Last week, I proposed a little quiz to test your knowledge of current events in the world today and help you build a more cosmopolitan outlook. We’ll talk more about that in a moment; first, let’s see how you made out.
1. Sochi, home of the 2014 Winter Olympics, is located near which body of water?
Answer: b. Black Sea
Sochi is a resort town of about 345,000 people nestled on the Black Sea coast. It’s actually one of Russia’s few subtropical cities, which has led to some concerns about possible snow shortages during the Winter Olympics.
2. Which Eastern European country angered its citizens by passing a controversial anti-protest law (which has since been annulled)?
Answer: a. Ukraine
Violent protests erupted in Ukraine last November over the country’s choice to draw closer to Russia rather than integrate with the European Union. An anti-protest law passed in January was recently annulled after more protests, and the prime minister resigned.
3. Which country surpassed the United States as Apple’s largest market for iPhone’s last year?
Answer: a. Japan
Last year, Japan supplanted the US as Apple’s largest market for iPhones, claiming a 37% market share over our 36%.
4. What percentage of Norway’s electricity production comes from hydroelectric power?
Answer: c. 99%
Norway is Europe’s leading producer of hydro-power. Over 99% of the electricity production in mainland Norway is covered by hydropower plants. The country also has one of the highest numbers of electric cars per capita in the world.
5. Which of these popular US social networking companies is the only one allowed in China?
Answer: d. LinkedIn
China has infamously denied its citizens access to popular US sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, but LinkedIn currently has four million members in China and recently hired a China president to expand its base in 2014.
How many did you get right? Did the questions make you think about your own knowledge of countries where you’d like to expand? While these particular questions and answers might not relate to your business, they could definitely have potential effects on any foreign company hoping to operate within those regions.
Remember, cultivating a cosmopolitan outlook is not a one-time, finite process. Just as nations and corporations are always evolving and changing, so should global awareness be an ongoing pursuit. Consider adopting the following practices to ensure you stay informed in all of your business dealings.
1. Start by answering these questions:
- Do I look at alternative global news sources?
- Do I look at maps and pay attention to location and geography?
- Do I learn facts and historical events about a country of interest?
- Do I leverage my network to get information about a particular country or culture?
- Do I take time to discover the new environment that I’m in?
- Do I adequately prepare before I go abroad?
- Am I aware of conflicts in that environment to understand safety conditions?
- Do I contact expatriates living in the country of interest?
2. Next, bookmark the news services that cover your countries of interest. These are a good place to start:
- WSJ Asia/Europe
- The Economist
- Financial Times
- Le Monde
- Foreign Affiars
- China Daily
- Times of India
- Businessweek Asia/Europe
- Reuters global news journal
- Global Voices
- The Globalist
Remember, the key to developing a cosmopolitan outlook is thinking of yourself as a business anthropologist. From smarter expansion plans to deeper relationships with new colleagues, adopting a global mindset will offer rewards beyond a signed contract. Become immersed in the news, history, politics and culture of the world, and you’ll open a door to a universe of new professional opportunities and growth.