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Dean Blount's Blog

The Wormhole to the New Millennium
May 7, 2012

  he Wormhole to the New Millennium
   

Since the start of the new millennium, the world order has undergone a powerful transformation process. Rarely in human history has such a major chronological marker coincided with a decade of such deep social, economic, geographic and political upheaval. In fact, I’d argue that humankind has been through a virtual socio-economic wormhole since 2000.

It began symbolically with the 9/11 fall of the World Trade Center towers, followed by the demise of several seemingly indestructible firms including Arthur Andersen, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers in the U.S., not to mention the near collapse of the economy in 2008 during the mortgage crisis.

On a parallel path, a November 2001 Goldman Sachs paper named the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and predicted the emerging shift in economic power away from the traditional developed world’s G7 economies (Canada, France, Italy, Germany, Japan, United Kingdom, United States). That transition happened far more quickly and dramatically than ever imagined. Within a decade, those countries accounted for close to 20 percent of world GDP.

And, in January 2002, the euro was introduced in physical form. A decade later the European Union is facing long-term economic instability at an unprecedented scale.

2004 saw the South Asian tsunami, 2005 Hurricane Katrina, and 2011 the Japanese earthquake. These and other natural disasters have had a profound impact on humanity around the world – not to mention the ongoing pain and suffering from warfare experienced throughout Africa and in American wars abroad. And, who in 2000 would have predicted the advent of Facebook, the election of the first black president in the United States, and the emergence of the Tea Party in the U.S. and the Pirate Party in Germany?

Reflecting on all of these changes, it is difficult to argue that now is a time for “business as usual” at a leading global business school that came of age in the late 20th-century U.S. economy.

The landscape within which business operates has undergone profound change since the start of the new millennium. We must practice what we teach and adapt. That’s why we are using Envision Kellogg, our strategic plan for the next five years, to initiate a process through which we transform how we teach, how we research, and how we position ourselves globally in this new world of the 21st century.

I welcome your comments, feedback and ideas at sallyblount@kellogg.northwestern.edu

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