Extending and intensifying life – reasons for accelerating activities in business – part 2

Why do targets have to be reached faster and faster in businesses? Below you can find several reasons which indicate that being effective and efficient on the market is no longer enough and that being ever faster is additionally required. For more, please read my previous article devoted to the issue. 16/2018(22)

Polska wersja artykułu: Wydłużanie życia i jego intensyfikacja – przesłanki akceleracji działań w biznesie.

6. Growth in the average life expectancy

The development of medicine, improved access to foods (not always the healthiest ones) and better comfort of living have made the human being live statistically longer. In the 1940s males in Poland lived for less than 50 years on average, while today they live to nearly 80. Death, not long ago a natural element of the living process, is beginning to bother us, becoming an uncomfortable incident which should preferably be eliminated.  In the past, right before reaching the age of 50, nobody had any far-reaching plans while today there can be even two biological cycles in our lives, a fact which leads to many new social phenomena.

A longer life affects the number and the hierarchy of customer needs, thus forcing businesses to adjust to new conditions of the customers’ functioning on the market. The potential of needs of a single customer increases along with the growth in the average life expectancy.

The increase in the average lifespan might lead to changes in the shaping of customer lifecycles on the market, in particular family lifecycles which will be partially transforming into informal relationship lifecycles (Szlendak 2012, p. 479-486; Marody, Giza-Poleszczuk 2004, p. 184-185).

7. Shortening of product lifecycles on the market

Between the 1970s and 2005, the lifecycle of cars shortened from 7.5 years to less than 5 years and this tendency continues (Holweg, Greenwood, no publication date). Even stronger dynamics of cycle shortening can be seen in the IT sector, although one can hardly speak of shortening when the cycles in that industry are often just a few months’ long (Uwagi Polskiej Izby Informatyki i Telekomunikacji… no publication date, p. 1).

8. Subjectivism of the time of existence

Our subjectivism of the time of existence is affected by two main phenomena. The first one encompasses the ever faster changes and the latter is the aforementioned extension of life expectancy, especially in developed countries.

Pace of changes. In the past, changes were happening over thousands of years or ages. Today, a single generation witnesses many crucial transformations.  The understanding of the notions “short” and “long” has changed.

The transport network is being globalized and thus the inconvenience of space is being reduced.

The ever more perfect distribution of work in the society in connection with development of technologies gives us a chance for faster target reaching. Will we take advantage of the continuously perfected organization of our civilization? It depends on us. Better effectiveness of the functioning of societies is accompanied by risks such as e.g. uneven distribution of goods, bureaucracy of life, existence of international groups of influence, the development of social sciences being unable to catch up with the development of technology.

More and more often we are trying to use virtual life to satisfy the needs we are unable to satisfy in real life. There are many dimensions of virtual reality, e.g. the gaming world, augmented reality, directly virtual world, a world created by mind altering (drugs, alcohol, hypnosis, influence of gurus, psychologists, marketing tricks, influencing the behaviors of communities and societies, etc.).

Extended lifespan. I have already mentioned it. When our life is longer, we put more emphasis on the significance of its quality which can be shaped by:

  • extending it even more,
  • improving our psychophysical features,
  • maximizing the number of satisfied needs or creating the possibility of satisfying them at any time,
  • shortening the time needed to satisfy needs,
  • creating an impression of a better life which does not have to be better at all; for instance, today it often does not matter on the market whether a product is useful, what is important is the fact whether you think it is useful – features of a product more and more often stem from the shaped mental conditions of the customers, not being an actual reflection of items.

The life of the human being runs within the boundaries of model conditions specified by:

  • immortality,
  • fitness and full health,
  • possibility of satisfying all needs momentarily,
  • living life to the fullest (the intensification can happen by densifying events naturally or be supported by the aforementioned virtualization of life, automation or combining the body with artificial intelligence or, in the future, the use of avatars to be at several places at the same time).

