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International Business

Global Business Hub blog moves over to BetaBoston

Posted by Chad O'Connor April 1, 2014 02:00 AM

Dear loyal readers:

No, this isn't an April Fool's Day joke. This blog has moved over to BetaBoston.

You'll still be able to access the old content here, but the new stuff going forward will be there.

Special thanks to everyone at who has helped to make this possible over the years. Looking forward to a new home with more great content to come!

Best regards,

Mastering the art of French e-commerce

Posted by Chad O'Connor March 27, 2014 10:30 AM

French native Isabelle Beck was born in Lyon, France. Recipient of an Award for being “the youngest lawyer in France,” she began practicing law at the age of 20. After a successful 34-year career as an attorney in France, Isabelle decided to begin a second life in the US. Following her passion for art, decoration, and beautiful products, she moved to Massachusetts in 2013 and founded Your French Gift to bring the best of France to the US.


Clean cookstoves: fighting climate change, saving lives

Posted by Chad O'Connor March 22, 2014 06:00 AM

Nearly 3 billion people around the world cook on open fires or use traditional cooking methods that damage the environment and cause 4 million deaths annually through illness and injury. One solution to this problem is the distribution of clean cookstoves to replace traditional cooking methods.


Entrepreneurs find their pot of gold in Ireland

Posted by Chad O'Connor March 16, 2014 06:00 AM

When people think Ireland, they tend to think leprechauns, potatoes and Guinness. But as many established and emerging companies are realizing, there’s much more to it than that. Offering government and venture capital funding, tax incentives, a robust research environment and a highly skilled workforce, Ireland is rapidly emerging as a major business hub—and the go-to destination for technology startups.


Transatlantic collaboration, innovation lead to green energy opportunities

Posted by Chad O'Connor March 4, 2014 06:00 AM

Both the UK and Massachusetts have adopted groundbreaking legislation to curb emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases and have each discovered that rethinking energy policy offers tremendous new opportunities for economic development.


Gauging Olympic Games ROI

Posted by Chad O'Connor February 24, 2014 11:00 AM

With the closing of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, residents in the region of Sochi in Krasnodar Krai of the Russian Federation are asking what is next for their economic future. This topic is also of great interest for future hosting cities of the Olympic Games.


Sochi Winter Olympics: winners and losers

Posted by Chad O'Connor February 22, 2014 06:00 AM

We're nearing the end of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games and as much fun as it is to watch the performance of the athletes on the snow and ice, it is also enjoyable to watch the corporate sideshow surrounding the Games as well. And with that in mind, it is increasingly clear who the winners and losers are - so let's get right to it!


Why should scientists care about the world's biggest trade deal?

Posted by Chad O'Connor February 18, 2014 06:00 AM

Politicians, business executives, and, yes, even foreign diplomats, often tout innovation for its ability to be a key driving factor for economic growth. But there are only a few special regions in the world that have tapped innovation’s true potential. Boston and the United Kingdom both make that list.


Harvard forum tackles key issues in global citizenship

Posted by Chad O'Connor February 15, 2014 06:00 AM

Boston’s vibrant civil society - universities included - produces a cornucopia of programming on international issues such as global health and international security. But this wealth of programming is often provided without a sense of guiding purpose and can be difficult for young people to make sense of. At Harvard, for instance, multiple organs of the university work independently on seemingly disconnected global issues.


Art, culture connect Boston to Peru and beyond

Posted by Chad O'Connor February 11, 2014 06:00 AM

[The We are the Creative Industries series: The Creative Industries - video game companies, design, marketing and architecture firms, and talented people who write books, design houses, shoot movies, make art and record music, just to name a few examples - are an important part of Massachusetts' economy, with $1 billion statewide impact and over 100,000 workers. Click here to learn more.]

I recently completed an international residency in Cusco, Peru at the Escuela Superior Autónoma de Bellas Artes. Living and working in another country was a challenge on many levels. Dealing with a language barrier, different electrical circuits for my power tools, foreign types of wood, and different chemicals and chemistry for products I rely on to finish my work was not easy. But it forced me to try new materials and techniques, and it pushed my work in a different direction, which in the end is what residencies are all about.

tags art, arts

MassEcon opens nominations for Corporate Welcome

Posted by Chad O'Connor February 8, 2014 06:00 AM

Do you know companies that have recently located in Massachusetts? If so, MassEcon wants to know.

The 6th Annual Corporate Welcome Reception will be held this upcoming April to welcome:

  • Companies that have moved to MA or started as new ventures since January 1, 2013

  • Companies from all regions of Massachusetts

  • Companies from multiple industry sectors

Executives from selected companies and their nominators will be invited to attend a reception with featured guest Secretary Greg Bialecki at Genzyme headquarters in Cambridge.

The nomination deadline is March 4th, 2014. For questions please contact Samantha Lordi at or 617-924-4600 x13.

International networking meets 3D printing

Posted by Chad O'Connor February 6, 2014 06:00 AM

At the January meeting of the International Executive Resources Group (IERG) Boston Chapter, the focus was on 3D printing, touted as an enabling platform for applications ranging from personalized medicine to personal drones. 3D printing will grow to an $8.4 billion market in 2025 in current applications like prototyping, molds, and tooling, as well as production parts in aerospace, automotive, medical, consumer goods, and electronics. However, as developers improve printing processes, equipment, and materials, they will enable truly new kinds of end products unrealizable with traditional methods.

tags tech

The economic impact of the Chinese Traveler: Is your business ready?

Posted by Chad O'Connor February 4, 2014 06:00 AM

For decades, Europeans, and in particular, visitors from the United Kingdom were the primary source of international tourism in the US. China’s rapid economic ascent has radically changed this landscape. Chinese visitors to the US have increased tenfold over the past decade. Chinese travelers are now the largest spenders internationally, outstripping the longstanding leaders-- the Germans-- by a wide margin. In 2012, Chinese tourists spent an astounding $102 billion abroad.

Every business - hotels, restaurants, retailers, universities, real estate agents and attorneys alike - should take note: business won’t be as usual.

tags China, tourism

5 things you might not know about Davos

Posted by Chad O'Connor February 1, 2014 02:00 AM

If you read the paper or flipped on the TV in January, you likely heard people talking about “Davos.” Davos refers to the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF), which takes place in Davos, Switzerland - a ski city in the Swiss Alps. Who gets to go? Heads of State, captains of industry, influential leaders of non-profit organizations and A-list celebrities. In addition, representatives from innovative start-ups across the globe are invited to the event each year.


Medtech startups gain huge advantages by looking to Ireland

Posted by Chad O'Connor January 30, 2014 06:00 AM

Boston’s Irish roots run deep and many local residents—including the city’s new mayor, Marty Walsh—are proud of their familial connections to the Emerald Isle. However, what many Bostonians don’t realize is that beyond personal lineages lies the potential for an incredible business connection with Ireland, as the country (much like Boston) is a global hub for the life-science industry.


Next generation of translators: Industry experts, digital natives

Posted by Chad O'Connor January 28, 2014 06:00 AM

A defining trend of translation services today is the increasing demand for not only language localization expertise, but technological expertise. For decades, translators only had one primary job: to translate. That makes sense when the project stays on paper. Technical documentation, marketing collateral and other materials can be handed over to a translator, and once translated, the job is complete.

tags tech

Improv Asylum training offshoot opens in Dublin

Posted by Chad O'Connor January 16, 2014 06:00 AM

For those of you who are regular readers of this blog it should come as no surprise that there have been a lot of great pro-business developments in Ireland. I was lucky enough to see it with my own eyes this summer, and it's been previously discussed by my good friend David Gallant during his time there for HubSpot, by Boston University's Art Rosenthal in a post on medtech startups, and by an entire delegation from Leading Cities headed by Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor candidate Mike Lake. So when a release crossed my desk that an Improv Asylum offshoot opened in Dublin, I took notice.


5 major players in the Africa startup ecosystem

Posted by Chad O'Connor January 10, 2014 06:00 AM

In case you haven't been paying attention recently, the overall economic forecast for Africa is strong. The continent is in growth mode according to the OECD and UN Economic Commission for Africa. That extends to the Africa startup ecosystem as well. Here are 5 major players you need to know!


How Mayor Walsh can support the Boston innovation economy

Posted by Chad O'Connor January 7, 2014 06:00 AM

Dear Mayor Walsh:

Boston’s innovation based economy has allowed the city to weather economic cycles more deftly than many other cites. Our proud heritage of innovation harkens back to the days when we dominated the textile industry. Our residents are talented and resourceful and this is reflected by the diversity of industry that thrives in Boston.


Greater Boston 2014 outlook: Entrepreneurial opportunity in the global innovation economy

Posted by Chad O'Connor January 6, 2014 06:00 AM

As we dig out of the first snowstorm of the year, we are reminded of one of the great appeals of Silicon Valley: the beautiful weather! And yet we both see - having just co-taught a course at MIT looking at entrepreneurial regions around the world – that Greater Boston and Massachusetts have many sources of competitive advantage that still make it a leading global hub for entrepreneurship and innovation, with new opportunities in 2014.


Hope for the holidays: Career Collaborative brings optimism

Posted by Chad O'Connor December 21, 2013 02:30 AM

One could view the holidays as a time of compassion fatigue, of maudlin sentimentality that takes our natural propensity for generosity and turns it into a kind of chore. With only a few days until Christmas, many of us are focused on buying last-minute gifts for friends and family, wrapping up our New Year’s plans for work and home, shoveling our cars out of the onslaught of winter cheer that made the Pike an utter monstrosity on Tuesday.


3 reasons why Boston is the hub of mobile advertising

Posted by Chad O'Connor December 20, 2013 11:00 AM

Boston is known for many things: world-class universities, some of the best hospitals and medical research centers in the world, and for being the sports hub of the US. It is also increasingly becoming known as a global hub of mobile advertising.

The reason is based on connecting Boston’s industries to a massive global dynamic: the unprecedented consumer shift to mobile. Mobile devices, content, games, social networks, etc. have changed the way people from across the global work, learn, and play.


Lake Lt. Governor campaign kickoff brings out Governor Dukakis, grassroots supporters

Posted by Chad O'Connor December 12, 2013 02:30 AM

Speaking to a packed house at Ben Franklin Institute of Technology for his official campaign kickoff event, Clinton White House appointee, President & CEO of Leading Cities, and Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor Mike Lake discussed his vision for the role as "Chief Marketing Officer" for the Commonwealth, noting that Massachusetts is in a global economy and "must be competitive in that global arena." Beyond discussing his international business credentials and his inspiring personal narrative of growing up the son of a high school-educated young widow, Lake discussed his campaign theme of what he refers to as the "Massachusetts Promise of opportunity that comes with high-quality education, job creation, and strong communities."

tags BWP, politics, WCCP

Sponsoring Sochi Winter Olympics athletes leverages brand value

Posted by Chad O'Connor December 11, 2013 11:00 AM

In the world of advertising and sports marketing we hold these truths to be self-evident:
- Content is king.
- Exclusive sports content is the most valuable content.
- The Olympic Games are the most valuable sports content of all.


3 reasons Boston dominates running brands

Posted by Chad O'Connor December 10, 2013 11:00 AM

[The We are the Creative Industries series: The Creative Industries - video game companies, design, marketing and architecture firms, and talented people who write books, design houses, shoot movies, make art and record music, just to name a few examples - are an important part of Massachusetts' economy, with $1 billion statewide impact and over 100,000 workers. Click here to learn more.]

Last week in Austin, TX running stores and running brands from around the country convened for The Running Event, the world’s largest conference and trade show for the running industry. My give-back running apparel company, Janji, made the 2,000 mile trip from Brookline to exhibit at The Running Event and expand the list of stores that carry our line of running apparel.


Hotel industry races to renovate in 2014

Posted by Chad O'Connor December 3, 2013 11:00 AM

[The We are the Creative Industries series: The Creative Industries - video game companies, design, marketing and architecture firms, and talented people who write books, design houses, shoot movies, make art and record music, just to name a few examples - are an important part of Massachusetts' economy, with $1 billion statewide impact and over 100,000 workers. Click here to learn more.]

If you check into a hotel over the holidays, there is a good chance it will be undergoing renovation. Here’s why: typically, major hotel renovations occur every seven years. But the economic meltdown in 2008 -- which shaved 15 percent off of occupancy rates in that one year for luxury hotels, as well as a significant drop in revenue per available room, according to the Wall Street Journal -- disrupted that cycle.


Your airport has something to tell you

Posted by Chad O'Connor November 27, 2013 06:00 AM

Are you a holiday traveler? A frequent business flyer? You may at this moment be stuck at the airport, staring at your mobile device, seeking distraction from the long lines and travel delays ahead.

Take a break to look around (then come back and finish reading). What is the airport telling you about where you are? Do you notice soaring architecture? Restaurants serving regional specialties? Sports shops hawking the jerseys of local teams? Advertisements for nearby museums? Do you feel that this airport you’re trapped in is consciously letting you know that it’s part of a larger place? A region? A city? A country?


Building global success

Posted by Chad O'Connor November 26, 2013 11:00 AM

The technology market is more competitive and complex than ever before. Building, growing and maintaining a global software company in an increasingly competitive market is no easy feat – take it from me, someone who has done it a few times. No matter the technology, however, there are a few key building blocks to use as you work to establish and quickly expand a business across key global markets.


