Adapting to the Pace of Change: Thomas L. Friedman’s Keynote Address

Pulitzer Prize winner and renowned author Thomas L. Friedman delivered the keynote address at the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards’ (NCARB) 2019 Centennial Annual Business Meeting. Friedman’s speech, which focused on how architectural licensing board members can adapt to the current pace of change, kicked off the meeting and set the stage as NCARB begins preparing for its second century of facilitating licensure.

Inspired by his most recent bestseller, Thank You for Being Late, Friedman’s remarks explored how three forces—globalization, climate change, and rapid advances in technology—are reshaping the world’s workplaces, politics, communities, and ethics, as well as how licensing boards as regulators can innovate, evolve their processes, and remain relevant in the face of current opportunities and challenges. 

“Technology is evolving faster than the average human being or regulator can keep up with,” said Friedman. “To understand the world today, the communities you’re working in, the business you’re working in, you have to understand it’s the integration of all three of these accelerations [the market, Mother Nature, and technology] at once.”

These insights hold special relevance for the architectural regulators who make up NCARB’s membership and shape both the organization’s agenda and licensure standards across the United States. Friedman’s research offers an invaluable outside perspective as NCARB celebrates its Centennial and looks forward to the next 100 years.

Over the course of his distinguished career, Friedman has worked as a foreign correspondent and financial reporter, and currently writes a weekly foreign affairs column for The New York Times. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting in 1983 and 1988 (from Lebanon and Israel, respectively), and the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 2002. He has also written seven bestselling books, including The World Is Flat; Hot, Flat, and Crowded; and That Used to Be Us.