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The 7 Excellences of Global Innovators

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They are Innovative, Integrative, Intelligent, Imaginative, Multi-Cultural, Multi National and Multi Lingual. The dreams of tomorrow beckon, the world holds abundant opportunities for those who keep moving forward. World class “Hepta Entrepreneurs” never stand still.

They have the innate ability to move with speed and agility, vision and desire, and the will to get the job done. These young, and sometimes not so young disruptors, innovators and entrepreneurs represent the best of our and the next generation.

Heptas are engaging bright stars, creative and hardworking, impatient to change the world. They bring their passion, smarts and energy to startups and family businesses by making their mark and gaining credibility across diverse sectors.

As progression is vital for enduring success, risks and obstacles may abound. Change can often be disruptive, yet the future belongs to those who keep striving towards the next horizon- the iGeneration of Hepta Entrepreneurs. There are many ways to move forward, but only one way to standstill.The future is partly influenced by the past, but more importantly, it is shaped by the actions of today. As Albert Einstein once said that “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.

Well, today’s “Hepta Entrepreneurs”as I call them, will never have to worry about such stagnation. They are innovative, integrative, intelligent, imaginative, multi-cultural, multi-national and multi-lingual; they have it all. Type A personality is usually an understatement for this population; Type AAA, the energizer bunny on steroids with the attention span of a flickering light bulb, is a much more fitting description. They spend almost all their time in front of the computer attending to concurrent conversations on Google chat in multiple languages, answering 10 incoming emails with attachments needing immediate attention, they answer their Blackberry while texting and ordering pizza on the IPhone. Oh, let’s not forget, they still manage to follow BBC’s breaking world news on the large screen TV while keeping an eye on the stock market picture in picture, all while listening to the latest Shakira CD and chewing gum. Welcome to the world of todays’ multitasking hepta innovators!

Hepta entrepreneurs are behind some of the world’s best companies, big or small, as they can pioneer new industries, disrupt others, design superior products and services, and bring them to market faster and at lower cost. As CEOs and entrepreneurs they have to propel their companies from one stage of growth to another, from startup to profit, or small enterprise to big business, create opportunities out of their imagination and realize their dreams through tenacity and hard work..They have to lead with clarity and vision to achieve enduring success and take their companies from one stage of growth to another, expand across borders and diversify into new business lines. Some CEOs adopt the entrepreneurial attitude of being a ‘perennial startup’ to stay ever nimble, agile and poised for growth. They know how to keep customers and employees happy, raise funding, manage capital and keep their investors satisfied.

Today’s hot hepta entrepreneurs can be identified by “7” distinct characteristics essential to a companies future success. And, oddly enough, since Ancient times, in Greek mythology, the number seven “hepta” held a very special meaning. There were Seven Wise Men, Seven Sages, Seven Against Thebes, the Pleiades were Seven Sisters, there are Seven Liberal Arts and Seven Wonders of the World denoting beauty and prosperity. Christianity mentions the number Seven countless times in the Bible, Rome was built on Seven Hills, the Seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, Seven Sacraments, Seventh day of rest, Noah’s 7 laws, Geneses 7:2 , Jericho, Seventh year, Seven years for love and Seven Days to solve a Riddle. Judaism has the Seven branched Menorah, Seven days of Sukkot, Seven Hakafot, Seven weeks Shavuot, sitting Shiva Seven days and there are Seven Blessings being recited at a Jewish wedding. In Islam there are 7 verses in the first sura, the book of Revelations talks about Seven Stars and Seven lampstands, Seven spirits of God, Seven thunders, Seventh angel of the Apocalypse.

Hepta entrepreneurs evolve from one success to the next helping policymakers to keep raising their countries’ global competitiveness. Their attitudes energize companies, recalibrate their growth engines to create new value, revitalize their culture and performance. These people move at the speed of light, are highly educated, intelligent, culturally savvy, flexible, innovative world citizen forming the backbone of successful global companies. They transcend international borders, master cultural norms and easily overcome language barriers as most of them have been raised at least in a bi-lingual environment.

This iGeneration is emerged in the technological revolution, driven by ambition, fierce competitiveness and search for Uber-prosperity. They easily establish cross-functional working relationships, maintain long distance communication, overcome stranger anxiety as their main modus operandi is behind an impersonal computer screen allowing for and encouraging unconventional language use. They thrive on task complexity, excel under pressure, perform at their peak in stressful situations and experience an endorphin rush only parallel to that of a climber conquering a high mountain peak during stormy weather. For the most part these emerging leaders were brought up in heterogeneous cultures, are multi -lingual which facilitated the development of a filter by which to view and understand the world around them. The hepta’s core is a multifaceted, filled with contradictions, built around their experiences with conflict, alternate belief systems and new ways of behaving in foreign environments.

