Recent Articles:

The world’s smartest countries

July 12, 2017 Articles, INSEAD, Media / Op-ed
Kai L. Chan, Distinguished Fellow, INSEAD Innovation & Policy Initiative | July 12, 2017 [caption id="attachment_3479" align="aligncenter" width="650"] The countries most likely to produce the next Google.[/caption] When Sergey Brin was 16 and his family had already been living in the United States for a decade, his father took him on a short trip back to Russia. It was 1990 and the Soviet Union was collapsing. By the second day of the trip, the teenager had seen enough to grasp what his life could have been. Taking his father aside, the future co-founder of Google told him in earnest: “Thank you for taking us all out of Russia.” Although Russia has since rebounded, young Brin won the citizenship lottery, having been raised in the U.S. where he had access to great schooling and an environment to nurture his brain. As a child, he received a Montessori education, known for cultivating creativity. Later he went on to study at Stanford University where he met Larry Page and together they would go on to found one of the most valuable brands in the world. Brin’s story illustrates how – given the proper environment – education and creativity can give rise to transformative innovation in the…

¿Qué países ofrecen a sus ciudadanos la mejor educación superior?

May 25, 2017 Articles, WEF
25 May 2017 Kai Chan Distinguished Fellow, INSEAD Innovation and Policy Initiative Los responsables políticos tendrán que asegurar que la educación terciaria de alta calidad sea accesible para todos, no solo para la élite. La educación superior inclusiva podría cerrar las divisiones sociales que separan a la sociedad Las universidades son vitales para el desarrollo del capital humano. Son piezas fundamentales de la economía mundial del conocimiento. Si bien alguna vez solo estuvo disponible para unos pocos, la educación superior ahora es casi un requisito para el ingreso a la clase media, y más aún a las filas de la élite. La competencia entre universidades ha dado origen a clasificaciones que intentan determinar cuáles son las más competitivas a nivel mundial. En general, estas listas se basan en métricas como la producción de investigación, el prestigio y los logros de los exalumnos. Aunque las distintas medidas producen clasificaciones diferentes, las principales universidades del mundo son muy similares en todas las evaluaciones. La cantidad de universidades reconocidas a nivel mundial de un país se utiliza siempre para medir la calidad de su educación superior. Sin embargo, esta perspectiva pasa por alto la creciente desigualdad de la educación superior. El desafío de…

The World’s Most Powerful Languages

May 22, 2017 Articles, INSEAD, Media / Op-ed
Kai L. Chan, Distinguished Fellow, INSEAD Innovation & Policy Initiative | May 22, 2017 What leaders should know about English and other languages competing for global influence. Should we all emulate Mark Zuckerberg and embrace speaking Mandarin? In April this year, U.S. President Donald Trump’s grandchildren (aged 5 and 2) engaged in soft diplomacy at the highest level when they sang in Mandarin for the Chinese president and his wife. Ten years ago, investor Jim Rogers even moved to Asia to provide his daughters with a strong Chinese learning environment. Language opens doors. Speaking more tongues means more opportunities to participate in conversations… or eavesdrop on them. It’s also clear that the power of a language goes beyond simple head count, not to mention that it’s difficult to count the number of speakers of a language given their various proficiencies. As someone who became a polyglot (five languages) in my 40s – proving that picking up languages in later years is not insurmountable – I grew interested in ranking the usefulness of languages in a scientific manner. I created the Power Language Index (PLI) as a thought experiment: If an alien were to land on Earth, what language would serve it…

Which countries provide their citizens with the best higher education?

May 4, 2017 Articles, WEF
04 May 2017 Kai Chan Distinguished Fellow, INSEAD Innovation & Policy Initiative Universities are vital for developing human capital. They are essential cogs in the global knowledge economy. Where once only available to few, higher education is now almost a requirement for entry to the middle class, and even more so to the ranks of the elite. Competition among universities has given rise to rankings that try to ascertain which are the globally most competitive. These lists are typically based on metrics such as research output, prestige and accomplishments of alumni. Although the various measures produce different orderings, the global top schools are highly similar across the assessments. The number of globally-ranked schools in a country is then invariably used to measure the quality of higher education there. However, this perspective overlooks the growing inequality of higher education. The challenge of our time: inequality Inequality is one of society’s biggest challenges. But much of that debate has centred on inequality of income and wealth; much less attention has been paid to inequality of opportunity for high-quality tertiary education. Yet, inequality of education is a driver of income inequality and a force behind assortative mating – privileged people tend to go…

Intelligence Capital Index

April 27, 2017 Articles, Media / Op-ed
Article in World Monitor Magazine about the my Intelligence Capital Index. ABOUT In a global knowledge economy, education and creativity are paramount to being competitive. The Intelligence Capital Index (ICI) is a way to gauge the ability of countries to capitalise on the knowledge economy by assessing their environments for education, creativity and talent attraction. The ICI is a barometer a nation’s stock of “smarts”. It measures which nations are most likely to expand the frontier of knowledge and/or introduce the technology and innovations of the knowledge economy. Hitherto, most assessments of a country’s knowledge base have been focused on the quantity of education and, when outputs are considered, it is invariably limited to average scholastic performance (in the form of standardised test results). But this view of quantity and of averages is misguided when considering the intelligence capital of a country. In contrast to alternative measures of human capital and talent, the ICI has several distinguishing features: (i) It adjusts for quality in education outcomes; (ii) It measures the progression of cognitive skills through the human life cycle; (iii) It considers the distribution of cognitive skills with an emphasis on the top performers; and (iv) It includes an external…




These are the world’s most powerful languages:

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Intelligence Capital IndexPower Language IndexImmigrating into the workforceCanada's Mosaic Ceiling

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