Here we are in the market space of incumbent providers. We want to get to a new market space of innovative offerings. The incumbent space is holding us back as if it's having a powerful effect on what we experience as conceivable, practical and feasible. Note those are experiences in our minds. That tells me we should postpone venturing out from the incumbent space and venture up into conceptual space above. It's very likely the incumbent space is fallout from the conceptual space at a level above it.
Getting above the incumbent space defies the gravitational pull of the market dictates. This transcendence poses a similar challenge to not only getting Joe out of the trailer park but also getting the trailer park out of Joe. Getting into the conceptual space above expects to find viable choices where we've made up our minds to have no choices at all.
Whenever I explore the conceptual space of incumbents, there's much I find that impedes their escape from business-as-usual. Here's some of the usual findings in the conceptual space of an incumbent provider:
- fears of going out of business, getting beat by rivals or getting ambushed by upstarts
- fears of falling below quality standards, making big mistakes or trashing the brand name
- fears of a steep decline in the demand for their offerings from changes in the techno-cultural landscape
- effects of those fears on their thought processes and conceivable options
- closing their minds to consideration of disturbing alternatives that might prove them wrong or embarrass them
- making unavoidably bad decisions by the incessant production of worries, paranoid fantasies and symptoms of hypertension
- arguing "for limitation/against liberation" with tired rationalizations, justifications and excuses
- depending on extrinsic rewards to motivate their commitments, efforts and relationships
- expecting more of those predictable white swans and dismissing the prospect of black swans
All these features of the incumbents' conceptual space has the effect of confining themselves to innovation for show or for self-preservation. They cannot venture out into innovation for impact or cooperation until they change their minds in significant ways. Revising their conceptual space begins with increasing their awareness of its current perpetual state. It then becomes possible to into the conceptual space surrounding their own. We explore how it's possible to be clear of fear, open to possibilities, accepting of opposing alternatives and receptive to exploring unknowns. As they take up residence in this expanded conceptual space, they discover they've successfully escaped the incumbent space below. They are in a place where innovations for impact and cooperation come to mind, seem very conceivable and spawn intrinsic motivations to develop them further.