Understanding the mobile workforce toolbox

Posted by Chad O'Connor November 25, 2013 11:00 AM

In the not-so-distant past, the phrase “mobile workforce” referred to salespeople and consultants who traveled every week and rarely spent time at a desk. These were the early adopters of cell phones and groundbreaking personal digital assistants (PDAs) (remember those?) like the Palm Pilot.


Lessons from three diplomats

Posted by Chad O'Connor November 23, 2013 06:00 AM

One of Boston’s great strengths lies in its power as a convening city – a global crossroads that brings together people from all walks of life, often in intellectual endeavors. And who better than three ambassadors, whose careers covered half the world, to describe the remarkable paths that led them to Boston.


Security, Privacy, Identity in Enterprise GRC (part 1)

Posted by Chad O'Connor October 29, 2013 11:00 AM

Part 1 – Policies and Procedures

Many organizations are developing enterprise-wide governance, risk management, and compliance (GRC) programs. GRC programs include governance (the processes by which executives and boards manage the enterprise), risk management (the processes by which management addresses risks to the enterprise), and compliance (the processes with which the enterprise complies with applicable laws and regulations). As enterprises become increasingly information-intensive, the protection of information assets is becoming more important in all three primary aspects of GRC programs.

tags IT, tech

Reflections on Connected Health Week

Posted by Chad O'Connor October 27, 2013 06:00 AM

A robot that assists nurses and helps lift patients.

A shoe insole that tracks stride and helps rehabilitation.

A mobile and web based platform that enables consumers to take an active role in their health and wellbeing.

As a judge for the third-annual Innovator’s Challenge, held during this week’s Partners Connected Health Symposium, these were just a few of the hundred or so game-changing technologies I was privileged to review that will impact the future of connected health.


MassChallenge Profile: MassChallenge Israel

Posted by Chad O'Connor October 26, 2013 06:00 AM

[Editor's Note: This week we are featuring MassChallenge startups as the anticipation builds towards next week's MassChallenge Awards Ceremony]

Another installment in our ongoing series to help innovative MassChallenge companies get the word out about what they offer and get connected with what they need to thrive.

With the 2013 MassChallenge Awards Ceremony coming up on October 30, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on one of MassChallenge’s major initiatives in 2013: MassChallenge Israel.

In 2009, John Harthorne and Akhil Nigam founded MassChallenge with a vision to catalyze a global startup renaissance - a rebirth of inspired, creative innovators who strive to create new value for the world. In our first year, MassChallenge saw applications from over 35 countries, but the idea of a global renaissance extended beyond application interest. Geographic expansion has long been a part of the MassChallenge vision and Israel was identified as the first node for that international expansion outside of Boston.


District Hall celebrates its opening in Boston Innovation District

Posted by Chad O'Connor October 25, 2013 11:00 AM

Everybody likes a party. Everybody wants to be invited (including our counterparts at The Hive). Apparently the good folks behind District Hall have taken that approach for its "launch" in making sure that the 12,000 sq. ft. steel and concrete community collaboration space in the Innovation District is a multi-day affair for officials and business leaders to get to know about the beautiful new facility during what has been an extended soft opening.


Edtech forum shares US, UK innovation

Posted by Chad O'Connor October 18, 2013 11:00 AM

Politicians, investors, teachers, entrepreneurs, and students are all part of the growing edtech conversation, and the “Learning Technologies: Sharing US and UK innovation and practice” session organized by the British Consulate and hosted at Microsoft New England Research & Development Center shed light on both how far we’ve come and a glimpse of where we’re heading.

tags education, tech, UK

A solo around-the-world entrepreneurship tour? Meet André Leonardo

Posted by Chad O'Connor October 17, 2013 11:00 AM

Having spent time in Portugal this summer I was encouraged by the early signs of its recovery with a strong future for startups. So when I heard that André Leonardo was readying to embark on an around-the-world journey, by himself for several months, to meet the entrepreneurial ecosystem I had to find out more...


Economic challenges prompt forward-looking plans and responses

Posted by Chad O'Connor October 11, 2013 11:00 AM

Leading Cities, an international research collaborative of municipal governments and universities focused on exchanging solutions to municipal challenges, facilitating business development and fostering government-to-government cooperation, is currently leading a delegation of Greater Boston's business, civic, academic and non-profit leaders on its annual Exchange Mission to explore Dublin, Ireland. Delegates will bring back their findings and look for opportunities to share and apply them in the Boston area, beginning with Leading Cities' annual Chatham Forum. Read the previous post in this series here and here.

DUBLIN -- Many aging cities have pondered what to do with their outdated, underused, and often deteriorating industrial buildings – sometimes blocks and blocks of them. Dublin was no different after a downward economic spiral in the 1970s and 1980s. The Docklands, a couple of hundred acres spread among the Royal and Grand Canals and the Liffey River in the older part of the city, had been virtually abandoned and seemed ripe for a shot of adrenaline.


Ireland knows what it means to do business

Posted by Chad O'Connor October 10, 2013 11:00 AM

Leading Cities, an international research collaborative of municipal governments and universities focused on exchanging solutions to municipal challenges, facilitating business development and fostering government-to-government cooperation, is currently leading a delegation of Greater Boston's business, civic, academic and non-profit leaders on its annual Exchange Mission to explore Dublin, Ireland. Delegates will bring back their findings and look for opportunities to share and apply them in the Boston area, beginning with Leading Cities' annual Chatham Forum. Read the previous post in this series here.

"Boston gets it, it really gets it. Your city is already doing much of what we are going to speak about today." It's a quote that delegates of Leading Cities have heard around the world for many years. In many ways, Boston has taken business center stage but as the world looks more aggressively outward, Boston must be careful not to become complacent in its business development agenda and it, too, must continue to look outward, far outward, knowing all the while that the world is watching, including our family and friends in Ireland.


Dublin: Leading Ireland’s recovery and future through investment in its entrepreneurial ecosystem

Posted by Chad O'Connor October 9, 2013 11:05 AM

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Over the summer I had a first-hand look at Ireland's recovery as documented on this blog. The next few days will show updated findings from Boston-based Leading Cities' current trip to Dublin.]

Leading Cities, an international research collaborative of municipal governments and universities focused on exchanging solutions to municipal challenges, facilitating business development and fostering government-to-government cooperation, is currently leading a delegation of Greater Boston's business, civic, academic and non-profit leaders on its annual Exchange Mission to explore Dublin, Ireland. Delegates will bring back their findings and look for opportunities to share and apply them in the Boston area, beginning with Leading Cities' annual Chatham Forum.

At a ceremony officially inducting the city of Dublin into the Boston-based Leading Cities Network, Enda Kenny, the Prime Minister of Ireland, said “we have to measure up and demonstrate competency, professionalism and the capacity to deliver.”


12 essential aspects of green cities

Posted by Chad O'Connor October 8, 2013 11:00 AM

For the first time in world history, more people live in cities than in rural areas. And that trend is not going away. By 2030, the UN expects that 60 percent of the world’s population will live in cities, and big cities will only get bigger. The good news is highly dense areas can be far more efficient settings, requiring fewer resources for more people to live. (Think of the reduced energy needed to move each person on a subway than in a car.) The challenge is to maximize the green potential of all elements of the city and its inhabitants.


DxB Week: Designers communicating across industries

Posted by Chad O'Connor October 4, 2013 11:00 AM

[The We are the Creative Industries series: The Creative Industries - video game companies, design, marketing and architecture firms, and talented people who write books, design houses, shoot movies, make art and record music, just to name a few examples - are an important part of Massachusetts' economy, with $1 billion statewide impact and over 100,000 workers. Click here to learn more.]

The word designer is a growing term in many industries today, and for good reason. I won’t attempt to name every job title with the term designer; frankly, this article has a word limit. Designers have expanded their reach to industries and organizations ranging from healthcare and pharmaceutical, service and entertainment, to investment banking and real estate.


Give your life away

Posted by Chad O'Connor September 24, 2013 11:00 AM

[The We are the Creative Industries series: The Creative Industries - video game companies, design, marketing and architecture firms, and talented people who write books, design houses, shoot movies, make art and record music, just to name a few examples - are an important part of Massachusetts' economy, with $1 billion statewide impact and over 100,000 workers. Click here to learn more.]

What will be your legacy? It is hard to know that one thing or those few things that will leave a lasting positive impact on our world. For instance, few would ever guess that a woman making Johnny cakes for her neighbors in the middle of the 20th century on the West Indian island of Nevis would later spark and inspire a world-class youth orchestra in Roxbury. This modest woman’s selfless act would have a powerful domino effect showing me the potent fruit of living generously.


High stakes, low engagement

Posted by Chad O'Connor September 23, 2013 11:00 AM

Why Massachusetts’ Technology Sector Needs to Stay in the Political Conversation After the Tech Tax Repeal

When technology leaders across the Commonwealth received notice of a new 6.25 percent software sales tax that had just made its way through the state legislature, the notoriously apolitical innovation economy went into a frenzy. Blindsided by the news of a new burdensome taxation that would severely impact their ability to succeed, technology companies of all sizes, specialties, and operating systems struggled to interpret a series of broad and overarching guidelines to figure out how they would be translated into regulations and delved into the financial specifics with CFOs to see if it would be possible to incorporate the new costs into their pricing schemes and contracts.


The need for sustainable disaster relief

Posted by Chad O'Connor September 19, 2013 11:00 AM

At the smallest level, we know not to use a bath towel one time before we toss it in the laundry. We teach our kids to turn off the faucet when they brush their teeth. As a society, we readily embrace the need to recycle our soda cans and water bottles. The same effort to conserve limited and fragile resources needs to be applied to disaster relief, so that we don’t continually increase our carbon footprint by helping victims of the very same elevated carbon footprint.


Europe in focus: Portugal progress toward startup success

Posted by Chad O'Connor August 30, 2013 11:00 AM

[Editor's Note: This is the final installment in a continuing series of comparative insights from the editor's summer travels in Europe. Previously featured were Dublin and London.]

Portugal has a bright outlook, and it's not just because of the beautiful weather. In meeting with the business and government community here there was a decided tone of optimism in spite of the bad economic news that is frequently reported. Yes, unemployment here is high (even higher for the young) but that doesn't deter the Portuguese from talking about the startup focused sea change they see coming in the next few years. Here's a snapshot of what's going on at just 3 exciting startup centers:


Europe in focus: London's Tech City

Posted by Chad O'Connor August 19, 2013 11:00 AM

[Editor's Note: Continuing the series begun with a focus on Dublin and the Irish recovery]

A while back we ran in this space what I consider to be a definitive and comprehensive piece on London's Tech City zone from Phil Budden and Fiona Murray. So while in London I had to come see it for myself to put it in it's proper context. And the visual results are thus: Cambridge, Massachusetts, you were clearly onto something with your recipe for the Boston area's tech success.


Europe in focus: 3 factors for a rising Dublin

Posted by Chad O'Connor August 12, 2013 11:00 AM

Editor's Note: As I travel through parts of Europe in August I will give periodic updates on what's going on with the the startup and larger business communities in various areas. This first installment will talk about Dublin.

Spending a few (surprisingly sunny) days in Dublin, the bustle of this city is striking. Dublin has strongly positioned itself internationally to grow its own tech community with an infusion of foreign-born talent and major-name companies (Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Yahoo!, Etsy, Indeed,, Marketo, Dropbox, and HubSpot who was featured here on this a while back...need I go on) anchoring the Grand Canal area and spreading out from there. Here are some observed and gathered musings on what's sparking this resurgence.... FULL ENTRY

Wheelock convenes global thought leaders to aid children and families

Posted by Chad O'Connor August 6, 2013 11:00 AM

Over 800 professionals—representing 5 continents from over 40 countries and 29 US states—in the fields of health, education and human rights convened in Boston recently, joining educators, human rights activists, philanthropists, and world leaders from across the social justice spectrum for the inaugural international conference—Global Challenges and Opportunities Facing Children, Youth & Families hosted by Wheelock College in honor of its 125th Anniversary.


3 keys for trade and innovation in Africa

Posted by Chad O'Connor July 11, 2013 11:00 AM

It is no longer a secret that several of the most attractive markets for trade and investment are in Africa.

The World Bank's Africa's Pulse blog reports that 25 percent of the countries in Africa grew at 7% or more in 2012, among the fastest growth rates growth rates in the world. Trade between Africa and the rest of the world has increased 200% since 2000. The proportion of people living in extreme poverty fell from 56% in 1990 to 47% in 2008 according the the 2012 Millennium Development Report. While average incomes are still low, several countries are seeing the emergence of a middle class which is impacting African societies on many fronts. For the first time, investments in consumer-facing ventures have become viable.


Design for understanding? Watch the Swiss.

Posted by Chad O'Connor June 4, 2013 11:00 AM

Revolutions in computing and communications have produced a relentless flood of information about our world and ourselves—right down to our DNA. Today, Boston’s research and technology sectors generate, process and interpret huge amounts of data across industries, from global business to personal genomics.

This information gives us fresh insight and new answers, but presents its own critical questions. Namely, how do we each understand it?


Medtech entrepreneurs taking startups to Ireland

Posted by Chad O'Connor May 31, 2013 11:00 AM

Irish heritage is deeply rooted in Boston’s cultural history. Over one hundred years after an influx of Irish immigrants seeking opportunity set the tone for Boston’s growth and development, there is a new “innovation exchange,” in which some Boston-based entrepreneurs, particularly those in the medtech sector, are choosing to locate their businesses in Ireland in order to expedite their path to success.

