Walkable Cities

One of the tenets of “new urbanism” is reducing our urban reliance on automobiles. From rapid transit to bike lanes to mixed-use zoning that brings the high street to every block, urban planners are reimagining life in the city to be less reliant on motor vehicles. Indeed, it should be noted, none of us at Kite Global Advisors drives to work. This book from the Centre for Walkable Cities, edited by Consultant Grace Chua in her spare time, highlights lessons on walkability and bikeability, from Seoul and Singapore, two cities at the forefront of redefining our urban automobile relationship. And lessons …
Read the rest of this entry

Re-examining the story of climate change

Conventional wisdom places the Industrial Revolution at the heart of the climate change crisis. It was a period when Western nations harnessed fossil fuels to power factories, middle-class consumers discovered consumerism – and, of course, carbon dioxide emissions began to rise. Or so the story goes. Our Contect Director, Deepali Srivastava pokes holes in that narrative in her most recent Forbes column. She sat in on a spirited conversation between Amitav Ghosh, author of The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable, and historian Naomi Oreskes, and came away convinced that imperialism had as much to do with climate change …
Read the rest of this entry

The Olympics turn to Asia

The Olympics are a sore subject for some of us. Notably, our Boston contingent was quite mixed, to say the least, in its support for Boston’s 2024 Summer Olympics bid. Asia, on the other hand, has not been afraid to show its Olympics spirit. Korea, Japan and China are hosting the next three five-ring circuses. And why not: Those three nations rank 11th, 7th and 2nd, respectively, in the Rio games medal count. And don’t forget South-East Asia, which FiveThirtyEight picks has the dark horse to have most outperformed expectations this summer. Still, the reality is that the economics of …
Read the rest of this entry

Transparency can appear where you least expect to see it

No one would blame you for thinking companies based in developed economies set the pace in terms of transparency. After all, you would think transparency would go hand-in-hand with the established institutions and legal protections that place those markets at the top of the World Bank’s Doing Business rankings or the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index. Think again. The US ranks third in financial secrecy, for example, behind only Switzerland and Hong Kong, according to the Tax Justice Network. Domestic legislation that would force US companies to disclose their ownership structures remains stalled. And some new research from Transparency …
Read the rest of this entry

Global inequality is reaching a tipping point

Pop quiz: Is global inequality rising or declining? It depends. Inequality among and within nations has gone up, as you might have guessed from reading 2013’s book-of-the-month club sensation, Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century. But if you’re talking about the global populace, inequality has actually gone down. What makes that paradox possible, explains economist Branko Milanovic in this Forbes interview with Content Director Deepali Srivastava, is the rise in income of the billions living in big, relatively poor countries, notably China and India. Even though inequality has risen within those countries, the net effect has been to flatten …
Read the rest of this entry

Lessons from Apple’s adventures in emerging markets

Apple is having a rough go in big emerging markets. First, India denied approvals for Apple to open retail store or expand its presence with “certified and pre-owned iPhones.” Then, China banned sales of Apple’s latest iPhone models over a patent dispute. What’s going on? Corporate charm offensives are falling short because of misunderstandings about the issues at hand, writes our Deepali Srivastava in her Forbes column: “In short, Apple wants India’s market, while India wants good jobs and a cleaner environment.” These kinds of misunderstandings point to the need for more enlightened forms of corporate diplomacy.

Diversity in the boardroom

The number of Fortune 500 companies with no female directors is down from 50 in 2013 to 23 this year, according to Fortune magazine—which names and shames those 23 companies. Perhaps that’s because governance committees are catching on to what the data are saying. Thomson Reuters found that gender-diverse boards tend to have less volatile stock returns, as well as higher or similar returns. It would be a stretch to conclude causality, but it’s certainly suggestive. The chart below is from the Thomson Reuters report.    

The publishing industry is dead, love live publishers

We often say, “We don’t want to turn you into a publisher – unless that’s your business.” It turns out that more companies are thinking of themselves as publishers, or as they call themselves now, “content marketers.” Content marketing didn’t really exist as a practice five years ago, but it’s a big business now. And that business is essentially publishing. I’m at Content Marketing World in Cleveland right now and there’s a burgeoning ecosystem of businesses here selling publishing tools and services to non-publishing companies. There’s even a session today called “What brands can learn from the newsroom” (which, incidentally, …
Read the rest of this entry