Hancock, P.A. (2009). Low-hanging fruit: A sign of the times. The Ergonomist, 466, 8-9.
Perhaps it’s just me but recently I have attended an ever-increasing number of meetings at which customers, agents, sponsors, and resource managers constantly advocate picking ‘the low-hanging fruit’. I take that to mean that they want whatever the normal solution is to the current problem, preferably now but certainly soon. They also want to pay the least possible amount for it while using as much existing technology and/or research as possible. The general message is simple-faster, cheaper, and sooner. Managers are implicitly asking why the returns from research cannot be accelerated like technological innovations. This strategy is unfortunately and inappropriately being applied more and more to research and development, which are processes that are certainly damaged by and eventually destroyed under such a compulsion.
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