#53: Parag Khanna Founder & Managing Partner of FutureMap

#53: Parag Khanna Founder & Managing Partner of FutureMap

Parag Khanna Founder & Managing Partner of FutureMap

Listen to the full discussion here:

Parag is a leading global strategy advisor, world traveler, and best-selling author. He is Founder & Managing Partner of FutureMap, a data and scenario-based strategic advisory firm. Parag’s newest book is The Future is Asian: Commerce, Conflict & Culture in the 21st Century (2019). Parag has been an adviser to the US National Intelligence Council’s Global Trends 2030 program. He was a Senior Research Fellow in the Centre on Asia and Globalisation at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. He served in Iraq and Afghanistan as a senior geopolitical adviser to United States Special Operations Forces. He worked at the World Economic Forum in Geneva, and he was a Research Associate at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

Dr. Khanna holds a Ph.D. in international relations from the London School of Economics, and Bachelors and Masters degrees from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.

Connect with the Guest:

Parag Khanna: Linkedin | Company Website

Some of the highlights from the podcast:

  • Why European trade with China is bigger than that of the USA even before the trade war. 
  • How trade-war accelerated supply chains shifting out of China.
  • How a technocratic government helped with the development of a country.
  • Labour automation and supply chain innovations in Asia
  • What is a Super App and how it is relevant to the industry? 
  • Why the future is Asian.

Show notes:

  • [01:46] What is the story behind your book, ‘The Future Is Asian’ and what are some of the most powerful reasons that made you write the book?
  • [03:00] One of my motivations was to help our mentality catch up with reality- the reality that we live in an Asian world.
  • [04:40] What are some of the effects of Trade War you’re seeing? What are some of the effects that you are not expecting?
  • [04:56] One of the key consequences of the trade war will be that China will trade even more with Europe and less with the United States.
  • [06:36] The trade war is not the main reason why supply chains are shifting out of China, it has accelerated the latter but it is because of rising Chinese wages, competition from Chinese and indigenous brands, and now because of the trade war.
  • [07:22] How does technocratic governance, mixed capitalism and social conservatism are making it better for Asia to grow and evolve?
  • [08:41] Despite all of the diversity of Asia, I found that there is a certain acceptance of a more technocratic approach to governance.
  • [11:33] Could you share some more examples of technocratic governance in Asia?
  • [14:45] How do you see Asia in terms of supply chain collaboration and its evolution in the region? 
  • [15:53] There is a strategic element to supply chain competition. I look at it in terms of bilateral pairings where wealthy and developed and modern, sophisticated Asian economies like Japan and South Korea have been strategically picking Southeast Asian countries for investment. 
  • [17:05] Are there certain examples that you may know where governments and companies are coming together to create better infrastructure and ecosystem in terms of adding value to the overall supply chain and manufacturing side of the region?
  • [17:40] From an investment standpoint, we actually see foreign investment volumes continuing to rise. That means firms are realizing that because of trade protectionism, one has to be behind the border, one has to be inside the economies or region where one wants to sell.
  • [18:26] What would be some of the most important points that one should have in relation to some of the supply chain challenges that are existing right now and then potential ways in which they can mitigate it or solve it for the future? 
  • [19:29] What executives have to bear in mind is that they have to be part of the country,  not just to do business but really to help the weaker governments improve their standards and their governance. Because it is not going to happen on its own.
  • [21:00] How do you see labor automation in the context of Asia, because Asia has been historically a lower cost of labor type of market?
  • [22:14] When it comes to supply chains it isn’t just about how I can get the jobs. It is how they can get high-value jobs because otherwise, you won’t see the wages be high enough for these countries to overcome the so-called ‘middle-income trap.’ 
  • [24:29] What are some of the most interesting innovation projects and applications that you’ve seen coming out of Asia and then maybe impacting the global economy?
  • [25:36] Super app is the term that really captures the phenomenon of a one-stop portal that allows you to do everything from mobile phone calls, communications and chats functions to financial products, transportation, and so forth.
  • [26:44] How do you see e-commerce as a catalyst to close collaboration between countries and their impact on the bigger picture? 
  • [28:43] What do you see as certain trends in terms of what skills are necessary and needed in Asia for the supply chain and manufacturing side?
  • [29:23] There’s a real need to bring in the kinds of technologies that will help refine,  improve, and augment the human capability.
  • [30:20] What would you say are the key attributes that C-level Executives should have in order to stay relevant in Asia?
  • [31:25] C-level Executives should have a strong ground presence and local knowledge to stay relevant in Asia, especially if you’re a foreigner because the local markets can offer important lessons.
  • [32:38] What have you observed works best, depending on the country, in terms of getting the best out of people, organizations, and cultures?
  • [33:00] One of the key metrics of international success in improving productivity is going to come from having a lot stronger government that supports the industry, sponsoring and playing a role in shaping educational curricula.
  • [34:59] What would be some pieces of advice that you have received or that you have followed to be successful in your career so far? 
  • [35:50] I definitely attribute a lot of what has contributed to my presence and career positioning to traveling.

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