"Genius is in-born, may it never be still-born."

"Oysters, irritated by grains of sand, give birth to pearls. Brains, irritated by curiosity, give birth to ideas."

"Brainpower is the bridge to the future; it is what transports you from wishful thinking to willful doing."

"Unless you keep learning & growing, the status quo has no status."

Friday, March 20, 2009


What Dilip Mukerjea has talked about in an earlier post, entitled 'Paradigm Paradise vs Paradigm Paralysis', is basically the critical importance of developing paradigm pliancy as we navigate the 21st century.

In a nut shell, paradigm pliancy is just the purposeful search for new ways to stretch the mind & break out of the box, or rather, 'paradigm paralysis'.

According to change strategist/futurist Joel Arthur Barker, who first alerted the corporate world to the business of paradigms during the 80s, it's an active behaviour in which we constantly question & challenge our prevailing paradigms by asking the 'paradigm shift' question:

"What do I believe is impossible to do in my field of activity today, but if it could be done, would fundamentally change my way of doing it for the better?"

To me, as a model for change, it is analogous to 'Developing Mindfulness' as advocated by Dr Ellen Langer of Harvard University in her classic book, 'Mindfulness'.

Also, my sentiment is best captured in the apt quote by French novelist Marcel Proust (1871-1922), as follows:

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes."

So, how does one develops paradigm pliancy?

First things first. For a quick start:

1) Seeing the old world in new ways:

- that's seeing the commonplace with new eyes, transforming the familiar to strange & the strange to familiar;

2) Challenging your daily status quo, assumptions & premises:

- that's daring to question your sacred cows & traditional taboos;

3) Making novel connections;

- that's bringing together seemingly unrelated objects, events or ideas, in a way that leads to new revelations;

4) Recognising new patterns;

- that's perceiving significant similarities & contrasts of objects, events or ideas in the world out there;

In the end analysis, considering the many similarities in outcomes, I like to equate 'developing paradigm pliancy' with 'creative opportunity finding'.

Recommended Readings, based on my personal favourites:

i) 'Future Edge: Discovering the New Paradigms of Success', by Joel Arthur Barker;

ii) 'Wide Angle Vision: Beat Your Competition by Focusing on Fringe Competitors, Lost Customers, & Rogue Employees', by Wayne Burkan;

iii) 'The Whack-A-Mole Theory; Creating Breakthrough & Transformation in Organizations', by Lindsay Collier;

iv) 'Breakthrough! The Problem-solving Advantage: Everything You Need to Start a Solution Revolution', by Debbe Kennedy;

vi) 'Business Blindspots: Replacing Your Company's Entrenched & Outdated Myths, Beliefs & Assumptions With the Realities of Today's Markets', by Benjamin Gilad;

vi) 'Thoughtware: Change the Thinking & the Organization Will Change Itself ', by Philip Kirby;

[Note: Wayne Burkan, Lindsay Collier & Debbe Kennedy have collaborated with Joel Arthur Barker in the past. From my point of view, their subsequent writings essentially help to expand our understanding of the paradigm phenomenon from different angles.

The remaining two works are great for helping to make the future a function of your renewed thinking.]

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