“Intellectual advance consists of the displacement of one paradigm which has become increasingly incapable of explaining new or newly discovered facts, by a new paradigm that accounts for all those facts in a more satisfactory fashion.”
Ok. That is the first part of the quote. I love the simplicity and its ability to showcase how thinking advances.
But.The second part of the quote. The important part of the quote:
“To be accepted as a paradigm, a theory need not, and in fact never does, explain all the facts with which it can be confronted, it only must seem better than its competition.” – The structure of Scientific Revolutions: Thomas Kuhn
Paradigm is one of those words that implies bigness. All you have to do is to even suggest a paradigm shift and people … well … start shifting in their seats <I almost wrote ‘shitting in their seats’>.
People like it <the idea they could be involved in such a thing>.
And people hate it <the idea they could be associated in such a thing>.
All at exactly the same time.
What that typically means is that everyone gets excited initially by the bigness of the idea and as time goes on the idea gets chewed up by all the ants who are scrambling around hating it <fearing it>.
Before you start killing the next idea that sounds like a really really good idea by slicing it up with a thousand small cuts under the guise of “but what abouts?” and fear of change <or the work t really takes to make it come yo life> remember this:
“When people think seriously, they think abstractly; they conjure up simplified pictures of reality called concepts, theories, models, paradigms.” – Samuel Huntington
Maybe Sam reminds me why I dislike the term ‘big idea.’ I don’t care if it is big, medium or small (or even venti or grande) … all I care is that it is a serious thought.
Not flippant but a well thought out abstract thought.
And in that we would need to accept that it is abstract … that not all the facts are explained. Unfortunately, for some reason, the business world seems to struggle with that last thought.
We love the idea.
We kill it in detail.
For paradigm shifts … which are important in terms of shifting behavior and attitudes … are concepts. Therefore when we kill them in detail we miss huge opportunity for shifts in attitudes & behaviors.
That last sentence alone says it all.