The World Is Flat

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The World Is Flat – Part 3

Posted by on 21 Nov 2007 | Tagged as: The World Is Flat

Here are my last thoughts on the book. I basically just reflected on ideas from the last third.

Developing Countries in the Flat World

I thought it was really interesting that China is doing better in this flat world than Mexico, considering how close Mexico is to the U.S. I hadn’t really thought about the fact that Mexico has an upper hand in the world economics and yet they are not doing as well as China. They need to look at their country and see what needs to be changed. They need strong political figures to guide their country into this millennium. According to Friedman, countries that have open and competitive markets are the ones who get out of poverty. When they have this market structure they can begin to do business with industrial nations and begin to receive work and grow their abilities. But, the leaders of the country must have that vision and those goals in order to accomplish this economic success.

Companies in the Flat World

There were some basic ideas that I drew from this chapter that I could really relate to. First of all, the idea of creating an environment where employees can stretch their imagination reminded me a lot of Google’s policy. Google states that each employee is guaranteed 20% of their time to work on whatever they want…relevant to Google’s goals of course. What a phenomenal idea to get new ideas. They don’t force their employees to only work on projects that they assign; they can work on other projects as well. In fact, Google Mail was one of these 20% projects. They foster an environment for imagination and innovation which helps make them so successful.

Another idea I found interesting was small companies acting “big” by using different collaboration tools. So many companies today can reach so many different people just because they have the ability to make themselves as available as those big corporations. Small business owners have so much more visibility in this flattening world and so many more opportunities to prove themselves and build their customer base. This puts big businesses up to a new kind of challenge that they must deal with. Their competition is more than just the other big businesses.

Creating a company that allows individuals to serve themselves is another idea that Friedman writes about in his book. Dell Computers is the first company I thought of when I read about this. I can go to their web site and create my own computer, with my own features. This idea can also be applied to training. We need to give our learners many different options to help them learn that content. Customize and tailor!!

Outsourcing can be used to grow a company’s economic success faster than if they don’t outsource. Outsourcing is not necessarily a “bad” thing. Outsourcing can actually help a company grow. This idea goes back to when Friedman talked about labor being outsourced and innovation staying inside the company.

Companies are more transparent now. Companies cannot hide behind their walls now. What they do is seen all over the world in a matter of hours or even minutes. They are now visible and their employees are visible. They have to be much more careful about their actions and how that will affect their customer’s perception.
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The World Is Flat – Part 2

Posted by on 21 Oct 2007 | Tagged as: The World Is Flat

So, the first part of the book discussed the 10 flatteners, while the 2nd part began by discussing the three convergences, one of which is the ten flatteners converging. In addition to this, there is the convergence of new habits working in a flatter world with the flattened world itself. Finally, the convergence of a new set of people (China, India, previous Soviet Empire) with this new flat world. I think it’s interesting that the the first convergence leads to the 2nd and 3rd convergence. The flatteners basically created a chain reaction that change our world completely. These convergences created a more collaborative world and collaborative workplace. As I know from experience, collaboration on projects across countries will be a commonplace occurrence in the future. I think it’s kind of ironic that Marx (of all people) was one of the first people to state that this breakdown of barriers could happen.

Friedman also discusses how traditional governments, businesses, and organizations will have to change and work with new virtual communities, emergent businesses, networks of people to create a new culture of business. Because these walls will no longer exist, there are changes that will need to be made to how we deal with each other and how our government works. Our government will have to look past their own front door to establish relationships with those countries that are coming into this new global, flat communities.

There is definitely a negative attitude in the US among “regular citizens” about outsourcing, but I think it’s interesting that Friedman brings up another point-of-view. He explains that the Indian’s perspective on globalization is that it can empower them to build up their skill set and enables them to move up in their economic class. As he puts it “one person’s economic liberation could be another’s unemployment.”

However, Friedman also explains how the US can deal with these problems. First of all, he discusses the importance of having a government that will support this new global integration. As we discussed in class last week, it’s important for our government to have a focus and a cause. They have to explain to US citizens how this globalization can help them and what each person can do to be successful in this type of society.

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The World Is Flat – Part 1

Posted by on 23 Sep 2007 | Tagged as: The World Is Flat

So, I have finished reading the first third of The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the 21st Century by Thomas Friedman and I found it very interesting and very relevant to our field. The first chapter of the book discussed the flattening affect of the world in the last few years. One quote says that “In some eyes, homesourcing and outsourcing aren’t so much competing strategies as they are different manifestations of the same thing: a relentless push by corporate America to lower costs and increase efficiency, wherever that may lead” (pg 35). I found this to be the core to the flattening affect…corporations are trying to produce more at a lower cost than they are currently doing so they find new methods to doing business, including moving their operations to different countries. This idea extends to training development and people development as well. If a corporation is trying to work at peak efficiency and save time and money, then they won’t want their employees sitting in training sessions all day. They want employees who know how to find information and how to use that information right then. They need performance support tools and smaller segments of information that are just-in-time training instead of long coursework. Another quote that promotes this same sentiment is from pg. 45 “I loved the concept of a company with only two offices – ‘everywhere, and right next to you’ – because it captured perfectly the way the flattening of the world allows companies to be more global than ever and yet, at the same time, more personal than ever.” Isn’t that what companies want in their training also? They want the information where they are, when they need it, and tailored to their individual needs.

The second chapter discussed the 10 forces that flattened the world. I never really thought of the Berlin Wall collapsing as a flattener to the world. I have to wonder if this is in part due to how young I was when it happened. I remember it, but it didn’t feel like it actually affected my life. However, in hindsight it probably affected my life a lot more than I thought. On pg 58, Friedman says that “the political constraint on individual reach collapsed with the fall of the Berlin Wall…and the practical constraint on individual reach collapsed with the rise of the Apple and Windows-enabled, modem-connected IBM PC.” Both of these events led to the world we live in today…a connected world where we can work with others in foreign countries without fear of oppression. There are still barriers of course, but the bottom line is that it’s possible and wouldn’t have been otherwise. I guess I take for granted what the world would have been like if the Berlin Wall had not fallen.

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