TLDR: Adaptability is the ability of a system or process to adjust and change in response to different situations. It is important in various fields, including business operations and ecology. In business, adaptability is seen as crucial for efficiency and success, while in ecology, it helps organisms cope with unexpected changes in their environment.
Adaptability is a term used in different disciplines, but its basic meaning is the same as in the dictionary. In organizational management, it refers to the ability to change and adjust to new circumstances. In ecology, adaptability is the capacity to deal with unexpected disturbances in the environment.
In the context of business and manufacturing systems, adaptability has become increasingly important for efficiency and economic success. However, in biological and ecological systems, adaptability and efficiency are often seen as opposing forces, requiring a trade-off. To determine the adaptability of a process or system, it needs to be evaluated based on certain criteria.
In the life sciences, adaptability is used in various ways. On one end, it simply means the ability to adapt. On the other end, it refers to a specific measure of information entropy in ecosystems or subsystems within them.
The concept of adaptability in technical research emerged in the late 1990s. It was first introduced as a necessary feature of manufacturing systems, particularly in the context of developing modular and adaptable systems. Today, adaptability is a key consideration for manufacturing and system engineers.
In the context of systems, such as computer systems, adaptability refers to the ability of a system to efficiently and quickly adjust to changes in its environment or within itself. An adaptive system is an open system that can modify its behavior based on changes in its surroundings or internal components.
Overall, adaptability is a crucial characteristic for systems and processes to cope with changes and unexpected disturbances. It plays a significant role in various fields, from business operations to ecological resilience.