“Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate”. – Mark 10:9
The opening paragraph of a February 2007 article by Sharon White entitled: “The Shrinking Global Village” reads as follows: “In the early 1960s, Canadian theorist Marshall McLuhan coined the phrase “global village” to describe how television brought information, entertainment and culture into living rooms around the world”.
The Internet Protocol Skype service, as a means of global personal and business communication, is a further manifestation of the phrase Shrinking Global Village. Your friends and family are right there on your laptop or phone in full glory communicating and sharing documents in real time and in individual or conference mode.
In its identification window, Skype has provision for a “mood message” which is a simple opportunity for the user to share content and environment. The mood message could be witty, a quote, a web link or any random piece of information you would like everyone to see. I usually change my mood message at the beginning of the year, somewhat like a New Year’s resolution. My current message is “2015 innovation in the Caribbean”.
In January, in Trinidad, we launched the Global Business Innovation Corporation (GBIC) to promote the Caribbean Food Business Innovation Revolution with a vision to transform the Caribbean agricultural, agro-processing and food and beverage sectors, driving economic growth, tourism and employment.
The private sector-led, government assisted, Barbados Entrepreneurship Venture Capital Fund (BEVCF) was launched in November 2009 and its well developed and innovative, business systems were pilot tested for a little more than two years with pleasing results.
In February 2015, we conceptualized a rebirth of the BEVCF to morph it into the wider spread Quick Response Caribbean Seed/Equity/Loan Fund with capitalization coming from angel investment funds, diaspora and regional corporate social responsibility interests, corporate and individual private sector investment, micro-finance institutions, credit unions, government development banks, traditional venture capitalists, crowdfunding platforms and sponsors. This will be coupled with a central government once off investment into a revolving and growth seed capital component of BEVCF.
In March, I was formally introduced to an innovative Caribbean-based crowdfunding platform which I am sure will be very attractive among entrepreneurs or value chain coordinators as they encourage business growth.
Over the next few months there will be many more exciting innovations coming across my bow, including: (1) refining the ManOBiz Matrix™ as an effective dashboard monitoring device for start-ups, re-births, spin-offs and scale-ups; (2) 3D modeling applications in Trinidad and Tobago and beyond; (3) launching of the first season of the TV Reality series “Bank On Me” in Trinidad; (4) developing and commercializing a smart phone app to expose the younger generation to West Indian cricketing history; and (5) a book on “Shepherding – How to Grow an economy, one successful business after another”.
On the politico-economic scene in the UK, my sister Helen emailed me to say that she had written to the BBC as follows: “For the sake of having a stable government, in the event that there needs to be a coalition government after the general election in June 2015, I believe that the conservative and labour parties should form an innovative coalition government. This would produce a government supported by two-thirds of the electorate, would give security to the financial market, would prevent a minority government from been held to ransom by single interest parties. Such a government could address the reasonable concerns of the smaller parties. Also with a bit of luck it would stop the puerile exchanges between the two main parties in Parliament.
“The policies of labour and conservative are not that far apart and the people would get real centre ground politics. Could they be grown up enough to do this?”
She continued: “The only time that the conservative and labour parties joined together was during the war so no doubt this would be anathema to them but actually better for the nation. I am not holding my breath”.
I thanked her for sharing and commented that I believe that Switzerland is the only country “mature” enough to do this and I pointed out that such a strategy was even more relevant in the small economies of the Caribbean. I then extracted a section from my column entitled: “Leadership and Prosperity” on Jan 13, 2014 as follows:
“We need to learn from the successful Governance Model in Switzerland where you get the best resources in the country combining for the national good. The politics of Switzerland take place in the framework of a multi-party federal directorial democratic republic, whereby the Federal Council of Switzerland is the head of government and head of state. Executive power is exercised by the government and the federal administration and is not concentrated in any one person. Federal legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of the Federal Assembly of Switzerland”.
In case you missed it, there was an article last week on a study undertaken by the Central Bank of Barbados which is supporting arguments that devaluation of currencies will not improve price competitiveness in very small open economies like those in the Caribbean. The conclusion was that “In small economies, devaluation is more likely to cause high inflation and economic contraction, rather than economic growth”. Nothing innovative about that conclusion but at least it reminds of a constraint we should remember when pursuing innovative solutions for all.
Let us resolve to be innovative in finding solutions for our political, economic, spiritual, intellectual, emotional, financial, business, environmental, and healthy lifestyles; let us work together for the common good rather than fritter away our slender resources fighting against each other.
(Dr. Basil Springer GCM is Change-Engine Consultant, Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust Inc. – CBET. His columns may be found at www.cbetmodel.org and www.nothingbeatsbusiness.com.)