Originally we used the name to describe our activities with mobile computing. I was struck by image of a businessman checking his email standing in an airport check-in line. He was filling in dead space – time that could have been spent wondering whether he had once again picked the slowest queue.
In November 2005, Gareth Howell and myself attended the Business Continuity Institute NorthWest Forum’s seminar day in Blackpool, UK. One presenter played the audio of the voice of the pilot of a twin engined jet fighter who suffered a bird strike in one engine shortly after take-off. The first thing the pilot did was climb higher. He was buying time giving himself more time to think and more options.
The first thing management needs to do in a crisis is buy time. The Oxford Dictionary defines a crisis as “a decisive moment; a time of danger or great difficulty; the turning-point esp. of a disease.” Time features in all three variations of the definition. Time is compressed – events happen more quickly, leaving less time to adapt at a comfortable pace. Organizations in times of crisis, first must realize there is a crisis – then ask how can they buy time.
This blog focusses on the use of collaborative and social tools to help people buy time when a crisis hits. That could be the unthinkable, but it also means reaction times can be shortened and better decisions taken during the day to day management crises we face. And in the high impact but (thankfully) infrequent crisis, that’s not just buying time – it means more people can be helped when you can’t rely on the emergency services to do everything for you. Your colleagues, your family, your friends, your customers, your suppliers, your visitors may be a low priority if public services need to be directed elsewhere. So elastictime is about buying time.