Incremental Change Quotes

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I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.
Mother Teresa
And now, I'm just trying to change the world, one sequin at a time.
Lady Gaga
Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.
Robert F. Kennedy
Better by far to be good and courageous and bold and to make difference. Not change the world exactly, but the bit around you.
David Nicholls (One Day)
Live each day as if it's your last', that was the conventional advice, but really, who had the energy for that? What if it rained or you felt a bit glandy? It just wasn't practical. Better by far to simply try and be good and courageous and bold and to make a difference. Not change the world exactly, but the bit around you. Go out there with your passion and your electric typewriter and work hard at...something. Change lives through art maybe. Cherish your friends, stay true to your principles, live passionately and fully and well. Experience new things. Love and be loved, if you ever get the chance.
David Nicholls (One Day)
Everything, in the end, comes down to timing. One second, one minute, one hour, could make all the difference. So much hanging on just these things, tiny increments that together build a life. Like words build a story, and what had Ted said? One word can change the entire world.
Sarah Dessen (This Lullaby)
So we are left with a stark choice: allow climate disruption to change everything about our world, or change pretty much everything about our economy to avoid that fate. But we need to be very clear: because of our decades of collective denial, no gradual, incremental options are now available to us.
Naomi Klein (This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate)
Incremental change is better than ambitious failure. . . .Success feeds on itself.
Tal Ben-Shahar (Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment)
So much hanging on just these things, tiny increments that together build a life. Like words build a story, and what had Ted said? One word can change the entire world
Sarah Dessen (This Lullaby)
When we allow ourselves to celebrate tiny victories as important and meaningful, we start to understand the incremental nature of change—how one vote can help change our democracy; how raising a child who is whole and loved can help change a nation; how educating one girl can change a whole village for the better.
Michelle Obama (The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times)
To make progress on climate, we need systemic change, not incremental change. Every business and every person has a role to play in that.
Hendrith Vanlon Smith Jr.
Today's Republican an insurgent outlier. It has become ideologically extreme; contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise; unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence, and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition, all but declaring war on the government. The Democratic Party, while no paragon of civic virtue, is more ideologically centered and diverse, protective of the government's role as it developed over the course of the last century, open to incremental changes in policy fashioned through bargaining with the Republicans, and less disposed to or adept at take-no-prisoners conflict between the parties. This asymmetry between the parties, which journalists and scholars often brush aside or whitewash in a quest for "balance," constitutes a huge obstacle to effective governance.
Thomas E. Mann (It's Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the Politics of Extremism)
Incremental climate adaptation needs to shift to exponential climate adaptation.
Roger Spitz (The Definitive Guide to Thriving on Disruption: Volume IV - Disruption as a Springboard to Value Creation)
Over time I’ve learned, surprisingly, that it’s tremendously hard to get teams to be super ambitious. It turns out most people haven’t been educated in this kind of moonshot thinking. They tend to assume that things are impossible, rather than starting from real-world physics and figuring out what’s actually possible. It’s why we’ve put so much energy into hiring independent thinkers at Google, and setting big goals. Because if you hire the right people and have big enough dreams, you’ll usually get there. And even if you fail, you’ll probably learn something important. It’s also true that many companies get comfortable doing what they have always done, with a few incremental changes. This kind of incrementalism leads to irrelevance over time, especially in technology, because change tends to be revolutionary not evolutionary. So you need to force yourself to place big bets on the future.
Eric Schmidt (How Google Works)
We live in an aspiration-driven culture that is rooted in instant gratification. We find it difficult to enact or even accept incremental progress.
B.J. Fogg (Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything)
So we are left with a stark choice: allow climate disruption to change everything about our world, or change pretty much everything about our economy to avoid that fate. But we need to be very clear: because of our decades of collective denial, no gradual, incremental options are now available to us. Gentle tweaks to the status quo stopped being a climate option when we supersized the American Dream in the 1990s, and then proceeded to take it global.
Naomi Klein (This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate)
But we must not forget that all things in the world are connected with one another and depend on one another, and that we ourselves and all our thoughts are also a part of nature. It is utterly beyond our power to measure the changes of things by time. Quite the contrary, time is an abstraction, at which we arrive by means of the change of things; made because we are not restricted to any one definite measure, all being interconnected. A motion is termed uniform in which equal increments of space described correspond to equal increments of space described by some motion with which we form a comparison, as the rotation of the earth. A motion may, with respect to another motion, be uniform. But the question whether a motion is in itself uniform, is senseless. With just as little justice, also, may we speak of an “absolute time” --- of a time independent of change. This absolute time can be measured by comparison with no motion; it has therefore neither a practical nor a scientific value; and no one is justified in saying that he knows aught about it. It is an idle metaphysical conception.
Ernst Mach (Science of Mechanics)
Unwavering incremental change can create remarkable and monumental results.
Ryan Lilly
I have heard it said that if you tell a lie often enough, loudly enough, and long enough, the myth will become accepted as a fact. Repetition, volume, and longevity will twist and turn a myth, or a lie, into a commonly accepted way of doing things. Entire populations have been lulled into the approval of ghastly deeds and even participation in them by gradually moving from the truth to a lie. Throughout history, twisted logic, rationalization, and incremental changes have allowed normally intelligent people to be party to ridiculous things. Propaganda, in particular, has played a big part in allowing these things to happen.
Dave Ramsey (The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness)
Radical change is scary. It’s terrifying, actually. And the feminism I support is a full-on revolution. Where women are not simply allowed to participate in the world as it already exists—an inherently corrupt world, designed by a patriarchy to subjugate and control and destroy all challengers—but are actively able to re-shapeit. Where women do not simply knock on the doors of churches, of governments, of capitalist marketplaces and politely ask for admittance, but create their own religious systems, governments, and economies. My feminism is not one of incremental change, revealed in the end to be The Same As Ever, But More So. It is a cleansing fire.
Jessa Crispin (Why I Am Not a Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto)
Do you want a revolution in science? Do what businesspeople do when they want a technological revolution: Just change the rules a bit. Let in a few revolutionaries. Make the hierarchy a bit flatter, to give the young people more scope and freedom. Create some opportunities for high-risk/high-payoff people, so as to balance the huge investment you made in low-risk, incremental science. The technology companies and investment banks use this strategy. Why not try it in academia? The payoff could be discovering how the universe works.
Lee Smolin (The Trouble with Physics: The Rise of String Theory, the Fall of a Science and What Comes Next)
the basic metaphor of prototypes still seems apt to me. There are no answers or magic pills. There is no alternative to learning through experimentation. Benchmarking and studying “best practices” will not suffice—because the prototyping process does not involve just incremental changes in established ways of doing things, but radical new ideas and practices that together create a new way of managing.
Peter M. Senge (The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization)
The most significant fact of political life, which almost no news organization will dare to acknowledge – because it would at a stroke exclude half of its speculations and disappointments – is that in some key areas of politics, nothing can be achieved very quickly by any one person or party; it would be impossible for anyone – not simply this fool or that group of cretins – to change matters at a pace that would flatter the expectations of the news cycle; and that in the case of certain problems, the only so-called ‘solutions’ will have to await a hundred years or more of incremental change, rather than a messianic leader, an international conference or a quick war.
