Article (October-2017)


What changes and what does not

Dr. Vinayshil Gautam

Designation : -   Internationally Acclaimed Management Expert. Chairman, DK International Foundation

Organization : -  


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Life is full of clichés. "The only constant in life is change"; "The real truth about change is nothing changes"; "More things change more they remain the same" the list of such so called aphorisms is almost endless. As if this were not enough, twitter pitches in generous measure, with people pouring out their wisdom believing that the world would be empty without their thoughts. It is not, always, quite clear, if they themselves believe in what they pronounce but at least they feel good in seeking audiences.

Dialogues from the elder to the younger, parent to the child, senior to the junior are often trite but they are indulged in, all the same. Does this help? There is point of view which says, it could.

The argument runs: The unknown factor is the receptivity of the mind. As many would agree, moods and state of cognition is rarely constant. What one rejects at one stage, one endorses at another. Hence there is indeed a virtue in repetition. However, 'mood' is not the only factor to be accounted for. There is also the element of the 'state of mind'. Is it pre - occupied? Is it stressed? Is it fundamentally an entity which cares or is its architecture cavalier? The objective reality is, with so many unknowns, dealing with it could well become like fiddling with wires in the dark. This could indeed be the limitation of our present state of knowledge and in future, when we know more we could be on top of it all.

Given the fact is that a cardinal principle of management is that ball can only be played where it is, hypothetical assumptions do not always help in clearing the path in the real world. Hence in repetition one runs a genuine risk of alienating the receptor versus not even trying to 'get home'.

Of the few things which have not changed, the above perception is one of them.

What has changed however is that access to so called facts has apparently increased because of on line access and on line medium. We live in an era where persons are impressed with facts and have very often no means to exploring the validity of facts. This approach too has perpetuated itself.

Hence what one is observing is that the over-all picture is well nigh constant. Change is a myth if the perceptions are not factored in. This paradigm has indeed not changed.

What has changed is the aspiration level of the people -- not only in India but practically all over the world. A great faith in consumer economy is forever, pushing for higher consumption and one is supposed to be constantly inching towards the 'next level'. Whatever that might be.

There is almost a universal consensus that 'good living' means more gadgets, less manual efforts and more time to indulge the senses in more ways.

Technology is calibrated to be constantly changing -- both in its hardware incarnation and software incarnation. The hardware is phased out with such regularity and rigour that if one has personal archives of data or memory aids, every ten years or so the person has to arrange their transfer to the new device. The disc is phased out the pen drive comes in, the pen drive hardly has a use-life-line for about ten years and its existence gets endangered. If one does not keep up with the times one runs a serious risk of losing that data. Everyone in this game is the loser save the manufacturer as he is forcing the market to lubricate his revenue.

This approach of taking a revenue advantage of someone else's need and inconvenience, is as old as business. The regret is that this need not have been so necessarily. No one is grudging the technological advance. What one is lamenting is the propensity to ride the logic of technological advance to unfair revenues. How often can one keep re - archiving the storage texts ones needs for one's reference or use or more? This illustration is only symptomatic of the times.

There is almost a silent conspiracy to perpetuate this, state of affairs. No regulator ever raises the protocol of phasing out of a given technology and certainly there no question of a compensation, if it pre mature.

Answer lies in underwriting the use period of technology. The answer lies in taking the hardware which is phased out-unscrupulously-to be taken back by the primary producer and give a discount on the sale of the new hardware. This may not solve the problem for all times but it will at least mark the beginning of the recognition of rights of the user, especially when he cannot afford continuous purchase of a given technology. In this case an illustration has been made of storage devices.

As a token of response the Indian propensity at 'jugad' is a welcome response to the above explained kind of exploitation which remains unchanged. Is it possible to argue that the time has come to breathe some service standards into 'jugad' and grant it respectability? That indeed would be true change!