Hepta entrepreneurs will never relate to bygone phenomena such as typewriters, doing research using a library and microfiche, listen to LPs, making phone calls using an airport payphones, waiting for the mailman to deliver hand written letters or using a floppy disk. Elephant size computers housed in big underground basements, hotels offered courtesy type writers in their small business centers and satellite phones could be seen when Captain Kirk communicated with Mr. Spock in Star Trek are viewed in a rather nostalgic light by this generation. For them “Beam me up Scotty” is occurring in the present, yesterday’s utopia has become today’s reality.

This population excels by breaking the rules over and over again and causing disruption in order to achieve measurable results essential to meeting management challenges faced by today’s global leaders: transition, change, difference and adaptation. What’s more, hepta entrepreneurs develop these abilities so subtly and naturally that many don’t even know they have them.Significantly, none of these qualities described below requires an international context in which to use them.

These seven characteristics combine to yield the “iGeneration”, the hepta’s identity, pivotal to your organizational success:

Innovation – Heptas see change as normal. They combine the scientific, positivistic, rationalistic, technocratic world of the industrial paradigm and get into the intuitive, creative, open, diverse, global world of the postindustrial paradigm. Example: “The Internet of Things” which is a way of saying that more of the world will become part of their network. They are able to assimilate the world into the computer. It’s just more and more computers. Product companies compete by building ever bigger factories to turn out ever cheaper widgets. But a very different sort of economics comes into play when those widgets start to communicate. It’s called the network effect—when each new user of a product makes its value higher. Let’s take Cisco Systems as an example. According to the MIT Review ( July/August 2014) Cisco Systems has been enthusiastically predicting that 50 billion “things” could be connected to communications networks within six years, up from around 10 billion mobile phones and PCs today . Or think of the telephone a century ago. The greater the number of people who used Bell’s invention, the more valuable it became to all of them. The telephone became a platform for countless new businesses its inventor never imagined.” For heptas connecting, adapting and expanding the Internet of Things comes naturally as they leave behind the clockwork, mechanical, piecemeal, linear, quantitative world of Newton and get into the fluid, ambiguous, androgynous, qualitative world of the 21st century.

Integration & Invention – As outsiders to fixed cultural rules, hepta innovators rely on creative thinking as they reinvent themselves and experiment with new identities. Chaos and complexity theories, quantum physics, and open systems are in ; strategic management, Newtonian physics, and closed systems are out. These may seem queer, but get used to them. Example: In many cases they work with models which have not been established, taking for guaranteed that computers the size of a pinhead which collect data inside the brain and transmit it through the skull will join the internet network, brining healthcare to whole different level.

Intelligence ( Contextual and Emotional IQ) -Heptas are experts at the subtle and emotional aspects of transition, adjusting mental models, learning to differentiate between universal principles and their specific embodiments, and being open to new ideas. They influence multidirectional relationships, using persuasion, rational strategies, political analysis, creating metaphors and using myths and rituals. They are apt at appealing to emotional attachments, friendships, connectedness, relationships, to the higher ground–ethical/moral stands and to communitarian ideas, the commons, public good, organizational culture. imagination- Heptas entrepreneurs easily learn and use new ways of thinking. They are the ones who come up with a smart coffee pot, a refrigerator with a Web browser or a $78 digital “egg minder” that reports to a smartphone which egg in a refrigerator is oldest. So many gray hairs avoided by never having to worry about my eggs again!

Multi /Lingual, Multi/Cultural, Multi/ National, Multi Tasking. Heptas are at least bi-lingual or tri-lingual, multi- cultural & multi-national and multi taskig. They have lived in different countries and are familiar with many cultures. Because globalization enables breakthrough ideas to come from every corner of the world, they are able to change where and how the world does business. While until now they might have been a source of low-cost skilled labor in emerging markets is moderating.

Multilingualism at the workplace constitutes a major asset for companies and supports their international competitiveness. Even though it can be a Janus-faced phenomenon, entailing several problematic points, it is up to management commitment and involvement to prevent and counter these problems. Language skills and cultures might differ in multilingual work environments, however mutual respect and shared values can overcome linguistic and intercultural differences.

