The Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO is proud to present a special edition of BRICS Business Magazine dedicated to global challenges. The term ‘global challenge’ has become a common buzzword these days. It is used in reference to nearly every issue and current event, from problems like climate change and income inequality to the explosive development of digital technologies and the spread of epidemics. But are these challenges truly global?
The term ‘global challenge’ has become a common buzzword these days. It is used in reference to nearly every issue and current event, from problems like climate change and income inequality to the explosive development of digital technologies and the spread of epidemics. But are these challenges truly global?
Despite the popular notion that the world is becoming flatter and more interconnected, we see an ever-growing fragmentation. Solutions that are successful in one region of the world more and more often tend to fail in another. Different parts of the planet do not reflect a unified whole, and if there are any similarities between them, they do not contribute to a sense of global community.
The BRICS paradox is a particularly telling example. Once upon a time, this acronym was coined based on one common indicator – economic growth rates – while ignoring obvious geographic, cultural, social, and economic dissimilarities. Comparable growth rates were never much of an impetus for bringing these countries together in the past, but even as their economic growth indicators have radically diverged in recent years, the BRICS countries have demonstrated an unprecedented level of cooperation. What explains this?
Challenges carry both threats and opportunities, while successes or failures depend on the response of an actor – be it a human being, an organization, or a country. The more ambitious the goal, the greater the challenge and the higher the demand for integrity, strategy, and resources. It is perhaps this demand that explains the BRICS countries’ seemingly paradoxical move toward closer ties. The overwhelming scope of the potential challenges they could take on pushes them toward greater integration, a common strategy, and a pooling of resources and capabilities.
Thus, common challenges are not global per se. There is room for competition when confronting challenges and room for competition in shaping the future of our world. We are on the verge of a fascinating competition with constantly changing rules.
We do not know what the outcome of this game is going be, but we do know that the capacity for competition is here to stay. Are our future business leaders capable of rising to the challenges of tomorrow? Perhaps this question is a personal challenge for business schools around the world, though that may require closer cooperation, joint strategies, and shared resources.
Demographic forecasts predict that the labor force of the future will come not from the developed world but from the emerging markets. However, it still remains to be seen where the next generation of business leaders will come from. In many ways, the answer rests on the business schools of the developing world – and the BRICS countries in particular.