Nation Reputation

I watched the opening ceremonies for the summer Olympics in China on TV last night. I was awestruck and exhilarated. The reputation of China and its people could only have been enhanced by the exquisite beauty and deep thought that went into the production. As a keen reputation watcher, I could not help but think about one of the clear sweeping trends -- that is, the rise of nationalism and boundaries. Jack Welch, former CEO of GE, used to talk about boundarylessness as a strategy for expressing a world opening up to business in the 90s. Today he would have to choose his words more carefully and perhaps mention boundaryness instead. National borders are growing increasingly acute and walls – both visible and invisible – are being newly built and fiercely defended. Ascending nation reputations are being shaped with greater attention by governments. The reputation of China – with all its controversies and allure – dazzled last night. Thankfully I can watch the ceremony over and over again on YouTube and delight in its magnificence. China’s reputation (last night) was advanced for all to see. We will see how it translates over the course of the next few weeks.