The 2011 Metaphor: Sputnik or Confucius?

The Unites States and China have always rallied their respective countries with a good metaphor.  In the late 50’s, when the Soviet Union launched their first satellite in orbit the United States responded to the challenge by calling it a “sputnik moment”. Today, China’s attempt to reconcile its controversial past and promote a global image of cooperation, just erected a statue of Confucius on Tiananmen Square. One metaphor focuses on energizing, the other on harmonizing. Both are important in following strategy at a global level. Why? Take for example the Executive Order signed by President Obama on January 18th.  It states as its premise that, to reform government regulations to ensure maximum benefit, each agency “may consider [and discuss qualitatively] values that are difficult or impossible to quantify, including equity, human dignity, fairness, and distributive impacts”.  Regulatory integration and innovation are not a zero sum game.  The key competitive advantage of great companies is their ability to synthesize historical core values with groundbreaking products and services. So in 2011 lets energize AND harmonize and use the combined metaphor to SHOW the world HOW to make positive change.

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