A few days ago, I listened to a politician discuss the challenge of replacing a bridge in his state. Everyone agreed that it was the right thing to do but no one was willing to take on the challenge because of the unknown risk attached to it. For him, the benefit of trying seemed greater than the reality of standing still and so he did what everyone said was impossible and built a better bridge.
I think this is where we stand today. With some of the scariest parts of the pandemic behind us (hopefully) we all find ourselves looking past our own borders and into the world and wondering if we can return to the global ecosystem of just a few months ago. The world certainly looks different today and the unknown of what it might look like tomorrow is vast. How do we restart, reengage, rebuild what we had before? Will the risk be too high? Have we lost too much already?
Is it worth it?
Without a doubt the benefit is greater than the reality of just standing still.
After World War 2 the world became more open and accessible and better because of it. The post-Cold War world developed as even more intertwined and interrelated and is better for it. In today’s world we have better systems, better products, better ideas, better processes, and better businesses because we have the influence of so many cultures, minds and ideas coming together.
During the past decade we at IIB and the Kelley school have worked on projects throughout the world including Myanmar, the West Bank, Jordan, China, Thailand, India, Kenya, Barbados, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Ghana, Botswana, Guatemala, and Indonesia. The one thing that holds true across all of these places – is that our work, our ideas, and we as individuals are all made better by being a part of the world community.
At the Kelley School and IIB we are committed to helping reimagine how global business succeeds at its best level. To meet the challenges of our new normal we are dedicated in aiding businesses as they restart their engines – to prove that the world is irrepressible beyond our expectations. Alongside our partners in business, government and society we will all come together to meet this and the next challenge with resourcefulness and resiliency.
Is it hard and likely to be harder in the near term? Of course. Will it be exactly like before? Of course not – but maybe it will be even better.
Even in these times of uncertainty we need to find the courage and the inspiration to build them and continue to cross them.
Institute for International Business