I am a champion of innovation and I am a proud Bostonian. And though I have no familial Irish roots, I found that locating my medtech startups—including Labcoat Ltd, Cappella, and most recently, gEyeCue Ltd—to the Emerald Isle was necessary to achieve my goals.


Global entrepreneurs: Family matters

Posted by Chad O'Connor May 16, 2013 11:00 AM

The numbers tell their own story. Immigrant entrepreneurs now make up nearly 1 out of 5 of all business owners in the Commonwealth, from shopkeepers that root and revive urban main streets to biotech startups chasing the next cancer cure. Some have called the risky gesture of hope and self-reinvention that is immigration an entrepreneurial act in itself! No wonder then that immigrants in the U.S. start businesses at twice the rate of natives, or that 60 percent of new business owners in Massachusetts in 2012 were foreign born. In the Boston area alone more than 8,800 immigrant small businesses employ 18,500 people and generate $3.6 billion in regional GDP. These entrepreneurs are in fact twice global—first by virtue of their origins, second by the heightened role they play in our international trade balance, exporting goods at a 40 percent higher rate than native born business owners.


¡Si, si, Cinco de Mayo!

Posted by Chad O'Connor May 4, 2013 11:00 AM

[Editor's Note: Join former Global Business Hub editors Devin Cole and Meg Reilly at Lir on Boylston Street on May 9th for the "Toast the Press" event to show some #journolove]

Let’s actually forget about the historical context of Cinco de Mayo. Let’s forget about any Mexican nationalism and sense of identity. We, the Mexicans who have migrated to the US, for whatever the reason, have done it in order to pursue the American Dream. So while Cinco de Mayo back home celebrates the defeat of the most important army in the 19th century by a bunch of insurgents in the Eastern Mexico state of Puebla, and while it might not be such a big deal of a holiday in Mexico, this holiday is still benefiting Mexico in an indirect way. We should celebrate the extra beer sales that have led to the creation of a successful Mexican global brand.


Immigration Innovation Act critical for stopping brain drain

Posted by Chad O'Connor May 2, 2013 11:00 AM

[Editor's Note: Join former Global Business Hub editors Devin Cole and Meg Reilly at Lir on Boylston Street on May 9th for the "Toast the Press" event to show some #journolove]

Finally the economy is in job creation mode.

My line of work is all about jobs- albeit placing top candidates in C-level positions globally. Having been at this for 30 plus years, I have seen many spikes, cycles, and trends. Even in lean times, finding the best technical minds to fill positions is a challenge for many promising firms. An obvious solution is to stop the brain drain from our best higher education institutions and keep the talent in the US. Don’t let the previous week’s events color your view of the issue: Immigration made our country great-don’t kill the American dream by preventing talented leaders from contributing to our businesses and society.


World Bank needs global grads

Posted by Chad O'Connor April 30, 2013 11:00 AM

If he’s smart, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim will not only speak to the 111th Northeastern University graduating class – he’ll actively recruit them.

Boston area graduates from Northeastern and elsewhere are exactly what the World Bank and other international financial institutions need. Today’s graduates are more multicultural and more multidisciplinary than their colleagues from even a decade earlier. They come from more countries, speak more languages, and thanks to programs such as Northeastern’s Dialogues of Civilization and an ever-growing menu of co-ops, internships, and service learning projects, they are more likely to have studied and/or worked abroad.


Earth Day 2013: Internet helps us help the planet

Posted by Chad O'Connor April 22, 2013 11:00 AM

Today, April 22nd, is Earth Day! Across the country small towns and college campuses are showcasing how important a healthy environment is to our everyday lives. At Harvard and other colleges, there are movie screenings, e-waste pickups, multiple Earth Day Fairs, public service events, and more. Let’s not forget how important Earth Day is - the first Earth day brought 20 million people out of their homes, making it the largest organized celebration in US history. However, today we know that the challenges we face are bigger than one day’s work can handle. Climate change threatens Boston’s very existence.


Boston Marathon bombing shows problems with cell phone networks

Posted by Chad O'Connor April 20, 2013 07:00 AM

On Marathon Monday my fiancee and I went to the Red Sox game and we were walking down Newbury St. to get some food and cocktails. When we got to Exeter and Newbury (around 2:40pm-ish) we contemplated heading over to Boylston and walking by the finish line, but my desire for a post-game cocktail was greater than my need to walk a block out of my way and fight a crowd.

tags data, safety

Cross-cultural cross-training

Posted by Chad O'Connor April 18, 2013 11:00 AM

[Editor's Note: Governor Deval Patrick and Mayor Thomas Menino have created The One Fund for programs assisting victims of the Boston Marathon attacks. Learn more and donate here.]

As any business leader can tell you, it’s not always easy to have a smooth, productive business interaction with people from other cultures – there are invariably different customs and expectations to be aware of. In a tough business environment, then, how can we learn to compete and win on the world stage? The key lies in a topic I’ve been teaching my students at Brandeis International Business School for several years. I call it “global dexterity,” and I assume it applies just as well to the world of sports as it does to business.


Hey terrorist(s), tomorrow Boston is back to business!

Posted by Chad O'Connor April 15, 2013 11:05 PM

[Editor's Note: Technology Underwriting Greater Good (TUGG) is raising funds for programs assisting victims of the Boston Marathon attacks. Learn more and donate here.]

For those of you that read this blog regularly, you know the sweet spot for Global Business Hub content - things that relate Greater Boston to the international community, that champion the sometimes unappreciated innovation that happens here daily, that champion the unparalleled thought leadership that exists here.

And so with heavy heart I write tonight of a far different nature, far later than the daily 11 AM slot at which Global Business Hub pieces usually post.

tags Boston

Facebook Graph Search: e-commerce bust or boom?

Posted by Chad O'Connor April 12, 2013 11:00 AM

[Editor's Note: In case you missed Global Business Hub Contributor Ellen Keiley's segment on RadioBDC earlier this week, you can listen to it here.]

[The We are the Creative Industries series: The Creative Industries - video game companies, design, marketing and architecture firms, and talented people who write books, design houses, shoot movies, make art and record music, just to name a few examples - are an important part of Massachusetts' economy, with $1 billion statewide impact and over 100,000 workers. Click here to learn more.]

As the CEO of an e-commerce business with over 2,000 shops on Facebook, I have a unique perspective on Facebook selling. After two years of testing, my company sees fewer sales from our global Facebook presence than from orders originating in New Zealand, where we don’t have a marketing or sales presence, or a country-specific website. Quite frankly, Facebook has been underwhelming for sales generation.


India e-commerce: then, now and future

Posted by Chad O'Connor April 4, 2013 11:00 AM

[Editor's Note: TiE Boston, an organization founded in 1997 by the legendary Desh Deshpande and other Indian entrepreneurs in New England, is the very active Boston chapter of a global non-profit organization that promotes entrepreneurship. TiE Challenge 2013, a free accelerator program offering startup-entrepreneurs visibility, mentoring, and the opportunity to present to “TiE-Angels” for investments of up to $1M, is accepting applications through April 7 April 15, 2013.]

We recently caught up with Divyan Gupta (divyan [AT] keshiha [DOT] com), Founder and CEO of Keshiha Services Pvt. Ltd., a New Delhi (India) based niche e-commerce company, to find out the latest on how e-commerce is changing in India...


STEMing the skills gap

Posted by Chad O'Connor April 3, 2013 11:00 AM

[Editor's Note: Technical difficulties meant there was no Ellen Keiley segment on RadioBDC earlier this week, but be sure to check it out next Tuesday morning!]

Updated version April 8th, 2013

Let this article serve as a call to arms or, more appropriately, to brains. It’s been more than 238 years since Paul Revere’s midnight and we face a foe as unrelenting and merciless as the British were during the Revolutionary War: declining math and science. This year’s Harvard University-sponsored report, “Achievement Growth: International and U.S. State Trends in Student Performance,” showed that American students ranked 25th in math, 17th in science and 14th in reading. These findings are alarming because they point to a future disadvantage the U.S. will face in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers if this trend persists.

tags education

The real reasons young people leave Massachusetts

Posted by Chad O'Connor April 1, 2013 11:00 AM

It is time to change the discourse around talent retention in Greater Boston.

Last Thursday’s second-ever joint city council hearing, hosted by Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson and Cambridge City Councillor Leland Cheung, in partnership with the World Class Cities Partnership (WCCP), highlighted the concern of talent loss to many in the Boston area. The discourse on this topic is not new to local leaders and the same lamentations about why young talent leaves – apartments are too expensive, the T doesn’t run all night, the bar scene is boring – keep getting shared across forum discussions, newspaper editorials, and election campaigns. But these are more the complaints of the people who stay, rather than the reasons for why others leave.


London Tech City: an emerging entrepreneurial ecosystem

Posted by Chad O'Connor March 22, 2013 11:00 AM

Imagine the scene: an entrepreneur is sitting across the table from a psychologist playing a word association game (reminiscent of a scene in the recent 007 movie Skyfall). “London” says the questioner. What will our entrepreneur answer? Until recently he or she might have said “Olympics”, “Tower of” or “Banking”… but today a plausible answer would be “opportunity”, “entrepreneurship” or “Tech City”.

Several visits to Britain to meet a wide range of entrepreneurs, investors and policy makers interested in London’s entrepreneurial ecosystem have confirmed that London is a serious place for global entrepreneurs. When entrepreneurs and their teams now consider where to locate their start-up businesses to maximize their chances of success, they should think about London - alongside Silicon Valley/San Francisco, New York and (of course) Boston.


International adjustments: David Gallant at HubSpot Ireland

Posted by Chad O'Connor March 15, 2013 11:00 AM

[The We are the Creative Industries series: The Creative Industries - video game companies, design, marketing and architecture firms, and talented people who write books, design houses, shoot movies, make art and record music, just to name a few examples - are an important part of Massachusetts' economy, with $1 billion statewide impact and over 100,000 workers. Click here to learn more.]

A while back you may have heard that Boston inbound marketing powerhouse HubSpot was expanding to Ireland. As someone who teaches organizational communication and consults in the field, I am always fascinated to hear how people make adjustments in communicating with the home office [video here] and their new international colleagues. I asked my friend and worldwide IT extraordinaire David Gallant how things have been going since he relocated to Dublin, and here's what he answered.


Silicon Valley of Mexico: Gateway to possibilities

Posted by Chad O'Connor March 6, 2013 11:00 AM

[Editor's Note: In case you missed Global Business Hub Contributor Ellen Keiley's segment on RadioBDC earlier this week, you can listen to it here.]

We take a slight deviation from our regular Help a MassChallenge Startup series this week to talk about an exciting new international partnership for MassChallenge in Mexico.


Downton Abbey on the Prairie

Posted by Chad O'Connor March 1, 2013 11:00 AM

Julian Fellows, the creator of the global television phenomenon Downton Abbey, recently gave America one of those insulting compliments only a Brit can pull off. He was commenting about why Rule Britannia is the theme song for period costume drama and pointed out that while American actors are some of the best on the planet they belong to a “contemporary race” and are too “forward thinking” to excel at portraying a genre rooted in the past. This American preference for what has yet to be rather than knowledge of what was and why is at the root of our cross-cultural communication challenges in global business.


Indian software engineers can drive Boston's high tech growth

Posted by Chad O'Connor February 8, 2013 11:00 AM

In an earlier Global Business Hub article I wrote about potential business partnerships between Boston and India.

I have visited India several times. It is a fascinating country, and although the economy has slowed down a little bit, India's GDP growth rate in the 2011/2012 fiscal year was still an impressive 6.5%. Because there are more than 1.3 billion people with a rapidly growing middle class, there are many opportunities for U.S. companies.


FCPA guidance: A murky road for compliance

Posted by Chad O'Connor February 7, 2013 11:00 AM

The recent New York Times report on Walmart de Mexico’s alleged practice of bribing Mexican officials in the superstore’s effort to expand in the country shined yet another spotlight on an important issue for companies doing business overseas: what is and isn’t considered bribery throughout the world.


WCCP 2013 Chatham Forum featured big ideas and announcements

Posted by Chad O'Connor January 29, 2013 11:00 AM

While New England froze over the weekend in some of the coldest temperatures of the year, a group of Massachusetts leaders were fired up with ideas for making the local economy stronger, more innovative, and inclusive.

The World Class Cities Partnership (WCCP) hosted its annual Chatham Forum to make some big announcements and to highlight lessons learned from the group’s October Policy Exchange Mission to Lisbon and the Azores, Portugal: a Mission so successful and bonding that the Vice Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Lisbon joined the Chatham group for the weekend, following their time in Boston and Cambridge as the first participants in the WCCP’s Municipal Leadership Exchange Program.


Growing your company? Avoid these myth-steps

Posted by Chad O'Connor January 15, 2013 11:00 AM

Don’t be fooled: The United States is still the Land of Opportunity. There are few countries in the world that provide this type of positive landscape to grow a business. Its high-tech minded, entrepreneurial spirit is what originally drew me away from my home in Sweden more than a decade ago. And Boston, recently named North America’s smartest city in Fast Company, is one of the best places to build strategic long-term business partnerships.

