Driving many discussions at Davos this year is how yesterday's emerging markets have become today's 'growth' markets and tomorrow's future. With these discussions in mind, I was motivated to hear what David Kirkpatrick, a columnist with The Daily Beast and the author of The Facebook Effect had to say in the session Building Tomorrow's Enterprise.
The conversation kicked off with a general consensus that while the new growth markets are critical to global economic growth, the types of products and services that are demanded in these developing countries can't mirror those produced in mature markets. Goods and services that map against cultural requirements and socioeconomic demographics are a must.
As rightly pointed out by Zhu Min, a special advisor to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in a previous session, "There's one billion people living in advanced economies and three billion people living in the emerging market. If you ask everyone in the emerging market what is your life model tomorrow, they will say American life — big house and a big 4X4 car. But it won't work because we actually don't have the resources to support the whole thing. So the whole world has to work together to figure out a model for tomorrow."
Enterprises and environments should be modeled on what people want in the growth markets, not what regulatory forces dictate. In Davos, there's been plenty of talk about collaboration between countries and industries but what hadn't been discussed was the collaboration between corporations and their employees, and governments and corporations to ensure inclusivity for all employees, regardless of race, religion or language.
One of the biggest challenges in today's enterprises is the diversity of culture in the workplace. Employers and governments alike, must respond to create a new environment that meets today's demands and not yesterday's. Employees in growth markets are becoming more demanding — they want flexible and part-time working, equal working rights for women, childcare support, maternity and paternity leave, the ability to network and employee friendly benefits; the same as the mature markets.
Likewise, the employers must also determine how to manage the diversity of the workforce, which is made up of people with differing languages, religion and ethnicity.
However, there is a disconnection between what workforces are seeking, the challenges that employers are facing, and the current government legislation. Regulatory frameworks and legislation are outdated.
They must be modernised to accommodate the lifestyles and diversity of today's workers, so that all employees are included. For example, only recently in India has the concept of the local government reached all towns and areas, whereby it has been law to have 30 per cent of the council in agreement before legislation is passed. Such democratic behaviour must be extended to all areas of life.
It was no wonder then that David's presentation really resonated with me. To establish today's growth markets, there needs to be cross-segment collaboration between employees and corporations as well as corporations and governments. This will help modernise the infrastructure that will empower the population of developing countries to have the equal political, social and economic rights, as those in mature markets.