Sunday, November 26, 2006

The World IS flat!!!!

When the world was proved to be flat by Christopher Columbus it marked the beginning of a change of 'mindset' that forever changed the world. Columbus was aware ( although his crew weren't)of the theories of Galileo who used his telescope to prove ideas thought out earlier by Copernicus.

This new 'mindset' , or 'world view', unleashed the creative scientific and artistic energy we now call the Renaissance. An important aspect was the spreading of ideas due to Gutenberg's invention of the printing press ;which in turn, shifted power away from the Church.

In his book, 'The World is Flat' , Thomas Friedman shares how the convergence and explosion of new communication technologies and globalisation has 'flattened' the world allowing anybody, anywhere, to be connected anytime, with growing efficiency and speed. Others have called this convergence the beginning of the 'Second Renaissance' while others call it the 'Age Of Creativity or Talent'.

The world has moved into what Friedman calls 'Globalisation 3' - globalization that provides new power for individuals to collaborate and compete globally. The new technologies are a new equalizer and as a result new countries are now competing for centre stage , China and increasingly India , are 'racing to the top'.

For the western world to thrive it will need to compete on creativity, uniqueness and difference as most services can be provided more cheaply in other parts of the world. Today students no longer compete for jobs with their classmates but with the best of students from such populated and ambitious countries as China and India.

Most of these changes have happened in the last few years! The last 25 year have been 'a warm up' Friedman writes - 'the real IT revolution has just begun'. For example Friedman's book is a second edition - the first was published in 2005 and in his second edition Friedman includes new ideas about education.

Countries who want to compete need to part of the next creative wave and they can only do this by creating conditions and an education system to tap into the talent of all their students.Friedman writes that, 'natural talent trumps geography' .'The only limiting factor, he writes, 'will be human imagination'.

This is both a change an an opportunity for such a country as New Zealand. This ideas underpins our 'new' draft New Zealand Curriculum with it's emphasis on Key Competencies, or attributes, all citizens will need to be able to create their own knowledge. Education, Friedman writes, will have to change dramatically as our schools are still locked into earlier Industrial Aged assumptions. We now need to encourage collaboration, creativity and innovation and an education 'customised' to suit each learners particular talent mix.

In flattened world' you do not want to be mediocre ( as an individual or a country), or lack passion, in what you do - the future will belong to the best, the smartest,  the most distinctive and productive.

Friedman outlines future job skills to be successful.They provide a general list of what sort of things people need to do that jobs will grow out of.

Successful people will have to be:

1 Great collaborators and orchestrators who can mobilize and inspire diverse groups of people.

2 Great explainers who can synthesize complexity to assist people sort out their processes and systems

3 Great leveragers .People who can see a problem and fix and then redesign it so it can be applied by others. There are people who can see the 'big picture' - how things work from beginning to end.

4 Great adapters. These people Friedman calls 'versatilists' who are capable of constantly adapting, learning and growing. They combine the skills of 'narrow specialists' and 'shallow generalists' both of who will find the future problematic. Friedman compares then to Swiss Army knives - prepared for any eventuality.

5 Green people. There will be a lot of jobs ( a 'biological Renaissance') to ensure world environmental sustainability and the development of renewable resources

6 The passionate personalizers who can survive by doing ordinary jobs in passionate way - providing the personal touch particularly as success in providing services will depend on differentiation.

7 Great localizers. With new technology small businesses can cut costs and do more innovation and tailor them to local needs customizing serves to particular clients and employing people in the process.

The above are all broad categories but they provide an indication of the 'competencies ' people will need.

In the future, Friedman writes, 'how we educate our students may prove to be more important than how much we educate them'. Most important, he writes, is to 'learn how to learn'. To constantly absorb and teach yourself new ways of doing things. Friedman believes in the CQ+PQ+IQ ( Curiosity quotient plus Passion quotient plus Intelligence quotient). Successful students will be passionate to learn - 'nobody', Friedman writes, 'works harder than a
curious kid.'

His advice to students is to do what you love - this is the best survival strategy.

The Information Age is giving away to the Talent AgePosted by Picasa


Anonymous said...

This sounds like an excellent book.

Bruce Hammonds said...

A very exciting read - the revised edition (2006) is the one to get.

I liked his quote that, 'nobody works harder than a curious kid' - but what happens to too many of them?

Anonymous said...

Bruce you have in a single word finally proved for me that indeed the world is flat! I had always thought this because if you look out to sea it stops at the edge! you have comfirmed what I feel is a wonderfull example of common sense. It now needs some work on the vext question that the sun moves around the earth I feel this to be true as well!
It's only common sense that will rescue our world

signed Scritchy
PS We will try and work this into the new carrickulumm!

Bruce Hammonds said...

Thank you Scritchy - good to hear from you again and to see that you have been thinking!

As far as I know the sun goes over the edge in the West and whizzes through the underworld just in time to start each new day in the East.

Anonymous said...

If you were awed by Friedman ...
Watch the 13-minute overview (below).
Just off press ...
The World is Flat?
"Globalization is the greatest reorganization of the world
since the Industrial Revolution."

Thomas Friedman’s recent New York Times bestseller, The World is Flat, asserts that the international economic playing field is now more level than it has ever been. As popular as it may be, some reviewers assert that by what it leaves out, Friedman’s book is dangerous.

“The world isn’t flat as a result of globalization,” say Ronald Aronica and Mtetwa Ramdoo, business analysts and authors of a critical analysis of Friedman’s book. “Globalization is the greatest reorganization of the world since the Industrial Revolution,” says Aronica.

This epic change has shaken up the way the world does business. From boardrooms to classrooms to kitchen tables and water coolers, globalization has become a hot topic of discussion and debate everywhere. But by what Friedman’s book ignores or glosses over, it misinforms people and policy makers.

Aronica and Ramdoo’s concise monograph, The World is Flat?: A Critical Analysis of Thomas L. Friedman’s New York Times Bestseller, brings clarity to many of Friedman’s stories and explores nine key issues Friedman largely disregards or treats too lightly. To create a fair and balanced exploration of globalization, the authors cite the work of experts that Friedman fails to incorporate, including Nobel laureate and former Chief Economist at the World Bank, Dr. Joseph Stiglitz.

Refreshingly, readers can now gain new insights into globalization without weeding through Friedman’s almost 600 pages of grandiloquent prose and bafflegab. “It’s of utmost urgency that we all learn about and prepare for total global competition. If you read Friedman’s book, and were awed, you really should read more rigorous treatments of this vital subject. Globalization affects all our lives and will be of even greater significance to our children and grandchildren,” says Ramdoo.

Aronica and Ramdoo conclude by listing over twenty action items that point the way forward, and they provide a comprehensive, yet concise, framework for understanding the critical issues of globalization. They paint a clear and sometimes alarming picture of the early twenty-first century landscape, and present timely information needed by governments, businesses, and individuals everywhere.
Watch a thought-provoking 13 minute Overview on the Web:


Read more:

Bruce Hammonds said...

Thanks Anon for your in-depth comments about Friedman's book and I will watch the 13 minute overview you suggest.I am no expert on globalisation as you probably had worked out.I was interested his second edition of his book because in it he includes his ideas about the need for educational change; for countries to develop the talents of all students.

I am not sure about the 'dangerous' aspects, or the things he 'glosses over',or 'treats too lightly', that you mention but, perhaps after watching the overview, I will be a little wiser.

Anyway you have me thinking! Thanks for taking the time to comment.