A Survey on Global Handshakes

From Anne Giles Clelland, president of Handshake Media, Incorporated, a VT KnowledgeWorks member company. A version of this post first appeared on Handshake 2.0.

Martin Houdbine and Charles-Eric Gorron of Artbeating The World Is Flat by Thomas Friedman is now in a 3.0 version, but when I read it five years ago, I didn't have a high-tech start-up with high-growth dreams, and I certainly had not done business internationally other than as a consumer.  Now that I do have that company and have done business internationally, if only minimally, I have become thoughtful about Friedman's premise about the oneness of the global economy.

I'm not alone. I am studying work by Pankaj Ghemawat, professor of global strategy at the IESE Business School in Barcelona, and author of World 3.0: Global Prosperity and How to Achieve It. In The Cosmopolitan Corporation (Harvard Business Review, May 2011), Ghemawat writes:

For every article or book you read about the world being flat, you’ll read another that highlights the rise of state capitalism and the economic rivalries between China, India, and the United States. It’s worth reemphasizing that the world is neither a collection of autonomous nations (World 1.0) nor perfectly flat (World 2.0), but semiglobalized, with some places being much closer to home than others. In such a world, rooted cosmopolitanism is a more realistic and, ultimately, more useful objective than statelessness.

The concept of "some places being much closer to home than others" seems in keeping with the VT KnowledgeWorks Global Partnership's recommendations for regional economic development. While those recommendations are addressed to "cities with strong universities," I used them as criteria by which to evaluate my own company "going global" as I attempt to contribute to my locale becoming "among the globally competitive regions as the economy of the 21st century evolves."

I am finding my company's current greatest strength and contribution to be in "deliberately creating multi-layered global networks."  Those networks are with people and they, of course, are what Handshake 2.0 is all about – "It's still who you know." 

With regard to globalization, Ghemawat writes that an estimated 90% of the world's population will never leave home, yet "it’s the people who are their [corporations'] customers, employees, investors, and suppliers."  He asserts, "…a global strategy and a global organization…must be based not on the elimination of differences and distances among people, cultures, and places, but on an understanding of them."

Let's start "close to home" with understanding of self first, then others.  To aid in the process of understanding each of our companies in a region that is part of a global economy, I invite you to take the Global Handshake Survey.  We'll share the results.  Feel free to leave thoughts, ideas and feedback in the comments.  Thanks!


Go straight to the Global Handshake Survey. 

Photo: Martin Houdbine and Charles-Eric Gorron share a global handshake at Handshake Media. They are two of the founders of France-based Artbeating which will experience acceleration services at VT KnowledgeWorks in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA during the summer of 2011.


The VT KnowledgeWorks Global Partnership Week offers university students, faculty, and business professionals from all over the world a chance to collaborate, form partnerships and interact on a completely unique and exciting level in Blacksburg and Roanoke, Virginia, USA.

The VT KnowledgeWorks Global Partnership is a three-layered, ongoing cooperative association of regions building permanent social, academic, and commercial relationships with each other, honoring their mutual best interests and for mutual long-term advantage.

The VT KnowledgeWorks Global Directory mobile application offers members of the VT KnowledgeWorks Global Partnership community a way to find and connect with each other.

Sponsors of the VT KnowledgeWorks Global Partnership Week include: Allegheny Brokerage Company, Inc., CCS-Inc., Economic Development Authority of Montgomery County, VA, G.J. Hopkins Inc., Interactive Achievement, Inc., LeClairRyan, LewisGale Hospital – Montgomery, Newport News Shipbuilding, a Division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, Novozymes, Rackspace, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), StellarOne, TechLabThird SecurityThe Branch Group Inc., VPT, Inc.

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