The term global village was coined by Marshall McLuhan, a Canadian philosopher and a public intellectual, in the beginning of the 1960s. He had a vision of technology reducing the size of the globe to that of a village, with information floating freely and simultaneously from one end to the other. McLuhan believed that interconnectivity on such a scale had the ability to heighten human awareness and bring together all political and social functions.
These days, the notion of the Global Village can be applied to a variety of settings: within every workplace, community or family, we see this extension of consciousness through connectivity and communications. The world becomes a prominent global hub that houses a wide range of people from various backgrounds and paths of life. Any major city in the United States can be perceived as microcosm of the entire country — it is constantly evolving and expanding; it is always ready to embrace new cultures, new experiences, new life. However, only by remaining mindful of our changing environment and community can we bring all of these cultures together and enable them to coexist peacefully and to contribute to each other’s development. Mindfulness is the key to any communication, to using technology to connect and to reaching out to our Global Village.
In fact, I was thinking of the value of technology recently when I saw this picture by John Stanmeyer, an American photographer, who won the World Press Photo of the Year 2013 award. The picture captures African migrants on the shore of Djibouti at night. They are raising their phones in the air trying to pick up the signal from neighboring Somalia in order to reach their friends and family abroad. Djibouti is a stop-off point for migrants in transit from Ethiopia and Somalia in pursuit of a better life in Europe and this is their only link to their loved ones.
To me, this poignant piece is all about the value of communications within our Global Village. It showcases our desire to reach out to the world, connecting via technology. Wherever we are, we overcome potential obstacles and rejoice in our union of like-minded souls. The emerging globalization movement touches and affects every workplace that has long become a melting pot of various cultures and ethnicities. Such multicultural environments are not only vital to driving innovation in business, they are also a key part of employee satisfaction and development.
Many workplaces now reflect the global multiculturalism that we see in institutions like the United Nations. They present a colorful blend of different cultures, customs and values, and only by remaining mindful of such diversity, can we meet the needs of an increasingly global customer base. Every leader, every manager of an organization within either the public or private sector can benefit from the diversity of their workplace and create an environment that takes into account different perspectives, ideas and solutions.
In our Global Village, we need to embrace new experiences — realize that it takes dozens of communities and hundreds of years for each culture to evolve and develop its own values, morals, business practices and ethics. As our multicultural environments expand, often our nonverbal differences such as social, educational and economic discrepancies, power dynamics and spiritual beliefs, become the leverage for our communication.
In addition, within the business environment, it always pays to stay on top of recent technological developments world-wide. Recognizing the impact of technology on humanity, we can become more successful, we can boost our productivity and we can certainly make our world more powerful. Technology helps us raise our own cultural awareness and learn about other countries, making it easier to navigate our way through our Global Village.
Remain curious at all times about our differences but act on our commonalities. While recognizing that every culture has its own customs and traditions, at the core we are all individuals — individuals striving to connect, to communicate, to stay in touch. This is the only way to form global partnerships and to build successful business and community relationships.
Thriving institutions and corporations recognize the benefits of a diverse workforce and acknowledge how communication and technological advancements foster creativity within the team. Every culture contributes its own insight into an issue, introducing new ideas, awakening inspiration and driving success.
Don’t be afraid of differences or change! Make technology your friend, remain mindful of your environment, and recognize the endless benefits of our multicultural society to foster business success within the Village.