Monday, May 22, 2006

The World is Flat

Thomas Friedman's book, The World is Flat, tells how business and organizational hierarchies are becoming more horizontal due to our ability to communicate information more swiftly. This paragraph gives me goose-bumps as I consider the possibilities. "It is this triple convergence--of new players, on a new playing field, developing new processes and habits (key word here) for horizontal collaboration--that I believe is the most important force shaping global economics and politics in the early 21st century. Giving so many people access to all these tools of colaboration...ensures that the next generation of innovations will come from all over Planet Flat. The scale of the global community that is soon going to be able to participate in all sorts of discovery and innovation is something the world has never seen before." To set this in context, Friedman is explaining how technology is enabling more and more people to enter the global economy. No longer will the Big Corporation hold all the power in this rapidly changing century. The ability to communicate and share information now rests in the hands of anyone who has the tools. The two bold words in the paragraph are important for understanding the changes that are occuring. This change is NOT about technology and the Internet. Those things are not the point. The point is this: It is about habits and participation. It will not take long for people to realize the power that is available to them through this shift and as a result, will never want to go back to the old heirarchical economy. Once a person finds this out, the next step is to give themselves permission to take the risk and step into the game. The flattening of the world is going to affect everything in its path. Heirarchies won't cease to exist, but individuals will begin to pose a greater competitive threat to them because the individual will now realize the possibilies of participation. The direction this will lead us is mind-boggling.

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