So with the clocks going forward an hour this weekend, I got to thinking about how quickly the world around us is changing and adapting to new environments and routines.
In the last 14 years since the millennium the things that we undertook daily are now old hat – to the point where school leavers don’t know a world without technology in their hand. A recent Harvard Business Review blog post suggested that the speed at which technology is being adopted is increasing. “It took decades for the telephone to reach 50% of households, beginning before 1900. It took five years or less for mobile phones to accomplish the same penetration in 1990.”
So what prompts change and why do we adopt it so quickly? Well according to Daryl Conner a leader in organisational change “Major change is triggered when people face a significant discrepancy between what they expected and what actually happens during change. People adjust to change, not by learning to like what is taking place, but by forming new expectations that can lead to success under the new conditions.”
So as a society we are setting the levels of expectations – anything we need to achieve should be executed faster, easier and with minimal tools.
Take for instance storing files and documents. I remember the 3” floppy disk, then the zip drives and then came gigabyte back-up drives which quickly moved to portable memory sticks and now we don’t even need a standalone item – we can all save to the ‘cloud’ with applications like Dropbox.
How about sharing photographs – we don’t need a separate camera with film which we need to use up, then take to a developer, print it and stick it in an envelope – we can snap it on the phone and instantly upload online to broadcast to the world with tools like Instagram or Pinterest.
Am I sounding old and risk adverse? I do hope not as I’m only 34 and am very attached to my smartphone and tablet – it just amazes me how much change I have seen in my short time in the world. Really my question would be why is it so easy to move with the times in certain areas of our lives and adapt to change – yet in others; and yes I am thinking about our own product as an example; are people loathed to go against tradition? Is it lack of awareness of the impact of change or contentment to live with low expectations?
Electronic signatures have been ‘legal’ since 2000, yet in terms of market penetration and adoption – 14 years later the chip and pin is widely accepted, as is biodynamic signatures on a PDA – yet a simple contract document… well let me get my envelope and a stamp!