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Innovation in a Spiky World

Globalisation in a Spiky World

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Contrary to popular belief that globalisation is a worldwide phenomenon leading to a leveled world, Richard Florida in his book ‘Who’s Your City’ argues that this is far from reality. He states that the world is ‘spiky’ with innovation and global ideologies largely spread across certain cities more than others.  This concept of the world being uneven and spiky is in relation to Thomas Friedman’s concept of the world being flat. In his book, Friedman writes “when the world is flat, you can innovate without having to emigrate.” Florida argues that this is not true, and rightly so.

Related: Interview with Richard Florida – Author, Professor, and Public Intellectual

Clustering of cities, a popular concept in Geography, is still very prevalent in societies around the world with some technologically capable cities with innovative talent having more chances of accessing globalisation than other cities which lack the basic necessities to access the so called globalised concepts.  As Florida states:

“To be sure, globalisation is powerful. Places that never had a chance to participate in the world economy are now seeing some action. But not all of them are able to participate and benefit equally. Innovation and economic resources remain highly concentrated. As a result, the really significant locations in the world economy remain limited in numbers.”

Being a Geography student, I highly agree with the above statement. It is clearly evident that globalisation which involves innovation, economic functions, and technology is disproportionate. Placial value and location significantly still matter in today’s world. For instance, opportunities found in largely innovative metropolitan cities like Silicon Valley, New York, Toronto, London and Paris offer far greater opportunities than the rest of the world. According to an article on Bloomberg supported by this report, “New York, London, Toronto and Paris lead the list of cities that are best at attracting, retaining and generating global capital, people and ideas.”

Although India and China are greatly developing, it is not comparable to most developed cities. “Innovation is also cropping up in certain locations in China and India, as their economies develop. Though they are not nearly as tall as the biggest spikes (in reference to the spikes on the map).”

Innovation in a Spiky World

Innovation in a Spiky World

Bangalore in India and Beijing in China  lead the charts for innovation and globalisation capability in the developing world but still do not offer the same level of opportunities found in the United States or Europe. However, Florida argues that “this trend may come at the United States which has long depended on the innovative and entrepreneurial capabilities of Indian and Chinese immigrants.” This in turn emphasises the importance of location as immigrants find more opportunities which support their innovative skills to enhance globalisation in the West.

Thus globalised culture through innovative products and ideas has spread throughout the world in an inconsistent manner. Although western ideologies are being implemented throughout the world with English being largely globalised, this is not exactly held in a positive light in some countries which have a fear of losing their original vernacular and cultural ties. Therefore some locations have been more adaptive to the concept of globalisation than others.

What is your opinion of globalisation? Do you agree with Richard Florida’s concept of a spiked world? Express your opinions in the comments section below.