Alain de Botton (The News: A User's Manual)
Taking an abolitionist stance does not mean refusing to engage in incremental change, nor does it mean abandoning efforts to improve conditions inside prisons. Rather, abolitionists engage in 'abolitionist reforms' or 'non-reformist reforms.' These are reforms that either directly undermine the prison industrial complex or provide support to prisoners through strategies that weaken, rather than strengthen, the prison system itself. For example, rather than lobbying for bigger prison health budgets to care for elderly prisoners, an abolitionist reform strategy would aim to get elderly prisoners out on compassionate release to obtain healthcare in the community. --S. Lamble
Eric A. Stanley (Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex)
In a traditional democracy, the liberal class functions as a safety valve. It makes piecemeal and incremental reform possible. It offers hope for change and proposes gradual steps toward greater equality. It endows the state and the mechanisms of power with virtue.
Chris Hedges (The Death of the Liberal Class)
Patience is not waiting; it is a quality of waiting.
Sharon Weil (ChangeAbility: How Artists, Activists, and Awakeners Navigate Change)
Change moves incrementally from breath to breath and moment to moment, allowing for course-correction along the way.
Sharon Weil (ChangeAbility: How Artists, Activists, and Awakeners Navigate Change)
Generally, change in our society is incremental, I think. Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.
Irin Carmon (Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg)
Stop Being Incremental! If your system no longer delivers the results you want, don’t go for incremental changes, instead go for complete transformation.
Abhishek Ratna (small wins BIG SUCCESS: A handbook for exemplary success in post Covid19 Outbreak Era)
there’s also a lot to be said for making small, incremental changes that reap big dividends in the long term.
Ben Hunt-Davis (Will It Make The Boat Go Faster?- Olympic-winning strategies for everyday success)
The refugees peer from their small, tattered tents to watch because this is what they have become: watchers, honed by captivity into seasoned observers of incremental change.
Omar El Akkad (What Strange Paradise)
you break a negative feedback loop by giving it a positive input instead, it will spin into a positive feedback loop. That creates a kind of snowball effect, which takes on a life of its own. Make a small, incremental change today, and it will gather momentum the next day, and the day after that, and the day after that… until you’re surprised at what you’ve accomplished.
Ian Tuhovsky (The Science of Self Talk: How to Increase Your Emotional Intelligence and Stop Getting in Your Own Way (Master Your Self Discipline Book 5))
I feel to that the gap between my new life in New York and the situation at home in Africa is stretching into a gulf, as Zimbabwe spirals downwards into a violent dictatorship. My head bulges with the effort to contain both worlds. When I am back in New York, Africa immediately seems fantastical – a wildly plumaged bird, as exotic as it is unlikely. Most of us struggle in life to maintain the illusion of control, but in Africa that illusion is almost impossible to maintain. I always have the sense there that there is no equilibrium, that everything perpetually teeters on the brink of some dramatic change, that society constantly stands poised for some spasm, some tsunami in which you can do nothing but hope to bob up to the surface and not be sucked out into a dark and hungry sea. The origin of my permanent sense of unease, my general foreboding, is probably the fact that I have lived through just such change, such a sudden and violent upending of value systems. In my part of Africa, death is never far away. With more Zimbabweans dying in their early thirties now, mortality has a seat at every table. The urgent, tugging winds themselves seem to whisper the message, memento mori, you too shall die. In Africa, you do not view death from the auditorium of life, as a spectator, but from the edge of the stage, waiting only for your cue. You feel perishable, temporary, transient. You feel mortal. Maybe that is why you seem to live more vividly in Africa. The drama of life there is amplified by its constant proximity to death. That’s what infuses it with tension. It is the essence of its tragedy too. People love harder there. Love is the way that life forgets that it is terminal. Love is life’s alibi in the face of death. For me, the illusion of control is much easier to maintain in England or America. In this temperate world, I feel more secure, as if change will only happen incrementally, in manageable, finely calibrated, bite-sized portions. There is a sense of continuity threaded through it all: the anchor of history, the tangible presence of antiquity, of buildings, of institutions. You live in the expectation of reaching old age. At least you used to. But on Tuesday, September 11, 2001, those two states of mind converge. Suddenly it feels like I am back in Africa, where things can be taken away from you at random, in a single violent stroke, as quick as the whip of a snake’s head. Where tumult is raised with an abruptness that is as breathtaking as the violence itself.
Peter Godwin (When a Crocodile Eats the Sun: A Memoir of Africa)
Think of microshifts as tiny increments of change in your day-to-day life. A microshift is changing what you eat for one part of one meal just one time. Then it’s doing that a second time and a third. Before you even realize what’s happening, you’ve adopted a pattern of behavior. What you do every single day accounts for the quality of your life and the degree of your success. It’s not whether you “feel” like putting in the work, but whether or not you do it regardless.
Brianna Wiest (The Mountain Is You: Transforming Self-Sabotage Into Self-Mastery)
Decades of countercultural rebellion have failed to change anything because the theory of society on which the countercultural idea rests is false. We do not live in the Matrix, nor do we live in the spectacle. The world we live in is in fact much more prosaic. It consists of billions of human beings, each pursuing more or less plausible conceptions of the good, trying to cooperate with one another, and doing so with varying degrees of success. There is no single, overarching system that integrates it all. The culture cannot be jammed because there is no such thing as "the culture" or "the system". There is only a hodge-podge of social institutions, most tentatively thrown together, which distribute the benefits and burdens of social cooperation in ways that sometimes we recognize to be just, but that are usually manifestly inequitable. In a world of this type, countercultural rebellion is not just unhelpful, it is positively counterproductive. Not only does it distract energy and effort away from the sort of initiatives that lead to concrete improvements in people's lives, but it encourages wholesale contempt for such incremental changes.
Joseph Heath; Andrew Potter (Nation of Rebels: Why Counterculture Became Consumer Culture)
It doesn’t have to be black and white. You have a structured workout and sure that makes your life easier. You have a template to follow. But if you don’t have 45 minutes to do that workout, you can do 10 minutes of it. If you don’t have time to train, you can take your dog for a walk. There’s so many ways you can make these incremental changes that will lead to overall better habits.
Kellie Davis (Strong Curves: A Woman's Guide to Building a Better Butt and Body)
that the flywheel of history is incremental change through trial and error, with innovation driven by recombination, and that this pertains in far more kinds of things than merely those that have genes. This
Matt Ridley (The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge)
People who really want to make a difference in the world usually do it, in one way or another. And I’ve noticed something about people who make a difference in the world: They hold the unshakable conviction that individuals are extremely important, that every life matters. They get excited over one smile. They are willing to feed one stomach, educate one mind, and treat one wound. They aren’t determined to revolutionize the world all at once; they’re satisfied with small changes. Over time, though, the small changes add up. Sometimes they even transform cities and nations, and yes, the world. People who want to make a difference get frustrated along the way. But if they have a particularly stressful day, they don’t quit. They keep going. Given their accomplishments, most of them are shockingly normal and the way they spend each day can be quite mundane. They don’t teach grand lessons that suddenly enlighten entire communities; they teach small lessons that can bring incremental improvement to one man or woman, boy or girl. They don’t do anything to call attention to themselves, they simply pay attention to the everyday needs of others, even if it’s only one person. They bring change in ways most people will never read about or applaud. And because of the way these world-changers are wired, they wouldn’t think of living their lives any other way.