I predict that connecting ordinary objects like ovens to the Internet will trigger new platforms and that hepta entrepreneurs will be the leaders of tomorrow forming and transforming this platform, necessary for cutting edge performance to each company. Due to the fact that they are born to question, break rules and used to paradigm shifts, they will not simply rest at the standards, the connections. Instead they will also address add value, allowing for a recombination of features in ways that the original designer cannot anticipate. Heptas will be instrumental in developing tomorrow’s Internet of things which is similar to the functions of the iPhone encompassing hundreds of thousands of apps that Apple never even conceived of as they do not have a difficult time with new mental models. They will help companies compete and add incredible value by introducing new features to products, add new communities or network effects. In turn, organizations must learn how to hire and augment their workforce with efficient hepta innovators.

Emerging countries are creating their own rising stars and these fast-growing companies are changing the competitive landscape. Global and multinational companies have to assess the promise of emerging markets in current economic cycles, changes in the marketplace and policy environments. So, without a doubt, organizations will be challenged and potentially leap frogged if they do not hire hepta innovators and entrepreneurs.

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Economy

Economy Contradicts Democracy: Russian Markets Boom Amid Political Sabotage

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The political game plan laid by the Russian premier Vladimir Putin has proven effective for the past two decades. Apart from the systemic opposition, the core critics of the Kremlin are absent from the ballot. And while a competitive pretense is skilfully maintained, frontrunners like Alexei Navalny have either been incarcerated, exiled, or pushed against the metaphorical wall. All in all, United Russia is ahead in the parliamentary polls and almost certain to gain a veto-proof majority in State Duma – the Russian parliament. Surprisingly, however, the Russian economy seems unperturbed by the active political manipulation of the Kremlin. On the contrary, the Russian markets have already established their dominance in the developing world as Putin is all set to hold his reign indefinitely.

The Russian economy is forecasted to grow by 3.9% in 2021. The pandemic seems like a pained tale of history as the markets have strongly rebounded from the slump of 2020. The rising commodity prices – despite worrisome – have edged the productivity of the Russian raw material giants. The gains in ruble have gradually inched higher since January, while the current account surplus has grown by 3.9%. Clearly, the manufacturing mechanism of Moscow has turned more robust. Primarily because the industrial sector has felt little to no jitters of both domestic and international defiance. The aftermath of the arrest of Alexei Navalny wrapped up dramatically while the international community couldn’t muster any resistance beyond a handful of sanctions. The Putin regime managed to harness criticism and allegations while deftly sketching a blueprint to extend its dominance.

The ideal ‘No Uncertainty’ situation has worked wonders for the Russian Bourse and the bond market. The benchmark MOEX index (Moscow Exchange) has rallied by 23% in 2021 – the strongest performance in the emerging markets. Moreover, the fixed income premiums have dropped to record lows; Russian treasury bonds offering the best price-to-earning ratio in the emerging markets. The main reason behind such a bustling market response could be narrowed down to one factor: growing investor confidence.

According to Bloomberg’s data, the Russian Foreign Exchange reserves are at their record high of $621 billion. And while the government bonds’ returns hover at a mere 1.48%, the foreign ownership of treasury bonds has inflated above 20% for the second time this year. The investors are confident that a significant political shuffle is not on cards as Putin maintains a tight hold over Kremlin. Furthermore, investors do not perceive the United States as an active deterrent to Russia – at least in the near term. The notion was further exacerbated when the Biden administration unilaterally dropped sanctions from the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project. And while Europe and the US remain sympathetic with the Kremlin critics, large economies like Germany have clarified their economic position by striking lucrative deals amid political pressure. It is apparent that while Europe is conflicted after Brexit, even the US faces much more pressing issues in the guise of China and Afghanistan. Thus, no active international defiance has all but bolstered the Kremlin in its drive to gain foreign investments.

Another factor at work is the overly hawkish Russian Central Bank (RCB). To tame inflation – currency raging at an annual rate of 6.7% – the RCB hiked its policy rate to 6.75% from the all-time low of 4.25%. The RCB has raised its policy rate by a cumulative 250 basis points in four consecutive hikes since January which has all but attracted the investors to jump on the bandwagon. However, inflation is proving to be sturdy in the face of intermittent rate hikes. And while Russian productivity is enjoying a smooth run, failure of monetary policy tools could just as easily backfire.

