16
Nov

2009

Different Is Not Enough

Post by Steven Dale

To be successful, an Insurgent Technology, Idea or Technique must be markedly different from those accepted Incumbent Technologies, Ideas or Techniques of the given day.

But different is not enough.

Not only must the Insurgent be different, she must also be demonstrably superior to the Incumbent and have strength and support on loan from a dedicated community.

With those in hand the successful Insurgent then passes through four phases:

First, the Insurgent is ignored by the Incumbent. The Incumbent does not recognize the Insurgent’s existence and if he does, he certainly doesn’t see the Incumbent as a threat.  This affords the Insurgent time to gather support, knowledge, research and to learn from the Incumbent’s mistakes.

Second, the Incumbent is forced to acknowledge the Insurgent’s existence.  He doesn’t want to but must, due to the public’s increased attention and support offered her.  At this stage the Insurgent musters the opportunity to gain recognition by exhibiting her superior abilities.

Third, the Incumbent attacks the Insurgent. It is this attack that gives legitimacy to the Insurgent and demonstrates the Incumbent’s worry.  It is a tactic that assures the Insurgent’s victory. As the Incumbent will always attack first, the Insurgent plans for her defense rather than offense.

This defensive posture is a sound strategy, but only when predicated on provoking, ignoring and deflecting an attack. Once an ill-prepared Incumbent attacks, the Insurgent typically wins. The victory may be long in the future, but it is a victory nonetheless.

Fourth, the Incumbent is forced to mimic the Insurgent’s technology, idea or technique. This is pure folly on the part of the Incumbent but he cannot resist. The Incumbent’s tactic guarantees his own defeat because he is blind to the events that actually occurred:

The Insurgent didn’t succeed through mimicking the Incumbent. The Insurgent assured her victory by being intentionally different from the Incumbent.

Right now Cable-Propelled Transit (CPT) is an Insurgent Technology that lives somewhere between the first and second phase.

The third and fourth will be interesting to watch.



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