Why Smart is more than intelligent

The origin of the word Smart

By Gabriela Ehrlich

Smart is today widely used to signify added intelligence in an increasing number of otherwise ordinary constructs. The question is: why and when did we start to use the word SMART?

Peter Drucker The S.M.A.R.T criteria are commonly associated with Peter Drucker's management by objectives concept and were first popularized in his 1954 book "The Practice of Management"

Have you noticed the recent proliferation of the word Smart as a positive attribute for things such as cities, the grid or mobility, to name just a few? Many of us have come to accept the American meaning of this word as intelligent or sharp. However, digging a bit deeper, you might discover that originally there was much more meaning embedded in this word.

The acronym S.M.A.R.T (the dots were lost over the years) was used in the context of setting goals in project management or employee management.

SMART criteria are commonly associated with Peter Drucker's management by objectives (MBO) concept also known as management by results (MBR). It was first popularized by Peter Drucker in his 1954 book The Practice of Management.

Management by objectives is the process of defining specific objectives which management can convey to all members of the organization. Each objective can be put in sequence allowing managers to split work into individual, manageable steps. This approach was seen to result in a calm, yet productive work environment.

The first-known use of the term SMART occurs in the November 1981 issue of Management Review by George T. Doran.

According to Doran, “there is a SMART way to write management’s goals and objectives”.

SMART goals and objectives are generally described as follows:

Now the use of the word SMART makes a lot more sense. Doesn’t it?

Gallery
Peter Drucker The S.M.A.R.T criteria are commonly associated with Peter Drucker's management by objectives concept...
The Practice of Management book cover ...and were first popularized in his 1954 book "The Practice of Management"
Wearable display on the arm Smart is today widely used to signify added intelligence in a number of otherwise ordinary constructs