Katie Davis (Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption)
Even earthquakes are the consequence of tensions built up over long spans of time, imperceptibly, incrementally. You don't notice the buildup, just the release. You see a sick person, an old person, a dying person, the sight sinks in, and somewhere down the road you change your life. In movies and novels, people change suddenly and permanently, which is convenient and dramatic but not much like life, where you gain distance on something, relapse, resolve, try again, and move along in stops, starts, and stutters. Change is mostly slow. In my life, there had been transformative events, and I'd had a few sudden illuminations and crises, crossed a rubicon or two, but mostly I'd had the incremental.
Rebecca Solnit (The Faraway Nearby)
If we are ever going to see a paradigm shift, we have to be clear about how we want the present paradigm to shift. We must be clear that veganism is the unequivocal baseline of anything that deserves to be called an “animal rights” movement. If “animal rights” means anything, it means that we cannot morally justify any animal exploitation; we cannot justify creating animals as human resources, however “humane” that treatment may be. We must stop thinking that people will find veganism “daunting” and that we have to promote something less than veganism. If we explain the moral ideas and the arguments in favor of veganism clearly, people will understand. They may not all go vegan immediately; in fact, most won’t. But we should always be clear about the moral baseline. If someone wants to do less as an incremental matter, let that be her/his decision, and not something that we advise to do. The baseline should always be clear. We should never be promoting “happy” or “humane” exploitation as morally acceptable.
Gary L. Francione
The problem with constant becoming (especially in a protopian crawl) is that unceasing change can blind us to its incremental changes. In constant motion we no longer notice the motion. Becoming is thus a self-cloaking action often seen only in retrospect. More
Kevin Kelly (The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future)
So it went, a step at a time. And since we saw each other every night; since each increment of change was unspectacular in itself; since he made love very, very well; since I was soon crazy about him, not just physically, but especially so, it came about that I found myself – after the time span of a mere two weeks – in a setup that would be judged, by the people I know, as pathological. It never occurred to me to call it pathological. I never called “it” anything. I told no one about it. That it was me who lived through this period seems, in retrospect, unthinkable. I dare only look back on those weeks as on an isolated phenomenon, now in the past; a segment of my life as unreal as a dream, lacking all implication.
Elizabeth McNeill (Nine and a Half Weeks: A Memoir of a Love Affair)
The thing is, incremental daily progress (negative or positive) is what actually causes transformation. A figurative drip, drip, drip. Showing up, every single day, gaining in strength, organizing for the long haul, building connection, laying track — this subtle but difficult work is how culture changes.
Seth Godin
They have to battle to push forward every change they were brought in to make, no matter how incremental.
Ijeoma Oluo (Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America)
Change is inevitable. You can accept the incremental steps to change or resist and get a manure load dumped on you.
Jazz Feylynn
Incremental progress leads to long-lasting results.
Frank Sonnenberg (Soul Food: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life)
The problem is when progress becomes its own ideology—that is, when advocacy for incrementalism is seen as the astute and preferred mode of political transformation. It is never easy to win, but progress is also never sufficient. Incremental change keeps the grinding forces of oppression—death—in place. Actively advocating for this position is a moral failure.
Mychal Denzel Smith (Stakes Is High: Life After the American Dream)
This book argues that evolution is happening all around us. It is the best way of understanding how the human world changes, as well as the natural world. Change in human institutions, artefacts and habits is incremental, inexorable and inevitable. It follows a narrative, going from one stage to the next; it creeps rather than jumps; it has its own spontaneous momentum,
Matt Ridley (The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge)
A major contributor to the genesis of many diseases... is an overload of stress induced by unconscious beliefs. If we would heal, it is essential to begin the painfully incremental task of reversing the biology of belief we adopted very early in life. Whatever external treatment is administered, the healing agent lies within. The internal milieu must be changed. To find health, and to know it fully, necessitates a quest, a journey to the center of our own biology of belief. That means rethinking and recognizing—re-cognizing: literally, to “know again”—our lives.
Gabor Maté (When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress)
To defend my fear of sudden change, I chose to believe that life was incremental, that the tiny decisions you make every day determine your fate, that your job is to captain an enormous ship subtly into ever-clearer waters. But that’s not how it works at all. Life occurs in moments. You get into college. You propose. You get the job. You get cancer. You get fired. She leaves you...Because I was born in a stable country at a stable time, I falsely extrapolated that change is incremental. But if you zoom out just a little bit, you see that life is soccer, not basketball. It’s revolution, invention, war. It’s big bangs, exploding stars, asteroids killing the dinosaurs. Which means that all the action is in the risk taking, whether I want it to be or not.
Joel Edward Stein (Man Made: A Stupid Quest for Masculinity)
Based on his work with plasticity, Taub has discovered a number of training principles: training is more effective if the skill closely relates to everyday life; training should be done in increments; and work should be concentrated into a short time, a training technique Taub calls “massed practice,” which he has found far more effective than long-term but less frequent training.
Norman Doidge (The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science)
This work will only mater if it's sustained. To sustain it, people have to believe that the myriad small, incremental actions matter. That they matter even when the consequences aren't immediate or obvious. They must remember that often when you fail at your immediate objective—to block a nominee or a pipeline or to pass a bill—that, even then, you may have changed the whole framework in ways that make broader change more possible. You may change the story or the rules, give tools, templates, or encouragements to future activists, and make it possible for those around you to persist in their efforts.
Rebecca Solnit (Call Them by Their True Names: American Crises (and Essays))
Historians like a quiet life, and usually they get it. For the most part, history moves at a deliberate pace, working its changes subtly and incrementally. Nations and their institutions harden into shape or crumble away like sediment carried by the flow of a sluggish river. English history in particular seems the work of a temperate community, seldom shaken by convulsions. But there are moments when history is unsubtle; when change arrives in a violent rush, decisive, bloody, traumatic; as a truck-load of trouble, wiping out everything that gives a culture its bearings - custom, language, law, loyalty. 1066 was one of those moments.
Simon Schama (A History of Britain: At the Edge of the World? 3500 BC-AD 1603 (A History of Britain, #1))
this book. One of the core beliefs I hold is the importance of compounding. Compounding takes place when you attempt One More Try, time and time again. When you're successful in implementing a One More Try mentality, you'll create and compound more wins for yourself. Each of those wins creates an incremental advancement toward your goals. You stack them on top of each other to produce significant long‐term changes in your life.
Ed Mylett (The Power of One More: The Ultimate Guide to Happiness and Success)
Kanban is not a software development lifecycle methodology or an approach to project management. It requires that some process is already in place so that Kanban can be applied to incrementally change the underlying process.
