go back go to homepage save to favorites search this site email this page all content copyright 1998-2009 Brandy Agerbeck. All Rights Reserved.

The World is Flat
by Tom Friedman
industry/topic description group
time date
economics/politics/business graphic faciltiation na 4' x 4' 1 hour 04.05
Since I'm always using my hands, I don't put down my work to pick up newspaper or a magazine. And network news makes me crazy. Therefore, 90% of my news gets to me through NPR and The Charlie Rose show.

Last night, Tom Friedman was on Charlie Rose. I'll always stop to watch him. Why? Because he's a Great Explainer. Always happy to listen to a clear speaker and well organized thinker. Friedman was talking about his new book The World is Flat. I half-listened last night and then made sure to tune in again today. I did this large scale, real-time drawing:

The crux of the book is that over the Twentieth Century, the world began to go from vertical, heirarchical structure to a horizontalization. Love that word, horizontalization. Things flattened out. As a meritocrat, I love this, because it means that instead of looking to solve a problem within a vertical silo, you look outward to who has the skills. Brain power is everywhere. Brain power is global.

This flattening has 10 factors, as seen in the graphics. The Berlin Wall falling (#1) broke down proverbial walls and opened eyes. Netscape going public (#2) and the software revolution in the 90's (#3) connected software and connected people. It was this connecting that facilitated collaboration and factors #4-9 were collaborative extensions of that. The "Steroids" (#10) of VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and Wireless have just started, but have already changed the way we communicate.

The epilogue for me personally, is that graphic facilitation work is the work of a "good collaborator" as seen in the lower right corner. As facilitators with groups, we are reflecting the conversation of the whole group, horizontally, not just the bosses vertically. We encourage and fuel collaboration by creating the image of a group, project, solution as a whole, including all people. We sort out the pieces of a conversation, organizing and bringing clarity. Onward to more communication, collaboration and horizontalization -

Hold on, there's another epilogue!
In July, I got an email from a woman, Joanna, who was the editor of Commonwealth magazine in Taiwan. They were running a story about Friedman's book and wanted to run the graphic facilitation above with the article.

Sure, why not? We had an easy time negotiating, contracting and sending the files. She was a great client paying on time, sending samples, perfectly pleasant to work with. Our only small snag was the international dialing codes back and forth between the US and Taiwan. Very minor snag.

August the image found 50,000 pairs of eyes in the heads of Taiwanese businesspeople.

Of course the moral of the story or the punchline to this is that it perfectly illustrated the point of the book. The world is very flat when a drawing I made in my 450 square foot apartment reaches 50,000 magazine readers on the other side of the world. And that the drawing still communicates.

Graphic facilitator Brandy Agerbeck creates conceptual maps of conversations. Since 1996, her drawing and thinking skills have facilitated groups of 2 to 1000 across industries. Brandy's images help people navigate the complex world around them and bring clarity to their work.

GF Portfolio Home | Top 10 Tour | Intro to Graphic Facilitation | Working Together | FAQ
home | search | connect/contact | get the brandygrams
© 1999-2011 Brandy Agerbeck, Loosetooth.com.