Globalisation somehow brings to mind a ‘super information highway’ of connectedness between all the countries of the world. But there’s more to it than that.
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Beyond the buzzword, we envisage a cyber market with its endless stream of stocks and trades; an infinite white noise of communications streaming in milliseconds from one continent to another.
We like to believe globalisation is a term of modern coinage, but it’s not as new as we think it is.
The Silk Road or Silk Route was an ancient network of trade routes that were for centuries central to cultural interaction through regions of the Asian continent connecting the East and West (from China to the Mediterranean Sea). Beginning during the Han dynasty (120 BCE), it is actually our earliest form of globalisation.
Obviously no longer trading in just silks and spices in Europe and Asia, globalisation - with the help of technology - has created one massive playground in whichanycompanycan integrate with the economy and people ofanynationin the world.
But has it gone too far?
In a little over two decades, the West and the East have integrated to a point where globalisation is seemingly blurring what once made those regions unique. We deploy global strategies and global incentives to reach our fiscal goals. One size that fits all, because it’s easier to manage and we believe it’s working efficiently.
Related: How to manage your cash flow when your company is growing
But is it really?
Strategies that are massively successful in one region have crashed and burned in another. Why are your incentive programmes in Europe not having the same behavioural effect in Africa?
The “one size fits all” philosophy is profoundly ineffective, that’s why. So, what’s the solution?
The answer lies in the Silk Road, and the many fables that travelled from land to land. These were stories that originated in the East but were made famous in the West. But one thing remains common - these tales are firm in their origin; parables reflective of where they come from and anecdotes strong in their local culture.
The true challenge of today is not in globalisation, but in localisation
Regardless of your incentive programme type, the biggest challenge for global programmes will be how to reflect and connect to the local culture. Whether it is incentive travel experiences highlighting local food and artisans, or gift card programmes needing to account for local payment legislature, global focus must be on local influences. Does your incentive programme understand the local culture?
Extent of the Silk Road / Route (Red is land and the blue is the water route)