David J. Anderson (Kanban)
In the wake of the 2016 American election, the New York Times writers David Bornstein and Tina Rosenberg reflected on the media’s role in its shocking outcome: Trump was the beneficiary of a belief—near universal in American journalism—that “serious news” can essentially be defined as “what’s going wrong.” . . . For decades, journalism’s steady focus on problems and seemingly incurable pathologies was preparing the soil that allowed Trump’s seeds of discontent and despair to take root. . . . One consequence is that many Americans today have difficulty imagining, valuing or even believing in the promise of incremental system change, which leads to a greater appetite for revolutionary, smash-the-machine change.30
Steven Pinker (Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress)
Abolitionist teaching is not a teaching approach: It is a way of life, a way of seeing the world, and a way of taking action against injustice. It seeks to resist, agitate, and tear down the educational survival complex through teachers who work in solidarity with their schools’ community to achieve incremental changes in their classrooms and schools for students in the present day, while simultaneously freedom dreaming and vigorously creating a vision for what schools will be when the educational survival complex is destroyed.
Bettina L. Love (We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom)
But listen, people can change all the time. Maybe not in big, profound ways, but in little, incremental ways that end up changing essential parts of them anyway. It's like a Rubik's Cube - you start with one line at a time, and then everything begins to fit together.
Sandhya Menon (10 Things I Hate About Pinky (Dimple and Rishi, #3))
The factory has programmed that adventurous impulse out of us. The economic imperative of the last century has been to avoid risk, avoid change, and most of all, avoid exploration and the new. An efficient factory fears change because change means retooling and risk and a blip in productivity. Sure, we’ll put up with change if we have to, and welcome the predictable incremental change of productivity improvement, but please leave us alone when it comes to the word “bold.” Avoiding risk worked then but doesn’t work now. Now “what’s next?” is in fact the driving force for individuals and for organizations. Ever onward, ever faster.
Seth Godin (Poke the Box)
[Tolstoy] denounced [many historians'] lamentable tendency to simplify. The experts stumble onto a battlefield, into a parliament or public square, and demand, "Where is he? Where is he?" "Where is who?" "The hero, of course! The leader, the creator, the great man!" And having found him, they promptly ignore all his peers and troops and advisors. They close their eyes and abstract their Napoleon from the mud and the smoke and the masses on either side, and marvel at how such a figure could possibly have prevailed in so many battles and commanded the destiny of an entire continent. "There was an eye to see in this man," wrote Thomas Carlyle about Napoleon in 1840, "a soul to dare and do. He rose naturally to be the King. All men saw that he was such." But Tolstoy saw differently. "Kings are the slaves of history," he declared. "The unconscious swarmlike life of mankind uses every moment of a king's life as an instrument for its purposes." Kings and commanders and presidents did not interest Tolstoy. History, his history, looks elsewhere: it is the study of infinitely incremental, imperceptible change from one state of being (peace) to another (war). The experts claimed that the decisions of exceptional men could explain all of history's great events. For the novelist, this belief was evidence of their failure to grasp the reality of an incremental change brought about by the multitude's infinitely small actions.
Daniel Tammet (Thinking In Numbers: On Life, Love, Meaning, and Math)
choose to use Kanban as a method to drive change in your organization, you are subscribing to the view that it is better to optimize what already exists, because that is easier and faster and will meet with less resistance than running a managed, engineered, named-change initiative. Introducing a radical change is harder than incrementally improving an existing one.
David J. Anderson (Kanban)
For decades, journalism’s steady focus on problems and seemingly incurable pathologies was preparing the soil that allowed Trump’s seeds of discontent and despair to take root. . . . One consequence is that many Americans today have difficulty imagining, valuing or even believing in the promise of incremental system change, which leads to a greater appetite for revolutionary, smash-the-machine change.30
Steven Pinker (Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress)
Kensi Gounden, Highly innovative new technologies can be both disruptive and transformative, but technology adoption can also be incremental, such as simply automating a manual process. So introducing business technology innovations, either incremental or step-change, may embrace increasing online connectivity across the business, strategic technology acquisition and use or using time-saving technologies to improve internal communication.
Kensi Gounden
Yale political scientist Alexander Coppock conducted a series of experiments designed to measure incremental changes in political opinion when people are presented with new information about a topic. ... [H]e was able to draw four consistent conclusions about the way that our brains react to new political information: 1. Effects are nearly uniformly positive: individuals are persuaded in the direction of evidence. 2. Effects are small: changes in opinion are incremental. 3. Effects are relatively homogenous: regardless of background, individuals respond to information by similar degrees. 4. Effects are durable: at a minimum, effects endure for weeks, albeit somewhat diminished. ... This means that people do not change their opinions dramatically in a short amount of time. But it also means that partisans don't reject good arguments and good evidence when they encounter it just because it does not conform to their worldview.
Michael Austin (We Must Not Be Enemies: Restoring America's Civic Tradition)
It is useful to classify the economic and ecological disruptions that make up this “new normal” of instability into two groups: shocks and slides. Shocks present themselves as acute moments of disruption. These are, for example, market crashes, huge disasters and uprisings. Slides, on the other hand, are incremental by nature. They can be catastrophic, but they are not experienced as acute. Sea level rise is a slide. Rising unemployment is a slide. The rising costs of food & energy are a slide.
Adrienne Maree Brown (Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds)
a transparent democratic process took place every few years in which they elected the Social Democrats, but as they slowly watched their rights and freedoms being eroded, and felt the long tentacles of the state rummaging around for any remaining tax kronor hidden in their underwear, did the Swedish people never once say “Enough is enough”? Or, were they like the proverbial frog in a pan of cold water, oblivious to the incremental temperature change as they were brought slowly to a rolling boil?
Michael Booth (The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia)
born and raised in Honolulu but had spent four years of his childhood flying kites and catching crickets in Indonesia. After high school, he’d passed two relatively laid-back years as a student at Occidental College in Los Angeles before transferring to Columbia, where by his own account he’d behaved nothing like a college boy set loose in 1980s Manhattan and instead lived like a sixteenth-century mountain hermit, reading lofty works of literature and philosophy in a grimy apartment on 109th Street, writing bad poetry, and fasting on Sundays. We laughed about all of it, swapping stories about our backgrounds and what led us to the law. Barack was serious without being self-serious. He was breezy in his manner but powerful in his mind. It was a strange, stirring combination. Surprising to me, too, was how well he knew Chicago. Barack was the first person I’d met at Sidley who had spent time in the barbershops, barbecue joints, and Bible-thumping black parishes of the Far South Side. Before going to law school, he’d worked in Chicago for three years as a community organizer, earning $12,000 a year from a nonprofit that bound together a coalition of churches. His task was to help rebuild neighborhoods and bring back jobs. As he described it, it had been two parts frustration to one part reward: He’d spend weeks planning a community meeting, only to have a dozen people show up. His efforts were scoffed at by union leaders and picked apart by black folks and white folks alike. Yet over time, he’d won a few incremental victories, and this seemed to encourage him. He was in law school, he explained, because grassroots organizing had shown him that meaningful societal change required not just the work of the people on the ground but stronger policies and governmental action as well. Despite my resistance to the hype that had preceded him, I found myself admiring Barack for both his self-assuredness and his earnest demeanor. He was refreshing, unconventional, and weirdly elegant.
