There is a great book called The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger which analyzes the standardized shipping container and its impact on our world.
There are a lot of things which XBRL and the business community can learn from the adoption of the standardized shipping container. I came across a 19 minute interview with author of The Box, Marc Levinson, which can help someone understand why standards are important, how the impact of a standard goes beyond what you might think, and understand parallels between the shipping container and XBRL.
Here is a link to information about the book and the a set of interviews with Marc Levinson. This breaks the video down into small pieces for downloading. There are lots of different video formats, etc.
Here is a link to the entire video which i am talking about in QuickTime format.
One of the primary messages which I got out of this was the nature of the uncoupling of the manufacturing process and the transportation process caused by the shipping container. This allowed for manufacturing to be basically anywhere (i.e. like in China, rather than in the US) and that ports could also be anywhere.