Window of opportunity
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A window of opportunity (also called a margin of opportunity or critical window) is a period of time during which some action can be taken that will achieve a desired outcome. Once this period is over, or the "window has closed", the specified outcome is no longer possible.
Examples of windows of opportunity include:
- The critical period in the development of an organism, during which neuroplasticity is greatest and key neurological functions, such as imprinting and language, are acquired which may be impossible to acquire at a later stage
- The golden hour or golden time, used in emergency medicine to describe the period following traumatic injury in which life-saving treatment is likely to be successful
- Market opportunities, in which one may be positioned to take advantage of a gap in a particular market, the timing of which may depend on the activities of customers, competitors, and other market context factors
- Planting and harvesting seasons, in agriculture
- Space launch and maneuver windows, which are determined by orbital dynamics and constrained by fuel/delta-v budgets
- The theorized tipping point in climatology, after which the Earth's climate is predicted to shift to a new stable equilibrium
The length of a critical window may be well known (as in the case of launch windows) or poorly known (in the case of medical emergencies or climate change). In some cases, there may be multiple windows during which a goal can be achieved.
In situations with very brief or unpredictable windows of opportunity, automation may be employed to take advantage of these windows, as in algorithmic trading. Real-time computing systems can guarantee responses on the order of milliseconds or less.
In some time-critical situations, failure to act may entail a continuously increasing cost over time, or a continuously decreasing probability over time of achieving the desired outcome. This may be represented in real-time computing systems by time-utility functions.
Use as a marketing tactic
- Sull, Donald N.; Wang, Yong (June 6, 2005). "The Three Windows of Opportunity". Working Knowledge. Harvard Business School. Retrieved 25 April 2016.
- Robson, Ann L. "Critical/Sensitive Periods." Child Development. Ed. Neil J. Salkind. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2002. 101-103. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 10 Dec. 2014.
- American College of Surgeons (2008). Atls, Advanced Trauma Life Support Program for Doctors. Amer College of Surgeons. ISBN 978-1880696316.
- "Window of Opportunity". Boundless.com. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
- "Window of Opportunity". Investopedia. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
- Heiney, Anna (February 23, 2012). Ryba, Jeanne, ed. "Aiming for an Open Window". NASA.gov. NASA Kennedy Space Center. Retrieved 22 April 2016.
- Wheeler, Robin (2009). "Apollo lunar landing launch window: The controlling factors and constraints". Apollo Flight Journal. Retrieved 22 April 2016.
- IPCC AR5 WGII (2014). "Climate change 2014, Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-05-14.
- Lin, Tom C. W. (2013). "The New Investor". UCLA Law Review. Temple University. 60 (678). SSRN .
- Ben-Ari, M., "Principles of Concurrent and Distributed Programming", Prentice Hall, 1990. ISBN 0-13-711821-X. Ch16, Page 164
- Morrison, Maureen (July 22, 2014). "How to Create a Successful Limited-Time Offer: A Do's (and One Don't) Guide for Marketers to Short-Lived Promos". AdvertisingAge. Crain Communications. Retrieved 22 April 2016.