Behavioral Trends: Borderless




As a result of globalization, today we have contact with several cultures, languages and beliefs. This is one of the most nutritious thing we’ve experienced. It challenges our paradigms. It opens our minds. We look beyond borders and frontiers. We celebrate cultural diversity. We are citizens of the world!




Most spoken human languages have evolved organically over thousands of years, sometimes from a common ancestor, and adapting to the specific contexts in which they continue to develop. Constructed languages, however, are a completely different story. As their name suggests, they’re languages that are made up from scratch by an individual or a group of individuals with varying motivations. Esperanto is a constructed language created by Polish ophthalmologist L. L. Zamenhof in 1887 with the purpose of creating “an universal second language to foster world peace”. Its vocabulary is derived from Western European languages, while its morphology and syntax show Slavic influence; its design makes it purposefully easy to learn. To this day, Esperanto is the world’s most spoken constructed language, with about a thousand native speakers and between 63000 and two million secondary speakers. However, its purpose of world peace remains somewhat hypothetical, but the effort made by its thousands of speakers to disseminate the language is a testament to the power of community created by language.

Borderless - Esperanto


The United Nations (UN) is the world’s largest multinational organisation, with 193 member states and 2 observer states. It was founded in 1945 in the aftermath of World War II, after the failure of its predecessor, the League of Nations, to fulfil its goal of preventing another large-scale conflict. The United Nations is the closest thing the world has to a centralized government; due to its extensive resources and presence, it has a certain “gravitas” over the world’s affairs and is often invocated for resolving urgent situations around the world. The UN has multiple sub-organisations devoted to specific areas, like health (World Health Organization), economy (World Bank), children’s rights (UNICEF) and cultural heritage (UNESCO), all of which solidify the UN’s position as the world’s spokesperson, and show a drive for uniting the multiplicities of humanity. However, the UN has been questioned in regards to its actual power and influence, as well as its internal integrity and structure, and even accusations of corruption, showing that despite its borderless ambitions, the UN has a long way to go until it reaches its utopian goals.

Borderless - United Nations


The World Health Organization (WHO) is an organization created by the United Nations that is devoted to promoting health worldwide. WHO has an important role in detecting and mitigating disease outbreaks, which is why it came under scrutiny in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic: WHO was slow in declaring pandemic status, which delayed the preparation of governments around the world. Nonetheless, WHO has done important work in regards to the improvement of human health in general over the course of its history, and has provided valuable resources – both material and intellectual – to practically the entire world, moving to provide essential health services without regarding borders.

Borderless - World Health Organization


These are different words for a person who lives outside of their country of origin – in the English language in particular, the use of each of these words carries a different connotation that have been shaped by political and social factors linked to historical events. “Migrant” has negative connotations, usually meaning a non-skilled person moving for economic reasons; while “refugee” refers to a person who has been forced to leave their country due to fear of persecution. The slightly better “immigrant” means a person who looks for long-term residence or even citizenship outside their country. “Expatriate” or “expat” is the most elite of all these terms, and is associated with affluent, white-collar professionals and retirees who seek to live in a different country for an undetermined period of time. The existence of different designations and connotations for people who move outside their own country shines a light on what we base our perceptions of these people and how we think of human displacement.

Borderless - Migrant, Refugee, Immigrant, Expatriate (article)


Legal immigration into the United States is a difficult process filled with numerous obstacles, both physical and bureaucratic, that often prevent people from entering the country legally. Despite this, thousands of immigrants enter the U.S. with a dream and a hope to build more prosperous futures, while helping to maintain the American economy and way of life. However, not everything has to be a hurdle when chasing the American dream – and Together Direct, an online platform for immigration assistance, understands that. Founded by Jorge Molina, their strong belief in the value of immigration powers everything they do, aiming to provide an accessible, simplified immigration process. Tearing down walls and building bridges is the way in which different cultures and nationalities can exist together in harmony and in mutual compliment, which is why Together Direct provides affordable and high-quality legal representation as well as application reviews for prospective immigrants to the U.S., all made efficient and quick through their digital platform, to ensure optimum success in their application.

Borderless - Together Direct


The history of the Internet is long and convoluted. The first network of connected computers was named ARPANET and in 1969 the first message between two computers was sent. The first iteration of email, created by Ray Tomlinson, and Vinton Cerf’s Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) followed in 1971. Despite the usage of primitive Internet, it was mostly limited to scientific institutions and universities. The Internet as we know it began with the creation of the World Wide Web by computer programmer Sir Tim Berners-Lee in 1989, and the creation of browsers Mosaic and Netscape Navigator, as well as dial-up services, made the Internet accessible to the masses. The invention of Google in 1997 gave users an intuitive way to navigate the vast amounts of data online. The new millennium gave way to unforeseen innovation, and laid the groundwork for the current Internet we have today and the incredible borderless connections it provides for humankind.

