I want to begin writing here on “microglobalization”, by which I mean the developments in technology and international trade that have put “global” opportunities within reach of independent businesses and even individuals. Once largely the province of well-heeled multinational/transnational corporations, global trade in goods and services increasingly presents compelling opportunities for smaller companies willing to take the plunge. I’m firmly convinced that even the tiniest firm has the ability to carve out a niche in worldwide business ecosystems, consciously and deliberately managing every aspect of its development within a global context. (I recently registered the domain name microglobalization.com, though I’m not yet sure exactly what I’ll do with it.)
Not surprisingly, a quick Google search reveals that I’m not the first to use the word “microglobalization”. In an academic context, a number of hits revolve around a 2005 article by Karin Knorr Cetina called Complex Global Microstructures: The New Terrorist Societies. Now, I have neither qualifications nor interest in writing about terrorism, but some of Dr. Knorr Cetina’s ideas are rather intriguing from an indy business perspective. There’s some fairly heavy academic verbiage in there, but also some illuminating insights that suggest ways an alert player can find opportunity in “forms of connectivity and coordination that combine global reach with microstructural mechanisms that instantiate self-organizing principles and patterns”. Dr. Knorr Cetina further elaborates these ideas in a chapter on microglobalization in Ino Rossi’s Frontiers of Globalization Research.
Jörg Dürrschmidt’s Everyday Lives in the Global City refers to “the microglobalization of the world city’s [i.e. London’s] everyday life”. In this context Dürrschmidt defines “microglobalization” as “a compression and, subsequently, accommodation of global variety and difference into a distinctive sociocultural environment” — in this case the global invading the local.
Olav Anders Øvrebø, a Norwegian journalist and university lecturer specializing in media and communication issues, uses the term in essentially the same way I do — “how tiny service companies – even one-person outfits – can participate successfully in the global economy”. Programmers, journalists, document translators and other purveyors of “digital” services like the ones he cites, for obvious reasons, have been pioneers of business globalization at the small-firm and individual level. (I was in the translating business myself for many years and personally experienced how widespread Internet access began opening up enormous new international markets along with opportunities for networking, collaboration and learning in the early nineties.) More from Øvrebø here.