Part 1 of 3
We are right in the middle of a paradigm shift; a change that most of us recognise but that few of us can really find the words to describe. This transformation is often referred to as “digitalisation”.
The signs are clear; the average lifespan of our most successful companies on the S&P 500 has fallen from 75 years to 15 years. The list of the world’s 10 richest people under 35 includes Facebook’s three founders and the founder of Airbnb (Facebook was formed in 2004 and Airbnb in 2008). Tesla is today worth more than Ford, and the list of the world’s most valuable brands was topped in 2016 by Apple, Google and Microsoft, unlike 20 years ago when brands like Marlboro, Coca-Cola and McDonald’s led the pack.
Playing by the new rules
A new paradigm, or a new world, is emerging in which those of us who are used to working in the old world – the industrial world – need to fundamentally appreciate which rules apply in the new one. But is “digital” the best label for this new paradigm? I’ll come back to that later.
To first understand what a paradigm shift means we need to understand what paradigm means. The term paradigm has several meanings, but the one I use here is based on a social science perspective, where paradigm can most readily be understood as somebody’s world view. A world view can be seen as the overall account of experiences, belief systems and values that make up an individual’s perception of the reality in which they live. It therefore creates the context from which that person responds to their own perceived reality (self-image).
If a large number of people, a whole society or a whole civilisation share the same world view, then the paradigm becomes the given contemporary explanatory variable that generates the shared values, systems and stories we have about our here and now, and which then determines how we respond to these.
For example, if we believe that we are still living in an industrial society with all its circumstances, like linear value chains, consumers being reached through communication, brands being a logo, leaders being authorities, that organisational structures are best if they are hierarchically designed, or that money is the measure of success, then it may be time to shift our world view.
In order to effectively shift a paradigm we need to change the story; the ideas we have about our here and now and, ultimately, ourselves, including the belief systems and values that we hold to be true. In short, we need to let ourselves transform.
How is this achieved?
This is a series of three articles written by Katarina Cornelius. Katarina has recently published her book “Byt Värld – 46 tillväxtnycklar till nätverksvärldens affärslogik”, bringing together her experiences from working with the management of a number of the world’s biggest brands and realising their journey into the new paradigm. Katarina has extensive experience of how transformation can be brought about in a way that creates fun rather than fear.
If you would like to hear Katarina talk more about her own journey of transformation, her perspective on digital transformation, the paradigm shift, or the new World 5.0 – contact Katarina at firstname.lastname@example.org.