In the 1840′s Dr. Ignatz Semmelweiss found that deaths in maternity wards dropped to near zero when all medical personal washed their hands. Yet, it took 30 for the medical community to take note, by responding to Louis Pasteur’s endorsement of the hand washing procedure. And even after his endorsement it took thirty more years for the practice to become widespread.
Change can be (and often is) very slow. Even with science on your side. Change threatens the status quo. That means it threatens the “power, habits and values” of the current reality and all of the people that are benefiting form that reality.
Being willing to innovate and strive for new beginnings means there will be resistance. There will be a status quo that is threatened. Thus, the innovation must be seen to be of greater over all value and potentential impact than the status quo, or the status quo will be maintained.
New beginnings can be difficult. A major reality for those challenging the status quo is the potential lack of receptivity toward new beginnings.
All of this is true; it doesn’t change the NEED for change. Hands needed to be washed in the maternity wards. It was a life and death issue. Yet, it took a lot of time to happen.
Change isn’t easy. But, it is worth working toward in education, governance, social justice and in many other ways!
And remember: Innovation>status quo
PS: Once the medical community got its arms around the need for hand washing in the maternity ward, they the started to apply that knowledge in other medical settings. So, thank goodness for Semmelweiss and Pasteur for hanging in there and for finally getting the practice accepted.
Note: The information regarding Semmelweiss and Pastuer can be found on page 120 of The Innovator’s Way by Peter J. Denning and Rovert Dunham (2010) the MIT Press