Preston Smith's Corner

How can we take advantage of globalization’s product development opportunities?

October 2005 Quick Tip

The world is undergoing some enormous changes, and you are likely to be either a victim or a beneficiary of them. For example, some people in the United States worry about job losses due to outsourcing (for example, see the book, Outsourcing America. However, job losses are a far larger threat to some developing countries, which can ill afford them.

But, being product developers, these displacements also create great opportunities for those who watch trends and think creatively – and globally! For example, Paul Laudicina, in his recent book, World-Out-Of-Balance, illustrates how General Electric spotted trends in world water shortages and air pollution and turned them into profitable, growing new businesses.

Laudicina describes three areas that will affect product developers: global market shifts, closing some markets and opening others; changes in how consumers evaluate, use, and dispose of products; and demographic, environmental, and regulatory changes in how we will be able to develop products. These changes stem from five broad factors: globalization, demographics, consumers, natural resources and the environment, and regulation and the environment.

What to do? I suggest that we start thinking out of the box – or, in this case, way beyond the 12-mile limit from our shores. I was amazed today at how insular my thinking was when I looked at the list of product developers to whom I’m sending this Quick Tip – from a nominally American firm. The ten most numerous names on the list are, in order: Chan, Wong, Lee, Smith, Wang, Tan, Johnson, Zhang, Cheung, and Li!

(c) Copyright 2013 Preston G. Smith. All Rights Reserved.

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