etc. all have earned something that keeps us coming back for more: trust. For the campaign on local businesses to continue to thrive, small companies need to take the first step in getting their name out there. Using social media, word of mouth, advertising, and other means of spreading the word, their businesses will grow. Upon growing, consumer trust will strengthen the backbone of the business. Larger companies have found that being local can really help consumer confidence. Hiring great employees to work as advisors for the company's products can help tie the global Fortune 500 companies to a small town, USA.

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