While political dissent or international sanctions remain futile, inflation is the prime enemy which could detract the Russian economy. For years Russia has faced a sharp decline in living standards, and despite commendable fiscal management of the Kremlin, such a steep rise in prices is an omen of a financial crisis. Moreover, the unemployment rates have dropped to record low levels. However, the labor shortage is emerging as another facet that could plausibly ignite the wage-price spiral. Further exacerbating the threat of inflation are the $9.6 billion pre-election giveaways orchestrated by President Putin to garner more support for his United Russia party. Such a tremendous demand pressure could presumably neutralize the aggressive tightening of the monetary policy by the RCB. Thus, while President Putin sure is on a definitive path of immortality on the throne of the Kremlin, surging inflation could mark a return of uncertainty, chip away investors’ confidence: eventually putting a brake on the economic streak.

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Economy

Synchronicity in Economic Policy amid the Pandemic

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business-economy

Synchronicity is an ever present reality for those who have eyes to see.Carl Jung

The Covid pandemic has elicited a number of deficiencies in the current global governance framework, most notably its weaknesses in mustering a coordinated response to the global economic downturn. A global economy is not fully “global” if it is devoid of the capability to conduct coordinated and effective responses to a global economic crisis. What may be needed is a more flexible governance structure in the world economy that is capable of exhibiting greater synchronicity in economic policies across countries and regions. Such a governance structure should accord greater weight to regional integration arrangements and their development institutions at the level of key G20 decisions concerning international economic policy coordination.

The need for greater synchronicity in the global economy arises across several trajectories:

· Greater synchronicity in the anti-crisis response across countries and regions – according to the IMF it is a coordinated response that renders economic stimulus more efficacious in countering the global downturn

· Synchronicity in the withdrawal of stimulus across the largest economies – absent such coordination the timing of policy normalization could be postponed with negative implications for macroeconomic stability

· Greater synchronicity in opening borders, lifting lockdowns and other policy measures related to responding to the pandemic: such synchronicity provides more scope for cross-country and cross-regional value-added chains to boost production

· Greater synchronicity in ensuring a recovery in migration and the movement of people across borders.

Of course such greater synchronicity in economic policy should not undermine the autonomy of national economic policy – it is rather about the capability of national and regional economies to exhibit greater coordination during downturns rather than a progression towards a uniform pattern of economic policy across countries. Synchronicity is not only about policy coordination per se, but also about creating the infrastructure that facilitates such joint actions. This includes the conclusion of digital accords/agreements that raise significantly the potential for economic policy coordination. Another area is the development of physical infrastructure, most notably in the transportation sphere. Such measures serve to improve regional and inter-regional connectivity and provide a firmer foundation for regional economic integration.

The paradox in which the world economy finds itself is that even as the current crisis is leading to fragmentation and isolationism there is a greater need for more policy coordination and synchronicity to overcome the economic downturn. This need for synchronicity may well increase in the future given the widening array of global risks such as risks to cyber-security as well as energy security and climate change. There is also the risk of the depletion of reserves to counter the Covid crisis that has been accompanied by a rise in debt levels across developed and developing economies. Also, the speed of the propagation of crisis impulses (that effectively increases with technological advances and globalization) is not matched by the capability of economic policy coordination and efficiency of anti-crisis policies.

There may be several modes of advancing greater synchronicity across borders in international relations. One possible option is a major superpower using its clout in a largely unipolar setting to facilitate greater policy coordination. Another possibility is for such coordination to be supported by global international institutions such as the UN, the WTO, Bretton Woods institutions, etc. Other options include coordination across the multiplicity of all countries of the global economy as well as across regional integration arrangements and institutions.

Attaining greater synchronicity across countries will necessitate changes in the global governance framework, which currently is characterized by weak multilateral institutions at the top level and a fragmented framework of governance at the level of countries. What may be needed is a greater scope accorded to regional integration arrangements that may facilitate greater coordination of synchronicity at the regional level as well as across regions. The advantage of providing greater weight to the regional institutions in dealing with global economic downturns emanates from their greater efficiency in coordinating an anti-crisis response at the regional level via investment/infrastructure projects as well as macroeconomic policy coordination. Regional development institutions also have a comparative advantage in leveraging regional interdependencies to promote economic recovery.

