I recently had an opportunity to give a talk to the Filosofic Club of Kiev, Ukraine on a swing through the region. The club is a gathering of intellectual, business and media leaders in the city, and was a great experience. Unlike most standup presentations followed by a Q&A, this event allowed attendees to actiively debate the concepts I presented, and discuss their own models and worldviews. I found it a refreshing learning experience, particularly understanding different views of time and the future in a country where change is often not very far away.
This particular event was held between the presidential primary and a hotly contested run-off between Yulia Tymoshenko and Viktor Yukanovich. Touring the encampments set up to shelter protestors from each party on a cold Sunday night showed that in many places, it isn't just technology that determines the pace of change—in this case, forces in politics, economics and domestic society were a much stronger trigger, and Ukrainians could see two distinct paths before them.
The overall talk focused on recent forecasts of global economic drivers and outcomes, and how these forecasts have not come to pass. Countries like Ukraine are caught between these forecasted futures—one driven by developed countries, and one powered by the BRICs. Increasingly, it looks like Ukraine and other "middle tier" countries will have to build their own, from the bottom up, with innovation at the local level.
I look forward to going back for a longer visit to the country and region. In the meantime, below are slides from the talk.