Borderless - The History of the internet

wikipedia/History of the Internet


The power of the Internet is something to behold. It expands our knowledge in ways we couldn’t have foreseen, it has made us more aware of the world around us and has expanded our connectivity to others beyond cultures and borders. However, as of 2019, around 46% of the world population does not have access to the web, be it due to lack of coverage, being unable to afford the service, or other circumstances. In order to combat this, the inventor of the web himself, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, established the World Wide Web Foundation in 2009 as a way to promote the open web not as a service or commodity, but as a public good and a basic right for humankind. After all, it is a medium that has amplified humankind in every way imaginable.

Borderless - The World Wide Web Foundation


Music has often been described as an universal language due to its fundamentally human nature. We seek out rhythms and melodies wherever we can find them, even if we’re not musically trained. We all enjoy music in one way or another, and we connect with others through it. Playing For Change is a platform dedicated to inspiring people to seek out that connection, no matter where they are. Founded in 2002 by Mark Johnson and Whitney Kroenke, the duo set out with a mobile recording studio and cameras to find inspiration in the streets of the U.S., chasing their belief that music can break down boundaries and distances. One result was the documentary “A Cinematic Discovery of Street Music”, which chronicled talented street musicians and gave them exposure to an audience that transcends the sidewalk or subway station they played in. No matter where in the world they come from, through music they speak the same language.

Borderless - Playing for Change


Bloom is a marketing agency founded and led by Pepe Aguilar, who is one of the most influential creative leaders and cultural activists in U.S. Hispanic advertising, as well as being one of the most awarded creatives in that field, receiving awards at Cannes Lions 2019 and Effie Awards 2020. Aguilar’s work on campaigns like Immigrant Songs and Hispanic Star has led him to participating in high-profile events like the UN Hispanic Leadership Summit 2019 and Cannes Lions Live 2020. He was also named Multicultural Guru by LatinSpots. Bloom sees their line of work not as mere suppliers, but business partners that guarantee loyalty and transparency to their brands. They assemble teams regardless of nationality, taking a truly borderless approach in their practices, from agency to brand and from brand to agency.

Borderless - Bloom


Google Translate was introduced in 2006 as a statistical machine translation service, using United Nations and European Parliament documents as the basis for its linguistic data, and incorporating an unorthodox translation method: first translating into English and then into the desired language. This method was widely criticised and ridiculed due to its inaccuracy, prompting Google to gradually and steadily improve the quality of translations, up to the point of developing neural machine translation for the service. Nowadays, the accuracy in some languages has improved, while others have much work to be done – but one thing is for certain: Google Translate has trailblazed automatic translation online, and continues to be a useful, if flawed, resource for millions of people to make themselves understood.

Borderless - Google Translate


The Schengen Area is a zone, comprised of 26 European states, in which border controls are not enforced between those countries, effectively allowing for free, unrestricted movement of people and merchandise throughout their territories. Most of the European Union member states are included in the Schengen Area, as well as others that aren’t a part of the EU like Norway and Iceland. The establishment of the Schengen Area has helped strengthen the relationship between its members, eventually being incorporated in the statutes of the European Union and serving as a leading example of effective “borderless” policies. However, the ongoing migrant crisis has placed the Schengen Area under threat of being eliminated as countries take harsher stances on migration control.

Borderless - Schengen Area


People tend to feel a deep sense of belonging to their place of origin, be it their town, their city or their country. But in recent decades, and accelerated thanks to advances in technology, a movement of people who radically oppose those geographical attachments has been on the rise. Dubbed global nomads, or “glomads”, these people lead an international lifestyle, unconstrained by borders or territories and always on the move. Usually traveling alone or in pairs, as long as they have a laptop and an internet connection, they can work from virtually anywhere in the world if necessary, staying at couchsurfing locations, hostels or Airbnbs. Global nomads challenge some of the foundational aspects of Western society: home ownership, wealth accumulation, nationalism and settling in one place. Although they require a state-issued passport, some “glomads” disassociate themselves from their country of origin, finding solace in being a true global citizen.

Borderless - Global Nomad

wikipedia/Global nomad


Sal Lavallo is one of the youngest Americans to visit every recognised country in the world. At just 27 years old, he has set foot in every one of the 193 member states of the United Nations and has chronicled the adventures, recollections, memories and even friendships that he has made along the way. As one of the few people in the world that has travelled its entirety, Lavallo is now dedicated to spreading the word about the virtues of solo travel, and the eye-opening experiences that can only be attained by spending time in those places – revealing the universal traits that make us human despite vast differences in culture.

Borderless - Sal Lavallo


The debate around abolishing borders or open border policies has been shaped largely in part by humanitarian and moralistic reasons, appealing to our emotions and sense of empathy towards others in positions of disadvantage. However, what is there was a radically different approach to this topic? In his latest book, “Open Borders: The Science and Ethics of Immigration”, economist Bryan Caplan seeks to postulate a new outlook on this issue, taking a viewpoint that is strictly considers the economic situation. Caplan suggests that by opening every single border in the world, or in other words, eliminating restrictions on human movement, countries would experience economic gain in the trillions of dollars each year: countries that receive immigrants (usually first-world countries) would benefit from the additional workforce, and the immigrants’ countries of origin would in turn receive massive remittances. Besides this enticing hypothesis, Caplan discusses other topics regarding immigration and border control through sometimes outrageous cartoons that aim to broaden our horizons on those topics.

