Ten years ago I recommended the idea of spiralling trend for a big company to build the attitude of their employees in this direction. Todays social reality is that spiralling trend has taken shape incredibly with the mobile phone. So to quicken the pace of business,any company thats investing in desktop computers is already old fashioned with a top-down mentality. Tomorrows spiralling trend is a handheld device that serves every personal,social and business need.
The other day,I watched a two-year-old snatch her mothers mobile phone. She then pressed some buttons and confidently held forth in non-understandable baby language for at least 25 minutes before someone could disentangle her from her full engagement with the mobile phone game. She imitated her mother,father and others shes obviously seen with all types of voice intonations,hand gestures,laughter,acquiescence,nodding her head,heavy disagreement,cajoling,reprimand,all the while walking back and forth with the left hand holding the phone stuck to her ear. There was nobody on the other side of the line. Her expression of talking like an adult and preference for this handheld device over toys and other colourful items children are normally attracted to,impressed upon me that todays tech-born generation is thoroughly embroiled in the mobility trend. With technology becoming a companion even at this tender age,access to everything through a mobile device is taken for granted by such children. At no other time in history has the human hand and fingers been so occupied on an all-time basis. The ingenious connect between the mobile device maker and the software writer has created this previously unstated human need.
Mobility mania has triggered the spiralling trend of non-stop societal movement. People travel huge distances mentally when talking to friends,relatives and business associates. The result is that physical travel has become an obvious trend. Women traditionally spend more on ornamentation,but the mobile phone has become the central adornment for both sexes. The more you align with the mobility trend,more efficiently can you simplify all kinds of jobs. Take the case of a field sales job where a Class XII pass salesman travels from retail to retail. If he can instantly give a report on the availability of his own companys products in the stores,requisition for replenishment,take photographs on the visibility of his products and those of competition,it would enormously facilitate business. Such devices and customised software,so very essential for enhancing business,are available nowadays. They provide the bottom-up perspective with which to assess realtime information for instant analysis and market feedback. Companies can also track the salesmens movements at any given time with the GPS system in the mobile phone. Young men from small towns and the citys periphery are on the lookout for such tech-savvy jobs because they are extremely familiar with the mobile phone,800 million of which already exist in the country today.
Unfortunately,most companies,even the education system and the bureaucracy believe desktop computing is the right investment as that becomes a physical company asset. If companies continue to provide desktop computers to such new generation salesmen,they will miss out on speed and accuracy as the Class XII pass salesman has limited patience and computer expression at the end of a harrowing day in the market. So like the archaic desktop,the company may soon be overtaken by the spiralling trend and become a part of history. When adopting such new technology,India becomes in tune with current foreign trend influence. Look at how the government of Delhi got formed. The common mans opinion was taken through the Internet and SMSes,aside of course from face-to-face meetings with the electorate. This is establishing increased transparency and accountability. But our education system makes human intelligence get stuck into learning by rote. Students study just to get the right number to pass exams. Global education systems are different and changing. In the US,students are given a problem to solve. The difference in Europe is that students are asked to find a problem and then find a solution to that problem. Western systems have advanced the human science domain by establishing capabilities in a grid. Art,culture,economics,social science,lifestyle,invention among other systems can all be put in the forward movement of the spiralling trend grid while the performance can also be measured.
Future trends indicate that womens issues are getting raised by many educated,urban women coming forward to fight causes such as literacy,female foeticide,victimisation by in-laws,trafficking girls,police rape of female plaintiffs,child marriage,child prostitution,sati,sexual harassment,and other gender-related injustices. But the lot of rural women is still to be uncovered. I was in Madhya Pradesh recently,post the legislative assembly elections. A candidate who was making door-to-door visits in his constituency was narrating that women were the biggest opponent to the idea of providing toilet facilities at home for people in small towns and villages. They supposedly would have been the beneficiaries. What I discovered was that for women,going to the fields and water well for their daily washing of clothes and personal toilet and bath is the only time they experience release from bondage. They can leave the house without answering a hundred questions. It’s the only time they can socialise freely,chat,share their concerns and happy moments with other women. With home toilet facilities they would be totally confined and be at the beck and call or mercy of their husbands and in-laws.
So the perspective of what’s good and convenient for rural women cannot be decided by urban women or by politicians who want to do good. We may say the country is changing for the better,but as soon as we enter rural areas the spiralling trend gets left behind. I do hope a few years down the line the spiralling trend will impact rural people’s attitude towards change.
Shombit Sengupta is an international creative business strategy consultant to top management. Reach him at