Development is change, usually positive. In business, development describes new products and services that add value to customers or businesses. It also refers to the progress of an organization from a less developed state, such as a small company that is trying to grow to a larger one. Development can be a result of growth, but it also can be an intentional process, such as training employees or developing a new product. Development can be a goal of organizations, governments, and individuals.
The idea of development is rooted in the assumption that humans are designed for growth, and that this is a good thing. It is a premise that many people, including some economists, accept as the starting point for policies to improve the world.
Some developmental theorists, such as Piaget and Erikson, assume that pathways of development are either normative or universal, that everyone goes through them in roughly the same way, and at the same time, regardless of their culture or environment. These theories have been criticized for ignoring the role of context.
Others, like Vygotsky and information processing theorists, think that cognitive development begins with physical maturation and then gradually shifts to social and cultural factors. This theory, called ecological psychology, takes into account the interplay between brain development and environmental experience. It also emphasizes the important role that teachers, parents, and peers play in a child’s early learning experiences. It is this approach that reflects the fact that most of what a person learns, they learn by doing, not just by being taught.