Yet despite the U.S.’ pioneer spirit and the strong prospects here in the northeast, it’s surprising how many small business owners buy into the negative myths about growing their companies.


Out in the ecosystem: Kathy Bechtel from Italiaoutdoors

Posted by Chad O'Connor January 7, 2013 11:00 AM

As an avid cyclist, I was excited to have the opportunity to interview Kathy Bechtel, owner of Italiaoutdoors Food and Wine. Kathy’s company is based in the Boston area, but focuses on personalized bike tours of Italy. Kathy had some great insights on the travel industry, and how to run a global business from right here in Boston.


The perks of Waltham

Posted by Chad O'Connor January 4, 2013 11:00 AM

While there has been a lot of buzz about Boston’s Innovation District and Cambridge with its Cambridge Innovation Center and major tech and pharma/biotech heavyweights, there is another city in Greater Boston that often falls under the radar for many young professionals – Waltham.

Waltham is a thriving and historic city hungry for talent. Many fast-growth companies are hiring and new grads, soon-to-be-grads and experienced professionals are flocking to the suburbs to further their career.


Greater Boston: a world-class hub of entrepreneurship

Posted by Chad O'Connor December 14, 2012 11:00 AM

As the British Consul in Boston, I had the privilege to work on strengthening long-standing business connections between Britain and New England, and was always impressed with the hub of innovation in which I was based. From a diplomat's global perspective, the world of innovation is not flat: there are a few spikes of truly world-class innovation that soar above most other places on the planet. Greater Boston is one of those special places.


The balanced life: Global citizenship

Posted by Chad O'Connor December 13, 2012 11:00 AM

This article is the first in a monthly, five-part series that advocates for living a balanced life in the areas of: Global Citizenship, Local Volunteering, Meaningful Careers, Strong Networks, and an Empowered Self.

As the New Year approaches, it’s fitting to ask oneself... “How can I positively impact the world in 2013?” But with problems in every corner of the globe, it’s easy to feel “compassion fatigue,” believing we’re powerless to affect any real change. However, as the historian Howard Zinn noted: "We don't have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world."


What's happening in innovation

Posted by Chad O'Connor December 7, 2012 11:00 AM

Innovation in Boston is special. At Continuum we work around the world in hubs of innovation: Boston, Los Angeles, Milan, New York, Seoul, and Shanghai; but Boston has a very particular take on innovation. We are not the wild and crazy guys – you can go to Milan or LA for that – but in Boston we know how to think clearly about a business challenge and get the idea right. Boston is the creative brain of the innovation economy. It is amazing how many ideas start here.


Thinking Boston: Building the open, connected 21st Century city

Posted by Chad O'Connor December 3, 2012 11:00 AM

What do leading cities of the 21st Century need to do to accelerate economic development, to attract and to retain the best talent and companies? Almost 5 years ago at the encouragement of Mayor Thomas Menino this question was debated in Boston by a cross-section of leading experts over a series of working sessions. At the time, the open-networks economy of live and social connecting was only emerging, far from the present ubiquity of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and niche meet-ups and tweet-ups. Access was often limited to invited guests or exclusively to professionals in preferred sectors.


Boston conventions: "What happens in Boston changes the world."

Posted by Chad O'Connor November 1, 2012 11:00 AM

If you live or work anywhere near the Hynes Convention Center or the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, you know what it's like when thousands of people descend on the city for a convention or meeting. They spread out from the convention center at breaks and meal times with their badges on lanyards or pinned to lapels. You see them in line at your favorite restaurant, walking back to their hotels, or waiting in line to get on buses taking them to meetings or excursions around the city. If you’re like me, you try surreptitiously to read the name of the conference or a company name to try to identify what kind of person this is -- doctor, scientist, marketer, academic, etc.

Do you ever wonder what brought that meeting to Boston in the first place? If you live here, you know the charms and attractions of Boston. But how and why exactly do meeting and convention planners choose Boston as a location for their events?


Boston, a threatened El Dorado for European entrepreneurs?

Posted by Chad O'Connor October 30, 2012 11:00 AM

We tend to boast quite a lot about the attractiveness of the Boston area for startup entrepreneurs: no need to elaborate on a long list of advantages, from its proximity to the best research institutes in the world to an unlimited reservoir of talents to (fairly easy) access to capital and all kind of service providers and flexible facilities… We are preaching to the choir!


Oh Canada! Communicating across the 49th parallel

Posted by Chad O'Connor October 29, 2012 11:00 AM

At a recent get together with an old group of friends, the talk turned to a trip we took to Canada more than fifteen years ago. One of the women recalled that we had caricatures drawn. I remembered the drawings instantly. It was always a bit of a mystery to me why the artist chose to draw me playing basketball. My more athletically inclined friend mentioned hers featured shopping bags and fishnet stockings. Since neither of these accurately portrayed our chosen hobbies or fashion sense, I'm thinking there was some kind of miscommunication. The judgment of street artists' aside, the extensive economic relationship between Canada and the US make us the world’s largest trading partners. We have shared the planet's longest border in relative peace and prosperity for more than two centuries. We also share a British cultural heritage and strong ties between our respective Francophone communities. With all that common interest there is a lot of communication crossing the 49th parallel. More often than not, the stakes are a bit higher than a fifteen Canadian dollar caricature; so here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to communicating with your Canadian colleagues and customers.


Data is not just data: Q&A with Ali Riaz, CEO of Attivio

Posted by Chad O'Connor October 19, 2012 11:01 AM

1. Attivio develops a technology that helps companies unify data and business content in new ways. What are some of the challenges you see companies facing from a data perspective?
There are three main challenges.

The first challenge with data is that it's not just data. It is data plus content, and that content comes in many forms and from many places. It's easy for people to lump everything into the popular "Big Data" bucket, but that's a bit of a misnomer. It's more like Big Information.

The second challenge is that global companies are made of silos. There are multiple geographical business units, information repositories, applications, interfaces, protocols, ontologies, schemas and untold external sources that don't always match and get along. Just dumping information into these organized but separate systems doesn't help you access it, analyze it or derive business intelligence from it.

The third challenge is that many businesses don't know exactly what they are looking for. Imagine searching for a needle in a giant haystack, except you don't know what a needle looks like or how it feels.

tags Big Data

Epcot meets The Jetsons: Futuristic city underway in Portugal

Posted by Chad O'Connor October 11, 2012 11:00 AM

The World Class Cities Partnership, an international research collaborative of municipal governments and universities headquartered at Northeastern University, is currently leading a delegation of Greater Boston's business, civic, academic and non-profit leaders on its annual Policy Exchange Mission to explore the Azores and Lisbon, Portugal. Portuguese officials are sharing their expertise in waterfront redevelopment, the innovation economy and an entrepreneurial ecosystem. Delegates, led by Michael Lake, WCCP executive director, will bring back their findings and look for opportunities to share and apply them in the Boston area, beginning with the WCCP's annual Chatham Forum.

LISBON/PAREDES - Boston has a long history of being an innovative city with creative, "revolutionary" ideas often in the works along with an educated, forward-thinking and passionate talent pool from around the globe. A recent trip begs the question, where else can Boston go? A group of business leaders had a chance to see the future first hand.


Lisbon: Rise of the entrepreneurial spirit

Posted by Chad O'Connor October 10, 2012 11:00 AM

The World Class Cities Partnership, an international research collaborative of municipal governments and universities headquartered at Northeastern University, is currently leading a delegation of Greater Boston's business, civic, academic and non-profit leaders on its annual Policy Exchange Mission to explore the Azores and Lisbon, Portugal. Portuguese officials are sharing their expertise in waterfront redevelopment, the innovation economy and an entrepreneurial ecosystem. Delegates will bring back their findings and look for opportunities to share and apply them in the Boston area, beginning with the WCCP's annual Chatham Forum.

LISBON – Is the "entrepreneurial city" something that can be created and, if so, is it something that can be sold? Lisbon has answered "yes" to both questions. If it can be sold, is there something that Boston can learn that it doesn't already know? Are we open to that learning opportunity as a great city?

To remain a world-class city, Boston must actively embrace the spirt of the entrepreneur through goal-oriented policy, simple but relevant incentive programs, and workable and practical partnerships between all municipal, educational and private stakeholders.


Boston and Lisbon: Putting the waterfront at the forefront

Posted by Chad O'Connor October 9, 2012 11:00 AM

The World Class Cities Partnership, an international research collaborative of municipal governments and universities headquartered at Northeastern University, is currently leading a delegation of Greater Boston's business, civic, academic and non-profit leaders on its annual Policy Exchange Mission to explore the Azores and Lisbon, Portugal. Portuguese officials are sharing their expertise in waterfront redevelopment, the innovation economy and an entrepreneurial ecosystem. Delegates will bring back their findings and look for opportunities to share and apply them in the Boston area, beginning with the WCCP's annual Chatham Forum.

LISBON - Boston and Lisbon, intertwined by history and geography, are putting their waterfronts at the forefront. It is no coincidence that both cities are looking toward the water's edge. Being port cities, it is their greatest physical asset, wanting a better waterfront that is more open to people, commerce and opportunity.


Cox and Cocktails: Presidential slogans & doing business in India

Posted by Chad O'Connor October 8, 2012 11:00 AM

"Cox and Cocktails" was the presidential campaign slogan used by Warren G. Harding in 1920.

In 1928, Herbert Hoover used the slogan, "A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage."

I bet you could read Hoover's slogan to a large group of people and most would understand his message – it is fairly self-explanatory. Harding's slogan might raise more than a few eyebrows, some might openly question how he won the election with that slogan.


Guanxi or关系: one word, many interpretations

Posted by Chad O'Connor September 27, 2012 11:00 AM
Roy Chua, Harvard Business School
While there is no shortage of U.S. companies building successful business relationships in China, the dynamic and roadmap to do so continue to evolve. Roy Y.J. Chua, assistant professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, discusses the role of trust in building intercultural business relationships, specifically two types of trust: cognitive trust and affective trust. Chua’s recent contribution to MIT Sloan Management Review, “Building Effective Business Relationships in China,” provides depth and detail on his theories and observations. The following is based on a conversation with Chua about this article, and recommendations for Western businesses developing Chinese relationships. FULL ENTRY

Globalizing our cleantech cluster

Posted by Chad O'Connor September 19, 2012 11:00 AM

Our region has long been known as a technology hub, and the Cleantech sector - with a Massachusetts workforce 72,000 strong - is rapidly becoming one of the Commonwealth’s best-known clusters, nationally and internationally.

The Commonwealth’s No. 1 state ranking in energy efficiency by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) earlier this year reflected the strong state policy commitment we have in this area, and resulted in an uptick in national interest in the Massachusetts clean energy success story.

International interest in the Massachusetts clean energy cluster has been growing as well, thanks in large part to Governor Deval Patrick’s international outreach and trade missions to the UK, Israel, Brazil and Chile. In the past year, dozens of international delegations of clean energy business leaders and policymakers from countries around the world have also visited our region to learn about how we’re growing our cluster, share perspectives on progress and barriers in their own countries, and create new businesses.


Exporting the Massachusetts innovation economy

Posted by Devin Cole August 22, 2012 11:38 AM

In the innovation economy, a lot can happen in 48 hours. That was proven in grand terms at this year’s BIO International Convention, held in Boston this June:

  • Massachusetts and Israel provided a combined $1.3 million in initial funding to four joint ventures developing new technologies in life sciences, clean energy, and information technology.
  • Massachusetts, Finland, Northern Ireland, and Catalonia, Spain, partners in the NIMAC initiative, supported a $300,000 grant for a multinational research study into developing non-invasive procedures to detect pre-malignant lesions.
  • Massachusetts and seven global biopharmaceutical companies contributed $1.75 million to launch the Massachusetts Neuroscience Consortium, focused on groundbreaking pre-clinical neuroscience research and industry-academic collaboration at Massachusetts’ academic and research institutions.
  • Massachusetts announced it would host a US-EU conference on connected health this October, the first time such a meeting has taken place outside of Washington, DC.

No wonder governments around the world look to Massachusetts as a global leader in the innovation economy.


Partnering opportunities in the life sciences between Boston and the Netherlands

Posted by Chad O'Connor August 7, 2012 11:00 AM

Boston Scientific

Boston Scientific distribution center in Kerkrade, the Netherlands

BIO 2012, the truly global Biotech Convention, was held in Boston from June 18-21. More than sixteen thousand people from all over the world attended the conference.

During the convention my focus was on international collaboration in the life sciences. A personal highlight for me was moderating a panel on exactly that topic (see my earlier GBH blog). I visited many international pavilions, as well as several cocktail parties (a tough job, but someone had to do it …). At these occasions, I spoke with representatives from many nations and regions.

Now, the booths have been taken down, the convention floor has been cleaned, and the out-of-town visitors have left. Next is the hard part: converting all the contacts into lasting business relationships.


Protecting your trademarks is an Olympic feat

Posted by Chad O'Connor August 6, 2012 11:00 AM

While there are roughly twenty-five athletes with ties to Boston competing in the Olympics this year, business owners should take notice of the 2012 Games for another reason—the term Olympics is one of the most zealously protected trademarks in the world. Looking at how the term is protected provides valuable lessons to any business.

