Entovation International
Insights from Latin America

Debra M. Amidon, ENTOVATION International

From Venezuela:

From 17-21 July, over 1,000 executives, representing more than 30 countries converged on Caracas, Venezuela, to participate in HR GLOBAL 98 - the biannual meeting of the World Federation of Personnel Management Associations.

Hosted by ENTOVATION colleague Alejandro Fernandez, Vice President for Human Resources, PDVSA, the world congress featured several presentations focused upon intellectual capital and knowledge management: Competencia y Capital Intelectual (Jac Fitz-enz); "De la Revolucion Industriala la Revolucion del Conocimiento" (Luigi Valdes) and Medicion del Capital Intelectual (Leif Edinsson, Skandia).

Edvinsson - who wrote the Foreword for 'Innovation Strategy for the Knowledge Economy: The Ken Awakening', and has his own book (co-authored with Michael Malone) on Intellectual Captial - aligned the leadership agenda for human resource professionals. He described 'enterprising' versus 'the enterprise' and affirmed he would rather be "roughly right than precisely wrong". He challenged the audience: How are you as human resource professionals contributing to the value creation of the company? What is the Intellectual Capital (IC) leadership in your organization? What have you done to create awareness in your organization? Simply stated, are you making the best utilization of your human resources? Using his now infamous visualization techniques, he suggested that others take heed: "Use large images and strong colors if you want to influence mangers over the age of 25!"

With an opening remarks, the organization leaders set the stage for three days of exploration of paths to be taken in the near future given the nature of global uncertainty. "What was stable yesterday is moving today and the work of human assets has become a capital responsibility." What followed were 61 presentations from 71 countries including plenary addresses by Jaques Attali, (former advisor to the Secretary General of the United Nations and to the President of the French Republic), Luis E. Giusti (President of Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A.) and Dee Hock (Founder of the Chaordic Alliance and Emeritus president of Visa International).

Attili in outlining the "Winners and Losers in a New Political Order of the 21st Century", described mistakes, quasi-certainties and contradictions. The Internet, he suggests is the evolution of a 'new continent' and it is destined to be a huge engine for economic growth. He projects huge increases in market economies with various countries, such as China, increasing their global reach. Education will enter the market economy with several schools and universities becoming more like companies with students as clients. There will be an expansion of democracy, facilitated by worldwide communications; and there will be a fundamental transformation of the nature of work:

"We are all nomads, nothing will be stable... focus upon understanding the needs and cultures of one another. Intuition and knowledge of how to use the future provides our capacity to make distinctions between the short and the long-term."

Guisti, speaking on behalf of the corporate leadership, outlined what it takes for effective management of global organizations. He contrasted the 40-year history of industrial experience in Latin America (i.e., dependence, bureaucracy, subsidies, etc.) with what is needed in today's global economy (i.e., dynamic, understanding of the external environment, long-term decisions, flattened organization structures, openness to foreign investments, focus on value-added, and more):

"Only a global attitude can provide solutions to companies and countries 'Globalization goes beyond the colonial view of multi-nationals' We have opened our doors for others to compete; and now, we must go into other countries."

He suggested that years ago, to be large was best; but in today's market, there are many small dynamic companies participating.

A new magazine, HR World, was featured at the congress. The edition includes a column Knowledge Networks - with an article "In the Know" by Tom Lester (UK). Citing several case examples (e.g., BP. Ericsson, Shell, ABB, and consulting firms), he illustrates the multiple ways companies are approaching the knowledge opportunity.

"In fact, it is misleading to treat knowledge management as a single, discrete discipline. In the philosophical sense knowledge may be universal but, in the management context, it has to be related to a particular business or function."

From Peru:

Under the leadership of Professors Cesar Corrales Riveros (ccorral@pucp.edu.pe) and Luis Enrique Malpartida Carpena (lmalpar@pucp.edu.pe), the Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru hosted the II Congreso International Ingenieria Industrial June 13-16, 1998 in Lima, Peru. Modeled after a similar design used annually by Dr. Antonio Holgado in Santiago, Chile, this congress brought together experts from Israel, the US, Germany, Chile, Columbia, France and more. Situated in the Museo de la Nacion and the displays of the Aztec history, experts explored the implications of modern management and information technology and a vision for the third millennium. In opening remarks, Manuel A. Olcese Franzero, Universidad Decano, outlined the challenge:

"Today's realities were yesterday's fantasies;
today's fantasies are tomorrow's realities.
Man is the center and the measure of everything.
By improving our knowledge, we are improving the lives of everyone.
We must improve our ability to interact -
find new friends and reaffirm old relationships.
The world will not stop; we must share with others.
These are the voices to which we must listen."

Agnes Franco Temple, Vice-Ministra de Industria, continued:

"The new economy requires new answers to the old questions. These answers require a cultural change of entrepreneurialism. These transformations will change the discussion from competitiveness in the short-term toward what systems might be necessary to administer the inevitable growing complexity. Visualization will create conditions for innovation. The greatest competitive advantage of a nation is its people and the capacity to create, innovate, cooperate and serve. We must use internets and wide access to technology to enrich our national knowledge."

Final remarks were provided by Luis Ramos, University Vice President. Citing the founding of the University 81 years ago, he outlined the original mission was to serve the country and work for the development of the nation:

"We are at a threshold; innovative technology has moved to the forefront of the tasks of education. Education is more than perception, creation and innovative skills. It is an on-going learning process new solutions to old problems. We must develop the capacity to renew and adapt to changes. It is imperative that we link the capacity to create and innovate with the development of our nation. We are destined for more profound discussion and debate."

For five days, participants experienced a variety of lectures, panel discussions and tutorials. For example, Robert Swigart (rswigart@iftf.org), Institute for the Future (USA), described the changing business landscape, a framework for organizational models - especially fishnets. Dr. Ezey Dar-El (ezey@ie.technion.ac.il), from Technion University (Israel) provide the historical perspective of the productivity movement leading to synchronized manufacturing buffers - the foundation for modern innovation systems. There were numerous presentations which featured the use of internets and intranets. For example, Tom Vassos, Senior IBM consultant and author of Creating a Strategic Internet Plan, summarized the 30 stages from internet exploitation to strategic transformation. He suggested "This is not a 1M mass market; but rather 1M markets for which you can create 1:1 marketing."

This forum provided an opportunity for many experts within Latin America to share their insights, such as Maria Angela Campelo de Melo (Brazil), Jose Alvarez Madrid and Juan Carlos Saez (Chile), Carlos Colunga and Armando Campillo (Mexico), Ricardo Montero (Cuba), Marcos Erize (Argentina) et al. Jose M. Gassalla Dapena of Euroforum (Spain), outlined his residential program and Antonio Hidalgo from the University of Madrid (Spain) was participating in anticipation of his own Congress in August.

This is evidence of the international connections being made as the community of knowledge practice continues to gain momentum. In addition, ENTOVATION colleagues Hilda Hurtado de Montoya (lm-mige@amouta.rcp.net.pe), Jose Caceres and Phillippe Le Roux (leroux@vdl2.ca) are working to bring the knowledge agenda for broad application in Peru.

From Brazil:

Marcos Luis Bruno andElizabeth M. Beran are the principals of Instituto Pieron de Psicologia Aplicada in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Established 38 years ago, the Institute most recently featured Dr. Eliott Jaques, Tavistock Institute, Brunel University (London, UK), with a seminar Cognicao e Complexidade. The Institute produces a combination summary of key messages from recent events and outline of future programs. Contact instituto@pieron.com.br for more details.

Email: debra@entovation.com
www: ENTOVATION International


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Reprinted from I3 Update - 23.