Borderless - Open Borders by Bryan Caplan


The fastest way to understand a different culture is to learn their language. Hidden inside untranslatable words, scripts, sentence structure and even intonation is the key to put yourself in the position of a completely different cultural background. Today’s Internet-powered borderless world allows people to connect with each other in significant ways, allowing people who would’ve otherwise never met to establish a connection, and maybe even teach their languages to each other. Tandem, an app and online community of language learners, creates an environment in which people who are willing to help each other can do so on their respective language journeys. This way, interaction, feedback and even friendship can blossom and help users in their path for fluidity with ease, while also tearing down geographical and linguistic borders.

Borderless - Tandem


The most prominent ailing of our current socioeconomic system is extreme poverty. The causes are historical, far-reaching and systemic, and it will take a massive undertaking from communities and governments around the world to put an end to it. Global Citizen is a platform consisting of engaged citizens who, through actions like grassroots organising, global campaigns, and events including a renowned music festival, are attempting to end extreme poverty by 2030. Founded in 2008 by Hugh Evans, Simon Moss and Wei Soo, the members of Global Citizen have performed over 24 million actions in pursuit of their plan around the world, resulting in commitments and policy announcements from leaders valued at over $48 billion that have impacted more than 880 million people. Living up to its name, Global Citizen is a prime example of community leadership beyond borders.

Borderless - Global Citizen


The Babel fish from “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” allowed any two people to make their languages mutually understandable instantly. Nowadays, technological advancements have gotten us closer and closer to such instant translation. One example is the TimeKettle WT2 earphones, which captures a person’s voice in one language and translates it to another using advanced AI immediately after they finish speaking, enabling surprisingly fluid conversations between people with different mother tongues, and who may not know a common language. 40 languages are available, with over different 93 accents, and best of all – available offline. Breakthrough by breakthrough, the language barrier is closer and closer to being eradicated.

Borderless - Timekettle Live Translation Earphones


Bitcoin is perhaps the most well-known cryptocurrency in the market. Emerging from an anonymous creator in 2010, the currency is based on blockchain technology, which ensures anonymity and transparency. The value of bitcoin has skyrocketed since its creation, having peaked at 19 thousand U.S. dollars in July 2017. Beyond its value as a means for saving and investing, Bitcoin is the first cryptocurrency to truly reach a borderless audience, also becoming the first currency overall that avoids governmental control completely and instead is regulated by its own community of users around the globe.

Borderless - Bitcoin


Google, and later its parent company Alphabet, has been developing Project Loon, now known simply as Loon, since 2011. The initiative was officially announced in 2013 as a part of the notoriously secretive X Labs, and gained notoriety for its ambitious scope and goals: to bring Wi-Fi to the entire world through stratospheric balloons. The balloons have protective layers and solar panels, which allow them to stay in the air for 100 days at a time, and reach a coverage area around 200 times larger than that of a cellphone tower. After rigorous testing, including in disaster zones, Loon’s first commercial application was launched in Kenya in 2020, providing internet to some of Kenya’s most inaccessible regions and expanding access to thousands of people. Soon enough, the world may be connected even more thanks to this unorthodox technology.

Borderless - Loon


Let’s face it: a large proportion of tourists don’t know how to effectively communicate in the country they’re visiting. Either they don’t know the language, or their questions come across in an unintended way to locals. Startup IconSpeak developed a practical, wearable form of avoiding these issues: a T-shirt with a selection of universally-understood icons. The company says users should simply know how to say “hello”, “thank you” and ”goodbye” in the local language, and then simply point to the icon that represents their current need. While it might not be failproof, the shirt clearly breaks down both borders and the language barrier for many unfortunate travelers.

Borderless - Iconspeak Icon Shirt


With the mantra “A beer of the world for a man of the world”, Heineken has exploited its international credentials everywhere. Its “Open your world” tagline is an invitation to explore, make the whole planet your playground, aspire to open your mind and expand your own limits.

borderless - heineken


The Zoku hotel concept is a mixture of a hotel accommodation and a short stay office for professionals who have to stay in a city for a project or regular work for a period between five days and three months. That means, you can work from anywhere in the world, and have everything you need to work and live there.

borderless - zoku hotel


Excerpt from the “CREDO OF A WORLD CITIZEN”: A World Citizen accepts the dynamic fact that the planetary human community is interdependent and whole, that humankind is essentially one. As a global person, a World Citizen relates directly to humankind and to all fellow humans spontaneously, generously and openly. Politically, a World Citizen accepts a sanctioning institution of representative government, expressing the general and individual sovereign will in order to establish and maintain a system of just and equitable world law with appropriate legislative, judiciary and enforcement bodies. A World Citizen brings about better understanding and protection of different cultures, ethnic groups and language communities. A World Citizen makes this world a better place to live in harmoniously by studying and respecting the viewpoints of fellow citizens from anywhere in the world.

borderless - global citizens initiative


Click here to navigate our list of Behavioral Trends for value creation, full of insights and needstates, written from a post-demographic human-centered perspective by our partner Andrea Lobo.


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