Saint Nicholas of Myra has a lot to answer for. For a start he was responsible for a Nordic Council meeting that was devoted to a bitter dispute over claims to his namesake, Santa Claus.
The Norwegians presented a carefully argued but sentimental case for ownership, matched by equally nostalgic pleas from the Icelanders and the Greenlanders. The Swedes grumbled, and the Finns argued from the de facto reality of a Santa Claus industry already established just inside the Arctic Circle north of Rovaniemi.
They subsequently reinforced their claim by launching a ‘Santa Claus Finland International’ venture which, in turn, prompted the Danish government to grant a state subsidy to a Santa’s workshop in Greenland.
Norway, as always, was anxious to have the last word. The Norwegian town of Dröbak challenged (so far unsuccessfully) the Finnish claim to the Father Christmas trade on evidence, dating from the year 1602, that Santa was born under a tree there. Read More
Travelling From Belgium to France
Travel southeast down the valley of the Viroin and, just beyond the border, you find yourself traversing a wasteland of scrubby hedgerows and bits of abandoned corrugated iron that shrieks “France“. You are witnessing the combined effects of the centralism of French life and the ‘laissez-faire’ attitude of many of its inhabitants.
The well-earned qualities of the French – intelligence, charm, esprit – are not that evident when you approach the country and the culture from the Belgian end. The bad jokes told by the French also get in the way and, to the lasting chagrin of the Flemish, the northwestern corner of the country including the splendid city of Lille (Rijsel!) was taken away from them in 1713.
But the very positive French characteristics of charm and intelligence are sustained by a voluntary confinement to the ‘hothouse’ of French culture and what I would venture to call francisité. French society, particularly the beau monde parisien, is very hermetic.
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In this episode I Interview Tom Andriola.
Tom Andriola is currently the General Manager of Healthcare Informatics at Philips Healthcare Greater China, a business dedicated to technology innovation, improving patient care and saving lives.
He also is responsible at Philips for Informatics businesses in Latin America and India and manages a global organization of more than 600 people.
He is a sought after speaker on developing technology trends in healthcare and changes happening in the world’s emerging healthcare markets.
Tom has been with Philips for 10 years and held several management positions running healthcare businesses and driving business transformation programs.
Prior to Philips, Tom helped start several technology businesses and spent time as a Chief Information Officer. He has engineering degrees from The George Washington University and University of South Florida and an Executive MBA from Stanford University. Read More
Managing a “change” Project in the Asia Region can be an exciting challenge for a Western Consultant but so often they arrive armed with their Western “linear” type methodologies, tools and techniques which do not sit comfortably alongside Asian culture which features many nationalities, societies and ethnic groups as well as many different ancient cultures like Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism and Islam to name but a few. All these will all have a big impact on how a Western Consultant should go about their business. Read More
Trend Spotting in Europe
Media commentators are talking about the long-term risk that the European institutions will “disintegrate”. But thefoundations on which these institutions are based – the subsoil of the European Union – are also shaky.
There are a number of long-term trends that all seem to point in the same direction: the ‘balkanisation’ or fragmentation of European society.
The first trend is already with us: a public opinion that challenges the historical status of the institutions. The political classes have lost the respect of the man-and-woman-in-the-street, public administrations are ridiculed, Big Business is discredited, bankers are treated like vermin, NGO’s are greeted with cynicism, religion is marginalised, even royalty is now fair game. Read More
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In this episode I Interview Lulu Wang.
Lulu Wang is a famous Dutch writer of Chinese origin. She has published 10 books, of which 3 are published internationally.
Her first book The Lily Theater is published in 28 countries. Her tenth book is called Rainland, wo ai ni (Rainland, I love you!).
This post is on request from Kerry (no other details have been given). The question is “what problems could arise if a dutch person would communicate with a north American customer base?”
In this article I’ll identify the differences between the US and the Dutch in two ways:
- Looking at the numbers first (the scores on Hofstede’s culture model)
- Practical implications and my own experience
- Some tips to consider Read More
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In this episode I Interview John Alexander. John is from Australia, but lives in Sweden. John explains the differences between Hard Consensus (Dutch) and Soft Consensus (Swedish). He also describes the differences between Australians and Brits.
John shares a number of stories from his own experience.