Culture is a powerful ingredient in any project. How do you evaluate and research culture though, especially when it comes to international projects? If you are kicking off a project in Egypt or Nepal, how do you begin to understand what makes that country unique? How do you understand their values and identity?
It would be nice to get a sense of a country’s identify and values before you step foot on new soil. Books and words can begin give you an idea of the language and the way a community thinks and talks but images provide a much more powerful and deeper experience.
Back in May, I shared a post about how we can Fall In Love With our Global Community. The Google Cultural Institute provides everyone with a portal into the world’s greatest museums and amongst the wonders of the world using Google’s Street View technology. Now Google has taken that same technology outdoors and created Google Treks.
Google Treks provides us project managers with a way to look at the landscape of a country and immediately get a sense of what creates the foundation for that country’s identity.
How awesome would it be before flying off to Nepal to work on a project in the Khumbu Region of Nepal, you could walk through the valley and meet the Sherpas who call this region home. Well now you can.
What if before you landed in Cairo, Egypt, you took a stroll around the Pyramids of Giza from your living room?
….or before you fly off to Dubai you took a walk around world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, so you can figure out where the conference room is and appreciate what Dubai has accomplished by building this amazing structure.
Cultural awareness has almost its own discipline, right up there with strategy and communications management. Understanding a country’s identify begins with the soil they live on and subsist with. Geography in almost every case is the first chapter in a country’s story. Now with yet another awesome tool available at your fingertips, you can begin to understand the cultural identity of almost every country in the world thanks to the Google Cultural Institute and Google Treks.
I know these are not the only digital tools we have available so I am hoping you can share your favorite digital tools you use to explore the world. How do you begin to research and understand the make up of a new community or country you will be working in? What digital tools do you use to help you appreciate the identity and values of a new community or country?
Thank you again for sharing this moment.
To succeed on a global scale, project managers have to possess four key attributes; subject matter expertise, sweet skills, cultural awareness, and social awareness. Expertise comes from reading literatures and attending conferences. Sweet skills start with the expertise but rely mostly on practice, practice, practice. Social awareness comes from just living in the real world and figuring out how to succeed in your job and community. Cultural awareness though can be a little more difficult. It is easy to gain an appreciation for your local community's history and artwork because you live there but how do you learn more about the artwork of Amsterdam or key historical moments in Turkey without buying an airline ticket to visit the Blue Mosque? You could go onto Wikipedia to learn about almost anything but it is not quite the same as traveling to another country. I must admit though, I love Wikipedia, it is a fantastic resource to help you start any sort of research project.
What if you could travel through the internet to learn more about the world's significant works of art, key historical moments, or the wonders of the world you may have never known existed? Cultural awareness is so important for project managers, especially if you want to step onto the global stage. PMI holds conferences in some amazing places from Bali to London and we would be doing those countries a disservice if we didn't learn more about there culture.
For that reason I want to introduce you to the Google Cultural Institute. Through this virtual window, you have access to walk the halls of some of the worlds' greatest museums and discover amazing works of art as if you are standing right next to the painting. The resolution on the photos are AMAZING. Thanks to some impressive technology, you can look at the individual cracks in the artwork and walk the halls of the museums as if you were really there in person.
The Google Cultural Institute is a non-profit initiative partnering with cultural organizations around the world to deliver the world's cultural heritage online to you. I discovered this amazing site almost by accident. When I stumbled across the artworkd in the Van Gogh Museum, you will understand why I can't get enough of the Google Cultural Institute.
If you are about to start a project in a new country or are interested in learning more about the countries your international team members live in, I highly recommending checking out this site. Building a strong awareness and appreciation for what make the people in this world so beautiful and amazing is almost becoming a core requirement for every project manager, especially those who work and serve internationally.
If you know of any other sites similar to this, please share them in the comments.
Thank you again for sharing this moment.