top of page

BEYOND BORDERS: TECHNOLOGY’S IMPACT ON CULTURE AND IDENTITY


by Andrew Lenti

CAUTION: This article may challenge your preconceived notions of cultural identity and who you perceive your tribe to be. It delves into the unsettling truth that in our interconnected, globalised world, terms like 'my people' or 'my culture' are less rooted in ancestral, religious, or patriotic affiliations, and more so in the tools, technology, and systems that shape and influence our daily lives and interactions.




‘Your people’ may not be who you think they are


In the age of digital interconnectedness, our understanding of identity and culture is undergoing a profound transformation. Nowhere is this phenomenon more apparent than in the realm of global conflicts, where individuals from disparate corners of the world passionately voice allegiance to causes half a world away.


In today's world, our sense of self is no longer confined by geographical limitations or conventional allegiances. Rather, it is shaped by the tools, technologies, and systems that govern our daily routines. Sceptical? Just consider the contrasting demographic statistics of social media usage across age groups, alongside the increasing prevalence of virtual, long-distance friendships formed daily.


Consider the recent turmoil in the Middle East, where centuries-old tensions have erupted into violence with devastating consequences. Amidst the chaos, voices from the west flare up to stake their claim in the conflict, invoking notions of entitlement, cultural heritage, and identity to justify their stance. Yet, upon closer examination, one is left to wonder: What common ground does a young business manager in New York City truly share with foreign-speaking combatants in a non-democratic, far-away country?


This question came sharply into focus for me when I stumbled upon a social media post by a native English-speaking woman who appeared to have lived her whole life in the United States fervently expressing support for Israel's military actions under the guise of defending "her people." In her impassioned plea, she invoked a sense of cultural solidarity, portraying the conflict as a direct threat to her identity and way of life. And yet, as I read her words, I couldn't help but feel a sense of irony and disconnect.


Before we rush to align ourselves with outdated notions of identity, it's crucial to reflect on what truly defines 'our culture.' Is it the heritage of our ancestors, or the innovation and the digital landscape that shape our daily interactions? Are our traditions solely those passed down through generations, or do they encompass the system that we all mutually contribute to driving a global 'culture' that transcends borders and enriches lives both near and far? As we grapple with these questions, one thing becomes clear: in the age of globalisation and technology, the lines between 'us' and 'them' are increasingly blurred. It's through embracing this complexity that we can strive for genuine understanding and empathy in our ever-globalised and progress-focused world.


In summary, the notion of 'Our people' has evolved into a nuanced concept. No longer confined to neat categories of nationality, religion, or ethnicity, identity today transcends traditional boundaries. Instead, we are connected by digital threads to a global community. Regardless of physical or cultural differences, 'Our people' are those who share common values, experiences, and aspirations, collectively contributing to the global system of stakeholder capitalism.


Technology, business, and the new frontier of identity & culture

Across continents and cultures, many of us have discovered that our true connections lie with fellow business professionals who prioritise creating value for their communities. These individuals adhere to fundamental principles of efficiency, innovation, ethics, and sustainability, which form the cornerstone of our shared identity and culture. Regardless of geographical, religious, or ethnic differences, these principles are universally acknowledged at the outset of every new interaction, serving as the common thread that unites us.


In today's globally-focused world, the role of technology and innovation in levelling the playing field and creating our foundation to interact cannot be overstated.

Our team recently celebrated our 8-month anniversary of collaboration with a dynamic, fast-growing client in the healthcare sector in India. Throughout this period, technology has played a pivotal role as a powerful catalyst for fostering meaningful connections and forging common ground. As our client's user base on our operational excellence platform continued to grow steadily, we successfully guided their management team in constructing a robust operating model support architecture. This involved aligning and streamlining it with all core knowledge and intellectual property. Consequently, team leaders and staff gained access to an end-to-end automated solution for managing standard work and recurring processes across their 25-member staff. Notably, this workforce serves an esteemed client portfolio, which includes several Fortune 500 health and pharmaceutical companies.


By transcending the traditional barriers of distance and nationality, our digital platform empowers us to connect with like-minded individuals, fostering enriching exchanges, virtual friendships, and reciprocal learning. Through the seamless integration of technology, we collaborate effortlessly, overcoming obstacles that once posed significant challenges to such relationships. In this dynamic exchange, we not only expand our professional networks but also deepen our appreciation for diverse cultures and perspectives. As we delve deeper, we uncover striking similarities that enable us to navigate differences with ease, reinforcing our belief in the universal best business practices that unite us.

