The 10 forces of Flatness
“Flatness” is not simply about Outsourcing and Offshoring – those are just symptoms of the much broader global shift. Here’s my own summary of Friedman’s 10 forces of flatness:
1. The walls came down, windows went up: The old cold-war barriers blew open, and everyone was talking to everyone else through a common platform, computers and software.
2. Internet browsers: Suddenly everyone could browse the web with significant and prolific content, allowing instant publishing to a world audience.
3. Workflow software: Common web-based standards; software applications “taking” to each other.
4. Open-source: Self-organizing, collaborative communities; the decline of closed, proprietary developments.
5. Outsourcing: Business suddenly realizing that everything did NOT have to be done in-house. The rise of outside specialists, part-timers and home-workers.
6. Off-shoring: Sending manufacturing to wherever it could be done – good, fast and cheap. With the availability of worldwide high-speed communications, knowledge work can be delivered fast from anywhere.
7. Supply-chaining: The development of fast, efficient and effective supply-chains to deliver products from anywhere. A good example is the rise of Wal-Mart to become the largest company in the world.
8. Logistics: UPS and Fedex don’t just deliver packages – they do logistics.
9. Informing – web search: Google & Yahoo deliver information quickly and effectively, anywhere, to anyone. The rise of Groups and Weblogs.
10. Digital, mobile, personal, virtual: Everything shaped, manipulated and transmitted by computers and instant communications.