I guess it’s to do with my personality: I love many old things, old books, old buildings etc. Take music for an example, I love Chinese classic music and old folk songs and Beetles for western music. My wife used to joke that I am actually 70 years old (I am only 45 this year!). Fashion of course has nothing to do with me: I barely know any fashion brands. Many Chinese consumer have a love affair with the ABCD brands in the UK. I only know B represents Burberry (have I got the spelling right?) but not the rest. So when a hot topic such as Blockchain reached my ears, as usual I am quite suspicious. I am suspicious because of a seemingly too rosy picture it offers (or potentials suggested by the experts): it represents a world of real democracy, open but free from disruptions such as hacker attacks.
Suspicions aside, it is also useful to think about what Blockchain can offer in different fields so that old people like me wont’ be accused of blocking technological development. Well, has Blockchain anything to do with academic researchers like me who are interested in international business and innovation? The answer is perhaps likely to be ‘yes’.
One of the areas that I am interested in is knowledge transfer in a cross-cultural context. I have been following a case of Chinese acquisition in the UK for a few years. One of the biggest hurdles to knowledge transfer between the British subsidiary and the Chinese parent firm is indeed cultural difference between the two sides: British employees are willing to express their views and feelings even to their superiors whilst the Chinese employees are not. Blockchain, as a type of distributed ledger without a central administrator, may therefore facilitate knowledge transfer in this context so that, for example, the Chinese will be freer to express their views and ideas. Perhaps, we can indeed develop a NO coin to encourage the Chinese to speak out different views or to say no to unreasonable orders from managers. We may also come up with an IDEA coin to encourage new ideas from employees in order to facilitate knowledge exchange and innovation.