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I was chatting to David Norman dnorman.dna@dial.pipex.com about the difficulties of introducing the concepts of complexity to businesses and he sent me this contribution.

Challenging Orthodoxy . . . the emerging paradigm paradox:
" . . . Success generated real academic hostility. Accepted theories and established reputations had to be defended . . .".

I am mindful that the approaches of accelerated human change technologies, and other closely associated methods, for a wide variety of reasons, may be unwelcome, even threatening, to many mainstream researchers and practitioners. There are a number of contemporary commentaries on these behaviour patterns, and importantly guidelines, models and suggestions of what to do about it to accelerate acceptance. I am reminded in this context of the following authors:

The Kon Tiki paradox - Consider the achievements of Thor Heyerdahl of Kon Tiki expedition fame. Who crossed the Pacific Ocean in a papyrus raft he built, to prove that migration was possible in ancient times. When interviewed recently in the Weekend FT (30/1 Dec 2000) and describing his experiences, said, " . . . the expeditions success generated real academic hostility. Accepted theories and established reputations had to be defended . . .".

The diffusion paradigm - As the highly acclaimed sociologist and Stanford Professor, Everett Rogers (The diffusion of innovations. Free Press. 1983, and later) points out; "Most innovations, in fact, diffuse at a surprisingly slow rate". As he said on " . . . the widespread adoption of educational ideas: "the average American school lags 25 years behind best practice. Examples of this pattern (adopter-diffusion) are well documented and researched (1000 + cases). The studies address the characteristics, communication patterns and social systems involved. Ranging from the more than 250!!! years (1601 to 1865) that it took the Royal Navy to adopt (from 'proof' to 'policy') vitamin C, to eradicate scurvy (by far the biggest killer at sea), to studies of the failure of the vastly superior Dvorak keyboard, clean Peruvian drinking water, snowmobiles in Lapland, solar heating in California, Java software, and many more.

Other relevant contributions can be found in:
The structure of scientific revolutions by Thomas Kuhn. Chicago. 1996.
Breakthroughs: how leadership and drive created commercial innovations that swept the world (A.D. Little) by Nayak and Ketteringham. Mercury. 1986.
Innovation: the attackers advantage (McKinsey) by Foster. MacMillan. 1986.