Working smart, thinking smart, acting smart, talking smart, living smart is the only way forward in today's world. Smartness is required in everyone, everything and in every action. We live with smart devices, smart applications, smart administration, smart management, smart families, smart colleagues, smart society and smart government. I am glad that the word is very clearly defined and used in the right sense when we refer to Smart Government. Smart Government is the use of innovative policies, business models, and technology to address the financial, environmental, and service challenges facing public sector organizations. The concept of Smart Government relies on consolidated information systems and communication networks.
Smartness was always linked to clever thinking and clever thinking was always thought to be the result of intelligence. With the intelligence and clever thinking being handed over to technology where is the value addition from the individual and how can the actions still qualify to be termed "smart"?
According to Mr.Narayana Murthy, Co-Founder of Infosys, honesty is better than smartness. A famous quote that I like the most is "Be Smart, but never show it".
Intelligent people are sometimes not very smart and smart people need not necessarily be intelligent. Smartness is linked to presence of mind and quick reflex. Smartness is also sometimes related to the ability to seize an opportunity by being quick on the draw. The mnemonic dictionary defines smartness as "intelligence as manifested in being quick and witty".
I distinctly remember a Partner of the firm where I worked telling the other Partner who happened to be my mentor "this guy has been well trained by you and has become a good chartered accountant but he is not street smart and I do not know how he will prosper in life". This was a comment on me by a Senior Chartered Accountant about 25 years ago and I do not know if I have ever improved over the last 25 years. Everything around me is Smart and every day I dealing with smartness wondering if I am Smart.
According to John Billings "Common sense is an instinct given to man and enough of it is genius. Smartness is measured by the level of common sense one has, not by how much educated or knowledgeable he is."
Even when objectives are set, one is expected to set SMART objectives and here the word is not used in its literal sense but as a mnemonic " Stretching, Measurable, Agreed, Realistic, Time-bound".
Smartness is omnipresent and so overpowering that the basic traits have been clearly sidelined in favour of Smartness. The basic traits, which were considered extremely essential couple of decades back, viz., Honesty, Commitment, Sincerity and Hardwork, is slowly getting pushed in the background in favour of being Smart.
In the quest for being smart I have seen people trying to outsmart others which actually breaches the line of honesty and sincerity. On many occasions the tricky solution (named as Smartness) actually ends up being unfair to the other person.
With all the ambiguity and confusion around this concept of Smartness, I am not sure if one should really make efforts to develop the skill and ability to be smart.
It is extremely important that the smartness is restricted to only intelligence. In my opinion the SMART people are "Self Motivated Affable Rational and Transparent". No wonder the great genius Steve Jobs wanted to hire Smart people.
Be Smart, Stay Smart and Live Smart.
20th January 2017