Step change
Posted: 13 August 2012 04:38 AM   [ Ignore ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2313
Joined  2007-01-30

From BBC Sport

That is a step change for gymnastics in the UK and, as superstar Tweddle leaves the sport, the continuity of that talent looks assured, particularly on the men’s side, where the juniors have won the last three European titles.

Step change? It seems to be the equivalent of sea change but I can’t say I’ve seen it before. No sign of it in OED. Is this something new or have I just been asleep at the wheel again?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 August 2012 05:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3063
Joined  2007-02-26

Reminds me of “step function” from mathematics, which represents an instantaneous change in value.

I would take step change to mean an instantaneous (or very rapid), rather than gradual, change. The use in this BBC Sport article on gymnastics is a play on words.

Some general examples:

http://www.iucn.org/about/work/programmes/forest/?10366/A-step-change-for-biodiversity-knowledge
A step change for biodiversity knowledge
“The hopes are high for IPBES to become an authoritative global mechanism recognized by scientists and policy makers alike to pull together dispersed information, syntheses and analyses on biodiversity and ecosystems. By building on existing processes and initiatives, and only creating new ones as a last resort in case of glaring gaps, the intention is that decisions and research investment will be more efficient,” writes Julia Marton-Lefèvre, IUCN Director General.

http://www.greenerjourneys.com/2011/09/a-step-change-for-britains-buses-maximising-the-economic-social-and-environmental-potential/
A step change for Britain’s buses: Maximising the economic, social and environmental potentia

http://www.tutor2u.net/business/strategy/change_types.html
Step change
* Dramatic or radical change in one fell swoop
* Radical alteration in the business
* Gets it over with quickly
* May require some coercion

Edit: fixed some formatting

[ Edited: 13 August 2012 05:34 AM by OP Tipping ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 August 2012 07:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  821
Joined  2007-03-01

It’s one of those technical terms that people seize on because they sound snappy, without any interest in what they actually mean. Like quantum leap (a quantum leap is actually an almost unimaginably tiny transition, but I doubt if one in a thousand people who uses the phrase actually knows or cares about that).

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 August 2012 09:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1991
Joined  2007-02-19

Example: If any variable is plotted against time, and the value of the variable instantaneously undergoes a significant change (up or down), the graph momentarily becomes a vertical line; that’s a step change.
Syntinen Laulu expresses my opinion precisely. Her first sentence is practically a definition of many journalists’ modus operandi (politicians aren’t much different).

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 August 2012 10:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1166
Joined  2007-02-14
Syntinen Laulu - 13 August 2012 07:09 AM

Like quantum leap (a quantum leap is actually an almost unimaginably tiny transition, but I doubt if one in a thousand people who uses the phrase actually knows or cares about that).

It’s also a change where what is quantum leaping goes from state A to state B without bothering to exist anywhere in between during the transition.  It’s my contention that the octave leap gotten by over-blowing a flute fits the definition of a quantum leap, yet it is hardly applicable to call it small.  The entire spectrum of visible light is less than one octave.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 August 2012 10:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1365
Joined  2007-01-29

The old board thread on quantum leap: http://wordoriginsorg.yuku.com/topic/7560/quantum-leap?page=1

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 August 2012 04:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3063
Joined  2007-02-26

I’m surprised I did not chime in in the old thread.

[quote\Like quantum leap (a quantum leap is actually an almost unimaginably tiny transition, but I doubt if one in a thousand people who uses the phrase actually knows or cares about that).

A quantum leap is (both in physics and in common English) represents an instantaneous transition. Quantisation refers to the fact that the increase is not continuous, that the energy level doesn’t exist at intermediate levels at any time: although the amounts of energy _are_ small, this is not what the word quantum is pointing to, so I think it is a perfectly reasonable analogy.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 14 August 2012 06:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3469
Joined  2007-01-29

I do too, and it’s silly for people to get all riled up because of a popular expansion of a scientific term.  Scientists know what they mean when they use it, and ordinary people know what they mean when they use it; where’s the problem?

Profile
 
 
   
 
 
‹‹ unsub      hot poop ››