Michelle Obama (Becoming)
we are left with a stark choice: allow climate disruption to change everything about our world, or change pretty much everything about our economy to avoid that fate. But we need to be very clear: because of our decades of collective denial, no gradual, incremental options are now available to us. ”(…) That’s tough for a lot of people in important positions to accept, since it challenges something that might be even more powerful than capitalism, and that is the fetish of centrism—of reasonableness, seriousness, splitting the difference, and generally not getting overly excited about anything. This is the habit of thought that truly rules our era, far more among the liberals who concern themselves with matters of climate policy than among conservatives, many of whom simply deny the existence of the crisis. Climate change presents a profound challenge to this cautious centrism because half measures won’t cut it. (…) The challenge, then, is not simply that we need to spend a lot of money and change a lot of policies; it’s that we need to think differently, radically differently, for those changes to be remotely possible. Right now, the triumph of market logic, with its ethos of domination and fierce competition, is paralyzing almost all serious efforts to respond to climate change. (…) It seems to me that our problem has a lot less to do with the mechanics of solar power than the politics of human power—specifically whether there can be a shift in who wields it, a shift away from corporations and toward communities,
Naomi Klein (This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate)
anger is a double-edged sword: besides motivating us, it can exhaust us, so that we run out of energy before winning our battle. Furthermore, the anger we express often triggers anger in those on the other side of an issue. They harden their stance, making compromise less likely. We live in a world in which change, when it comes, is likely to be incremental, meaning that righteous anger can retard progress on the issue in question. And finally, we know that anger can cloud our judgment, causing us to do foolish things and blinding us to possible solutions.
William B. Irvine (The Stoic Challenge: A Philosopher's Guide to Becoming Tougher, Calmer, and More Resilient)
As a waiter served their medium-rare steaks and, on multicolored rice, cooked into fetal positions, eight medium-large shrimp, Paul realized with some confusion that he might have overreacted. Staring at the herbed butter, flecked and large as a soap sample, on his steak, he was unsure what, if he had overreacted, had been the cause. It occurred to him that, in the past, in college, he would have later analyzed this, in bed, with eyes closed, studying the chronology of images—memories, he’d realized at some point, were images, which one could crudely arrange into slideshows or, with effort, sort of GIFs, maybe—but now, unless he wrote about it, storing the information where his brain couldn’t erase it, place it behind a toll, or inadvertently scramble its organization, or change it gradually, by increments smaller than he could discern, without his knowledge, so it became both lost and unrecognizable, he probably wouldn’t remember most of this in a few days and, after weeks or months, he wouldn’t know it had been forgotten, like a barn seen from inside a moving train that is later torn down, its wood carried elsewhere on trucks.
Tao Lin (Taipei)
It was the artifact of choice for a technique called seriation, which involved sorting objects by shape or style or some other formal feature and then ranging them in series, on the principle that things that are alike probably belong to the same period and that changes in style are often incremental. Like stratigraphy, seriation is a means of establishing relative chronologies; combined with the new technique of radiocarbon dating, it could be used to nail down whole stretches of cultural time. There was, however, no pottery in Hawai‘i, and Sinoto wondered what else could be used as a “diagnostic” artifact. The answer was fishhooks. Like
Christina Thompson (Sea People: The Puzzle of Polynesia)
What the most advanced researchers and theoreticians in all of science now comprehend is that the Newtonian concept of a universe driven by mass force is out of touch with reality, for it fails to account for both observable phenomena and theoretical conundrums that can be explained only by quantum physics: A quantum view explains the success of small efforts quite differently. Acting locally allows us to be inside the movement and flow of the system, participating in all those complex events occurring simultaneously. We are more likely to be sensitive to the dynamics of this system, and thus more effective. However, changes in small places also affect the global system, not through incrementalism, but because every small system participates in an unbroken wholeness. Activities in one part of the whole create effects that appear in distant places. Because of these unseen connections, there is potential value in working anywhere in the system. We never know how our small activities will affect others through the invisible fabric of our connectedness. In what Wheatley calls “this exquisitely connected world,” the real engine of change is never “critical mass”; dramatic and systemic change always begins with “critical connections.”14 So by now the crux of our preliminary needs should be apparent. We must open our hearts to new beacons of Hope. We must expand our minds to new modes of thought. We must equip our hands with new methods of organizing. And we must build on all of the humanity-stretching movements of the past half century: the Montgomery Bus Boycott; the civil rights movement; the Free Speech movement; the anti–Vietnam War movement; the Asian American, Native American, and Chicano movements; the women’s movement; the gay and lesbian movement; the disability rights/pride movement; and the ecological and environmental justice movements. We must find ourselves amid the fifty million people who as activists or as supporters have engaged in the many-sided struggles to create the new democratic and life-affirming values that are needed to civilize U.S. society.
Grace Lee Boggs (The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century)
Every day that we live, we must address new truths that pertain to life and death. Each incremental decade in the hayride of life incites us to address a newfangled realism. By age ten, the weepy passing of pets or grandparents, the death of sitting or past presidents, or the demise of other notable figures, obliges us to address the fact that no one including our parents and siblings will live forever. Cognition of each person’s fickle mortality spurs an awaking in our ken, which newly grasped knowledge is sure to cause a ray of resentment for humankind’s lack of immortality, especially if the people who a person cares deeply about fail to sanctify their body with nourishing and purifying habits.
Kilroy J. Oldster
Five hundred generations ago, the first phase change in the organization of human society began.1 Our ancestors in several regions reluctantly picked up crude implements, sharpened stakes and makeshift hoes, and went to work. As they sowed the first crops, they also laid a new foundation for power in the world. The Agricultural Revolution was the first great economic and social revolution. It started with the expulsion from Eden and moved so slowly that farming had not completely displaced hunting and gathering in all suitable areas of the globe when the twentieth century opened. Experts believe that even in the Near East, where farming first emerged, it was introduced in “a long incremental process” that “may have taken five thousand years or more.
James Dale Davidson (The Sovereign Individual: Mastering the Transition to the Information Age)
I have not tried to argue that anyone can become Albert Einstein or Mother Teresa, but I have tried to argue that we do not know what anyone’s future potential is from their current behavior. We never know exactly what someone is capable of with the right support from the environment and with the right degree of personal motivation or commitment. In addition, an incremental theory does not say that people will change. In many cases, it would be extremely foolish to believe that a person continuing in the same environment, without any psychological or educational help, will change. So an incremental theory does not predict that people left to themselves are likely to become better people over time, not at all. It simply says that people are capable of change.
