Richard Rumelt’s attractors and microwaves

Wardley Mapping contains the concept of “practice” and the climatic pattern of “co-evolution of practice”. But for forecasting purposes I always see it better with the concept of attractor created by Richard Rumelt.

I have drawn an example, that I hope it’s clear. The microwave existed since the 40s, but they became popular in the 80s when the women incorporated to the labor market massively.

Rumelt's attractors and the microwaves

There’s a co-evolution of practice or we can also say that an attractor showed up. We can see in both ways. In this example, the co-evolution of practice took 40 years!

In the market, technological disruption (microwave) alone, does not work (it also apply to Generative – AI): you have to build the “signals listening mechanisms” that enable you to understand how you can fit your product.

Rumelt suggests that when you are in the fog of change (uncertainty), you need mental guideposts to orient. These mental guideposts can be: raising costs, change of regulation or new attractors.

In Wardley Maps the guideposts are mainly the climatic patterns.

The identification of attractors is very well done in some industries (for instance retail, advertisement) and have space for improvement in other (for instance: car industry).


Are you in possession of a technological disruption? then, my suggestion is build “signals listening mechanisms”.

How? Dig into the Rumelt’s attractors or look into the Wardley’s climatic patterns. Both can be your guideposts in the fog of change.

Climatic Patterns

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