The implications of speeding global change — and the interdependence of causes and effects — are perhaps no more evident today than in the Arctic region.
Within the pages of this site, I seek to investigate the emerging role of the Chief Global Officer — not only as means to help understand the converging global world, but also as a framework to shed light on critical new skills needed to assimilate global change, guide enlightened thinking, and promote intelligent decision-making.
I recently attended a briefing entitled “The Opening of the Arctic — Challenges and Opportunities.” And while the speaker, Gary Roughead of the Hoover Institution and former chief of naval operations, focused on the national security implications, I was struck by the myriad global impacts of melting ice and the need for global cooperation in the Arctic region.
The Chief Global Officer might consider the following mix in the Arctic region right now:
1. Environmental impacts — the Arctic is one of the most sensitive environments in the world. The past year was the least iced period in recorded history, and also the stormiest. Melting permafrost causes methane gas to be released.
2. Human impact — The Arctic is home to some 4 million people and the indigenous populations are especially susceptible to climate change in the region. Migration as a result of climate change and the influx of new populations coming to exploit natural resources are bound to have major impacts. Infectious diseases brought by warming temperatures and insects will likely have international consequences.
3. Emerging competition for resources — beyond merely oil and gas, the Arctic is rich in zinc, copper, and iron ore; China has begun to make investments in extraction in the Arctic region.
4. Security and the opening of new seaways — beyond military security, there is also food security; changing climate impacts fisheries and water supply. The opening of the Arctic may not alter global shipping routes entirely, but new access is bound to have implications for global trade, as well as consequences in terms of heavier traffic and more pollution.
4. Global Governance — challenges and opportunities — The eight-member Arctic Council (including Russia, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Canada, and the United States) is a model for global cooperation in the 21sth Century. And the United States is next up in the rotation to become chair of the Arctic Council in 2015 (a position currently held by Canada). Yet, the U.S. may find itself leading from behind. Budget cuts in an era of sequestration prevent critical investments in U.S. infrastructure and hamper capabilities; the U.S. has but one heavy icebreaker (compared to Russia’s 43, Sweden’s 9, Finland’s 9, and Canada’s 13).
Chinese Arctic Map by Hao Xiaoguang — http://www.hxgmap.com
I’ve created this website with a multitude of goals in mind – part professional and part personal.
First and foremost, the world – at least the one we have come to know – is profoundly different today. It’s changing faster than at any time in human history. From global climate change to disruptive technological innovations, from the emerging wealth of nations to the changing global balance of power – indeed the changing nature of that power itself — all these bring both volatility and opportunity.
I see the need for new decision-making skills to help put these rapid and dynamic changes into perspective, to weave and thread key ideas together into a cohesive, meaningful whole. And I have created this site as a vehicle to say something about the interdependence of world affairs with an emphasis on developing practical skill-sets. I seek to tie together these changes and foster the skills necessary to understand the world today.
Second, I have a passion for all things globally related. Each week, I attend briefings on global affairs, hearing talks by thought-leading experts, journalists, diplomats, and decision-makers with valuable perspective on the interdependence of world events. With this site, I intend to create a sounding board for expressing my own learning and to share it with others.
Third, I have a desire to help serve others in their path toward learning and understanding, study and engagement in this interdependent world. Whether you are engaged in work at an NGO or a philanthropic association, or a healthcare worker engaged in global health, or a business professional with eyes and ears pointed to world events, I seek to help fill some gaps and help hone and sharpen understanding of what it means to be a Chief Global Officer.
Fourth, I travel occasionally, and I created this site as a means to put context around my global travel experiences and frame them toward greater understanding of the cultural, political, economic, social and technological dynamics of the world we live in today.
As a continuous “world watcher” and student of global affairs, and by attending weekly in-person briefings on global events, I have created this site as a means to document my own ongoing learning, understanding, growth, experience, and exploration of what I see as the emerging role of the Chief Global Officer.
For me, the Chief Global Officer is someone who can put the changing world into context. Today, all work is global work. All action has global implications. All decision-making must include a global perspective to be valid, effective and lasting. The Chief Global Officer adds more value not only for the disciplines of business and economics but for the world citizen broadly speaking.
Just as the information technology revolution gave rise to the Chief Information Officer and the Chief Technology Officer; and just as innovations like social media and search engines and database technology and electronic commerce called for new roles like the Chief Knowledge Officer or the Chief Marketing Officer, so too are rapid and dramatic changes in global inter-relationships giving rise to the need for a Chief Global Officer.
The role of the Chief Global Officer is highly inter-disciplinary. It can touch upon topics as diverse as global climate change, and urbanization, water resources, and tools of diplomacy and peace-building; the CGO can be part social scientist, part technologist, part engineer, part urban planner, part diplomat, part geographer, part human rights advocate, part poverty alleviator, part historian, and part engaged world citizen.
The Chief Global Officer may find herself engaged in new business planning or helping to foster new skills within her organization.
I seek to fill the pages of this site with regular updates and briefings, dispatches from my own international travel as a cross-cultural volunteer, discuss my own insights as a technology professional into the coming disruptions from continued advances in technology, share thoughts and ideas on the emerging interdependence of global affairs, provide book review, interview decision-makers, and solicit your feedback, all from the prospective of the new and emerging role of the Chief Global Officer.