The Struggle To Adapt

The process of being disrupted is never pleasant. People work their entire careers to become masters of their craft. Their brains become wired to see patterns and interpret them in a specific way. They are also usually surrounded by a network of people who have been indoctrinated in much the same way, reinforcing the existing model.

There is also the element of risk to take into account. A model becomes established because it works and honing that model further is likely to produce better results. Switching to something else means embarking headlong into an abyss. The urge to trust our instincts as well of those around us, combined with the risk of forging a new path is why we fail to adapt.

So you can see why, as Kuhn put it, “the emergence of new theories is generally preceded by a period of pronounced professional insecurity.” Things never flow smoothly from the old to the new and you can’t jump to a new paradigm through mere force of will. You need to find a new path first and that’s always difficult to see clearly.

Disruption is a breakdown of conventional wisdom, so what replaces a failing business model can never be evaluated by conventional metrics. You need to experiment and iterate until an answer presents itself.

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