The Company – Innovation and paradigm change

These days it is very trendy to talk about innovation. Japanese agile development team based on their own judgment, and minor repairs. What happens if you really are innovative and offer a breakthrough?

My answer to this question is that your innovations is unequivocally thrown to trash bin if possible.

Let us look at this issue in more detail.

The first assertion is: Organization and their behavior is very much linked to the paradigm (the idea and model of the world), around which the company is once formed. The larger the size of the organization the more the paradigm defines the structure and behavior of the entire organization.

To understand this all of the concept of paradigm is completely essential.

Let’s begin with the concept of parsing form the Wikipedia’s description:

Kuhn was at pains to point out that the rationale for the choice of exemplars is a specific way of viewing reality: that view and the status of “exemplar” are mutually reinforcing. For well-integrated members of a particular discipline, its paradigm is so convincing that it normally renders even the possibility of alternatives unconvincing and counter-intuitive. Such a paradigm is opaque, appearing to be a direct view of the bedrock of reality itself, and obscuring the possibility that there might be other, alternative imageries hidden behind it. The conviction that the current paradigm is reality tends to disqualify evidence that might undermine the paradigm itself; this in turn leads to a build-up of unreconciled anomalies. It is the latter that is responsible for the eventual revolutionary overthrow of the incumbent paradigm, and its replacement by a new one. Kuhn used the expression paradigm shift (see below) for this process, and likened it to the perceptual change that occurs when our interpretation of an ambiguous image “flips-over” from one state to another.[4] (The rabbit-duck illusion is an example: it is not possible to see both the rabbit and the duck simultaneously.) This is significant in relation to the issue of incommensurability

I came across the concept of paradigm for the first time, when Peter Coad taught the very brand new object-oriented analysis in 1989 in Stockholm . He said that there is a paradigm shift from procedural analysis to object-oriented analysis

As an example of a paradigm shift and its impact on the business he used was the wrist watch industry. When the watches were built on fine mechanics based on cogwheel and metal spring, the Swiss watch industry was globally the sovereign leader of the industry. Then, the Japanese developed wrist watch based on quarts crystals electrical vibration. the Swiss watch industry just laughed at these “toy watches”. After ten years had passed, not chuckling anymore, when almost the entire Swiss watch industry was dead and quarts wrist watches dominated totally the global market.

It can be said that the ultimate paradigm is crystallized in a very simple point of view, or the finish line, and all the rest of the company structure and behavior can be easily concluded from this principle. Swiss watchmaking, this principle was a “cog wheel and the spring.” Another significant feature of the paradigm is that it is the outermost or overall pattern. This leads to the fact that the paradigms may be valid for only one at a time. Thus, if the paradigm is changed, then the new pushes the old away.

Other examples of paradigm shift and their effects. Like I said the new paradigm is usually overwhelming, so there is the old obsolete. When the steam engine was invented, and it was learned to use marine propulsion, this invention was replaced sailing ships in freight and passenger traffic, but the transition was long and with both “generation” of ships went side by side for a long time.

The current era of electronics is then created a phenomenon in which a company that is a leader in the world, launching an innovation process that leads to the paradigm shift, with the result that the transformation produced that was initiated by the company will die as a result of this. Impressive recent example of this is Eastman Kodak which was the leading developer and producer photographing techniques. Its core competence were the films and photographic paper and chemicals. Kodak Chrome was a concept that can be easily compared to the iPhone or iPad. Kodak Company began to develop a digital photography and digital storing of photos. It succeed to developed an electronic photocell-based digital camera. At that point, the company have had to literally turn their backs on all that knew and to continue aggressively forward with what the developer had created, the company management decided to continue with the world of old films and papers. Last year, this top successful company went bankrupt.

This is an example of this category is not the exception but the rule. I’ll try to describe it in the following logic, which is of such a chain of events behind. I am writing a separate story paradigm shifts within software industry and their consequences. These are mostly operating system changes and the are connect to the computer hardware industry. The computer paradigm shift is yet to come but it is looming behind a corner.

Let us continue our journey now with effects of the paradigm shift innovation in a company. I will create an illusory company to explain my line of thought. Let this be a local shipping agency called the PacketRocket.

The company operates in an area with a port and an airport (like London). The company’s operational idea (paradigm) is to carry packages on wheels from airports and ports to recipients and vice versa. This activity requires a number of company vans and / or trucks and drivers for these. These in turn require, as well as stables and service facilities. Maintenance facilities require a number of skilled car mechanics, to keep the equipment in running order. Function may also be required have company’s own storage space for intermediate storage. If the storage has been decided to maintain, this requires a personnel responsible for this. The management and coordination functionality needs an office and staff, which will market the service and actually carry goods from order to invoicing.

Now, let us make a paradigm shift in our company. The company’s operations does not work, and management has decided to take airplanes to carry stuff instead of cars. This is a clear paradigm shift. As a result, all acquired auto transport infrastructure is unusable. The same thing happens to most operational staff. Vehicle maintenance staff, and the drivers are unnecessary. These persons can not in practice be able to be retrain for new tasks. It remains to be asked what is left of the original company or is it really about stopping one company and starting an another?


The company when created actually creates a ecosystem around core paradigm it. This is how all operational processes, infrastructure, job roles and competencies consist of from this paradigm and support it. Now, a radical innovation, which often means simply paradigm shift set completely new standards for all the above, and this is how it practically kills the company acting. For this reason why any company naturally rejects any attempt – perhaps largely unconsciously – to a change especially those “dissidents” whose ideas begin to sound to be viability.