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To compete globally, organizations must not only monitor their internal operations but also understand key international socioeconomic shifts. This article discusses the significance of following and anticipating the various external political, economic, social, and cultural events and developments that can affect an organization's internal project activities. In doing so, it explains the problems that can occur when companies fail to follow external events and focus instead on their internal operations and their specific industry. It looks at how electricity provider Energy Northwest (EN) studies external conditions to anticipate market needs and trends beyond the next decade. It also overviews how external factors--such as new regulations and laws--can influence the focus and significance of an organization's projects and activities. It then outlines some of the risks involved in operating in countries with emerging economies, describing how global transport company DHL has successfully decreased its risks of operating in high-risk emerging economies and how it established an internal system that enables all employees to contribute to DHL's effort of anticipating market trends and meeting customer needs.
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