Carol S. Dweck (Self-theories: Their Role in Motivation, Personality, and Development (Essays in Social Psychology))
I will never be able to reduce life with God to a formula for the same reason I cannot reduce my marriage to a formula. It is a living, growing relationship with another free being, very different from me and yet sharing much in common. No relationship has proved more challenging than marriage. I am tempted sometimes to wish for an "old-fashioned" marriage, in which roles and expectations are more clearly spelled out and need not always be negotiated. I sometimes yearn for an intervention from outside which would decisively change one of the characteristics that bring my wife and me pain. So far, that has not happened. We wake up each day and continue the journey on ground that grows incrementally more solid with each step. Love works that way, with partners visible or invisible.
Philip Yancey (Reaching for the Invisible God: What Can We Expect to Find?)
But relentless negativity can itself have unintended consequences, and recently a few journalists have begun to point them out. In the wake of the 2016 American election, the New York Times writers David Bornstein and Tina Rosenberg reflected on the media’s role in its shocking outcome: Trump was the beneficiary of a belief—near universal in American journalism—that “serious news” can essentially be defined as “what’s going wrong.” . . . For decades, journalism’s steady focus on problems and seemingly incurable pathologies was preparing the soil that allowed Trump’s seeds of discontent and despair to take root. . . . One consequence is that many Americans today have difficulty imagining, valuing or even believing in the promise of incremental system change, which leads to a greater appetite for revolutionary, smash-the-machine change.30
Steven Pinker (Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress)
When researchers with the National Weight Control Registry examined the tactics used by successful dieters, they found that two characteristics, in particular, stood out. People who successfully maintain weight loss typically eat breakfast every morning. They also weigh themselves each day. Part of the reason why these habits matter is practical: Eating a healthy breakfast makes it less likely you will snack later in the day, according to studies. And frequently measuring your weight allows us—sometimes almost subconsciously—to see how changing our diets influences the pounds lost. But just as important is the mental boost that daily, incremental weight loss provides. The small win of dropping even half a pound can provide the dose of momentum we need to stick with a diet. We need to see small victories to believe a long battle will be won.
Charles Duhigg (The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business)
By considering his forebears and contemporaries, Wedgwood was posting the guardrails on his path. In this way, a skilled engineer can be called a kind of “conservative,” not in a political sense but in the broader definition of looking to preserve the functional solutions of the present and past while making cautiously incremental adjustments—just enough to solve their particular problem at hand—that make sure attempted solutions don’t veer into uncharted territory where oversights can have real consequences in the real world. They know that the best results come from making small changes to the state of the art, while a radical engineer risks building a bridge that will collapse. An intuition constructed from records, experience, and institutional knowledge, like rules of thumb, never guarantees success, but it does point the engineer toward the trials and errors that are most likely to produce useful results and deepen the collective well of knowledge.
Bill Hammack (The Things We Make: The Unknown History of Invention from Cathedrals to Soda Cans)
WHY PARADIGMS MATTER Ideas drive results. People's beliefs drive their actions. Actions that stem from a simple, complete and accurate paradigm result in personal fulfillment, harmonious relationships, and economic prosperity. Actions based on false, incomplete and inaccurate paradigms, however well intended or passionately defended, are the cause of widespread misery, suffering and deprivation. As detailed in Rethinking Survival: Getting to the Positive Paradigm of Change, a fatal information deficit explains the worldwide leadership deficit and related budget deficits. In a dangerous world where psychological and economic warfare compete with religious extremism and terrorism to undo thousands of years of incremental human progress, a healing balance is urgently needed. Restoring a simple, complete and accurate paradigm of leadership and relationships now could make the difference between human survival on the one hand, and the extinction of the human race (or the end of civilization as we know it), on the other. p. 7.
Patricia E. West (The Positive Paradigm Handbook: Make Yourself Whole Using the Wheel of Change)
When applying agile practices at the portfolio level, similar benefits accrue: • Demonstrable results—Every quarter or so products, or at least deployable pieces of products, are developed, implemented, tested, and accepted. Short projects deliver chunks of functionality incrementally. • Customer feedback—Each quarter product managers review results and provide feedback, and executives can view progress in terms of working products. • Better portfolio planning—Portfolio planning is more realistic because it is based on deployed whole or partial products. • Flexibility—Portfolios can be steered toward changing business goals and higher-value projects because changes are easy to incorporate at the end of each quarter. Because projects produce working products, partial value is captured rather than being lost completely as usually happens with serial projects that are terminated early. • Productivity—There is a hidden productivity improvement with agile methods from the work not done. Through constant negotiation, small projects are both eliminated and pared down.
Jim Highsmith (Agile Project Management: Creating Innovative Products (Agile Software Development Series))
Imagine the following. Three groups of ten individuals are in a park at lunchtime with a rainstorm threatening. In the first group, someone says: “Get up and follow me.” When he starts walking and only a few others join in, he yells to those still seated: “Up, I said, and now!” In the second group, someone says: “We’re going to have to move. Here’s the plan. Each of us stands up and marches in the direction of the apple tree. Please stay at least two feet away from other group members and do not run. Do not leave any personal belongings on the ground here and be sure to stop at the base of the tree. When we are all there . . .” In the third group, someone tells the others: “It’s going to rain in a few minutes. Why don’t we go over there and sit under that huge apple tree. We’ll stay dry, and we can have fresh apples for lunch.” I am sometimes amazed at how many people try to transform organizations using methods that look like the first two scenarios: authoritarian decree and micromanagement. Both approaches have been applied widely in enterprises over the last century, but mostly for maintaining existing systems, not transforming those systems into something better. When the goal is behavior change, unless the boss is extremely powerful, authoritarian decree often works poorly even in simple situations, like the apple tree case. Increasingly, in complex organizations, this approach doesn’t work at all. Without the power of kings and queens behind it, authoritarianism is unlikely to break through all the forces of resistance. People will ignore you or pretend to cooperate while doing everything possible to undermine your efforts. Micromanagement tries to get around this problem by specifying what employees should do in detail and then monitoring compliance. This tactic can break through some of the barriers to change, but in an increasingly unacceptable amount of time. Because the creation and communication of detailed plans is deadly slow, the change produced this way tends to be highly incremental. Only the approach used in the third scenario above has the potential to break through all the forces that support the status quo and to encourage the kind of dramatic shifts found in successful transformations. (See figure 5–1.) This approach is based on vision—a central component of all great leadership.
John P. Kotter (Leading Change [with a New Preface])
Hard to describe what those next years felt like to live through. Except as a hollowing out, a loss beyond repair...even as it kept begging to be repaired. While the promise of what had been so very close haunted me. In so many ways. "So much in motion, such energy, it disguised the decay of things, the incremental rot. How much was hollowed out." Impossible to tell how fast society was collapsing because history had been riddled through with disinformation, and reality was composed of half-fictions and full-on paranoid conspiracy theories. You couldn't figure out if collapse was a cliff or a gentle slope because all the mental constructs obscured it. Multinationals kept their monopolies, shed jobs or even their identities, but most did not go under. Governments became more autocratic, on average. Here was fine, there was a disaster. But here was just a different kind of disaster. A thick mist drenched in the smoke of flares that kept curling back on us. Why fight a mist if all that lay ahead was more of the same? Those of us who survived the pandemic, and all the rest, passed through so many different worlds. Like time travelers. Some of us lived in the past. Some in the present, some in an unknowable future. If you lived in the past, you disbelieved the conflagration reflected in the eyes of those already looking back at you. You mistook the pity and anger, how they despised you. How, rightly, they despised you. So we stitched our way through what remained of life. The wounds deeper. The disconnect higher. The shock that shattered our bones yet left us standing.
