Paradigms - The Business Of Discovering The Future

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Paradigms - The Business of Discovering the Future

Paradigms - The Business of Discovering the Future

One of the most important concepts in the book is what Barker calls "paradigm pliancy": "the purposeful seeking out of new ways of doing things. It is an active behavior in which you challenge your paradigms [ie the status quo, assumptions and premises] by asking the Paradigm Shift Question: What do I believe is impossible to do in my field, but if it could be done, would fundamentally change my business?" Have you asked this question? Do you realize that one or more of your competitors may have already asked that question? (Joel 1993)

Although the book's subtitle is "The Business of Discovering the Future", the fact remains that (back to Drucker) the challenge is to identity and then measure the degree of probability of various contingencies...many of which may have already occurred or are now in process.

Barker asserts that every organization must anticipate and then innovate to achieve excellence in an age during which change is the only constant. He suggests that there are five components to "strategic exploration": Understanding influences which shape our perceptions, divergent thinking which enables us to consider more than "one right answer", convergent thinking which enables us to integrate data while prioritizing choices, mapping which reveals pathways from the present to the future, and finally, imaging which (with words or drawings or models) documents what is learned during the process of exploration. (Joel 1993)

Barker did a major service when he took Kuhn's work (about stalled thinking in science) and extended it into general social situations, across the disciplines. Think of this book as the popularized version of Kuhn. Without popularizers, most important concepts would never have achieved wide appreciation. Darwin is a prime example of someone whose name we might not know today except for popularizers.

Mr. Barker's pioneering work on the concept of paradigms has earned him the nickname - "The Paradigm Man" and has made him famous throughout the world. He began his work in 1975 popularizing the concept of paradigm shifts to explain profound change and the importance of vision to drive change within organizations.

Barker outlines how organizations need to innovate and change in order to prosper and in some cases survive. He explains how people and organizations can overcome their fear of change and, in turn, embrace it. The rules we live by can hold back our ability to be innovative and creative. The idea that successful strategies from the past will lead to future success is increasingly becoming false. If we don't create new paradigms our organizations will stagnate and eventually fail. In example after example, Joel demonstrates how thinking differently is necessary for us to grow personally and as organizations.

The Swiss watch industry and the Japanese electronics industry are just a few of the companies and industries detailed in the video. In 1968, the Swiss dominated the watch industry producing 65% of the watches in the world and 80% of ...
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