The closer we are to the four boundaries of our existence, the stronger we will feel its infinity and thus the infinity of the process of creating new products to satisfy our needs.

9. Organizational innovation

Businesses improve their functioning by implementing various types of innovations, be it technical, procedural, organizational or marketing improvements.

Organizational innovation is becoming the dominating type of novelties which generate added value, also in businesses.  Below are several examples of organizational innovations which can affect the pace of changes in businesses in the future:

  • telework which has been widely described in literature (Barczak, Bartusik, Kozina 2009, p. 106-111; Olszewski 2013, p. 79-80),
  • staff holding several positions which makes it easier to equip more than one business with the knowledge resource which each of us has. If the costs of using that resource are too high to be covered by one business, it can be used by more entities.  An employee can be employed in several companies on a part-time basis, the part-times summing up to one full-time job or exceeding it. Problems occur in each case: the risks that competitors will access the knowledge resource, the employee suffering from excessive workload, reduced effectiveness and efficiency of work in separate companies,
  • businesses becoming involved in the creation or co-creation of open source solutions, e.g. free software (Walczak 2011; Weber 2004).
  • crowdsourcing, a dynamically developing variety of outsourcing involving ordering work from the community (the crowd, a big group of often anonymous people) who co-create the solution, in particular a product.  For more information on this subject please refer to J. Howe’s book (2008) and obviously the Internet.
  • activity within a network.

10. Development of science and technology

Science and technology are crucial factors for acceleration of activities in businesses.  Their influence on the pace of transformations is so big that they require a separate description.

11. Access to resources

This problem will be discussed on my blog on multiple occasions.  I consider knowledge one of the key resources, as it is the primary one. It has a major influence on the perception of the reality we live in.  Thus, it influences our thinking about ourselves and the world. It influences the condition of our needs and the perception of selected fragments of our reality in the category of resources. A stone is there whether we want it or not, but the fact whether it is a resource depends on us.  Here, I would like to point out to only two aspects concerning knowledge which is one of the resources:

  • we are continuously affected by limitation of access to knowledge resources; we should make the effort to make knowledge an infinite, unlimited, renewable and inexhaustible resource,
  • as long as there are intelligent beings (so far, we know of no-one else apart from us, people) knowledge will be a potentially unlimited resource, however it will not always be available at a given time.

Using it is a method to increase the resource of knowledge.  Unused knowledge becomes forgotten. Use of knowledge is connected with action.  Action improves experience.  Combining the acquired experience with used knowledge leads to synergies and acceleration of cognitive processes.

The eleven reasons to accelerate activities in business which I presented in two articles are definitely not exhaustive and deserve a more detailed discussion, which I will be contributing to successively.

Sources:

Uwagi Polskiej Izby Informatyki i Telekomunikacji [PIIT] w sprawie promocji polskiego przemysłu teleinformatycznego na rynkach światowych (no publication date), http://www.piit.org.pl/_gAllery/12/25/12254/Uwagi_PIIT_do_promocji_polskiej_branzy_ICT_IT-_MG.pdf (access on: 2014.07.04)

Szlendak T. (2012), Socjologia rodziny. Ewolucja, historia, zróżnicowanie, Wyd. Naukowe PWN, Warsaw.

Marody M., Giza-Poleszczuk A. (2004), Przemiany więzi społecznych, Scholar, Kraków.

Barczak B., Bartusik K., Kozina A. (2009), Modele strukturalne organizacji uczącej się, in: Doskonalenie struktur organizacyjnych przedsiębiorstw w gospodarce opartej na wiedzy, A. Stabryła (ed.), Wyd. C.H. Beck, Warsaw, p. 53-116.

Olszewski J. (2013), System pracy w warunkach globalnego społeczeństwa informacyjnego, Wyd. Uniwersytetu Ekonomicznego w Poznaniu, Poznań.

Walczak A. (2011), Projekty open source. Sposoby organizacji oraz źródła finansowania, Walczak IT, Poznań.

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