Aside from general trademark protection, the term “Olympic” and other marks associated with the Olympics are protected by special legislation in several countries. In the United States, the Olympic and Amateur Sports Act provides strong protections to the mark, and in Britain, Parliament recently enacted legislation that criminalizes certain types of ambush marketing that creates associations between brands and the Olympics. In London, the Olympic Delivery Authority has deployed 250 specialist enforcement officers to 28 locations to police counterfeit goods and unofficial uses of the Olympic trademarks, including the five rings logo.


An Ambassador's perspective: Boston knows innovation

Posted by Chad O'Connor July 16, 2012 11:00 AM
Photo courtesy of British Consulate-General Boston
Sir Peter Westmacott
The Boston area is home to many of the most famous sites of America's break from Britain - the Old State House, where the royal governors sat; the Old North Church that launched Paul Revere's famous ride; the harbour where the first tea party took place; and battlefields like Bunker Hill, Lexington and Concord where the colonists first proved their fighting grit.

But visitors these days – I was there earlier this week - are more likely to find a city and a Commonwealth with much friendlier, more productive ties to the UK.

After all, the UK is the largest international employer in the Bay State: 40,000 people in Massachusetts work for British businesses. More than 250 Massachusetts companies prosper from investments in the UK. Both are home to giants in the global financial sector - Fidelity has found a home in the UK, and RBS is growing its US operations in New England (via its ownership of Citizens Bank). We even share in the business of sport: the owners of the Boston Red Sox also own the English Premier League's Liverpool FC.


Pointers on Personal Brand

Posted by Chad O'Connor June 14, 2012 11:00 AM

Last week I boarded an overnight flight to Dublin. It’s a trip I’ve made dozens of times and was excited for a few hours with little to do but chat with my seatmate (yes I’m that person!) and catch up on all the back issues of Vanity Fair on my iPad. Little did I know my seatmate’s first question was going to be: “Do you think I’ll be able to find people who speak English in Ireland?” I looked at her for a moment before my manners kicked in and I answered with a smile that everyone speaks English and it actually might be tougher to track down a fluent Irish speaker.


BIO 2012 Is Back In Boston – International Collaboration in Life Sciences

Posted by Chad O'Connor June 13, 2012 04:00 PM

Eugena Ossi / Governor's Office

President & CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center Dr. Susan Windham-Bannister speaks in September 2009 when it announced that the BIO convention is coming back to Boston.

The annual international life science convention BIO 2012 will be held this month in the Boston Exhibition & Convention Center from June 18-21. More than 15,000 visitors from all over the world are expected to attend the convention. You are probably out of luck if you are looking for a hotel room in Boston during that period …

At BIO 2012, I will be moderating a panel about international collaboration on June 19. I would like to take this opportunity to tell you a little about the panel and the topic.

The title of the panel is “Crossing Borders and Boundaries: Emerging Strategies to Promote International Collaboration.” This is quite a mouthful. The panelists are Bill Bullock, VP of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center; Avi Hasson, Chief Scientist of the Government of Israel; Montserrat Vendrell, CEO of the BioRegion of Catolonia; and Susan Windham-Bannister, President & CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center. They will be discussing international collaboration in the life sciences. You will find detailed information about the panel here.


The Web is Dead (…and what your business can do about it)

Posted by Devin Cole June 12, 2012 12:00 PM

A silent revolution has been in the making over the past decade, with its pace accelerating particularly in the past few years. In 2001 the top 10 websites accounted for 31% of total web traffic. In 2006 that figure grew to 40%. But by 2010 the top 10 websites commanded an astounding 75% of all traffic on the web. What does that mean for businesses, small and large, as they try to drive traffic to their sites? And how can businesses build an effective web presence in this changing landscape?

First of all, what happened? Much of the ascent of these web titans can be attributed to the rise of social media sites including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. In fact, Comscore reports that Americans are spending over eight hours per month on social media networks (Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc.). Twitter has grown steadily, particularly with mobile users; today over 8% of users check their Twitter feeds daily. But it is Facebook that is the mammoth that commands the lion share of social media use. Of those eight hours we spend on social networks, close to 90% of that time is spent on Facebook.

This “flight to quality” is also reflected in the rapid increase in the price online advertising of leading networks. Banner ads you might say? Not at all; their prices have fallen over 30% in the past year and will likely continue to fall. Google and Facebook are where the action is.

Remember the days of 8-cent clicks on Google? Cherish that memory- those days are long gone. Google's keyword prices have seen an increase of 11% year on year. Yet it's Facebook that stands out. Despite the recent questions about the effectiveness of its ads, average prices continue to soar, increasing over 40% year on year. Why? In part because businesses are realizing that is where people are spending time and can talk about brands.

As the cost of driving traffic to your site will continue to increase, businesses need to act quickly and strategically. Here are a few basic rules of thumb:

Go where your customers are:

Yes, Marketing 101 applies on the web too. With customers spending such a significant time on social networks, you need to be there too. Gain marketing gravity and build community now while paid online advertising still relatively nascent-- and inexpensive. Irrespective of whether your business advertises on social networks, it should utilize them to build a fan base, attract influencers and create discussions that can engage others.


What are art fairs anyway?

Posted by Devin Cole June 8, 2012 11:43 AM

The influence of art fairs on the market has grown exponentially in the last few years. How and why do they grow? What effect have they had on the market and even how artists do their work?

Joanne Mattera, a widely exhibited artist, who blogs about galleries and art fairs in New York city and elsewhere: Art fairs are national or international gatherings where art galleries set up shop in booths to do business, to see and be seen, to attract new clients, to be available to repeat clients, to promote their artists, to be on the lookout for artists whose work they like. Not all art fairs are the same, though most must apply to be admitted.

There are the big international art fairs that require huge sums of money to participate, whose dealers must therefore show the work of big-name artists for six and seven figures. These are fairs like Armory in New York City, Art Basel Miami Beach in Miami, Art Basel in Switzerland, Art Cologne in Germany and Frieze Fair in London.

There are smaller international art fairs that require smaller (but still significant) sums, which attract mid-level galleries with a more modest roster of artists whose prices are more affordable. The selling range would be more in five figures, low to high. These are fairs like Pulse, Scope, NADA, all of which show in Miami and New York City; Volta, which takes place in New York City and elsewhere internationally.

For some dealers, these are the “fallback” fairs if they don’t get into Art Basel Miami, or Art Miami, or the Armory fair. “Now I know what it’s like for you artists, this constant rejection,” said one dealer who was participating in one of these fairs after his application was declined from Basel Miami.


Meeting the American Audience

Posted by Chad O'Connor May 23, 2012 11:30 AM

Last week I was asked to participate in a panel for a group of European companies looking to do business in Boston. I followed the lawyers, accountants, and bankers with a short presentation on what organizations need to know about communications and media before they move into the American market. Almost all the questions I got were about mistakes I’ve seen other companies or individuals make, all of which fall into three categories.

Flying below the radar: As I learned from the above mentioned lawyers, accountants, and bankers when you’re expanding your business into a new market there is a lot to do and it can be very tempting to put the media strategy on the back burner. Resist temptation! If there is only one piece of advice I could give everyone it’s this: you want to initiate contact with the media on your terms. It goes without saying; you never want to be introducing yourself for the first time in the middle of a crisis. The American media is a giant, highly segmented industry. Chances are very good that there is some publication somewhere that covers some part of your value chain and they will become aware of your entry into the market. You not only want to be prepared for contact with these reporters, but actually to be proactive in developing a strategy to reach out to them that aligns with the overall marketing goals of your organizations.

Initiating a media strategy is not necessarily about the coverage you will get. It is about discovering and introducing yourself to the journalists who can provide a conduit to your new stakeholders be it potential customers, employees, or regulators either now or in the future.


International Art Residencies: A Swissnex Panel Discussion

Posted by Devin Cole May 11, 2012 04:00 PM

Swissnex Boston the Consulate of Switzerland recently hosted a panel on International Art Residencies to discuss the opportunities that are available around the globe. The panel discussion featured Kiki Thompson, Co-Founder of the Verbier 3-D Sculpture Park Residency, as well as Andy Moerlein and me, Boston sculptors and Verbier Residency veterans. The panel was moderated by Caitlin Strokosch, Executive Director at Alliance of Artists Communities and included Mary Sherman, Director of TransCultural Exchange, Franklin Einspruch, painter, writer and arts critic, Lynne Allen, Director, School of Visual Arts at Boston University and Antoni Muntadas, visiting Professor of the Practice at MIT. These artists gathered in front of a crowd of over 100 people to exchange thoughts about the value of international residencies in the arts and how such experiences can leverage their work at home.

Andreas Rufer opened the program with a brief introduction to Swissnex Boston and its mission to support the arts, education, technology and innovation in Boston. Through the generous support of Swissnex, Kiki Thompson flew in from Switzerland to kick off the discussion with a video presentation of the Verbier 3-D Sculpture Park Residency in Verbier Switzerland. The Verbier 3-D Foundation is a not-for-profit organization, founded by New York-based artist Madeleine Paternot and Verbier-based sculptor Kiki Thompson. Its mission is to promote contemporary art and culture, to focus on nature and community and to provide educational workshops.

In the Verbier 3-D Foundation residency seven international artists were invited to the Swiss Alps for five weeks to create monumental works of art that were site specific to the Sculpture Park. Each artist was asked to teach a class to the students in the community and to lead tours through the studio and discuss their work while in residence to demystify the art making process. The curatorial premise for the 2011 edition of Verbier 3-D was set by Paul Goodwin, in his capacity as an independent curator as a new approach to monumentalism. All sculptures in the Verbier 3-D Sculpture Park are for sale with the 3-D Foundation and the artists splitting the profits.


Being Green Makes Work Life at Genzyme a Dream

Posted by Devin Cole May 9, 2012 12:32 PM

Since Boston is a hub for green technology, I thought it would be interesting to see how being green enhances work life by focusing on Genzyme's award-winning, environmentally responsible corporate headquarters in Cambridge.

Rick Mattila, Director of Environmental Affairs at Genzyme shared his knowledge by giving me a "blow your mind" tour of the building. Rick has been a key player in developing Genzyme's environment for over 20 years, both locally and internationally, while Genzyme had evolved into becoming one of the largest biotechnology companies worldwide. Last year, Genzyme was acquired by the pharmaceutical company Sanofi and is now a Sanofi company.


Genzyme's Atrium

I was interested in knowing how green tech design affects Genzyme's staff and the community at large. Rick's passions happen to lean towards how the building impacts people including patients, employees and community. These were his thoughts.

"The transparent nature of the building was purposeful in enhancing visual communication among employees within the building, making it easier to have spontaneous meetings. It also provides employees with views to the outside environment (enhancing their well-being) and to the community to reinforce that connection. From the outside, neighbors can see in and get a sense of our openness and transparency as a corporation. Having a green building that reduces the impact on the environment follows our safety and environmental management statement that includes: We want our corporate and residential neighbors to be proud to have Genzyme in their communities.

The tour program that we instituted provides an open invitation to the local and broader community to come into our building and experience its green design features. It also provides an opportunity for the architectural, engineering and construction industry professionals and students in those fields to observe this unique green building. We want others to see the design and hopefully inspire them to think deeply about the designs of their own buildings. It is apparently working as Genzyme Center was chosen in a 2010 survey of green building experts by Architecture Magazine, as the third most important green building in the world."


Boston on the Global Stage

Posted by Chad O'Connor April 23, 2012 03:45 PM

I had the good fortune last month of attending a business roundtable hosted by the Massachusetts Office of International Trade & Investment. The event featured Governor Deval L. Patrick and the Ambassador of Kenya to the United States Elkanah Odembo and was part of the Patrick-Murray Administration’s agenda to increase global collaboration and partnerships with Massachusetts.

In his opening remarks, Ambassador Odembo commented that Boston was well-known as a world-class place to run marathons. The Ambassador added that as Kenyans knew something about marathons he was in a good position to talk about the subject. Given the Ambassador’s comments and recent coverage of the 116th Boston Marathon, I thought this would be a good opportunity to reinforce the visibility of Boston on the global stage. The awareness of Boston outside the United States was one of the topics of research in “An International Strategy for Massachusetts,” a report that I co-authored at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, an economic development organization focused on driving digital technology innovation for the Commonwealth. The publication focused on the subject of global trade and investment.

The research for “An International Strategy” included conversations with foreign nationals on the visibility of Boston. Over the course of these discussions my co-authors and I found that “Boston” enjoyed far greater name recognition outside of the United States than did “Massachusetts.” This aligned with our expectations that major cities typically enjoy greater prominence than their provinces or states. For example, while you have heard of Mumbai, you may be less familiar with the fact that the city is in the Indian state of Maharashtra.


Five Tips for Communicating Across Cultures

Posted by Chad O'Connor April 17, 2012 01:00 PM

When I was getting my MBA at Trinity College in Dublin I was famous for putting my foot in my mouth. Despite my fairly decent command of the American English language, I could always be counted on to accidentally say something on a Tuesday afternoon that was completely inappropriate.

One of my most famous incidents involved me getting up in front of an entire class and one of Ireland’s most beloved economics professors with a goal of clarifying the dress code for a social event. Instead of telling all the women it was a dressy occasion I accidentally told them not to wear underwear. Turns out “pants” does not mean the same thing on the other side of the Atlantic. While my language malfunction still makes for a good laugh among my friends, the same mistake in a business setting could have permanently damaged my reputation with potential clients in a new market.

