Tag Archive for 'velocity of change'

Small business and 21st century paradigm shifts

As we engage the world, at least the parts that touch us, we establish – or are taught to establish – what futurist Joel Barker (www.joelbarker.com) calls filters. Barker says we use these filters to accept some parts of the world and reject others. These filters ultimately create the paradigms through which, as Barker says, “we view the world.” And once established, whether feasible or flawed, we actually learn how to live and work, often successfully, with our paradigms.

But let’s look at that “feasible or flawed” aspect of paradigms. The flawed paradigm will typically take care of itself because it requires more maintenance and will likely have a shorter life. A flawed paradigm will quickly create problems for its holder but not for too long.

It’s the feasible paradigms we should worry about because they’re the ones upon which fortunes have been made and belief systems established. The buggy whip had a long life as a successful propulsion paradigm, as did the newspaper want ad as an effective way to reach prospects.

The danger of a feasible paradigm is that, as we learn from the wisdom of Ecclesiastes, everything has a time to be and a time not to be. But once money, generations of time and effort, and yes, even faith have been invested in a particular paradigm, like a buggy whip or a want ad, it’s difficult for the holders of that paradigm to accept the reality and inevitability of change.

But as Ecclesiastes promises, change will come. And when it does, it creates what Barker calls a Paradigm Shift, at which time “everything goes back to zero.” The automobile was the paradigm shift for buggy whip manufacturers, as the Internet has created a shift for newspapers.

We live in an era when paradigms are shifting all around us in unprecedented numbers. Some shifts are natural – caused by the human intellectual journey, and some are self-imposed – created prematurely by human imperfections and deficiencies. Regardless of the cause, paradigm shifts are our reality; and unless we want to get run over by them, we have to deal with the new paradigms as they reveal themselves, hopefully, before a shift.

Having learned so much from Joel Barker from his books and films, it was a great day for me when he became a member of my Brain Trust as a regular guest on my small business radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show. Recently Joel was a guest again, and we talked about paradigms and some of the shifts that are happening right now. Don’t miss this interview with one of the the great thinkers of our time. And of course, leave a comment and I’ll make sure Joel sees it.

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