What is a Paradigm Shift?

Definition: A paradigm shift is a change in the previous understanding of a particular subject. It is the transformation of an earlier concept.

What Does Paradigm Shift Mean?

Paradigm shifts can be defined as the modification of previously accepted facts due to the incorporation of new data. This often occurs in scientific environments, where new information obtained through research can create new perspectives and radical changes in the way things are understood. In business, this is also a common feature, mostly in the technology industry, where new discoveries are more frequent.

Paradigm shifts are not low-profile events; they are normally considerably far-reaching, since they can transform a society’s perception and understanding about a given concept. From a business standpoint, they are extremely valuable. A company that develops certain knowledge that can create a paradigm shift within an industry can produce a big profit out of it by creating a new order in the market they participate in. Nevertheless, paradigm shifts often create opposition, since the previous concept might still be defended by people with interests involved. Any concept that pursues the designation of being a “paradigm shift” must be solidly backed by enough data and facts to corroborate its actual impact.

Example

Enhanced Aeronautics Co. is a company that develops software and computer systems for aircrafts. They are currently working alongside with the government and a few private companies to develop a system to pilot small commercial airplanes remotely. The project is in real-life test stages and it might be implemented in a few commercial flights very soon. This technology will save airlines millions of dollars in wages paid to pilots, since these flights will require no human intervention at all.

The system has its detractors, mostly pilot unions and air transport associations with concerns about flight safety. Nevertheless, the International Air Transport Association has given the project green light since they have reviewed in detail the software functioning capabilities and they think it is safer than having a pilot on board. This new technology will create a paradigm shift in the air transport industry.