Jeff VanderMeer (Hummingbird Salamander)
The wonder of evolution is that it works at all. I mean that literally: If you want to marvel at evolution, that’s what’s marvel-worthy. How does optimization first arise in the universe? If an intelligent agent designed Nature, who designed the intelligent agent? Where is the first design that has no designer? The puzzle is not how the first stage of the bootstrap can be super-clever and super-efficient; the puzzle is how it can happen at all. Evolution resolves the infinite regression, not by being super-clever and super-efficient, but by being stupid and inefficient and working anyway. This is the marvel. For professional reasons, I often have to discuss the slowness, randomness, and blindness of evolution. Afterward someone says: “You just said that evolution can’t plan simultaneous changes, and that evolution is very inefficient because mutations are random. Isn’t that what the creationists say? That you couldn’t assemble a watch by randomly shaking the parts in a box?” But the reply to creationists is not that you can assemble a watch by shaking the parts in a box. The reply is that this is not how evolution works. If you think that evolution does work by whirlwinds assembling 747s, then the creationists have successfully misrepresented biology to you; they’ve sold the strawman. The real answer is that complex machinery evolves either incrementally, or by adapting previous complex machinery used for a new purpose. Squirrels jump from treetop to treetop using just their muscles, but the length they can jump depends to some extent on the aerodynamics of their bodies. So now there are flying squirrels, so aerodynamic they can glide short distances. If birds were wiped out, the descendants of flying squirrels might reoccupy that ecological niche in ten million years, gliding membranes transformed into wings. And the creationists would say, “What good is half a wing? You’d just fall down and splat. How could squirrelbirds possibly have evolved incrementally?
Eliezer Yudkowsky (Rationality: From AI to Zombies)
The other problem with empathy is that it is too parochial to serve as a force for a universal consideration of people’s interests. Mirror neurons notwithstanding, empathy is not a reflex that makes us sympathetic to everyone we lay eyes upon. It can be switched on and off, or thrown into reverse, by our construal of the relationship we have with a person. Its head is turned by cuteness, good looks, kinship, friendship, similarity, and communal solidarity. Though empathy can be spread outward by taking other people’s perspectives, the increments are small, Batson warns, and they may be ephemeral.71 To hope that the human empathy gradient can be flattened so much that strangers would mean as much to us as family and friends is utopian in the worst 20th-century sense, requiring an unattainable and dubiously desirable quashing of human nature.72 Nor is it necessary. The ideal of the expanding circle does not mean that we must feel the pain of everyone else on earth. No one has the time or energy, and trying to spread our empathy that thinly would be an invitation to emotional burnout and compassion fatigue.73 The Old Testament tells us to love our neighbors, the New Testament to love our enemies. The moral rationale seems to be: Love your neighbors and enemies; that way you won’t kill them. But frankly, I don’t love my neighbors, to say nothing of my enemies. Better, then, is the following ideal: Don’t kill your neighbors or enemies, even if you don’t love them. What really has expanded is not so much a circle of empathy as a circle of rights—a commitment that other living things, no matter how distant or dissimilar, be safe from harm and exploitation. Empathy has surely been historically important in setting off epiphanies of concern for members of overlooked groups. But the epiphanies are not enough. For empathy to matter, it must goad changes in policies and norms that determine how the people in those groups are treated. At these critical moments, a newfound sensitivity to the human costs of a practice may tip the decisions of elites and the conventional wisdom of the masses. But as we shall see in the section on reason, abstract moral argumentation is also necessary to overcome the built-in strictures on empathy. The ultimate goal should be policies and norms that become second nature and render empathy unnecessary. Empathy, like love, is in fact not all you need. SELF-CONTROL
Steven Pinker (The Better Angels of Our Nature: The Decline of Violence In History And Its Causes)
My rights are that part of my power which others have not merely conceded me, but which they wish me to preserve. How do these others arrive at that? First: through their prudence and fear and caution: whether in that they expect something similar from us in return (protection of their own rights); or in that they consider that a struggle with us would be perilous or to no purpose; or in that they see in any diminution of our force a disadvantage to themselves, since we would then be unsuited to forming an alliance with them in opposition to a hostile third power. Then: by donation and cession. In this case, others have enough and more than enough power to be able to dispose of some of it and to guarantee to him they have given it to the portion of it they have given: in doing so they presuppose a feeble sense of power in him who lets himself be thus donated to. That is how rights originate: recognised and guaranteed degrees of power. If power-relationships undergo any material alteration, rights disappear and new ones are created as is demonstrated in the continual disappearance and reformation of rights between nations. If our power is materially diminished, the feeling of those who have hitherto guaranteed our rights changes: they consider whether they can restore us to the full possession we formerly enjoyed if they feel unable to do so, they henceforth deny our 'rights'. Likewise, if our power is materially increased, the feeling of those who have hitherto recognised it but whose recognition is no longer needed changes: they no doubt attempt to suppress it to its former level, they will try to intervene and in doing so will allude to their 'duty' but this is only a useless playing with words. Where rights prevail, a certain condition and degree of power is being maintained, a diminution and increment warded off. The rights of others constitute a concession on the part of our sense of power to the sense of power of those others. If our power appears to be deeply shaken and broken, our rights cease to exist: conversely, if we have grown very much more powerful, the rights of others, as we have previously conceded them, cease to exist for us. The 'man who wants to be fair' is in constant need of the subtle tact of a balance: he must be able to assess degrees of power and rights, which, given the transitory nature of human things, will never stay in equilibrium for very long but will usually be rising or sinking: being fair is consequently difficult and demands much practice and good will, and very much very good sense.
Friedrich Nietzsche (Daybreak: Thoughts on the Prejudices of Morality)
Scaling is good if it brings in incremental revenue, but you have to watch for a decrease in engagement, a gradual saturation of the initial market, or a rising cost of customer acquisition. Changes in churn, segmented by channels, show whether you’re growing your most important asset — your customers — or hemorrhaging attention as you scale.
Alistair Croll (Lean Analytics: Use Data to Build a Better Startup Faster (Lean (O'Reilly)))
It’s also true that many companies get comfortable doing what they have always done, with a few incremental changes. This kind of incrementalism leads to irrelevance over time, especially in technology, because change tends to be revolutionary not evolutionary.
Eric Schmidt (How Google Works)
A company at the top of its game has accumulated a number of rules of thumb—implicit assumptions and beliefs about what has been central to its success. New technologies and business models belie or change some of those assumptions, but they only seem sensible if the management team can become aware of those implicit assumptions and mind-sets and suspend them for a moment to contemplate the change. It’s very hard to do that with the inherited wisdom, experience, and lore of a company. This is why the failures of incumbents to capture the benefits of disruptive innovations are a result not of bad managers, but of good managers practicing what they have done best. Incremental innovations can quickly be scaled and incorporated. Disruptive innovations require changes in customer sets, business models, or performance metrics that are no longer consistent with what led to success in the past.
