On the Spread of Ideas: Four Roles and Four Traps 

A positive take on the ‘four quadrants of systems threats’ from Steven Shorrock (who is an excellent communicator, well worth following).

Humanistic Systems

Much progress in the world depends on the spread of ideas. There is no shortage of good ideas, and no shortage of bad ones, but ‘good’ and ‘bad’ are relative to our positions, and success and failure are not dependent on either. The success of an idea depends on a multitude of factors, such as the the multiverse of contexts in which it is introduced, the dominant paradigm, the nature of the related problem situation or opportunity, the quality of the idea itself, the communication of the idea, possible unwanted consequences, and the characteristics of the proponents and detractors.

The introduction of new ideas is fraught with peril. As noted by Walter Bagehot (British journalist), “One of the greatest pains to human nature is the pain of a new idea.” Similarly, Fredrik Baker (Danish writer and politician) observed that “whenever a new idea is developed … warfare immediately takes possession”.

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