Why you should tour the world

Young people today are lucky ! Opportunities to travel abroad are countless. You only need guts and…some money. but money is never an issue if motivation is high. “With a penny, courage and determination, you can move a mountain” my grandfather used to say !

I must not convince my young students to tour the world. They’re ready for it. But when I’m talking to older buds, they say “yes I should do it but…” and then comes a number of good/bad reasons for not doing it. “I don’t have time”, “I have to care for the family”, I cannot stop my work now”,…. that’s what I hear and I understand that. However, these are wrong assumptions.

I know people who moved the whole family for a while in a removed country. I know some others who stopped working for 6 months to engage on a world Tour. I know very busy friends who found the time to go help a poor village inhabitants in Nepal. They all found solutions and they came back as a better and happier person.

From a business standpoint, travelling abroad is always valuable. Travellers come back with a broader view of the world. They enlarge their vision. They discover new standards. It’s all beneficial for their job performance. They’re more confident, more ambitious, more willing to change their minds. All good for their company.

I always recommend to my friends entrepreneurs to save time for travelling and, if possible, alone. It’s a good opportunity to think about the future of your business. You’re out of day to day shit ! You can be yourself, make new plans, see different people, resource your energy. Leaders need to be fed with ideas if they want to better lead !

Now, be careful not to go for stupid touring. Intelligence is the art of moving your brain.  Care for your analytical intelligence and your emotional intelligence. Smart travelling means more than taking photos in front of the Tour Eiffel ! It means discovering people, visiting entreprises or attending courses and conferences, also visiting trade fairs or others. Smart travelling will not go without a travel journal where you will record your impressions, your feelings and your discoveries. Taking note will fix your ideas. They will get back to you at the right moment.

So, if you don’t travel enough, or if you never did it at all, it’s time to note it in your new year resolutions ! Get organized ! Have a project ! Find the time and the money !

Yes you can !

Be inspired !

 

 

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5 ideas to stay informed of global trends

 

Last week I addressed a group of CEO’s and entrepreneurs in a key note called “the CEO Agenda”. One of the recommendations I gave them was to always stay abreast of new trends happening in the world as new trends are the waves on which you can build strategies.

One of them questioned me: “How can I do that ? I’m overloaded by work and I’m not a specialist of trend analysis”. He’s right. If you don’t save some time for watching trends, then you implicitly decide to live in the present instead of the future. And today, the present is already the past !

So, here are 5 ideas to pick up about staying on tune.

  1. Follow trends watching websites

There are a number of these out there on the internet. Trendwatching.com and faithpopcorn.com are famous ones for consumer behaviors, but you can find a number about economics, technology, industry, etc. Choose one or two of them and follow them each week. It’s better than shopping ideas around the internet with no precise goal. I also recommend to log in to TED regularly http://www.ted.com. Book one hour of your time every 2 weeks and follow a TED talk. It’s brilliant.

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  1. Read futurologists

John Naisbitt http://www.naisbitt.com was one of the first futurologists who wrote books about what he called “megatrends”. You need to hunt for this litterature or find reports edited by consulting firms. See examples like http://www.kpmg.com/Global/en/…/future…/future-state-2030-v3.pdf or http://www.frost.com/prod/servlet/cpo/213016007

It’s enough to read one book each year or one report every three months about the future. It will give you a sense of the long term. It will help you detect waves on which to build your future strategies.

  1. Get interested in contemporary art

Contemporary art is a barometer of emerging trends. Postmodernism, a characteristic of today society, started as a broad movement that developed in the late-20th century across philosophy, the arts, architecture… (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postmodernism). Choose an art that moves you (graphic art or music or else) and look for its newest expressions. Try to spot the most advanced artists, those who appear to be out of norms, and study their output. It will unsconsciously train your mind to avant-garde and make yourself more open to new ideas.

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  1. Visit the most trendy cities

Future happens in some places in the world. Silicon Valley for hightech and entrepreneurship, Boston, USA fo education, Milan, Italy for fashion, Singapore for media and communication industries, London for everything ! You can also travel to Seoul, Tokyo, Paris or Frankfurt. If you don’t have the chance or budget to travel these cities, get into them on line. Look at all new things happening in New York for example ! Be persistent ! Try to become a specialist ! What’s happening there at this moment will happen soon everywhere in the world.

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  1. Watch generations under you

One of the reasons I’m always in line with what’s new is that I’m always with younger people. It’s fabulous when you don’t consider new things as weird but as a subject of interest. When my children were teens, I was interested in their music. When meeting young students, I learn new words, new tools, new behaviors. So, don’t stay in your generation ghetto ! If you’re generation X, meet generation Y. If you’re generation Y, go for Z ! Toots Thielemans, a world famous jazz musician recently died at 90+ (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toots_Thielemans). He was quoted to say: “Does it make any sense to always play the same music as 50 years ago ? People are not expecting that from me. My ears are turned on to the future. I’m not living in the past“.

All in all, it’s about curiosity. Trends are emerging everywhere every time in front of us. We live in the theater where the actors of future times are playing. Just have this routine to be always curious about everything new. Forget about your immediate work, people who are usually around you. Don’t work too much on details. And think !

Be inspired !

Megatrend – Urban world: The global consumers to watch

Here is a very interesting report on the future of urban consumption… Read it or keep it and…be inspired !

Urban world: The global consumers to watch

http://www.mckinsey.com/global-themes/urbanization/urban-world-the-global-consumers-to-watch?cid=other-eml-nsl-mip-mck-oth-1604

Brazil – Vietnam

I heard and read quite a lot this week about Brazil economical and political problems they have to fight these times. Brazil had a strong growth  economy and a bright future ahead backed by a rich culture. it all collapsed because the high level of corruption at all levels in the country. The main Brazilian oil company, Petrobras, has lost 4/5 of its value in a few years, now dropping to the lowest and causing the fall of the economy as a whole. This company was at the source of a corruption network that impacted all infrastructures in the country.

When i read this, it made me think at my beloved Vietnam. Growth is there but corruption is also high. Putting apart the moral issue, corruption leads to inefficiencies at best and economic disasters at worst. It makes business uncompetitive and populations angry.

I hope Vietnamese new generation leaders, a good number of which having been foreign educated, will do what is needed to conduct a sound development of the country.

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