I wouldn’t be at all surprised if that is what Thomas Kuhn had in mind in 1962 when he developed the concept of paradigms shifts. In the simplest of terms, a paradigm shift is “a change from one way of thinking to another.” In my lifetime, a number of paradigm shifts have taken place and have led to a number of inventions and innovations. Below are a few examples of change in thought and the changes that they have brought about:
- “It takes all day to cook dinner” (The microwave)
- “The quickest and best way to create a manuscript is on a typewriter (The word processor)
- “The best watch is the one with the most jewels.” (The quartz watch)
I could go on and on, but I think you have already gotten the point!
As a result of paradigm shifts, perhaps one of the most deadly phrases a businessman can utter is, “It’ll work – we’ve always done it that way!” Once a businessperson becomes stoic and locked into their ways they may very well be paving the road to failure. The question becomes, then, how can one make sure that they are, in fact, “keeping up with the times.”
This is not an easy question, of course, but perhaps the one simple answer is to explore every idea that is offered up, even if at first they seem a little far-fetched. Once brainstorming becomes an acceptable procedure at your business, you will find that people are less inhibited and will be able to explore a number of possibilities that people often keep to themselves for fear of ridicule. Remember, according to Mr. Shaw, if you can’t change your mind you can’t change anything else, either!