Daily Archives: November 26, 2010

Time to Stop Worrying About China

Yes they’re the number two economy and yes they will reclaim their spot as the number one economy in thirty (30) to forty (40) years, but they’re not worth all the attention they’re getting. As per this recent article in The Economist on Chinese Acquisitions, China owns a mere 6% of global investment in international business. That’s less than 1/15th. Compare that to Britian’s stake in international business in 1914 or America’s stake in international business in 1967 when they both held about 50%, or 1/2, of global investment in international business, and you see that there’s really nothing to worry about.

Since most developed world markets have rules in place that insure that no global investor can divert business away from the home country or export trade secrets or compete in a monopolistic way, the rules we have in place for foreign investors right now are good enough. There’s no point wasting time and money developing special rules for China, especially when most of our economies need our attention as it is. And as far as our supply chain is concerned, how about we spend the time and effort making sure they are adhering to our regulations and safety protocols instead? After all, even when they become the dominant economy, they’re not likely to be more than 20% of global GDP (especially since the rest of the BRIC countries are expected to increase significantly in GDP as well) or control more than 20% of global investment. And while 20% is significant, it’s far from majority control. Time to stop the much ado about nothing and get back to business.

How Important are MiniTrends?

A recent book review of Minitrends: How Innovators & Entrepreneurs Discover & Profit from Business & Technology Trends over on the World Future Society site, which introduced the “minitrend” as any trend — technical, social, economic, demographic, legal, etc. — that is just beginning to emerge, although not yet acknowledged by the media or the marketplace, states that the early identification of emergent long-term trends poses such enormous marketplace value, it seems not improbable that traffic in minitrends will become a significant online phenomenon during the next two to five years.

As per the authors’ website, Minitrends go hand-in-hand with Megatrends. For example, within the Megatrend of an aging population are the Minitrends of people remaining active in the workforce for longer periods of time and increasing movement of elderly individuals to smaller nursing centers. And while some Minitrends will have little or no relationship to a Megatrend, they will have relevance to wider audiences.

If the minitrend is the leading indicator of an emerging megatrend, then it is probably quite important as it is signalling the state of things to come. If it’s a short-lived trend that’s here-today and gone-tomorrow, then any thought applied to the matter is a waste of time.

So what would a minitrend look like in supply chain? And how would you tell if it’s important? It could be a switch to a new technology platform, a switch to a new energy source, or a switch to a new form of payment. It would be important if the technology started to gain critical mass, if the energy source was cheaper and/or more sustainable, or the payment methodology preferred by your financial institutions.

So how do you detect a minitrend? Good question. According to the authors, you:

  • Follow the Money,
  • Follow the Leaders,
  • Take Note of Demographics,
  • Analyze Frustrations, and/or
  • Search for Convergences.

A good start, but I’m not sure it’s the secret sauce. But I’m not sure what is. Anyone have any ideas?