In essence, technology used by people with common values serves as a conduit for shaping our identity and culture in the modern age. By embracing shared values and leveraging digital tools for collaboration, we are not only redefining the way we work but also the way we perceive ourselves and our place in the world. As barriers continue to dissolve in the digital realm, the possibilities for cross-cultural exchange and collaboration are limitless, paving the way for a more interconnected and inclusive global community.


Globalisation and the illusion of cultural differences

In the modern era, globalisation has become synonymous with interconnectedness, driven by the seamless integration of innovation and sustainability. This partnership not only fuels economic growth but also shapes the very fabric of our daily lives. From the products we consume to the way we communicate and interact with one another; technology and stakeholder capitalism have emerged as the cornerstones of our global identity.


Culture, once defined by traditional customs and beliefs, has evolved into a fluid and dynamic concept shaped by the forces of globalisation. No longer confined to geographical boundaries or ethnic affiliations, our cultural identity is now intricately woven into the digital infrastructure of technological systems and the vast networks of the global supply chain.


Consider the observations of Steve Jobs during his visit to Turkey, as recounted in Walter Isaacson's biography. Jobs noticed the younger generation in Turkey using iPhones and accessing the same apps predominantly in the English language, akin to their counterparts in California. This insight led Jobs to recognise that the notion of "culture" was undergoing a redefinition, transcending traditional borders and languages.


Indeed, culture is no longer solely defined by heritage or ancestry; rather, it encompasses the shared experiences and practices that bind us together in a globalised world. Our daily activities, from shopping to socialising, eating, and even expressing humour, are all influenced by the digital infrastructure of technological systems and its supporting supply chain.


In this context, the illusion of cultural differences becomes increasingly apparent. While superficial distinctions may persist, the underlying similarities in how we live, work, and interact with technology serve to blur traditional cultural boundaries. As we navigate the complexities of a globalised society, clinging to outdated concepts of cultural identity not only constrains our understanding of ourselves but also impedes progress, leaving us with a distorted view of our place in the world.


Conclusion: Rethinking 'Your People' in a globalised world

As we navigate the complexities of identity and culture in our ever-increasing globalised ecosystem, it becomes increasingly clear that the notion of 'Our people' is no longer confined to traditional boundaries, religion, or affiliations. Instead, it is shaped by the values we hold dear and the communities we actively engage with, regardless of geographical distance or cultural background.


Organisations, like ours and our client in India, are increasingly embracing virtual collaboration as a means of harnessing talent and expertise from diverse locations. With the advent of social media, the internet, and transparency-based solutions, the world has indeed become smaller, and tapping into a truly global workforce is no longer out of reach for small companies looking to expand.


To the young and passionate New Yorker who identifies with her foreign speaking ‘people' overseas, I invite her to reflect on the true essence of her identity. Does it align more with the non-democratic, combatant forces of a distant land, or does it resonate more closely with the democratic principles and cultural diversity that define her daily life and interactions in her own country, where people of all races, religions and cultures come together in harmony, sharing common ground and forging meaningful business and personal connections?


Technology plays a pivotal role in fostering collaboration among all the players within our stakeholder capitalistic society. Through digital platforms and communication tools, individuals from all walks of life can work together towards common goals, transcending traditional obstacles and fostering a sense of unity and solidarity. It's a testament to the power of innovation that diversity can collectively feel as 'one, united' people, collaborating and thriving in our globalised world.


As we continue to navigate the complexities of our interconnected, ever-globalised world, let us redefine 'our people' not as a narrow construct based on outdated notions of identity, but as a celebration of humanity in the shared values and the ever-increasing ways to collaborate that continue to present themselves, allowing us to break down barriers and enrich our lives collectively. This shift towards a more inclusive and sustainable approach to global collaboration reflects the essence of stakeholder capitalism and global sustainability, paving the way for a brighter future for all.


 

Andrew Lenti has been working with multinational organisations in business transformation initiatives since 1999. In this time he has been based in six different European countries as well as two years of client service operational experience in the United States. Andrew is one of the co-founders of TOPP Tactical Intelligence Ltd, a European operational excellence software provider and one of the original architects of PRESTO Digital Enterprise, the all-in-one continuous improvement business management system

currently being used on 3 continents by large and small organisations as a tool in performance governance for quality assurance and operational restructuring.

13 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page