Random Thoughts on Life and Work

May 30, 2007

The World is Flat

Filed under: Books,Charities,Management,Non-Profit,Strategy — Darren Mullenix @ 8:30 am

Okay, I have been silent for a while.  Had a bit of a dry spell combined with some rather overwhelming work loads so it is taking me a bit of time to get back on my feet.  Enough of the excuses.

Finished reading The World Is Flat by Thomas Friedman a few weeks back.  If you haven’t read this book yet, you need to pick up a copy.  What an eye and brain opener!  You may not agree with his politics or with some of his journalism, but his recent book is worth a read and some honest consideration to its message.

Of particular interest to me was considering how the globalization of the economy will play out for the non-profit world.  How will those organizations that work on a global scale respond to the opportunities and challenges that this globalization will bring?

  • How do we respond to countries like India, China, Philippines, etc where there are large pockets of developing wealth and larger pockets of poverty, discrimination, and need?
  • How do we work with companies like UPS, Dell, HP, and myriads of others who have globalized their services in such as way that it makes non-profit/for-profit partnerships even more valuable? 
  • For agencies that work on a global scale, is there a way to position resources such that response to need can be (almost) instantaneous? 
  • In the fund-raising arena, what will globalization look like when donors from around the world are making contributions to our organizations?

These and a number of personal considerations were germinated.  Still working through some of the thoughts I had as I read the book from a more personal and family basis. 

Go read!



  1. Another really important aspect of life that is discussed in the book is what we as parents should be concerned with in this flattening world.
    Consider the viewpoints presented and add a few. For instance, how do we as parents teach our kids that “the truth” is not just another option available to them? The flattening of the world brings an unbelievable amount of options and opinions to our front door. Which of these should we welcome, or refuse?

    Comment by Jason — June 1, 2007 @ 1:16 am | Reply

  2. Glad to see you back! I LOVE The World is Flat. Read it a few years ago and it has changed my life and how I look at my own career, the careers of people around me, and how we should be doing our work. As part of my consulting practice, we’ve been discussing the flatteners and the principles of globalization embraced by these companies to talk about how they impact government and nonprofit practices. For one of my clients I’ve been building a wiki on Workforce Development in the Flat World that you can find here:


    We’ve been trying to help organizations realize that business is operating very differently and that we are in danger of being out of synch with what people expect from organizations in a global economy, particularly when it comes to things like speed of response, integration of supply chains, etc. To me, one of the great lessons that we can learn here is that we need to be looking at how we can adapt global business practices into our own operations so that we are able to keep up with customer expectations. The reality is that we’ve all come to expect a certain quality of service that can only be provided by organizations that are thinking differently.

    I could go on and on. But I won’t. 🙂 Great book!

    Comment by Michele Martin — June 1, 2007 @ 8:50 am | Reply

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