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» The Location of Innovation from J. LeRoy
John Hagel brings together two opposing viewpoints today regarding the location of innovation. These are flat and spiky earth concepts. The first, Tom Friedman's flat earth, proposes that due to the egalitarian and open nature of the Internet, modern c... [Read More]

» En tillspetsad värld from mymarkup.net
Här finns Richard Floridas artikel "The World Is Spiky" (PDF) från oktober-numret av Atlantic Monthly, som bestrider Tom Friedmans tes... [Read More]

» Making Connections at Davos from EmoryLeadership.org
I'm back from the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. As usual, it has been an incredibly stimulating yet exhausting event where the value comes from the rich diversity of participants and topics covered in meetings... [Read More]

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Tapsearch Com - Tapart News advocate

Before talking about the spiky and flat world we need to get into human dignity in the workday and who controls it. The workers who are the core of any economic process have no voice in it. There is a certain "communication by rank" based on elite groupings who do not do the work but only talk about it. See Experience Designer Network by Author, Brian Alger who explores the voids in education and communication. He provides an overview of Ray Tapajna "network" world where if one does not belong to any type of network, they do not exist. See http://www.experiencedesignernetwork.com/archives.000636

Basically workers have been made the commodities of Free Trade and Globalization. They are now the main product being traded based on their wages. We had the slave trade in the past and now we have a new kind of wage slave trade. Production has been made a portal tool of Free Trade and Globalization. Factories and farms can be moved from place to place anywhere in the world based on the least line of resistance and the cheapest possible labor. It is assumed when a factory is moved it stays in place for a long term to build up a community or society but this is not the case. The U.S. first moved factories to Asia. Then they moved some back to Mexico and now they are moving again back to China while China is contracting even cheaper labor outside their country. In the U.S. high tech is becoming the last job some one wants to train for since the prospects of outsourcing and insourcing affects security. Why take a job that will last only a short time? How can anyone plan a family in this vacuum? Not much of anything else can be planned in this void. Freidman talks about the Y2k crisis and how India high tech grew as a result but he leaves out the one of the main causes for the Y2k crisis. Millions of workers in the computer industry lost their jobs in the late 1980s up through the late 1990s due to Free Trade. Work can not be done when all the workers are fired.

Friedman in his flat world also uses statistics that vary from the past.
He does not use any disclaimers and makes his assumptions based on stats that are very questionable when compared to past ones. Certainly our unemployment rate data collection is quite different from the past when primarily only full time jobs were used in the reporting. Today someone making only a $100 a month or someone who is working on the family farm for nothing while seeking a job are considered employed. The first question to be answered before proceeding with any study or comparisons is to ask how many workers are working full time and how many workers want to but can not find a full time job. Unemployment rates are no longer based on unemployment insurance offices since only about 38% of all workers in the USA now qualify for unemployment insurance. They either do not work long enough at one job or make enough money to qualify for unemployment insurance. Reportedly over a 100 million workers and would be workers are missing in action from any kind of real reporting.

Also historically, trade and even Free Trade was based on trading products. One country traded products they had for products that they did not have. Today Free Trade is based primarily on the value of labor. Workers are the main commodity being traded in a new kind of wage slave trade. It is also obvious that the contols in place are outside the power of the workers involved. Elite groupings, big business, governments acting as brokers and international organizations like the WTO control the flow of wealth outside and real democratic process. They are not part of any declared network and do not exist in many forms of community and society.
Things like Rerum Novarum that once set the standards for human dignity and the common good in the workday are ignored.

Capitalism and Free Enterprise are challenged. They are manipulated by power and money forming a new kind of economic processes which defy history and common sense. A loss leader economy where the entities with the most money outlast the ones with the least govern the process. The companies with the most money can sell under costs for a long time in order to capture a market. Other companies use their money to manipulate the value of their stocks to make money this way and not on free enterprise as it is defined historically.

Workers are the tools of this new raw Capitalism and this prompts wars and terrorism. A new kind of colonialism and imperialism surfaces as countries find they must protect their interests world wide and now even up into space.

High technology and things like the world wide web are just highways in the sky with out any real connection with upgrading people lives. As a matter of fact, it seems to act in reverse these days. We have workers in India handling the welfare processes in the USA. None of it makes sense and we should be preparing for the post-globalist era since any common sense order of things will evolve.
For more information, see Tapart News and Art that Talks at http://tapsearch.com/tapartnews/
http://tapsearch.com/globalization - tells how the U.S. Government sponsored and funded the moving of U.S. factories outside the USA since 1956.
( All the editorial art and cartoons from Tapart News can be viewed in one place at http://arklineart.fotopages.com

Larry Irons

The key question to ask about innovation is what benefit it provides to the businesses that pay for it. You might think Friedman’s point on innovation is correct for no other reason than its cheaper to hire educated staff with technical and creative skills in India and China. No doubt, that is correct. But, cost isn't the basic concern for organizations that innovate better. It isn’t clear at all that spending less to buy more time from creative people in R&D will change the impact of innovation on business results. The cost and benefit of innovation is more closely tied to the organization of business processes and dialogue with customers than the amount of creative time bought.

A recent study on the top 1000 Global Innovators by Booz, Allen, Hamilton indicates that no relationship exists between the number of patents issued to an organization and its actual business results. So, Florida’s reliance on patents as an indicator of innovation probably points to a spurious relationship. The report concludes that “when a company is seeking to grow through innovation, it’s more important to develop a robust business model and good cross-functional capabilities than to boost the R&D budget.”

By cross-functional capabilities the Booz, Allen, Hamilton authors mean cooperation between R&D, marketing, sales, service, and manufacturing. Concentrating innovative, creative people in urban centers, or leveling out the playing field so that innovators don’t have to emigrate within a country or between countries to work on innovation projects, does not speak to the key issues in designing processes that increase the effectiveness of collaboration. Rather than focus on whether the world is flat or spiky, serious attention is better paid to how global enterprises organize collaboration and what limitations place and cultural context impose on that organization.

Chris Crawford

It seems important to keep in mind that these projects depend entirely on how we define an innovation. For most people in the "knowledge" world this is a relatively simple definition (but too simple by my measure). Most write from the assumption that innovation means newest high tech gadget. And perhaps that is the most accurate measure of innovation across a handful of the most post-industrial nations. But I submit that innovation falls under the radar screen of Friedman and Florida. This is, of course, by no fault of their own. The fact is that innovation occurs regularly in every nation. If hungry farmers in Somalia grow a better hybrid of corn that can exist in their arid climate then convince me that is not an equally (probably more) important innovation. Now before authors jump out and write and additional chapter on Somalian farmers, I think it behooves us to look at the global process of innovation (perhaps as Rogers did) then build socio-demographic trends on ALL innovation rather than that which pokes us in the eye daily.

jennifer rice

Great post; I need to read everything you are referencing before I can make an intelligent observation/comment, but one thing you don't mention is a "virtual spike"... ie. the coming together of creative minds via social technologies like blogs, collaborative gaming and (in the future) VR. Does either Tom or Richard touch on this? I envision a time in the not-so-distant future where we've got both real-world geography and virtual-world geography, in which case the whole urban/rural issue becomes largely irrelevant.

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