I recently learned that just one percent of US firms export and of that one percent only half export outside North America. With the economy still lagging we’d all like to see that number go up. As the world gets wealthier the demand for the skills and services of our highly educated workforce will grow; Washington is hard at work encouraging American firms to look overseas for new customers.

Whether you’re looking to bring Boston to the world or your part of the world to Boston, doing business outside your home country is always a challenge. Technological advances in transportation and communication may make logistics easier but the age old problem of cross cultural communication remains. So before you explore the opportunities outside your home market here are five basic tips that I want to pass along.


Learn a language for business or pleasure

Posted by Chad O'Connor April 16, 2012 04:10 PM

If you grew up speaking English, chances are you’re not fluent in a second language, especially if you grew up in the United States. To experience more of the world—for business or pleasure—a second language really comes in handy. The best way to learn a language is to start speaking it right away, no matter how little of it you know.

Ian Muttoo / Getty Images
Not the Rosetta Stone you'd have at home
The world around us does not all speak English. There are over 170 languages in the world with more than 3 million first-language speakers. If you like to travel or want to conduct business in the non-English speaking world (even right here in Boston), now is the time to get started.

It isn’t as hard to become fluent as memories of high school French or Spanish homework would have you believe. There are many people (including Benny the Irish Polyglot whose philosophy I am following) who believe that the best way to become fluent is to immerse yourself in and start speaking the language immediately. That’s how I’m learning Polish. (Full disclosure: I’ve been studying Polish about two months and am not yet fluent.)

For my purposes, fluency is the ability to give a presentation or hold a conversation about a topic that interests you in your target language, and understand the other participants when they speak to you or ask questions. This is not fluency designed to help pass an exam or meet other specific requirements, though it could lead to that.

Immersion is the key to learning a language rapidly. Think about it. If you did not know a single word of Chinese, but suddenly found yourself spending several months in a small city in China with no English speakers, you would learn to speak Chinese.

Immersion is how children learn their first language. But adults have an advantage over children: experience in the world, which puts words and their meaning in context. So, shopping for food in that city in China isn’t all that different from shopping for food here.

How do you immerse yourself in another language if you can’t move to or travel to the country right now?


Forging Alliances: The Brandeis Global Trade Summit focuses on emerging markets

Posted by Devin Cole April 5, 2012 11:45 AM

If one thing was clear at Tuesday’s Global Trade Summit at Brandeis International Business School (IBS) , it was that Massachusetts businesses are in a prime position for growth and opportunity in the constantly expanding global market.

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Joel Schwartz

Although most businesses face serious economic challenges, they can (and often must) overcome them by seeking out new opportunities on the global stage. As Joel Schwartz, senior vice president at Hopkinton-based EMC Corp., pointed out in his opening remarks on Tuesday, globalization “isn’t 'coming' anymore—it’s here. And unless you have the smallest of businesses, and plan to keep it that way, you cannot afford to ignore it.”

State leaders understand that they have an important role in helping companies compete internationally.

In his keynote address, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick touted this week’s launch of the Massachusetts Export Resource Center, which he described as a “one-stop shop to help businesses take advantage of international opportunities.” He revealed that next week he will host Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, whose only other U.S. stop will be Washington, D.C. The visit is a direct result of the governor’s trade mission to Brazil in December. “I have made it my mission to make Massachusetts a global player in today’s innovation economy,” Patrick said.


The business of international art projects

Posted by Devin Cole March 30, 2012 05:27 PM

Public art is a tough business. Although the process of putting up a work of art in the public sphere is often entrepreneurial in spirit, driven by one person’s vision, the process can involve many layers of bureaucracy and fundraising in order to achieve success. When you take those efforts to another country, you can expand the number of people involved as well as the complications exponentially. But for those artists who have tried to create public works of art at home and abroad, the results can be very satisfying, if not life changing events.


Arthur Fiedler

Photo by David Smith

For Ralph Helmick, who is a notable Boston area artist, making work and showing in galleries had its limitations. Although his work was well received critically, the sales did not add up for him and he started to look beyond the gallery walls for a way to make a living as an artist. In 1984 he won the prestigious commission from the Friends of Fiedler and the City of Boston to create a memorial to Arthur Fiedler on the Charles River Esplanade. Helmick created a vibrant memorial by layering aluminum plates in successive contours, overhangs and undercuts so that from afar, they resolve into the profile of Fiedler’s head. Helmick’s first commission was the beginning of nearly 30 years of creating large scale, public works of art.

Judy Chicago critiqued the gallery system early on as an old boys club. Her response was to create community at the center of her art projects. The Holocaust Project: From Darkness into Light spanned 8 years of her life’s work, from 1985-1993. Driven by very personal concerns of identity and nationality, she created a traveling exhibition of photography, paintings and visual art with her husband Donald Woodman that addressed the impact of the holocaust on civilization as a whole. The exhibition traveled to many institutions including the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University in 1995. Chicago and Woodman’s artwork revealed the loss of humanity in the victims as well as in the perpetrators. By traveling to the sites of the concentration camps and witnessing the cultural tragedy first hand, they were able to respond to the societal consequences of the holocaust with a visual dialogue of artwork.

Stephan Ross felt the need to create a permanent memorial to the victims of the Holocaust and he, along with the support of a committee of elected officials and employees in the City of Boston, were able to create the New England Holocaust Memorial. The monument was built by Stanley Saitowitz and dedicated on October 22, 1995. It is sited on the Freedom Trail to ‘foster memory of and reflection on one of the great tragedies of our time, the Holocaust (Shoah).’

The memorial consists of six glass towers, one for each death camp, each one over 50 feet high, etched with six million numbers that suggest the tattooed numbers on the victims’ bodies. A team of government, private and non-profit agencies oversees the site, including its programming & management. The placement alongside local sites of American history, invites reflection on the meaning of freedom and oppression at home and abroad.

Although not permanent constructions, the projects of Krzysztof Wodiczko often leave traces of memory in the public record and experiences that last a lifetime. In 1998, he was commissioned by the Institute of Contemporary art to create a work of public art in Charlestown.


Turkey day in Boston – why we need to look beyond the BRICs

Posted by Devin Cole March 29, 2012 02:18 PM

Eleven years ago, economist Jim O’Neill wrote an article touting certain countries—Brazil, Russia, India and China—that were on the verge of economic growth. Turns out, his BRIC picks were more or less right on.

Last year, O’Neill provided an unexpected sequel with another acronym: MIST, consisting of Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea and Turkey.

That latter country, about a decade shy of a century old, has earned increasing amounts of attention in the global landscape. This month the U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a study that argued for stronger partnerships with Turkey, citing its “strategic location, dynamic economy, and membership in the G20, WTO, and OECD.”

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Istanbul's Blue Mosque

Certainly, Turkey boasts some unique qualities: secular governance in a mostly Muslim country; an unapologetic and emboldened foreign policy stance that has paid off handsomely in Arab countries; and even newfound success and acclaim in science, sports, literature, and film. (For a taste, check out the Boston Turkish Film Festival, running now through April 8.)

Above all is the nation’s blossoming economy.


The sizzling Indian e-commerce industry - how did we get here and what's next?

Posted by Devin Cole March 28, 2012 03:00 PM
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India's e-commerce sector is growing at light speed

From US$10 billion currently to between US$125 billion and US$260 billion by 2024-25. That’s the sizzling growth being forecast by research firms as to the size of the Indian e-commerce sector.

To put it in perspective, it still has a long way to catch up with the US e-commerce market which is set to touch US$200 billion in 2013, growing at about 17%. However it’s expected to far outpace it once it reaches there simply because of the population differential.

So what is driving this turbo charged growth?

The Indian economy is slated to grow by upward of 6 percent annually in the next few years which is among the highest rates of any big emerging economy. And quite a lot of this growth would be on the back of domestic consumption of goods and services.
E-commerce is emerging as a great leveler given that organized retail is still not ubiquitous across the length and breadth of the country with large retail chains making up less than 10% of the market.

E-commerce is helping people in smaller towns in India access quality products and services similar to what people in the larger cities have access to. It’s being forecast that close to 60% of online shoppers would come from beyond the top eight large cities by end of this year.


How to build business bonds with Brazil

Posted by Devin Cole March 15, 2012 05:30 PM

BRICS.jpgIn the coming days the media spotlight will shine brightly upon the March 29 BRICS summit in New Delhi, where business leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa will meet to discuss issues in global trade. Given such international attention, it’s worthwhile to reflect on the progress made by these emerging countries, and look to the future for new ways Massachusetts can partner with these fast-growing economic powerhouses.

Take Brazil, for example. For much of the last forty years, the country was described as a nação de amanhã – “the nation of tomorrow.” It was known for coffee, soccer, and samba, and its exporting strengths were primarily in commodities like sugar and iron. I lived there in the late ’70s and early ’80s while working for Bank of America, and saw first-hand how political uncertainty and hyperinflation inhibited investment in the country’s resources, both natural and human.

Today is a completely different story, as the country has evolved to become an increasingly important player in the world. In the face of a global recession, Brazil’s GDP achieved its strongest growth in 25 years in 2010. After slowing last year, GDP is expected to rise another 3.5 percent in 2012, twice the rate of countries in Europe. In December it surpassed Britain as the sixth-biggest economy in the world; the IMF predicts that it will overtake France by 2015 to join the ranks of the top five alongside the United States, China, Japan and Germany.


Cathryn Griffith's Boston in the world of Historic Preservation

Posted by Devin Cole March 14, 2012 11:25 AM
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Old Old City Hall

New Old City Hall.jpg

New Old City Hall

Although not born in Boston, Cathryn Griffith has become knowledgeable about the city and appreciative of its distinct nature. With an intellectual curiosity for art, a passion for photography and a business mind for real estate, she has crafted a platform for herself as an artist and entrepreneur. Her recent book, Havana Revisited: an Architectural Heritage brings together her experiences as a lifelong traveler, her artistic eye and her careful study of architecture. In it, she ties together her own personal story with that of architecture around the world.

Historic Preservation

Unlike the plastic arts, architecture is functional and organic. Buildings are actively a part of, not merely passive observers to, the passage of time. The Boston Landmarks Commission deals with local history of the built environment. As noted on their website, Boston is one of the oldest American cities, and it ‘has long played an important role in the development of the nation.’ The buildings they seek to preserve are informed with the stories and events of the City’s residents from its founding days to the present one. Historic preservation is defined by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as ‘the process of identifying, protecting, and enhancing buildings, places, and objects of historical and cultural significance.’ Increasingly, this process is a dynamic one, not a static entombment or enshrinement of buildings and places.

The business of old buildings

Boston’s Old City Hall is one of the earliest examples in which municipal architects applied the principles of historic preservation to the re-evaluation of its buildings. Herein was born the concept of adaptive reuse. In the 1960's the idea that the city’s constructs from a previous era could be put to new use was without precedent. ‘The successful conversion (1969-1971) of Boston's City Hall into a restaurant and first class office building heralded the beginning of this new concept.’ The American Institute of Architects (AIA) publicly supported the process of its conversion and promoted Old City Hall as a notable example of urban renewal that could have future implications. In fact, many cities across the nation have used the rehabilitation of Old City Hall as a template for the reuse of landmark buildings in their own communities and this pioneer model of redevelopment continues to win recognition as a precedent setting approach to adaptive reuse.


Beyond St. Patrick's Day: Massachusetts and Ireland Economic Ties

Posted by Devin Cole March 13, 2012 04:55 PM
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St. Patrick's Day, not named after me.

This weekend, I was walking through Boston as the city began its annual preparation for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. The signs that this city takes its famous Irish heritage seriously were everywhere: Store windows were filled with large green top hats, Leprechauns, pots of gold(I don’t think it was real gold), and other costume apparel to mark one of the most storied holidays in Boston.

As we prepare to celebrate the cultural bonds that link Massachusetts and Ireland, there is also a great opportunity to illustrate the vibrant economic ties that connect these two regions on St. Patrick’s Day and the other 364 days of the year. The strong Massachusetts-Ireland relationship drives bilateral trade and investment. And even during these challenging economic times both economies benefit.

Boston has long been a gateway to the American dream for Irish immigrants. These strong cultural traditions developed over centuries of immigration have led to a business community that welcomes Irish companies and encourages Massachusetts organizations to use Ireland as their gateway to the European market. There was no better display of this welcome then the support that Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Kenny received in his recent visit to Boston.


American companies should jump on the India wave

Posted by Devin Cole February 21, 2012 04:00 PM

India.JPGMost American small and medium companies know India as a country for off-shoring software development or call center services, and largely ignore other opportunities to do business in India or partner with Indian companies.

I am a Boston-based entrepreneur who co-founded a company that helps overseas companies expand their business into the United States. Some of the companies we help are from India.

Last year I had the opportunity to visit India and meet with their local entrepreneurs. I attended the IndiaSoft software conference in the city of Pune in the state of Maharashtra, an urban agglomeration with 5.5 million people that most Americans have never heard of (I admit that I had to look it up too …). Being in the neighborhood, I also took the opportunity to set up several meetings with entrepreneurs in Mumbai.


China Loves Boston's Martial Arts

Posted by Meg Reilly February 15, 2012 04:54 PM
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Mr. Kim's Class

Boston has been a magnet for high achievers for decades, but that attraction extends beyond our traditional universities, hospitals, tech centers, and start-ups: even martial artists are drawn to Boston.