Stefan Heck (Resource Revolution: How to Capture the Biggest Business Opportunity in a Century)
Ideally, earning full-on wealth, not just cash, will become more like what spending is like already. There will be a multitude of incremental wealth creation events instead of a few big game-changing leaps in one’s status.
Jaron Lanier (Who Owns the Future?)
It’s also true that many companies get comfortable doing what they have always done, with a few incremental changes. This kind of incrementalism leads to irrelevance over time, especially in technology, because change tends to be revolutionary not evolutionary. So you need to force yourself to place big bets on the future. It’s why we invest in areas that may seem wildly speculative, such as self-driving cars or a balloon-powered Internet. While it’s hard to imagine now, when we started Google Maps, people thought that our goal of mapping the entire world, including photographing every street, would prove impossible. So if the past is any indicator of our future, today’s big bets won’t seem so wild in a few years’ time.
Eric Schmidt (How Google Works)
LEADERSHIP | Intuit’s CEO on Building a Design-Driven Company Brad Smith | 222 words Although 46 similar products were on the market when Intuit launched Quicken, in 1983, it immediately became the market leader in personal finance software and has held that position for three decades. That’s because Quicken was so well designed that using it is intuitive. But by the time Smith became CEO, in 2008, the company had become overly focused on adding incremental features that delivered ease of use but not delight. What was missing was an emotional connection with customers. He and his team set out to integrate design thinking into every part of Intuit. They changed the layout of the office, reduced the number of cubes, and added more collaboration spaces and places for impromptu work. They increased the number of designers by nearly 600% and now hold quarterly design conferences. They bring in people who have created exceptionally designed products, such as the Nest thermostat and the Kayak travel website, to share insights with Intuit employees. The company acquired one start-up, called Mint, and collaborates with another, called ZenPayroll, to improve customer experience. Although most people don’t think of financial software as a category driven by emotion or design, Smith writes, Intuit’s D4D (“design for delight”) program has paid off. For example, its SnapTax app, inspired by consumers’ migration to smartphones, led one user to write, “I want this app to have my babies.
people often change course from truth to deception (and back again) while they incrementally construct their turns-at-talk.
The entrepreneurs who stuck with Silicon Valley learned four big lessons from the dot-com crash that still guide business thinking today: 1. Make incremental advances Grand visions inflated the bubble, so they should not be indulged. Anyone who claims to be able to do something great is suspect, and anyone who wants to change the world should be more humble. Small, incremental steps are the only safe path forward. 2. Stay lean and flexible All companies must be “lean,” which is code for “unplanned.” You should not know what your business will do; planning is arrogant and inflexible. Instead you should try things out, “iterate,” and treat entrepreneurship as agnostic experimentation. 3. Improve on the competition Don’t try to create a new market prematurely. The only way to know you have a real business is to start with an already existing customer, so you should build your company by improving on recognizable products already offered by successful competitors. 4. Focus on product, not sales If your product requires advertising or salespeople to sell it, it’s not good enough: technology is primarily about product development, not distribution. Bubble-era advertising was obviously wasteful, so the only sustainable growth is viral growth.
Evolution and incremental change is important and we need it, but we’re desperate for real revolution and that requires a different type of courage and creativity.
Brené Brown (Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead)
Very few people writing about this new industry in the mainstream press truly understood how personal computers had already begun to revert to institutional machines. This was mainly because it was easier for most journalists of the early 1990s to envision and get personally excited about the potential of educational software, or of managing their personal finances, or organizing their recipes in the “digital” kitchen, or imagining how amateur architects could design funky homes right on their home computers. Who wouldn’t be excited about more power in the hands of people, the computer as an extension of the brain, a “bicycle for the mind,” as Steve put it? This was the story of computing that got all the ink, and it was a story no one unfurled as well as Steve. Bill Gates wasn’t swayed by that romance. He saw it as a naïve fantasy that missed the point of the much more sophisticated things PCs could do for people in the enterprise. A consumer market can be an enormously profitable one—put simply, there are so many more people than businesses that if you sell them the right product you can mint money. But the personal computers of that time still didn’t have enough power at a low enough price to excite the vast majority of consumers, or to change their lives in any meaningful way. The business market, however, was a different beast. The potential volume of sales represented by all those corporate desktops, in all those thousands of companies big and small, became the target of Bill Gates’s strategic brilliance and focus. Those companies paid good prices for the reliability and consistency that Windows PCs could deliver. They welcomed incremental improvement, and Bill knew how to give it to them. Steve paid lip service to it, but his heart wasn’t in it. He thrilled only to the concept of how a dramatically better computer could unlock even more potential for its user.
Brent Schlender (Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader)
So we are left with a stark choice: allow climate disruption to change everything about our world, or change pretty much everything about our economy to avoid that fate. But we need to be very clear: because of our decades of collective denial, no gradual, incremental options are now available to us. Gentle tweaks to the status quo stopped being a climate option when we supersized the American Dream in the 1990s, and then proceeded to take it global. And it’s no longer just radicals who see the need for radical change. In 2012, twenty-one past winners of the prestigious Blue Planet Prize—a group that includes James Hansen, former director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and Gro Harlem Brundtland, former prime minister of Norway—authored a landmark report. It stated that, “In the face of an absolutely unprecedented emergency, society has no choice but to take dramatic action to avert a collapse of civilization. Either we will change our ways and build an entirely new kind of global society, or they will be changed for us.”28
Naomi Klein (This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate)
Personal change is, of course, incremental. As all “grown-ups” come to understand, we wrestle with and learn how to manage our gifts and flaws over a lifetime. It’s an endless growth process. And yet it’s not as if we become wholly different people.
Brent Schlender (Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader)
Be encouraged when your prayers reveal progress that can be measured even in the tiniest increments. God is at work in your life and in the lives of those around you, and before long, little by little will add up to major change.
Stormie Omartian (The Power of Praying® Through the Bible)
1. Make incremental advances Grand visions inflated the bubble, so they should not be indulged. Anyone who claims to be able to do something great is suspect, and anyone who wants to change the world should be more humble. Small, incremental steps are the only safe path forward. 2. Stay lean and flexible All companies must be “lean,” which is code for “unplanned.” You should not know what your business will do; planning is arrogant and inflexible. Instead you should try things out, “iterate,” and treat entrepreneurship as agnostic experimentation. 3. Improve on the competition Don’t try to create a new market prematurely. The only way to know you have a real business is to start with an already existing customer, so you should build your company by improving on recognizable products already offered by successful competitors. 4. Focus on product, not sales If your product requires advertising or salespeople to sell it, it’s not good enough: technology is primarily about product development, not distribution. Bubble-era advertising was obviously wasteful, so the only sustainable growth is viral growth.
Peter Thiel (Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future)