Paradigm Shifting…

In many contexts (economic development, education, management, strategy, leadership, culture, health, digital/software development) the current dominant assumptions, norms and and codes of practice are no longer serving us well.  The current paradigms are starting to creak.  Increasing demand and complexity coupled with lack of investment are causing major problems.

In health for example the ‘medical model’ is coming under increasing scrutiny with its focus on curing illness rather than creating health and its emphasis on bio-medical and pharmaceutical interventions over psychological or social interventions. There is apparently a desire to ‘transform’ health and care.  But the dominant paradigm remains strong, bolstered by vested interests with lots of power and money.  Those working in different, emerging paradigms, are often cash starved and subjected to a much higher level or scrutiny than those working in the dominant paradigm.

In economic development the dominant paradigm is one of inward investment with the hope of trickle down; economic ‘hunting’ rather than ‘gardening’.  And as inequalities between rich and poor widen and the impacts of ‘in work poverty’ start to put more and more strain on our health and care services as well as our welfare systems, we start to preface ‘economic development’ with ‘inclusive’, in the hope that it will make things better.  Perhaps what we really need is to start investing in the emergence of a new paradigm.  Gardening rather than hunting.  One where sustainability is valued over growth.  Where GDP is no longer king?

In culture we seem to have a paradigm where bid writing and cultivating funders is a more important discipline than the culture itself and artists become what JG Ballard described as a ‘dependent client class‘.

Similar problems exist in current paradigms of management and leadership, where we still locate leadership in the individual rather than the social. Where we see management and leadership as different disciplines rather than as facets of a single development process.  Where the narrative of heroes and angels remains strong and the power of the ‘charismatic leader’ remains a threat.

So, increasingly the challenge is one of how we ‘shift a paradigm’.  How we allow new patterns of power and action to emerge that perhaps can serve us better than the current dominant paradigm.

Interested?  Come and explore the idea of paradigm shifting with is in Leeds at one of these free sessions…

August 14th – Book here

September 19th – Book here

Or book us to come and run a paradigm shifting workshop tailored for you.



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