Tim Longhurst's Blog

Getting the Big Picture – top lists/research at your fingertips

August 13th, 2008 · 2 Comments

Getting the big picture on global trends has long been an interest of mine. Over time, I’ve collected resources that help me get a sense of the directions in which the world is shifting, and the way things are today.

Recently I was thinking about the research I would like at my fingertips, but don’t yet have. I’ve included in this post both the resources I’ve found useful, along with the resources I wish I had… You’ll see what’s missing – there’s no link if I don’t have the research/resource. Let me know what you think is missing, too!

There are a whole bunch of indexes out there that attempt to rank/compare countries. None are perfect, but they can help add to our understanding – but only if we know of their existence!

If you find the resources here helpful, please let me know in the comments, as if people find it useful I will endeavor to update this post with new info/research as I find it.

I know that’s strictly speaking more the role of a wiki or other knowledge management tool, but first I want to see if enough people have opinions/ideas about the data I’ve gathered before I spend time creating a community around this kind of information.

Business – Largest corporations – Fortune Global 500 – Size by Revenue
Business – World’s largest shopping malls – Forbes magazine article
Business – World’s largest banks – Euromoney
Business – Global Competitiveness – World Economic Forum research
Business – Fastest growing corporations – Fortune Global 500 Fastest Growing,
Business – Most profitable Corporations – Fortune Global 500 Most Profitable
Business – Largest selling consumer goods –
Business – Biggest media spenders –

Environment – Most/Least polluting nations –
Environment – Most endangered species –
Environment – Most/Least polluted countries –
Environment – Most/Least polluted cities –

Finance – Largest economies –

Geography – Population Density – InfoPlease (quoting CIA World Factbook)

Media (Traditional) – Largest traditional media corporations – The Nation
Media (New) – Largest new media businesses –

Politics – Mass exodus – countries people are fleeing –
Politics – Mass admittance – countries people are fleeing to – Politics – Largest nations – by population – InfoPlease (quoting CIA World Factbook)Geography – Population Density – InfoPlease (quoting CIA World Factbook)
Politics – Largest nations – by per capita wealth – InfoPlease (quoting CIA World Factbook)
Politics – Largest cities
Politics – Largest international agencies
Politics – Nation size by area – InfoPlease (quoting CIA World Factbook)
Politics – Non-Government Organisations (NGO’s) – by subscribers/members
Politics – Non-Government Organisations (NGO’s) – by financing
Politics – Countries hosting refugees – Infoplease
Politics – Main sources of refugees – Infoplease
Politics – Internally Displaced persons – Infoplease
Politics – Armed Conflicts – Recently Suspended – Infoplease
Politics – Ongoing Armed Conflicts – Ongoing – Infoplease
Politics – Countries with Nuclear Weapons Capability – Infoplease
Politics – Largest Military Expenditures – InfopleasePolitics – Arms Sales to Developing Nations – Infoplease
Politics – Most/Least corrupt – Global Integrity Index, Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index
Politics – Most/Least stable – Global Peace Index
Politics – Biggest donors/recipients of foreign aid – BBC (Graph)

Social – Highest/Lowest Literacy – InfoPlease (quoting CIA World Factbook)
Social – Highest/Lowest Infant Mortality rate – InfoPlease (quoting CIA World Factbook)
Social – Biggest threats facing humanity –
Social – Happiest nations – Wikipedia
Social – Faiths / Religions (ranked by followers) –
Social – Faiths / Religions (ranked by wealth) –
Social – Most recognised brands Interbrand/BusinessWeek
Social – Largest employers –
Social – Global top ten jobs –
Social – Most peaceful – Global Peace Index

Technology – Highest/Lowest rate of mobile phone usage –
Technology – Highest/Lowest rate of internet usage –
Technology – Largest data breaches – Boing Boing

Transparency – Global Integrity Index – Global Integrity


Also worth checking out…
Time Magazine’s Top Ten Lists for 2007 (most recent to date)
Watch Mojo’s Top Ten Lists – Great resource – watching out for ‘top tens’ published in US media and then documenting them.
Freedom of the press – Worldwide Press Freedom Index
Journalists Killed in Conflict Committee to Protect Journalists
Risk of becoming a ‘failed state’ Failed States Index
Most and Least Livable Countries UN Human Development Index
Most expensive cities Infoplease
National Statistics Agencies – Infoplease

General world statistics – Infoplease

So what’s missing? Be sure to post your thoughts in the comments section!

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Category: Uncategorized

One planet; one bag

June 11th, 2008 · 4 Comments

I’ll soon be leaving my home-town of Sydney for a trip with multiple-purposes… Research, recreation, reunion… Other ‘r’ words that don’t come to mind at 1am.

Anyway, I’m sharing my itinerary with friends and family via Dopplr, the less-than-perfect but best-we’ve-got trip sharing web application. At its best, Dopplr allows you to coordinate your travel plans with friends and even benefit from the notes of other Dopplr users on the cities you’ll be visiting. At its worst, you discover that the site is still in development and really basic things (e.g. an “I’m going on this trip too!” link) haven’t been developed yet. If you’re interested in the nitty gritty of my itinerary, just request it using the link above. Broadly though, I’m going to Mumbai, London, Tallinn, Berlin, Manchester, Oxford and Beijing.

Additionally, I am planning on taking only carry-on luggage for the entire trip. Informed by over-packing on previous trips and inspired by the voluntary simplicity movement, my guide on this particular idea will be Doug Dymant via his website, One Bag. Any packing tips / tricks you have will be welcomed!

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Category: The Explorer's Handbook

Avaaz.org – dinners around the world to gauge the sentiments of members

December 13th, 2007 · 2 Comments

How does an organisation with 1.9 million members in over 240 countries stay connected with its grass roots? It’s a challenge for Avaaz.org, the one year old organisation that is modeled on online activist groups like moveon.org and getup.org.au.

One way Avaaz attempts to stay relevent and connected was revealed in an email from Ben Brandzel, which was addressed to the group’s Sydney members:

“G’day! My name is Ben Brandzel, a new senior member of the Avaaz staff. I’m just wrapping up an all-too-brief stay in your beautiful city.

Before I go, I’d love to have dinner with you, to talk about your experience with Avaaz, your thoughts about what we should work on next, and anything else that comes up.

Can you make it?

…Avaaz members are the heart and soul of our organization. But because there are so few of us staff and Avaaz members are all over the world, we rarely get to meet face to face.

So let’s use this opportunity to get to know each other, talk about how Avaaz can be the best it can be, and have fun while saving the world!”

The offer was limited to the first 8 people that replied – of which I was one. The dinner was a great opportunity to see just how diverse Avaaz’s member base is. Although 8 is a small sample, and focus groups have their limitations in terms of research, Ben did an excellent job facilitating a wide-ranging conversation that got to the heart of the concerns, passions and imaginations of those in attendance.

It’s a great model and if other organisations are doing it, I’ve never been invited! It’s definately more appealing than an invite to a focus group – more enjoyable and almost certainly yields better results given the relaxed and informal nature of the gathering.

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Category: Communication and connection