In conclusion, the global economy has arguably become more fragmented as a result of the Covid pandemic. The multiplicity of country models of dealing with the pandemic, the “vaccine competition”, the breaking up of global value chains and their nationalization and regionalization all point in the direction of greater localization and self-sufficiency. At the same time there is a need from greater synchronicity across countries particularly in the context of the current pandemic crisis. Regional integration arrangements and institutions could serve to facilitate such coordination in economic policy within and across the major regions of the world economy.

From our partner RIAC

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Economy

A New Strategy for Ukraine

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Authors: Anna Bjerde and Novoye Vremia

Four years ago, the World Bank prepared a multi-year strategy to support Ukraine’s development goals. This was a period of recovery from the economic crisis of 2014-2015, when GDP declined by a cumulative 16 percentage points, the banking sector collapsed, and poverty and other measures of insecurity spiked. Indeed, we noted at the time that Ukraine was at a turning point.

Four years later, despite daunting internal and external challenges, including an ongoing pandemic, Ukraine is a stronger country. It has proved more resilient to unpredictable challenges and is better positioned to achieve its long-term development vision. This increased capacity is first and foremost the result of the determination of the Ukrainian people.

The World Bank is proud to have joined the international community in supporting Ukraine during this period. I am here in Kyiv this week to launch a new program of assistance. In doing this, we look back to what worked and how to apply those lessons going forward. In Ukraine—as in many countries—the chief lesson is that development assistance is most effective when it supports policies and projects which the government and citizens really want.

This doesn’t mean only easy or even non-controversial measures; rather, it means we engage closely with government authorities, business, local leaders, and civil society to understand where policy reforms may be most effective in removing obstacles to growth and human development and where specific projects can be most successful in delivering social services, particularly to the poorest.

Looking back over the past four years in Ukraine, a few examples stand out. First, agricultural land reform. For the past two decades, Ukraine was one of the few countries in the world where farmers were not free to sell their land.

The prohibition on allowing farmers to leverage their most valuable asset contributed to underinvestment in one of Ukraine’s most important sources of growth, hurt individual landowners, led to high levels of rural unemployment and poverty, and undermined the country’s long-term competitiveness.

The determination by the President and the actions by the government to open the market on July 1 required courage. This was not an easy decision. Powerful and well-connected interests benefited from the status quo; but it was the right one for Ukrainian citizens.

A second area where we have been closely involved is governance, both with respect to public institutions and the rule of law, as well as the corporate governance of state-owned banks and enterprises. Poll after poll in Ukraine going back more than a decade revealed that strengthening public institutions and creating a level playing field for business was a top priority.

World Bank technical assistance and policy financing have supported measures to restore liability for illicit enrichment of public officials, to strengthen existing anticorruption agencies such as NABU and NACP, and to create new institutions, including the independent High-Anticorruption Court.

We are also working with government to ensure the integrity of state-owned enterprises. Our support to the government’s unbundling of Naftogaz is a good example; assistance in establishing supervisory boards in state-owned banks is another. We hope our early dialogue on modernizing the operations of Ukrzaliznytsia will be equally beneficial.

As we begin preparation of a new strategy, the issues which have guided our ongoing work—strengthening markets, stabilizing Ukraine’s fiscal and financial accounts; and providing inclusive social services more efficiently—remain as pressing today as they were in 2017. Indeed, the progress which has been achieved needs to continue to be supported as they frequently come under assault from powerful interests.

At the same time, recent years have highlighted emerging challenges where we hope to deepen and expand our engagement. First, COVID-19 has underscored the importance of our long partnership in health reform and strengthening social protection programs.

The changes to the provision of health care in Ukraine over recent years has helped mitigate the effects of COVID-19 and will continue to make Ukrainians healthier. Government efforts to better target social spending to the poor has also made a difference. We look forward to continuing our support in both areas, including over the near term through further support to purchase COVID-19 vaccines.

Looking ahead, the challenge confronting us all is climate change. Here again, our dialogue with the government has positioned us to help, including to achieve Ukraine’s ambitious commitment to reduce carbon emissions. During President Zelenskyy’s visit to Washington in early September we discussed operations to strengthen the electricity sector; a program to transition from coal power to renewables; municipal energy efficiency investments; and how to tap into Ukraine’s unique capacity to produce and store hydrogen energy. This is a bold agenda, but one that can be realized.

I have been gratified by my visit to Kyiv to see first-hand what has been achieved in recent years. I look forward to our partnership with Ukraine to help realize this courageous vision of the future.

Originally published in Ukrainian language in Novoye Vremia, via World Bank

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