Wednesday, 31 August 2011

€50,000 Virtual Treasure Hunt

Dedopulos is the creator of The Great Global Treasure Hunt on Google Earth. He is a digital hobo (and traveller) who surfs the virtual world for treasure. He comes from a line of people who purchased land with a title from a Doge of Venice! Here Dedopulos is, generations later, on a quest for a different type of treasure.

Saving a National Treasure
On the treasure hunt you use the clues in the book (and your constant connection to the Google Earth website) to find the location of the treasure. The treasure hunt ends on the 31st March, 2012.

Help Us Out Here George?

If George Clooney, in Up In The Air, can’t convince us that we only need a backpack and not a home, can Google convince us that we only need a computer and a wired mindset to find treasure?

I like this game. I like that it is about the world and that I need to figure out where, why, and what I’m looking for to find the place I need to be. In the virtual world we get limitless potential for adventure and exploration, but can we put a pin in the virtual space and feel we found treasure? A great quest in the style of Don Quixote.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Crossing Borders Emotionally

Rosetta Stone’s new advert, Understanding, decodes how language skills help you give and receive emotions.

In the advert, the people explain how they’ve reached hearts, given relief, flirted, and felt more creative after using their new language skills. Many of the real people are holding photographs of themselves, and the things they have seen, expressing visually their connection to people and places.

Need Help?

An international assignment is an emotional journey. The more you prepare for the emotional transformations that you will experience, the more likely you are to manage them. You can learn about what you need to know on my before-you-go training course.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Making Days Out Fun

Moving shots
You can prepare your family for a move to a new country by learning about pop culture. If you are moving to India you can start watching Bollywood movies with your kids. If you are moving to Australia you can start learning about the indigenous people.

When I travel, I try to create experiences before, during, and after.

I get books about the life of a famous people in the country and give it as a gift to the person.
When I take pictures I use my cultural knowledge to create visual commentary, not just snapshots of the buildings you visit.
I try to integrate the experience into our lives. The most fun we have had with this is creating fictional days out being the characters we researched.

FIGT is looking for proposals for presentation at its conference next year in Washington DC. The conference is in March from 29-31th.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

The Sword of Damascus

India has the capacity for greatness. Damascus steel, originating in India before the technique moved to Persia, was legendary in the Middle Ages when warriors used the steel to create swords. But, the technique was lost and other metals where discovered and used, but if past performance is the best indication of future performance then India can innovate again.

Global Strengths

India is a large country with a young, educated workforce. They can leverage this drive to create growth. A growing middle class can create optimistic entrepreneurial ideas and a demand for consumer and lifestyle goods.

New ways of delivering products
India lacks formalisation, which can enable innovation and growth more easily than mature economies that have always done it that way and don’t want to change!

Despite this, the hotel sector in India is hiring expats to standardise the sector and compete internationally.

India’s ties to English imperialism left an underdeveloped state and an unhealthy population, but it also left English as a global language for business.

The outsourcing of call centres leverages global economies of scale, language skills and Indian trained business leaders, like the Banga brothers, are getting CEO jobs in Western companies.

The proximity of India and its developmental focus on technology has made it different in character from China. India has a huge mobile phone sector. Any ideas on internal development of India should integrate products and service designed to be delivered on mobiles.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Ordering Abroad

One of the first things you need to learn when going abroad is how to order.

European or American style?
The easy way to do this is to learn the country's signature dish. Countries like to showcase their cuisine and if you know what to ask for you can easily order the local delicacy (even if you don’t know the language).

If you are on an international assignment in the UK go for a Chicken Tikka Massala – an Indian dish invented in Glasgow. If you are in Singapore, ask for Laksa – a spicy noodle dish.

This method works for drinks too. But, if you’ve done some research into a local beer, don’t be surprised if you can’t order it in a local bar. You may have better luck asking for artisanal bars and local breweries.

Tips on Ordering in a Foreign Language or Foreign Country
  • Use one well- known word that enables you to communicate
  • Understand cultural style and difference in the things you already know (French fries with ketchup in the US and mayo in Belgium), use phrases like “I want that European style”
  • Expect to dislike some adventurous choices and be bold
  • Ask how people order. Are they polite, or do they order quickly… and then practice the method so that you feel confident when you go to order.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

How Would You Reinvent Peckham?

