For years, businesses have been continuously competing with each other on how fast they can come up with the next innovative creations to meet the customer's needs.
Human revolution has played a significant role in how we are using our time today. If we go back to the prehistoric ages, we see that time was never a factor for them as time was rather aplenty, therefore, they had more than enough time in the day to get by with their everyday activities.
Additionally, due to the lack of advancement in technology, there were also not a lot of activities that our early ancestors were able to adopt leisurely compared to our modern world.
Prior to the age of agriculture, there was little to no complexity between social roles in tribal communities as survival was the sole priority; hence, the only natural instinct for humans to meet this basic need. Given the scarcity of resources, primordial people were simply led by the hunter-gatherer culture.
As time evolves, the subject on time has significantly overturned. Due to industrialization, we seem to not have enough time for anything anymore. Time has become so precious and scarce. Whilst time used to be abundant, now we are on a constant battle against it.
For years, businesses have been continuously competing with each other on how fast they can come up with the next innovative creations to meet the customer's needs. Paired with the advancement of technology, everything has become easily accessible, influencing consumers to expect everything to happen instantly such as fast food, fast shipping, fast payment, and so forth.
The Obsession With Shortcuts.
Whilst we are unconsciously adapting to fast culture, businesses have grown fond of shortcuts, holding the mindset that shortcuts would increase productivity and effectiveness.
As the world is rapidly changing, it creates a mentality that time is running out, causing our patience to wear thin.
When it comes to supply and demand, businesses are the first responders to the customer's needs. Over the past decades, there has been a significant transformation in supply and demand. Customer behaviors have rapidly shifted and evolved due to this instant gratification culture from advanced technologies.
Pre-aviation, normally, it would take about six to twelve weeks (under feasible weather conditions) to mail a package from North America to Europe. Nowadays we can get global deliveries within a few days (granted, at a premium), but are more impatient than ever.
It has been normalized that if the consumers want something, they want it fast. Therefore, businesses have to move quickly to meet the demand, or someone else will. Therefore, taking shortcuts becomes massively appealing, cutting corners to get to market before competitors and therefore grabbing the first large slice of the custom.
Although shortcuts can be handy, they can be very problematic, especially when businesses start to rely too much on them as a primary method in getting things done.
Speed vs Efficiency.
Due to time scarcity, efficiency has become the main objective for businesses when it comes to getting the work done. This stems from the desire to accomplish more under a small fraction of time.
Under the notion of time is money, we often misinterpret that speed is the key to efficiency as the less time spent on finishing a project makes it time-efficient.
Speed is about how quickly someone can finish a project despite the quality of the work, whereas efficiency is about how you can maximize your time in creating high-impact work. Therefore, a high-speed performance is not necessarily equivalent to highly efficient work.
Stumbling between lust for speed and efficiency, businesses can tend to force their employees to work under unrealistic timelines. As a response to the time constraints, employees end up focusing on deliverables instead of outcomes.
Quality Over Quantity.
Great things take time. The business world is a highly competitive industry, leading businesses on an ongoing competition with one another. With the presence of advance technology providing high accessibility to consumers globally, it can be intimidating for businesses to distinguish themselves from other brands whilst focusing on their goals.
Due to the fast-changing environment of the business world, it causes the tendency for businesses to think that the only way to champion the business world is through numbers. Likewise, businesses unconsciously shift their focus from crafting high-quality work that is unique to their brands, to hammering on the number of goods produced and sold, and how quickly they can get to their consumers before their competitors do.
For instance, businesses may naively risk accelerating production times whilst cutting down on the time spent for test trials to minimize errors. Potential unforeseen faults may crop up due to lack of testing, and then all of a sudden the speedsters find themself back at square one again- showing that their shortcut has created twice the work, and triple the headaches.
Although the customer's patience is limited, they would still choose quality over speediness. Customers want things quickly but speed alone will not satisfy them and their needs. What the customers want from a business is efficiency and quality. You might get a quick sale by being first, but building a reputation for being reliable and of superior quality is far more valuable.
Quality is a key differentiator in a crowded market. It’s the reason that Apple can price the iPhone higher than any other mobile phone in the industry – because the company has established a long history of delivering superior products.
Whilst shortcuts increase the speed of the work, it can quickly backfire and ruin your work progress in the long term. In other words, shortcuts can take the glory off the next great invention and replace it with an ambitious failure.
A shortcut can be the quickest way to get where you weren't going.
It is important that businesses understand the importance of the progress that leads them to a high-impact result.
There are many variables to consider and explore to ensure your long term progress is on an upwards trajectory. Consider the following important points:
- Market Research.
Take extra time to find out if your target demographic will need your product or service, and whether they want it.
Remember, if your product or services evolves during development, more research can make sure you're not heading in the wrong direction.
- Team/Client Alignment.
As an agency, we need to ensure we understand the client expectations and their business expectations. As a team, you need to ensure that everyone knows the defined goals and the clear path to be taken to achieve them.
Considerations on how technology and culture may change can help ensure that your product or service maintains relevance and is also able to adapt to future developments. For an example, picking the right coding language or ensuring you follow environmental-friendly initiatives in-line with Governments slowly making them mandatory*.
*E.g. Making a big batch of diesel cars now would be a long-term disaster.
Whilst the idea of shortcuts seems convincing, it is not worth it unless you are willing to spend more time fixing things that could have been prevented from the first place. Instead of trying to find shortcuts, use that time to put into the work because each step serves a purpose.
In a nutshell, if you speed ahead, you'll likely make mistakes and have to re-do the process. Doing the process carefully and efficiently the first time, is better than three haphazard sprints with continuous sulks back to the starting line after each discovery of mistakes or missing information.
We like to think of the creative process as a continuous recalibration. Aeroplanes spent the majority of their flight off route, and have to constantly redirect their path to their defined destination; Equally, we believe that meticulous detail and constant considerations will help ensure you're building the right thing for the right people, in the right way.
Don't rush success.
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