The economist, philosopher and theorist of markets Friedrich Hayek (1899-1992) wrote, "The knowledge of the particular circumstances of time and place - To know of and put to use a machine not fully employed, or somebody's skill which could be better utilized, or to be aware of a surplus stock which can be drawn upon during an interruption of supplies, is socially quite as useful as the knowledge of better alternative techniques."
I love the way Hayek describes the value related to "the knowledge of the particular circumstances of time and place," as being "socially useful." It is also very useful for businesses and can deliver competitive advantages! I, of course, read this as a call for mobile strategies, mobile technologies and location-based services to support the real-time exchange of information, even though Hayek may not have lived long enough to have used them himself.
Hayek goes on to write, "And the shipper who earns his living from using otherwise empty or half-filled journeys of tramp-steamers, or the estate agent whose whole knowledge is almost exclusively one of temporary opportunities
, or the arbitrageur who gains from local differences of commodity prices, are all performing eminently useful functions based on special knowledge of circumstances of the fleeting moment not known to others
If you have ever wondered as to the competitive advantages available to your company by implementing real-time mobile communications and business analy
tics, this is it. I found it profound that Hayek described the ability to optimize productivity and improve efficiencies as being as socially useful as new innovations and inventions. Hayek was talking about sustainability and environmentally friendly before we knew the terms.
Today I read a CNN article titled World Wastes Half of Its Food, Study Finds
. The article explains where food is wasted." This, at a high level, is due to the following:
- production inefficiencies in developing countries
- market and consumer waste in more advanced societies
The article referenced a report by the British-based independent Institution of Mechanical Engineers. They claimed about 4.4 billion tons of food is produced annually and roughly half of it is never eaten."
Why is this food never eaten?
- inefficient harvesting
- storage problems
- transportation problems
- wasted by markets or consumers
I see an application of the words of Hayek, "The knowledge of the particular circumstances of time and place - To know of surplus stock which can be drawn upon... is socially quite as useful as the knowledge of better alternative techniques." It's time we look at using mobile strategies and solutions, real-time business intelligence and analytics to reduce waste and improve sustainability.
Kevin Benedict, Head Analyst for SMAC, Cognizant
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Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and SMAC analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.
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