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Mobile Phones Are Cash-Grabs: An Analysis Of Convenience Culture


Carlotta Perez, an economist, explained the nature of innovation and progress in her interview with Azeem Azhar of Harvard Business Review. During which she said “normally innovation happens on certain tracks, with every type of revolution, there is a sequence of similar things but better and better and better. I mean, we went from the mobile phone that could only phone to a mobile phone that is actually a computer.”


This lead me to thinking about exactly that: the mobile phone. Jokes about the indestructible Nokia from the early 2000s were once prevalent on the internet, but, they certainly bring up a valid point. Are phones becoming more fragile, or are we just too rough with them? This in itself is an interesting question; with many factors to analyse. But, in short, they are expensive, sleek and efficient pieces of technology that we probably don’t care enough for due to the nature of convenience culture.


It’s 2021, now. How many of us, or our parents or even grandparents have the same old Nokia from 2008? My neighbour does, and it still holds a charge, it does the job, and she outright refuses to try her hand at a touch screen smartphone, despite how awed she finds herself when she sees her grandkids breezing through numerous apps that she sees no use in.


I often see her shaking her head when she hears complaints about how two-year-old smartphones run out of battery in mere hours, and how the screens are easily scratched to ribbons. Simon Sinek said that innovation is the idea of solving problems, if you are throwing money at a non-existent problem there’s nothing to gain.

Does that mean that there is something inherently wrong with the smartphone, or is it more about consumer demand; and phones with less longevity meaning people purchase more smartphones, sometimes even buying out of their contracts out of frustration.


Western society exists within a bubble of convenience culture; which can have both benefits and shortfalls. Deliveroo, Uber Eats and fast food delivery services mean that a lazy day can be just that, with you not even needing to exert effort to collect your take-away from the shop anymore. This can be a lifeline for disabled people, who may struggle enough as is getting out of bed.


However, convenience culture also provides a need for immediate gratification and increased impatience. Why wait around for laggy internet, when you can simply change provider? Why suffer with a phone that needs to be restarted every few days otherwise basic functions fail to work? You can just buy a new handset. Contracts can be bought out if you’re close enough to the renewal date of your phone.


So, are mobile phones really an innovative product now; what is the need for the new functions on a device if not just to add convenience to the consumer’s world. Faster connections, faster service, better quality images, sound and performance. Why not. It makes your laggy old handset from two years ago look like it needs to be donated to the local school for the kids to play with in their model shops.


The problem may be greater than simply a lag on your software; and lie within the roots of convenience culture, but, until this can be completely dismantled, all corporations can do to retain customer interest is continuing to produce new products that “are faster” than their previous ones. People in the western world nowadays have a need for speed, and they will not put up with buffers in their way.


Interested in more articles about innovation? Look no further. The Agile Works has just what you’re looking for: Infomercials and Innovation, and Airpods and Innovation.



Based in London, U.K., and founded in 2016 by Arvind Mishra The Agile Works (www.TheAgileWorks.com), is an up-and-coming recruitment and Agile consulting company. Arvind is a Certified SAFe SPC and regularly delivers both private and public SAFe certification workshops.


He is a design thinking expert, Sr. enterprise, portfolio Agile Coach with over a decade of experience working as an Agile coach in diverse industries such as banking, pharma, retail, auto, oil, gas, consulting and government.


The Agile Works; a small team of three strive to help shape the leadership's mind-set and values in readiness for their business transformation journey challenges. With Arvind at the helm, we strive to provide you with the agility tools to make your company that can thrive, and not just survive.


To book a consultation, or for any enquiries, you can contact Arvind via the following email address: arvind@theagileworks.com

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