When impossible suddenly becomes possible.
Sir Roger Gilbert Bannister, (born 23 March 1929) is an English former athlete, physician and academic, who ran the first sub-four-minute-mile. In the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, Bannister set a British record in the 1500 metres, but did not win the medal he expected. The humiliation strengthened his resolve to be the first 4-minute miler. He achieved it on 6 May 1954 at Iffley Road Track in Oxford, with Chris Chataway and Chris Brasher providing the pacing. When the announcer declared “The time was three…”, the cheers of the crowd drowned-out the details of the result, which was 3 min 59.4 sec.
Bannister’s record lasted 46 days. Just 46 days later on 21 June in Turku, Finland, Bannister’s record was broken by his rival Landy with a time of 3 min 57.9 s, which the IAAF ratified as 3 min 58.0 s due to the rounding rules then in effect. More notable was that he had reached this record with so little training, while practising as a junior doctor [source: Wikipedia].
Breaking paradigms, creating new models.
Roger Bannister’s example was mentioned by Amanda Sturgeon (Executive Director at the International Living Future) during the REGENERATION conference last Saturday in Dro, Italy as a metaphor of the innovation inside the Living Building Challenge approach. This reminded me of the curve of diffusion of innovations described by Everett Rogers.