Observation inspired by “Art of the Idea” of John Hunt: “Incremental change is fine if you are a glacier”.
It’s probably a combination of the world’s relentless momentum and our extreme interconnectedness that makes tiny step changes less and less relevant. We think we’ve changed, we think we’ve moved forward, but the backdrop we’re operating against has moved quicker. That is why ideas are important; they’re the only mechanism we have to keep up. A huge amount of breakthrough thinking doesn’t make it, not because the idea is wrong, but because, at the crucial moment, our courage leaves us.
The problem with incrementalism isn’t just its lack of velocity; it’s that it ends up performing the function of a black hole. It draws smaller and smaller amounts of energy into itself and then disappears altogether. Hundreds of meetings adjourn with the unstated consensus to do nothing. The idea is minuted, agreed upon and dead. It will die by Ping-Pong e-mails and a dwindling attendance at follow-up meetings. For a while, everyone is copied on everything to record that no one is doing anything. Eventually, the idea implodes an quietly evaporates into cyberspace
If the idea has a powerful curve to its trajectory, the opposite is true. What was moribund and lifeless begins to have a pulse. Instead of nose-diving, the arc grows longer and stronger. Everyone wants a piece of the action, not just so they can claim part ownership, but because contribution to the original thinking also gives a sense of mission.
If you are going to leap you may as well quantum leap.