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Paradigm / Paradigm Shift

A paradigm is a framework for thinking about something, usually a scientific or technical discipline. Some examples of a paradigm might be the thought that big batches are good on a machine that has a long setup, or that Lean principles do not apply in office environments.

Paradigms are often unchallenged, and tend to frame the way we think about what can and cannot be done. Because we take the paradigm we believe in as truth, they provide the foundation for related thinking. Some paradigms are correct, of course. But when they are wrong, building on them amplifies the problem.

Paradigm shifts are what they sound like. They are the transition from one frame of thinking to another. Consider the paradigm that the Earth was flat. For many, many years, it was taken to be true, and all other thought was based on that premise. Now, though, we know more about the shape of the planet. Changing the paradigm took overwhelming evidence, and even then, it was a challenging process.

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