A paradigm is nothing more than a set of assumptions, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality. For example, if you view business as a competitive endeavor, then you place yourself, metaphorically, on the same track as the "other guy." You think about beating the other guy. You value beating the other guy. You put practices in place to beat the other guy. Unfortunately, customers could care less about you and the other guy. Customers care about themselves.
Here's an excerpt from the latest issue of BusinessWeek magazine, which focuses on creativity and innovation in business:—
Think out-of-the-box consumer experiences, and you get the idea of paradigm shifting. Old paradigm: corner coffee shops. New paradigm: Starbucks (SBUX). Old: Radio. New: Satellite radio. Old: crowded electronic stores. New: Apple Computer (AAPL) stores. Old: grungy, smelly circuses. New: Cirque du Soleil. Old: any airline. New: JetBlue Airways (JBLU). Old: Macy's (FD). New: Target (TGT). Old: Earth-toned Birkenstock sandals. New: colorful beach "Birkis."
Or how 'bout … Old: Blockbuster. New: Netflix. I'm sure you have a few of your own personal favorites. Post them in the comments.
If you study marketplace evolution, it becomes readily apparent that incumbents typically fail to reinvent their industries. Right? Disney let Pixar do it. United watched as Southwest Airlines ate their lunch. CBS? No. MTV. Ditto Kodak oblivious to Canon. Why? Because market leaders have an existing paradigm that says business is about competition. And so, they focus on incremental changes in their served markets to stay a step ahead of the competition. They don't innovate for customers. They tweak their offering to beat the other guy.
Mark Twain once wrote:
“The best swordsman in the world doesn't need to fear the second best swordsman in the world; no, the person for him to be afraid of is some ignorant antagonist who has never had a sword in his hand before; he doesn’t do the thing he ought to do, and so the expert isn't prepared for him; he does the thing he ought not to do and often it catches the expert out and ends him on the spot.”
Do you consider yourself an expert? Or are you an antagonist for the benefit of your audience? Think about it.
via A Clear Eye