Globalization doesnt apply exclusively to information. Were seeing the globalization of everything . Additionally, there are degrees and levels of globalization. Its one thing to manufacture and sell products in markets throughout the world; its an entirely different thing to customize them for differences in the various markets of the world.
A Mercedes is a Mercedes, no matter where you buy it but when you buy a Toyota in Asia, its different from the Toyota youd buy in the United States. (For one thing, the steering wheel is on the right and the car itself is smaller.)
As our companies board and staff composition globalizes, well reach a point where it wont matter where the company originated. The focus will be more on new job creation than the country of origin of the hiring company. In fact, companies wont be from anywhere; or to put it another way, theyll be from everywhere.
Pathway #8: Convergence - All of these pathways tend to overlap and interact, which only increases their acceleration. In fact, convergence has itself become a pathway of technological advancement.
For example, entire industries are converging. Filling stations and convenience stores converged in the '80s. In the '90s, so did coffee shops and bookstores. Those were mere 20th Century convergences, though. Today, its really heating up. The entire industries of telecommunications, consumer electronics, and IT are all converging and becoming, in essence, one thing.
Theres also product convergence. Look at your cell phone: how many products have converged into that little thing sitting on your palm? The modern smartphone is an e-mail device, a camera, and a video camera. You can do three-way calling on it. And because it has contact management and a calendar, its also a complete organizer.
The even smarter iPhone took convergence to another level, bringing a genuine Web-browsing experience (with Google maps, phone directories, and more) together with all the normal phone functionalities, so you could hunt for a restaurant, find it on the map, and dial it for a reservation, all on the same device. Along with all that, plus e-mail, camera, and video camera, plus YouTube player, it was a full-feature iPod, complete with WiFi music store. And of course, there are all those apps!
Now were starting to see the convergence of convergences.
The Internet was born of the convergence of the phone and the computer. Google Maps and MapQuest converged the Internet with maps, and now GPS has given us the convergence of MapQuest and our cars.
Thats dematerialization, virtualization, mobility, product intelligence, interactivity, and networks. Take a close look at where the parts of your car were manufactured, and chances are youve got globalization there, too. This means you have all eight pathways converging in a single technology that you use every day.
That is exactly whats beginning to happen everywhere: all eight pathways are interacting with one another, the transforming whole becoming far bigger than the sum of its parts.
In the second part of this report, to be published next Tuesday, Dan will present the three digital accelerators driving these advancements.
Daniel Burrus is considered one of the worlds leading technology forecasters and business strategists, and is the founder and CEO of Burrus Research, a research and consulting firm that monitors global advancements in technology driven trends to help clients better understand how technological, social and business forces are converging to create enormous, untapped opportunities. He is the author of six books, including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal best seller Flash Foresight: How To See the Invisible and Do the Impossible as well as the highly acclaimed Technotrends.