Local knowledge of Peckham in symbols
One of the places that I lived in London was Peckham. I watched with sadness and a little shock to see the kids rioting at the end of our street! When I lived there I noticed that there are a lot of butchers, people playing football, small but interesting boutique shops, the people are kind (the animals aren’t scared), and that people need money. From the riots I leaned that what they really, really want is a flat screen tv!

If Peckham wants to create wealth and compete in the world then it should try to create a cluster (from its strengths). Learning about globalisation and competitiveness shows that the countries that can grow the fastest and sustain their lead have clusters of people drawn together to work in an industry; Detroit for cars, silk in China, medicine in Edinburgh!

So far the ideas from me and my business partner are:

  • Rio Ferdinand’s Twitter Football Academy
  • A recreation of Gangs of New York tweeted on someone’s mobile!  
  • An Argentinean soccer team relocated to Peckham for the meat and boutique shopping.

What do you think you can create in Peckham from these already existing powerful components?  

Friday, 12 August 2011

Bad Global Bosses

Need a getaway car?
If your job isn't working abroad it's a different conversation. At home you can leave the company and get another job without being deported! Many international assignees have visas linked to their company; if you leave the company, you lose the right to stay.

How Do I Spot a Bad Global Boss?

Before you go on your international assignment you should ask the people who work in the host country what the corporate culture is like. Is it aggressive, paternalistic, or collective? You can use Hofstede to understand different countries' approaches to culture. Create questions designed to find out how you will be treated. Are there bad stories too?

Warning Signs

Corporate cultures vary from place to place. Here are some red flags:
  • Favoritism to local employees
  • Erratic hiring and firing practices
  • Headquarters-driven culture
  • Short-term international assignments. 

Negotiate an Exit Strategy

Under these circumstances you need to work together with HR and your manager on an exit strategy. You may need to start the negotiation and explain your needs. Try to explain the problems in terms of culture or circumstance and ask for a relocation package. If they won't provide any support then you can feel confident that you spotted a bad global boss!

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Finding Channels...

Twitter provides a way to understand how countries are linked together.

Connecting with who?
You can learn about how ideas, people, events, and products are viewed by large groups in different parts of the world.

A large trend in one country isn’t on the list in another. Follow the path through the topics and build a mental picture of the flow of information.

If you want to promote a global brand and you are looking for a way to get the greatest impact from your efforts, research into the channel and use it to build momentum and growth.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Who Does Captain America Owe?

Check out this list of creditor countries. Capt America owes money to China, Japan, the UK and several other countries. Important to know that Captain America owes the most debt to himself.

JP Morgan Unmarked Building (right)
If America hadn't reached an agreement to raise the debt ceiling what would have happened in the global markets? Would Captain China have asked to repossess California? Would Japan have bailed out the US?

The Panic of 1907 has interesting parallels with the global banking crisis and the negotiations on the debt ceiling today.

J.P. Morgan helped create and resolved these issues. He raised million to keep banks and the stock market open. He died with $80 million and at the end of his life, Rockefeller said, “And to think, he wasn’t even a rich man.”

Learn more about the current systemic global banking system in this paper by the Bank of England.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Can You Use Storytelling?

Storytelling can be an outlet for you to describe your personal journey.

War-Torn Assignments
Egyptian Protests © Mosa'ab Elshamy

If you are assigned to parts of the world where there is conflict, how do you reconcile your home and host culture?

Jon Amiel, the movie director, recently talked about war and its representation in film at the Royal United Services Institute in London.

Sometimes war films are more light-hearted and sometimes they are more realistic. Amiel talked about how our emotional relationship to war changes over time and how movie executives and film makers reflect these changes in the movies they make. 

Storytelling in Business

Being able to tell a great story adds a dimension to your ability to communicate. Dramatisation of information can be more interesting and more memorable than written reports.

Fiction can also tell a story and reach a person when the real story doesn’t. If you need to create change in a global team, storytelling skills can cross cultural boundaries and help you create understanding.

Need Some Help?

There are lots of teach yourself books for writing. I read several before I wrote my first screenplay. I was influenced by the History channel and my travels, which I used to create the scenes in the screenplay.

If you need a coach to help you write about your stay in another culture, Jo Parfitt has a course that helps you write your life story. Send me a copy, I’d like to read it.