Interesting article from the Economist about corporate alumni and how more and more companies are developing programmes to connect with former employees. McKinsey are the Rolls Royce gold standard in this space and now many others are following suit. Just think of it in terms of diasporas – but call them company diasporas and then it makes sense. Just as countries have diasporas so companies have alumni. The two words are interchangeable and can learn much from each other. Universities have been on this trail forever and look to their diasporas (aka alumni) for involvement and financial support. They do it on two levels – mass participation at low levels from lots of alumni and major gifts from a very few. Cities do it and Copenhagen, with their global network of Copenhagen Goodwill Ambassadors, leads the way. Sports teams have diasporas – just think Manchester United, Boston Red Sox, All Blacks and Pittsburgh Steelers, to name a few. Glasgow Celtic have developed their Global Celts.
In rugby Ireland have a remarkable global following. The largest ever attendance at a Rugby World Cup match was 89,267 when Ireland played Romania in Wembley in September 2015 – and not many of them were Romanians…!! Same thing when Ireland, finally, beat the All Blacks in Chicago last year. No surprise, then, that Ireland’s current bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup leans heavily on the support of its loyal global diaspora – who will return in their droves should Ireland be selected to host the event. In essence, then, diaspora and alumni are all about building networks – the same rules apply to both and technology and communications are bringing them both centre stage. Geography no longer dictates identity and what were once ‘lost actors’ can now be ‘national assets’.