While the exact beginning of martial arts may be too remote to identify, martial artists can agree that China, not Boston, has fostered the development of martial arts since 5th century BCE. Due to the long history of martial arts in China, residents of China take great pride in their culture’s contributions to various forms of martial arts. This makes Bostonian Grandmaster Kim’s recent accomplishment of opening a popular martial arts school in Shanghai a particularly striking feat.

How does Mr. Kim grow his influence in China while remaining in Boston? Talented martial artists from China, Korea, Singapore, and other parts of Asia travel to Boston to receive one-on-one training from Grandmaster Kim in Taekwon-do, a Korean form of hand-to-hand combat. Mr. Kim is one of just a handful of active teachers left in the world who had the honor of receiving personal training from the acknowledged founder of Taekwon-do, General Choi and from Grandmaster Jung Tae Park, president of the Global Tae Kwon Do Federation.

For Asians traveling to America to study martial arts, Boston continues to be a vibrant and attractive place to live, work, study, and begin careers. In fact, Boston has the highest proportion of 20-34 year olds among the top 25 major U.S. cities. In addition, census analysis from the Institute for Asian American Studies at UMASS-Boston shows that there are more than 122,000 Chinese Americans in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which is an increase of approximately 46 percent from 2000. Moreover, there are over 20,000 people of Korean descent that live in Massachusetts. Census data further indicates that over 24,000 of Americans of Chinese descent live in Boston. Boston visitors and residents are drawn to the city due to events, such as the College Day organized by the Asian American Civic Association Youth Council last year in which colleges, students, and parents had the chance to discuss the college admissions process and financial aid options. The event hosted 15 Massachusetts colleges and was attended by more than 175 people seeking educational solutions.

The following is a brief interview with the always busy Grandmaster Kim:

When did you start Taekwon-do?


Building a Better Boston: WCCP 2012 Chatham Forum [part 2]

Posted by Chad O'Connor February 13, 2012 11:46 AM

As the Chatham Forum continued, the second panel of the day (See last week's intro post) – Greg Selkoe, Vicky Wu Davis, Travis McCready, Helena Fruscio and Frederick Kramer – convened later that morning to discuss strengthening Greater Boston’s global presence. A key theme the panel kept coming back to was changing the way we think about barriers geographically. One dysfunctional example that gained many nodding heads of support was discussion of taxi pickup regulations that prevent Boston cabs from picking up in Cambridge and vice versa. Not only is it frustrating to people who live in the Boston area, but it is frustrating and bewildering to out-of–towners who will remember such anecdotal encounters.

The taxi example seemed to represent the desire of the panel to see more cooperation between the region’s cities, minimizing regulation and bureaucracy that stifles business and detracts from a positive experience in Greater Boston. Heather Fruscio neatly summarized the problem by noting that “A brand is only as good as it functions” – harkening back to the earlier panel’s praise of Barcelonactiva for integrating processes that help business permitting go smoothly. Healthy competition between cities, emphasizing real differences, is okay; unhealthy competition with a winner take all mentality will not help Greater Boston as a whole. One panelist even noted that districts within a city, sometimes blocks apart, can get into unhealthy competition that loses sight of the bigger benefit.


Building a Better Boston: WCCP 2012 Chatham Forum [part 1]

Posted by Chad O'Connor February 10, 2012 11:45 AM

Chatham-Group-Photo3.jpgSuper Bowl weekend kicked off with a star-studded retreat focusing on Boston’s future. World Class Cities Partnership (WCCP), in collaboration with City to City Boston and Boston World Partnerships, planned the 2012 Chatham Forum for engaged Greater Boston citizens to learn, discuss, renew friendships and expand networks. To quote from WCCP Executive Director Mike Lake’s invitation, the Forum sought to update everyone about “opportunities for the Boston region in relation to innovation, entrepreneurship and adapting best practices from around the world to strengthen economic development in our region.” In addition, attendees participated in Massachusetts’ first Urban Excellence unConference with “Solution Sessions” to share ideas and projects on economic development, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Insightful content and action opportunities were in abundance. A Friday night cocktail reception and dinner with opening keynote from Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson set the tone for an ambitious agenda. Jackson stressed the importance of getting the youth of Greater Boston civically engaged, something that starts with a strong public education system.

On Saturday morning everyone reconvened with a heart-felt montage tribute to the recently deceased former Boston Mayor Kevin White. [As a sad epilogue, Lowell Richards of Massport, a former deputy mayor to White, who was at the Chatham Forum unexpectedly died on Sunday. Condolences go out to his family and friends. He spent the better portion of his last weekend with us doing what he did best: working behind the scenes on making Greater Boston better.]


Top 5 Factors to Weigh Before Getting a PhD

Posted by Chad O'Connor February 3, 2012 10:00 AM

Arne Hessenbruch

What are the 5 top factors to weigh before getting a PhD?

1. What doors does a PhD open for you?
The fact of the matter is, it opens mostly doors within academia. In order to get a job as a professor, you need a PhD. For most others, you don't. There are a few exceptions, such as chemistry and fields related to drug development. So if you know for certain that you want to work in academia or in, say, pharmaceuticals, then a targeted PhD is the right thing.

Also, if you are interested in an expanding field, which at the moment could be something like big data analysis or brain and cognitive sciences, then you can be reasonably certain that there will be enough openings in academia by the time you have your PhD. Of course, if you want to be in the humanities or atrophying science fields, such as space research or nuclear science, then you will end up looking at lots of closed doors.

The problem is that universities do not give you any guidance in this. They are not geared to open doors for you, except if you want to become a professor, and they do not get measured by enabling you.

2. Which skill sets will you learn?
Obviously, you will learn a lot about something esoteric. For example, if you do a PhD in the history of accounting techniques among public house owners in Boston in the 1830s, you will end up knowing more than any other person on the planet about your narrow field. But because this knowledge is unlikely to help you with anything, the question really is, what else will you learn in the process? You might for example learn how to find information that is hard to find. You might also learn how to combine different kinds of information to arrive at insights that no one had seen before.

You might further learn to summarize complex issues and to present the issues to academics, both orally and in texts. It has to be said that you are unlikely to learn how to present to the general public, and so while the training is specifically to learn how to behave within the ivory tower, it may just be useful outside too.

You will definitely learn how to juggle complex issues and how to synthesize them for a particular audience. And you will learn a form of self-discipline where the motivation has to come from within. There is no instant gratification: it can take years before you reap the fruits of your labor.

The universities can also give you no guidance on these issues before you start your degree. Neither professors nor university administrators think much about the value the students get, because they are measured by other standards, such as the number of publications they produce. They are geared towards producing knowledge that matters to professors who talk mostly to each other. Of course, even though the system is not set up to assist you in building up a skill set, you can focus on this yourself and use university resources for that purpose.

I've got a PhD!

3. How will it make you feel about yourself?
Getting a PhD will likely give you a sense of achievement and make you feel proud. This is no small matter. You can put your title next to your name and most likely it will earn you respect.

In general, you will be considered smart, and that is mostly an advantage.

Feeling good about yourself and confident has many benefits, in addition to being an end in itself. You will go into future challenges with confidence and for that reason you will also be more likely to succeed. But there is an attendant danger also: you may feel a sense of entitlement over people without PhDs, and so you might be unpleasantly surprised when others get chosen over you and you learn to use the word overqualified in order to soothe the pain. So here is something you should be prepared to juggle: be proud of a PhD while at the same time acknowledging that it may not open doors.

4. Will you have fun?
This was certainly the first thing that came to my mind when I weighed the option of a PhD. And it is of course of major importance.

You absolutely have to find the object of your studies interesting, because the gratification is very delayed. Life in the lab can be tedious and boring, unless you endow your activities with meaning. You have to feel that it matters, that you play with cool tools, that you contribute to the betterment of humanity in some way, or that you discover some measure of Truth, however small. If you want to become a professor you have to enjoy the kind of life that professors lead. And if you end up needing a job outside academia that your PhD doesn't necessarily prepare you well for, then you will at least want to have had fun!

5. What is the cost?
Ultimately, you will want to try some kind of cost-benefit analysis. A PhD takes a long time, and it costs fees and living expenses.

Unless you get grants to assist with this, it will add up. In addition, you will spend many years not making a living and not learning other important skills. I think most people wing it: they go into an academic field because they are enamoured with it, and maybe also because it continues the life they led as an undergrad - it avoids having to go out and find a job. They think about the fun and maybe also about the status.

Of course, there is much to be said for simply following your passions. But since so many PhDs nowadays lead to a perceived dead end, it is a good idea to consider the above five issues before it is too late.

Arne Hessenbruch is a Danish expat and the founder of Boston Denmark Partnerships, where he connects Danish companies with an interest in doing business in Boston.

A portrait of the artist as a global entrepreneur

Posted by Devin Cole January 30, 2012 10:46 AM
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Culture Vulture II, 40" tall, 2011, locust wood, paint by Donna Dodson

To be an artist in the current economic slump is not unlike a swan, gliding across the water. Its movements appear to be graceful and elegant yet beneath the water, out of sight, its feet are paddling like crazy. Indeed, survival is an art form in itself. In this article I will outline and discuss some local and global trends I have noticed in my day to day life as a Boston based artist who is trying to get to the next level in my career. I will use the example of my experiences as a starting point for a conversation about best practices in the art world, i.e. how it’s possible to be global while being local, how to build networks using electronic tools, how to create community and harness expertise without recreating the wheel.

Global reach of New England art Galleries creates meaningful dialogue and collaboration across cultures

Gallery Ehva in Provincetown is owned and operated by a visionary artist, Ewa Nogiec. She threatens to leave the USA and go back to her home in Poland if the gallery business doesn’t work out for her. Art is her whole life. In preparation for my recent show, Birds of a Feather, she made an unusual request. She asked me to make a stork, because they are very special to her. They breed in Poland and remind her of home. They are born with black legs and beaks, but when they reach sexual maturity, their beaks and legs turn bright red. Their bodies are white except for the brush of black that remains on the wingtips. As I developed a wood sculpture, White Stork, this bird took flight in my mind.


2012: The Year of the Baby Step

Posted by Devin Cole January 9, 2012 03:11 PM
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Sean Dreilinger/

There are some big predictions out there. The Economist is expecting the mechanisms of cancer to be understood in 2012, for example. But my crystal ball reveals only piecemeal changes. Nonetheless, these changes are part of longer term trends that will make the world look different in 10 years time.

Ever since radiotherapy was invented a century ago, the history of cancer has been replete with predictions of its imminent demise, and one joins the chorus at one's peril. But the immense increase in biological information that we are now gathering will lead somewhere. For example, metabolomics allows us to match biomarkers to particular goings-on in the body. Companies such as InfanDx are leading into the fray. This German company has the technology to diagnose brain damage caused to some babies at birth due to a lack of oxygen. They use an ordinary blood sample to find a particular set of bio-markers, the presence of which correlate well with encephalopathy caused by neonatal asphyxia. Such diagnostic use of bio-markers will increase drastically in 2012.

The Boston startup world is all agog with mobile opportunities. Something will come of this, but what?


What's in store for 2012? One lawyer's view of industry trends

Posted by Devin Cole January 4, 2012 02:55 PM

Nancy Reiner.jpegMassachusetts added 50,000 jobs during 2011 and unemployment fell to 7 percent, its lowest level since the end of 2008. In fact, according to The Boston Globe, the state added jobs at more than double the pace of the nation this past year. Employment in the state’s information services sector grew by 5 percent; professional services (which includes law firms) expanded by 4 percent; hospitality and health care grew by 3.6 and 3 percent, respectively; and manufacturing (led by technical equipment companies) expanded by 2 percent.

In November, the Associated Industries of Massachusetts Business Confidence Index turned positive – reaching 50.1 – for the first time since July. In mid-December, Suffolk University’s Beacon Hill Institute predicted that the state’s economy will grow by 2.8% and 65,000 jobs in 2012.

We at Major, Lindsey & Africa have experienced this first-hand: We made 37 percent more global law firm placements in 2011 than in 2010.

There are some potential clouds on the horizon that could slow the state’s growth, though. One is the global economy. Since many of the Commonwealth’s businesses sell their products and services overseas, Europe’s financial problems could have a negative ripple effect. There is also uncertainty concerning decisions being made in Washington, D.C. that could affect the state’s health care and defense industries. However, these are passing clouds. Massachusetts’ economy is grounded by strong industries, research-oriented universities and hospitals, and cutting-edge technologies, all of which bodes well for legal hiring as we head into the new year.

Hot Sectors Create Demand

Massachusetts, like the rest of the world, is seeing an uptick in demand for attorneys in the following areas: intellectual property, patent litigation, venture capital, private equity, health care, labor and employment, and corporate governance.


Sustainability, Subsidies and Regionalism in the Energy Market

Posted by Devin Cole December 30, 2011 02:45 PM

Hessenbruch.Arne__.Headshot_1_.jpegThe recently released film "Iron Lady" features Margaret Thatcher's acceptance speech upon first becoming prime minister, quoting Francis of Assisi: "Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope."

In the 1980s and 1990s, Thatcher's political opponents used this speech as a voiceover with footage showing the violence her politics wrought, such as clashes between British police and coal miners. The point was of course to argue that she brought discord, doubt and despair to the many mining communities whose livelihood was wiped out. But from her perspective, British coal mining simply was not viable without subsidies, and the subsidies were wasting tax payers' money.

