It is a SPIKY (not flat) world


Is the world truly getting flat? Nah  .. say John Hagel III and John Seely Brown in their latest blog post. Some of the arguments they introduce into the debate are:

People are moving into large urban areas at an accelerating rate — today over 50% of the world’s population lives in dense cities versus ~30% in 1950. If location no longer mattered in terms of economic potential for an individual, it seems likely that more people would stay in place rather than uproot themselves to relocate.

First reason for the above mentioned movement, tacit knowledge — the “know-how” that is not codified and is often gained through experience — is increasingly valuable; rich exchanges of tacit knowledge generally require face-to-face contact.

The second factor is related to serendipity, the ability to attract people and resources we need but don’t yet know exist. In a dense city, the probability of serendipitous encounters increases; if the city draws a specific talent pool (such as entertainment in LA or finance in NY), the number and quality of encounters improves.

So what about all the latest technologies that were triggering the flattening of the world?

Far from flattening, these technologies are actually fuelling spikiness – smaller number of densely populated cities – by lowering the barrier to movement into big cities. Telecommunication technology helps people stay in touch with friends & relatives they have left behind. And, location based technology is making it easier for new entrants navigate cities faster. Socio-location technologies also help us get in touch with our tribes that are bound by common passion & interests. 

Read the full post here.