Sunday, September 28, 2014

Discovering a New City

This past week I had that special experience.  It’s been a while since I’ve been someplace new, a city that I’ve never visited.

I went to Ottawa, the capital of Canada, to speak at a Protocol Officers Association workshop. (   Taking advantage of being there I set aside Saturday to explore this interesting city, aided by a friend who served as a guide.

What a treat it was.  First visited the National Gallery – a really wonderful dramatic building -  and discovered the Group of Seven, artists who banded together in 1920 to show Canada’s character through their landscape painting.

Too visit the Notre Dame Cahtedral Basilica with ornate interior and amazing silver spires.   Then there was lunch and a stroll though ByWard Market, followed by a walk along te UNESCO Heritage site, the Rideau Canal.  Everyone I met talked about the canal that runs through the city and freezes in the winter --- one of the attendees at the workshop shared that she skated to work all though the last winter.  Coming from L.A. it’s hardly possible to image such a commute to work.   and there’s so much more – too much to list here.

But maybe most unexpected was to see the banners for Canada 2017 – the 150th anniversary of the formation of Canada.  http://www.ottawa2017    Ottawa is clearly ready to celebrate in even though they'll have to wait 1007 days.  Let’s mark our calendars and share the event with our Canadian friends and colleagues. 

And I you'll agree that every new city we visit has something that may intrigue, excite and engage us in unexpected ways.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

This week the most important financial news in the U.S/ was the launch of a Chinese company on the New York Stock Exchange, unimaginable not too many years ago. But the financial news was the only recent reminder that important events and influences come from unexpected places. 

This month Harper's Bazaar an America fashion dating from 1867 added a more global view to the U.S. edition.  (They are already a global publication with editions published mainly in local languages in 31 countries including Bulgaria, Brazil, China, Poland, Kazakhstan, Greece, Vietnam and the UAE.)

They brought the world to the pages of their U.S. edition not simply by presenting a review of the fashion weeks in London or Paris or a story about an Italian fashion designer.  Rather under the headline Intercontinental Chic they presented full page spreads of design and culture in eight countries and locales.  There was no surprise to see  France, and England, but less expected were the others:   China, Brazil, India, Russia, the Middle East, and Japan.  (

This may simply be a recognition that their American readers understand that design, and trends, whether in fashion, furniture or food, emerge in many places.  Or it is a way to encourage their readers to expand their thinking.  Whatever the reason, it reminds us to be curious, to expect to find great things anywhere and everywhere in our world. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Hot or Cold: What's the Tempo?

While Denver, Colorado (USA) and Calgary, Alberta (Canada) welcomed the first snowflakes of the season this week Los Angeles is in the midst of a record setting heat wave.  For the first time that I remember I saw an Excessive Heat Warning posted.  Predictions are for the temperatures in the area to reach or exceed 105 degrees Fahrenheit (40.5 centigrade).  It’s hot.

Being out in the heat made me remember that I’d read that that Climate has an influence on culture.  According to the book, A Geography of Time, by Robert Levine climate is one of five factors that influence the tempo, the speed, of a culture.

Today in the heat it was easy to believe that in a place with an extremely warm climate, especially if one lacks the ability to be cool at will, the pace would be slower than in a more moderate climate.  But I'm not sure if  people move faster where it’s colder – moving along more quickly to keep warm or maybe slower again if it’s too cold to move comfortably?  What I do believe is that temperature matters. 

This give us one more thing to consider as we explore new destinations.  Is it hot or cold?   What might that tell us about the tempo, the pace of life and business?  What are the expectations about how when something will be done?  How quickly should an email be answered?  Within half an hour?  A day?  A week?

By the way, Mr. Levine’s Five Factors that influence the tempo of life are:  Economic Well-Being.  Degree of Industrialization. Population size (people in big cities move faster), Climate and Cultural Values (whether affiliation or achievement is viewed as most importance.)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Where are the 440?

If you had to book a flight to Sanaa, Lusaka or Belo where would you be going?  And what might take you there?
According to McKinsey & Co. these cities in Yemen, Zambia and Brazil are part of the 440 cities driving global growth that by 2025 – just eleven years from now – will be the “prime growth engine” for the world.

Two years ago in 2012 the McKinsey Global Institute published a report identifying 600 cities that they estimated would create nearly two thirds of global growth by 2025.  Within the 600 are the cities we expect:  London, New York, Los Angeles, Delhi, Seoul, Toronto, Shanghai and Sao Paulo.  But the majority, the 440, aren’t the familiar names highlighted in business headlines around the world.

This month September 2014 the McKinsey Quarterly  ran the “Management intuition for the next 50 years” as part of the celebration of their 50 years in business.

 This report included a reminder of the importance of the 440.  Cities we need to know.  That we may visit.  For vacation.  For business.  Cities that may be unfamiliar to us but are homes to our future clients, colleagues, competitors. 


Let’s pull out our world maps.  Discover new opportunities in new places.   Between now and 2015, if this report is correct, significant growth, economic development, will happen in many places.  Let’s be curious.  Extend ourselves, make new connections, enjoy learning about new places, meet new people.   How many of the 440 will you visit before 2025?