Change is always resisted, the more so of course when livelihoods are at stake. US coal fired power plants are being retired to understandable howls of protest in coal rich West Virginia. US energy politics is understandably not only partisan but also a patchwork of regions. Sustainability makes sense in New England but is almost a dirty word in West Virginia or Texas. Representatives of the carbon based energy industry disapprove of government subsidies for renewables and supporters of renewables point to the much higher and systemic subsidies for coal, oil and gas.


2011: Mass Benefits from Russian Tech Modernization

Posted by Devin Cole December 28, 2011 12:38 PM

Satinsky.Daniel.Headshot.jpgDuring 2011 there were significant new developments in Russian involvement with the Massachusetts high tech sector, with more to come in 2012. RUSNANO, a Russian development agency, announced significant investments in local startups. MIT signed an agreement with the Skolkovo Foundation, another Russian development agency, to collaborate in the creation of the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology in a Moscow suburb. Early next year, a third Russian development agency, the Russian Venture Company, will open its U.S. headquarters in Boston. This December, Russia was admitted into the World Trade Organization opening new potential for Massachusetts industry exports. All in all, this was probably the most significant year for economic ties between Russia and the Massachusetts tech sector since the dissolution of the Soviet Union and prospects for next year are even greater.

RUSNANO, with government-backed capitalization of $10 billion, is a co-investor in large-scale nanotechnology projects to develop and diversify the Russian economy through nanotechnology. On October 27, 2011, RUSNANO announced high-profile investments in two Massachusetts biotech companies, BIND and Selecta. Each of these companies will receive a $25 million investment as part of a fundraising round that will include contributions from each company’s existing US investors and from new investors. As part of the investment agreement, each company will establish subsidiaries in Russia that will incorporate Russian scientific expertise and clinical experience. At a time of increasing difficulty in finding financing in the US, the RUSNANO connection provides the companies not only money, but expanded technical and market opportunity. RUSNANO is reportedly also examining an investment in a Massachusetts clean energy company.


So where's your Brazil strategy?

Posted by Devin Cole December 22, 2011 11:05 AM

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Poised above São Paulo is the uber-trendy Hotel Unique. Its signature Skye Bar offers a spectacular view of the industrial city and teems with well-heeled paulistanos. An English and Swiss colleague and I gaze over the skyline as we await our table on a warm November evening. As hotel guests our ‘priority’ table is ready at 12 midnight. Absolutely normal, one might think, in this part of the world. Except it’s a Tuesday. It’s just one sign of Brazil’s thriving economy.

It’s no secret that Brazil’s economy has boomed in recent years. Strong demand for its commodities, primarily from China, has contributed to an average growth rate of 5% and a rush of inbound foreign investment. A growing economy and access to credit has boosted the fortunes of the Brazilian middle class and spurred an explosion of consumption. The price of housing, office and retail space has increased dramatically as construction firms have scrambled to meet demand. And the Brazilian real has strengthened dramatically, unleashing a wave of international tourist spending and property buying.

The Brazilian luxury market is currently valued at $2.6 billion, with another $5 billion consumed outside of Brazil. According to Global Blue, a private company that refunds the VAT of foreign shoppers, Brazilian spending in Europe has increased over 50% since 2009. In Paris, both Printemps and Galeries Lafayette each now have a Brazilian Portuguese-speaking customer service representative to assist with shopping. And Brazilians are the darlings of Miami, spending over $1 billion per year and buying nearly half of all downtown condos valued over $500,000.

Against this backdrop, and with over 155,000 millionaire households (about 40% of the Latin American total) and an ever-expanding aspirational class, it’s hard to imagine that Brazil wouldn’t be at the top of most firms’ international expansion plans. Yet Brazil has attracted relatively less attention by luxury corporations than its other BRIC counterparts, specifically China and India.


Britain and Boston: Economic partners in the past, present and the future

Posted by Devin Cole December 21, 2011 11:35 AM

Phil.Budden.jpgBritain has long had business links with Massachusetts, and they are growing even stronger: such business is the key focus of the British Consulate in Boston.

In a sense, the strength of the business links should not be a surprise. Massachusetts was in part founded as a commercial enterprise almost 400 years ago, by British Puritans who created the Massachusetts Bay Company. The signs of those early links remain, such as the name of the governing body for any English chartered company of that time – the ‘General Court’ – which has come to signify the state’s legislature. More importantly, the shared heritage of an English-speaking, legally-grounded entrepreneurial culture has underpinned the links between Massachusetts and Britain ever since, despite the constitutional separation that resulted from the late unpleasantness known locally as the ‘War of Independence’.


What are they saying about us? Social Sphere on Boston's global reputation

Posted by Devin Cole December 19, 2011 04:42 PM

Last week, Boston World Partnerships invited John Della Volpe, Co-founder and Managing Director of SocialSphere, an insight-based strategy company, to present to a group of Greater Boston’s civic and business leaders about how the world perceives Boston.

This project was a direct result of feeling frustrated in countless conversations with other business and civic leaders about how we can promote Boston’s assets better to the world and generate economic growth. In order to better promote the city, we needed hard data on the global perception of Boston’s talent and resources.


Why Massachusetts Businesses Urgently Need to Internationalize

Posted by Devin Cole December 8, 2011 01:27 PM
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Philip Guarino
Although some encouraging signs have started to emerge in 2011, the US economy still faces significant challenges on the road to recovery. Nationally, most indicators tend to point to a tepid rebound and a protracted period of slower economic growth. For decades, the US economy has relied on domestic consumption as the major engine for growth; a large and growing domestic economy masked the immediate need for companies to look abroad for customers.

Today despite a devalued US dollar, only a minimal fraction of US businesses actually conduct business overseas and an even smaller percentage in more than one country. With slow growth on the horizon, exporting is no longer a luxury but a necessity if American businesses aim to grow.

The vast size of the US economy and relatively strong economic growth have largely shielded most American companies from the need to export that virtually all other industrialized economies have faced. Smaller countries by default must look abroad as domestic markets are often too small. Startlingly only 4% of US companies actually export at all, and less than 0.5% of US companies export to more than one country- yes- Canada included.


Who's Bigger than Coca-Cola? One Boston mobile company!

Posted by Devin Cole November 21, 2011 11:45 AM

A Boston start-up company, Jana, has access to 2.1 billion consumers, via their cell phones. That is probably more than any other company in the world, including the large global retail companies such as Coca-Cola or P&G. And Jana is growing and hiring in order to build a solid business on this remarkable fact.

Jana has the technical capability to give minutes to these 2.1 billion owners of cell phones. In many parts of the world cell phone minutes are as good as cash, in some ways even better, because minutes can be transferred with greater ease.

Nathan Eagle, CEO of Jana


Let us just pause for a minute, and consider this fact. A Boston start-up company has the business model and the technical wherewithal to send money to a significant fraction of the world's population, mostly in the developing world. For 60 years or so, money has flowed, in the form of aid, to the developing world, where it has failed to achieve much, largely because it ended up in the pockets of a few and never helped the population as a whole. Gatekeepers kept it to themselves, and aid organizations had no way of bypassing them.

So how can you have money flow to a large fraction of this planet's population without it being pocketed on the way? And where could this money come from?


Diplomacy meets Science in Boston

Posted by Devin Cole November 8, 2011 05:28 PM

Nations have long relied on scientific achievement as a powerful tool with which to build prestige. From France’s unveiling of the Eiffel Tower at the 1889 World Expo to the USSR’s launch of Sputnik in 1957, from the German autobahn to the Japanese bullet train, nations have signaled their dynamism to foreign publics with symbols of scientific prowess.

Along with cultural riches, educational and athletic achievements, and strong values, advancements in science are one of the most widely accepted signifiers of “soft power.” In today’s globalized world, smaller yet highly developed nations are turning to “science diplomacy” as a tactic of choice.

The case of Switzerland

Switzerland is currently among the most aggressive nations in leveraging science, education, and “entrepreneurial spirit” as instruments of public diplomacy. And it is not coincidental that the country chose the Boston area to establish the world’s first dedicated science consulate in 2000, known today as “swissnex Boston.”

Since then, Switzerland’s network of Science and Technology outposts has rapidly grown, with swissnex offices added in San Francisco, Singapore, Shanghai, and Bangalore; adding to the traditional science attachés in major Swiss Embassies around the World.


Royalty and Healthcare IT: A prince comes to Boston

Posted by Devin Cole October 31, 2011 09:30 AM

The Crown Prince of Denmark was in town on October 20th, giving a keynote speech at the Connect Health Symposium at Park Plaza Hotel. He mentioned that Denmark spends about half of what the US does on health care, while the living standard there is slightly higher than here. He hinted that a part of this was due to excellent IT in the Danish health system, and, by the way, representatives of these companies are at the conference today.


His Royal Highness, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, addressing the Connect Health Symposium in Boston, October 20, 2011

Royalty brings pixie dust. The audience quieted down in expectation of the Prince's arrival, and the room was full. Could as much bang have been gotten from Danish tax payers bucks, had he been an elected official? The Prince and his entourage swooshed in quietly looking sleek and modern, with tailored suits, white shirts and black shoes – rather like a Danish wind turbine. No frills, no ties, no color.

Yesterday, a different Danish delegation was in town. The Danish government is worried about economic growth. Small Danish startup companies fail to grow big. Looking to the US, they notice that only Silicon Valley and Boston produce startup companies that grow. Even the Research Triangle has a poor track record. What are the Valley and Boston doing right?


Would you speak to your mother like that?

Posted by Devin Cole October 28, 2011 11:29 AM

Shapira.Allison.BW.jpgWhen you give a speech, what language do you speak? I’m not talking about speaking English versus Spanish, Hebrew, or Arabic. I’m talking about the way you use language in your speech.

Do you speak the language of business, or engineering, or law? Would someone without a degree in those fields be able to understand you?


The Talent Zone: Vertex, The Innovation District and Boston

Posted by Devin Cole October 26, 2011 11:45 AM

The Innovation District in Boston is new and growing. Mayor Menino has supported its development to add to the world class medical and technology culture already prevalent in the Boston area. The arts, non-profits, green technology, restaurants, residential and start-ups are also calling the waterfront their home.

It is exciting to know that companies in Boston are thriving, retaining talent, tapping into our diverse college and university pool and expanding to budding neighborhoods like the Innovation District.

Lisa Anderson, Senior Director of Strategy Staffing for Vertex Pharmaceuticals and I recently talked about the changes in expansion and relocation the corporate headquarters is going through.

How many new candidates will you be hiring and where are you looking?

We have this past year, hired our first sales force and launched our first drug approved this past May. It’s been an exciting time here at Vertex. We have over 100 openings currently on our website and we have over 1300 employees in MA alone. Boston is a diverse, exciting place to live and work, with lots of different neighborhoods and cultures. With a large number of colleges and universities in a small area, we are able to find local talent with Bachelors and Master degrees on up to PhD and MD degrees. Although we are a scientifically based company we also hire folks with accounting, finance, IS/IT, marketing and market research, legal and HR backgrounds. Over the last 18 months, we have relocated 110 people to Vertex from all around the US and overseas. The majority of these relocating employees (62%) came from NJ, PA, CA, NY and CT.


A Steamy Situation: Biogen Idec and the Cambridge Steam System

Posted by Devin Cole October 20, 2011 05:17 PM

In 2003, Biogen Idec were faced with a difficult decision for their Kendall Square campus in Cambridge – lying between Broadway, Galileo Galilei Way, Binney Street, and the pedestrian walkway in extension of Sixth Street. They needed a reliable supply of steam for their batch production, and their supplier, Cambridge Steam System, was using boilers in excess of 40 years old at the Kendall Plant, is visible from the Red Line crossing the Bridge, next to Broad Canal. What's more, they didn't have the capital to modernize - . Having lost a batch due to unreliable steam supply, and having negotiated unsatisfactorily for 18 months, Biogen Idec decided to look into other avenues, including running their own supply.



New to Boston? Time to Find the Right School for the Kids - Here's How!

Posted by Devin Cole September 29, 2011 03:22 PM

Cassie Firenze is the talented Director of Admission for the Shady Hill School in Cambridge (beginners through 8th grade). She loves matching students and schools together and feels that the right match can lead to success both in the classroom and in a child's self confidence. Newcomers and locals alike take heed; Cassie's advice is well worth listening to.


Hello World, Welcome to Global Business Hub!

Posted by Joe Allen-Black September 7, 2011 02:38 PM

Welcome to Global Business Hub!

We're very happy to join and provide you with the very best business news, powered by Boston World Partnerships Connectors.

Keep an eye on this space if you like to know what Boston companies are up to, how Boston connects with the world and how Boston's best and brightest are innovating in ways that will impact all of us for the next 100 years.

We intend for Global Business Hub to be an interactive space, so please tell us what you think in the comments, on Twitter and on Facebook.

Boston World Partnerships' expert "Connectors" discuss business strategy, entrepreneurship, Boston's place in the world economy, and much more. Using their insider perspective, they illuminate how Boston's innovative companies start, grow, scale, and go global.

Meet Boston's coolest, smartest and most dynamic founders in our REEL Innovators video series!


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Innovation and technology news that matters, on a new website from the Boston Globe, featuring Scott Kirsner and other original reporting.