Watch the clip and see if you can work out what’s wrong with the world…
Recently, while searching for video for our new website, this clip was the best we could find. I thought I’d found what we’d needed in finally locating a globe that didn’t start and end on the USA or Europe, only to discover some fairly significant issues. Did you notice them? Tasmania is missing, as is half of Indonesia, and some rather strange things have happened to the Malaysian peninsula.
It is all too easy to overlook the local, or to define the world in the eyes of the beholder with scant regard to the ‘detail’ on the ground. What did you do when you looked at the map? Typically we first locate our home. Once we have oriented ourselves, only then do we scan the periphery and ‘other’ spaces. If our home space isn’t accurately defined, recognised, acknowledged and respected we turn off, log off, or react with anger. Our respect for those who have ignored or misrepresented us is greatly diminished. We can feel ‘unseen’ and invisible in the eyes of the other.
When operating globally it is critical we recognise, engage with and respect the local. This does not only require defining the ‘boundaries’ accurately and seeing what is local, but engaging with local perspectives, opinions and ensuring collaborative and two-way engagement. Such engagement enables honest feedback and the challenging of (mis) perceptions and an essential education on what’s really going on at the local level.
As was discovered by the US forces in Afghanistan, and as is so often discovered by multinational companies attempting to sell standard products in local markets, the local matters. The capacity to ensure local participation, engagement, collaboration and partnership can make or break a mission, project or business. Skills in intercultural collaboration, cross-cultural engagement and partnership are critical and must be front and centre of any effective global/local engagement.