Global Mega-Trends Workshop a Success

Recently, we hosted two workshops for West Virginia Business Owners, Professionals, and Executives. The first was held in Charleston WV, with co-sponsor Bray Cary of WV Media serving as moderator. The second event was held in Wheeling, with David McKinley moderating the event.

The events were organized as a round-table presentation and discussion, and designed to help WV’s most successful business people consider how the spread of entrepreneurial activity abroad will impact how we make and manage money here at home.

After breakfast, Will Carter opened the workshop with the assertion that in the future, businesses could not count on strategies that had worked in the past. Using data, he noted the U.S. has enjoyed relatively little foreign competition during the first few decades after World War II and had economic growth fueled by several unsustainable sources of consumer spending over the last several decades.

Wayne Gretzky once said that “good players play where the puck is, but great players play where the puck is going to be.” Similarly, local business success would require a much greater understanding of global demographic, technological, political and marketplace forces than in the past.

Just as the world’s most powerful business elite gathered in Davos each year to learn about irreversible mega-trends shaping the markets, WV’s business leaders could benefit by getting together to learn how such trends might affect how they make and manage money the state.

WVU professor Dr. Russell Sobel then presented an entertaining and compelling presentation describing the rise of free market forces around the world, fueled by new information technologies and new freedoms to transact without government intrusion.

Noting the tendency of capitalistic systems to “creatively destroy” seemingly invincible enterprises (anyone remember Montgomery Ward?), Dr. Sobel asserted that rising free markets abroad were not only forcing local US businesses to innovate and collaborate globally, but that even US investors needed to look far beyond the traditional US “blue chip” focus of past generations of wealthy Americans.

Making and Managing Money in West Virginia

Shlideshare from hyun

The remainder of the morning was spent in an open discussion with workshop participants discussing how they are currently impacted by the forces discussed in the presentation. It was exciting to hear how many West Virginia businesses  are taking advantage of these forces to grow their businesses and hire more employees.

After the Charleston workshop, both Dr. Sobel and Will Carter shared their thoughts on “Decision Makers” with Bray Cary, about the meaning and relevance of the workshop’s key themes on West Virginia business climate as a whole.